Formula 1 sporting boss Ross Brawn believes that Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel should learn from Lewis Hamilton’s honesty after their clashes during the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The Scuderia team-mates were fighting over fourth position in the closing stages of the race when they hit as Vettel attempted to re-pass Leclerc down the back straight and around the outside of Turn 4.
Stewards decided that neither driver was predominantly to blame for the collision, which Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto described as ‘silly’.
Hamilton, by way of contrast, did not even bother to mount a defence to stewards after he made contact with Alexander Albon which pitched the Red Bull off the road on the penultimate lap.
Ferrari is set to review its latest intra-team drama at its Maranello base, but Brawn opined in his post-race debrief that one of the two drivers should accept responsibility.
“I wouldn’t want to venture an opinion on who was most at fault for the collision, but in the cold light of day, maybe it would be good if one of them will follow Hamilton’s example and immediately admit culpability, as the champion did regarding his clash with Albon,” he said.
“If Ferrari really wants to put an end to Mercedes’ dominance, not only does it need to provide its drivers with a more competitive car next year, it must also ensure that incidents like this one are not repeated. Formula 1 is a team sport, especially so in Maranello.”
Brawn, himself a former Ferrari technical director during its dominant Schumacher era, said that the interests of the team should always be placed above those of the driver.
“After tensions flared in the races following the summer break, everything seemed to have calmed down in the Ferrari dressing room,” he observed.
“But now, Mattia Binotto faces the tough task of getting things back on track — and indeed he said just that in his interviews after the race.
“He had to get stuck in and tell the drivers to face up to their responsibilities, which in Maranello always means putting the interests of the team ahead of those of the individual, which was not the case in Sunday’s race.”
Race director Michael Masi confirmed that the Mercedes driver admitted fault for the incident with Albon.
“They were going to do a post-race investigation,” he recounted.
“So they did summons both drivers. But the team admitted to the breach.
“They came down and said, ‘you don’t need to summons us, Lewis has admitted it’, apparently from what Ron (Meadows, Mercedes sporting director) said, and that was it.
“There was an investigation, but you investigate, and you’ve got the team that comes down and says ‘we made a mistake’, it becomes a very simple investigation to the other side.”
Leclerc and Vettel are fourth and fifth respectively in the drivers’ championship with just the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix remaining on November 29-December 1.