Binotto, Leclerc meet for clear-the-air dinner
"It doesn’t get any dumber than that" says Ralf Schumacher
Charles Leclerc on Wednesday met for dinner at Monaco’s famous Hotel de Paris with his Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto.
It came amid wide criticism of the way the Maranello team handled Leclerc’s race strategy in the British GP, which cleared the way for teammate Carlos Sainz’s first Formula 1 win.
"They took victory away from Leclerc," former F1 driver Marc Surer told f1-insider.com.
"It doesn’t get any dumber than that," Ralf Schumacher agreed.
"Leclerc was much better placed than Sainz in the championship so with the fight with Max Verstappen so tight, they should have done everything to ensure he brought victory home, especially when Max had problems."
Former F1 team boss Eddie Jordan added: "If you have friends like Ferrari’s strategists, you don’t need enemies."
Binotto was seen wagging his finger at a visibly irate Leclerc after the Silverstone race, amid rumours the 24-year-old driver chose against returning to Europe with his team late on Sunday.
It is believed he also chose not to attend a sponsorship appearance early this week and instead returned home to Monaco.
Former Ferrari communications boss Alberto Antonini reports that the anger in the Leclerc camp was palpable immediately after the chequered flag, with certain team members refusing to attend the podium ceremony.
"I was told - and I trust the source - about the ugly episode," Antonini told formulapassion.it.
"Some Ferrari people did not want to participate in the podium ceremony nor be included in the group photo. That’s not a good sign.
"A little healthy rivalry in the garage is ok, but the common interest must be to aim for victory," he added.
Former two-time Ferrari driver Gerhard Berger, however, sympathises with Leclerc.
"Once again, Ferrari got in their own way," said the great Austrian. "It reminds me of my own time, when chaos reigned.
"That’s why I am not optimistic for their world championship."
As for Binotto’s dinner meeting with Leclerc, fans took photos of the duo as they parted company amid smiles at 11pm.
When asked last Sunday about the latest bungled strategy, the 24-year-old said: "I don’t want to comment on that now, I just want to discuss with the team what caused it for the future."