Ferrari team order to help Leclerc ‘too risky’

It was too “risky” to impose a team order and boost Charles Leclerc’s chances of finishing second overall in the 2022 drivers’ standings.

That was the explanation of Ferrari’s team bosses after Leclerc – now dead even on points with Sergio Perez with just the Abu Dhabi finale to go – admitted his frustration that the pitwall did not ask Carlos Sainz to pull over.

Spaniard Sainz, third, confirmed that an order never came.

“To me on the radio, nothing came,” he said. “So I have nothing to comment.”

Leclerc made his unhappiness clear.

“I’m happy with my own performance,” he said, “but I think about these three points if I lose second place in the championship in the end.

“If so then so be it.

“We had discussed it internally before the race but for some reason the team changed their minds.”

So while the controversy about Max Verstappen’s ignored Red Bull team order rages, Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto explained why a similar request was not asked of Sainz.

“It would have been very risky to reverse the positions as Charles had Alonso and Verstappen behind him,” he told Sky Italia.

“We were also under investigation for the safety car incident so a penalty for Carlos would have meant even more lost positions.

“For the constructors’ championship, we felt it was better to keep the positions as they were.”

Sporting boss Laurent Mekies backed his boss.

“In the end we wanted to do it if the opportunity was there – we discussed it,” he said. “We just thought it was too tight with Alonso and Max.”

At the very least, the situation with Verstappen’s ignored order and Ferrari’s decision not to impose an order has at least raised the stakes for next weekend’s season finale in Abu Dhabi.

“It will be an exciting finale,” Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said.

“We really want second place with Checo and Max will help him there.”

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