Leclerc seems sometimes less specific about car limitations, perhaps because he finds it easy to adapt to whatever the car is doing. But often, when Sainz finds a direction, Leclerc goes with it and benefits too. In that way Sainz is pulling Leclerc along just as surely as Leclerc’s natural speed pulls Sainz along.
Last year, with Ferrari still in recovery phase from the limitations placed upon it in 2020 after its interpretation of the fuel flow regs of 2019 was called out, that dynamic worked wonderfully well. There were a few little niggles when one of them felt he could make more progress if the other was moved aside, but generally they were a wonderful pairing, perhaps the best of any team last year in terms of how much was being extracted from both cars. Also, Mattia Binotto keeps repeating how incredibly hard they each worked between races too in leaving no stone unturned.
But will this dynamic stay intact if Ferrari really has delivered a rocketship for 2022? If suddenly, both drivers are in contention for the world title? It’s early days of course, but the F1-75 was fast straight out of the box (unlike the Mercedes and Red Bull) and the confidence both drivers had in its balance and grip was visible in how they were attacking the corners. Like pretty much every team, there was some porpoising to tame, but tame it they did. In addition, the car’s performance as measured on GPS had Mercedes’ Toto Wolff suggesting that Ferrari’s new power unit seemed the best out there.
Back in 2019 the team dominated pre-season testing only for the hotter circuits to reveal a fundamental front end limitation, but let’s just assume history doesn’t repeat itself there and the car is genuinely a contender. How does that driver dynamic work out? Is it just inevitable that a camp forms around each of them? Where trying to get them both forward in beating the rest takes a back seat, because they are already beating the rest and it’s become about just them?
It would be a fantastic problem for Ferrari to have.