Vettel started the 2019 Formula 1 season with the team leader status. Indeed, given his four Formula 1 championships and experience, the German driver was expected to be the main contender of Mercedes during the season. As a result, Ferrari decided to give the priority to the former Red Bull driver in a 50/50 scenario at the expense of Charles Leclerc.
Mattia Binotto admitted that the situation was extremely difficult to manage at the beginning, pointing out how meetings were extremely embarrassing.
"Believe me, that that type of meeting at the very start of the season was full of embarrassments and difficult to manage."
The Ferrari’s boss continued remarking how the situation improved by the end of the season. Nevertheless, he reckoned how unavoidable mistakes are.
"But we are now getting used to it.
"By the end of the season, it became comfortable more and more, which means that we are getting used to it as a team.
"In the race, we can still make eventually mistakes but I'm pretty sure that mistakes are part of this process."
Indeed, significant conflicts between the two Ferrari’s drivers occurred in several circumstances, as Singapore, where Vettel had the strategic advantage, and Russia, were Leclerc supported Vettel with a tow at the start, allowing his team-mate to overtake Lewis Hamilton, while Vettel refused the team order to let the Monegasque talent pass.
Binotto underlined the difficulties but claimed that the team tried to manage the two drivers with the focus on maximizing points.
"Certainly it was not an easy exercise and everybody can do better.
"But I think the attempt of managing them since the very first time in Australia, is something different.
"It is often said we should have let them race in the very first race. We are still very convinced that trying to manage them is the best way to score team points when you get to the end of the season.
"And we believe that if you are optimizing the team points at the end as well, you also optimize what may be the outcome for the drivers.
"So we were trying to manage them in the very first race."
Mattia Binotto concluded claiming how the relationship between Vettel and Leclerc improved after the collision in Interlagos, setting the basis to build stronger team synergies in the next season.
"I believe that we can be stronger next year.
"We now have meetings with the drivers before the race to discuss scenarios, what may happen, what can be the team's strategy.
"And the reason for needing to manage them is high because both of them are good drivers and need to be respected as individuals because of both of them when starting the race, they have one objective - which is not beating their team-mate, but being first under the chequered flag."