MX23RW : Wednesday, January 22 17:23:33| >> :600:5643043:5643043:

Ferrari drivers 'damaged the team' by crashing

Ferrari drivers 'damaged the team' by crashing
© Reuters
Mattia Binotto was furious after Ferrari's drivers collided in the closing stages of the Brazilian GP.

Mattia Binotto was furious after Ferrari's drivers collided in the closing stages of the Brazilian GP.

Even before the Interlagos crash, the relationship between Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc was already unsettled as they vie for top status.

"The two drivers must realise that they have damaged the team," said Binotto, the Maranello team's usually-calm team boss.

"I don't want to judge right now who made the mistake, but it is necessary to give a strong signal to them that certain things cannot happen," he told Italian media.

"We now pay as a team and our image. With all the work that we do, it's not good."

Binotto said he was contemplating calling off the post-race driver debrief to make clear that Ferrari will not tolerate such incidents.

"We are considering not doing the debrief," he confirmed. "At times it is necessary to give a strong signal."

Vettel, however, denied blame for the incident, although he admitted it was "a rather aggressive fight".

Leclerc, meanwhile, insisted: "I believe that neither of us did anything stupid.

"But we are both mature enough to know that these things must not happen.

"It happened at the wrong time, as we are both fighting for third place in the championship, and I am very sorry. But I am sure that the relationship with Seb will not change."

Binotto continued: "They must understand that both have a part of the blame."

Before the race, both Leclerc and Vettel admitted they would be pushing hard in Brazil and Abu Dhabi to secure third place in the drivers' championship.

"We let them fight freely because we are already second in the constructors' championship, so they could fight for their position in the drivers' championship," said Binotto.

"We have been criticised in the past for interfering too much in a fight, but to fight freely does not mean to do stupid things, especially this.

"We spoke out after Monza, and in my view the drivers had a good relationship after that. But the race today has certainly not helped in this regard," the Italian added.

Finally, Binotto said the only positive from the crash is that it gives him "the opportunity to clarify the internal rules before the coming season".

"This is something that should not be repeated."

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