Ferrari has 'cleared the air' between Vettel and Leclerc

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari with Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari.
© XPB 

Ferrari says that it has successfully cleared the air between its two drivers after Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc clashed in Brazil.

The pair were battling over fourth place in last week's race when light contact between them ended up putting both cars out of the race with less than six laps remaining.

With Ferrari already having sealed second place in the constructors championship, the Interlagos incident did no major damage to the team's fortunes. But it was clear that senior management was embarrassed and upset by what had happened.

Ferrari chairman John Elkann said he was "very angry" about it, adding: "The drivers, however good they are, mustn't forget they are Ferrari drivers. Team work counts. The only thing that counts is that Ferrari wins."

Reports earlier in the week stated that team principal Mattia Binotto would hold 'summit talks' with Vettel and Leclerc to resolve the situation and lay ground rules for 2020.

But the idea of a sit-down meeting with both drivers appears to have been swapped in favour of a series of individual one-to-one meetings between Binotto and the the pair at Maranello

"Since last Sunday, Mattia and the drivers have spoken every day, as they would normally do anyway," a spokesperson told the BBC on Friday.

"There was no official summit nor video conference," the spokesperson added. "The air is now fully cleared and we are focusing on Abu Dhabi."

There were no further details about what was discussed, or what conclusions had been reached this week. At stake is how hard Vettel and Leclerc will be allowed to compete on track in future races - if at all.

There have been suggestions from the media that Ferrari might decide on a number one driver as soon as four races into the season, and then use team orders to boost his title campaign while ordering the number two driver to play a supporting role.

Such an imposition would go down badly with both drivers, which perhaps explains why there was such uncompromising rivalry between them in Sao Paulo as they vie to ensure that they're selected as Ferrari's top dog in 2020.

Former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher said four-time champion Vettel is in a precarious position if his much younger team mate assumes control of the team.

"It's a difficult internal discussion, with Binotto slowly coming under more pressure," he told Sky Sports Deutschland.

"It will be very difficult for both of them, but especially Sebastian. If they cannot find a solution, it is clear the future is with Charles.

"After all, Ferrari has other worries than its teammates constantly arguing. And they both have that responsibility, they are both old enough.

"I think it is serious enough that if it does not get better - if there are no clear commitments - then Ferrari might think about changing something."

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