Sports Gazette

The sports magazine brought to you by the next generation of sport writers

A World Champion team needs a number one driver

After just one race of the new Formula One season, the uncertainty around some teams has already been settled.

There is expected to be a great deal of rivalry on the race track throughout the 2023 season. But we are about to see some inside the garage if decisions are not made as soon as possible. 

Embed from Getty Images

Red Bull Oracle are not the only leading force but also the dominant force, as they have something else that the rest of the teams don’t. They have the best engineers in the sport that are able to build a car that continues to perform season after season. They always look to have the perfect race strategies. Red Bull has defined their priority driver, this is in large part of their success. 

Ferrari looks like they could be title contenders and be back in the game. During winter break there were a lot of transfers, one of the most surprising is former Alfa Romeo Team Principal Fred Vassaur moving to Ferrari, as Mattia Binotto stepped back. 

Teams are facing a major problem this season, as most teams don’t have a number one driver. 

They have publicly said that this season they will be working as a team. This is an acceptable strategy for teams such as Haas or McLaren that are fighting for the lower constructors’ positions. 

Vasseur made it clear when he took over Binotto’s position in the team that there would be no “first and second drivers under his leadership”

Embed from Getty Images


This is their first mistake this year, coming from a team that should have learned from last year’s mistakes. But apparently, they haven’t.  

Given their history, Ferrari should have a winning mentality. Defining internally the leadership on the track will help the team to go back to the top. But the longer they go without a lead driver, the harder it will be to achieve glory. 

Ferrari can’t have two number-one drivers. This doesn’t work, as Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz cannot be both World Champions: just one of them can. 

Sainz and Leclerc dream about being World Champions with the Scuderia, but not both of them can. What is the team plan then: letting both drivers fight each other on the track instead of fighting against the Red Bulls? 

Formula One is a selfish sport. There are twenty men in a grid fighting for one spot at the top, and in many cases against your own teammate. This doesn’t work in a season where there are at least five drivers at the top. 

There are two drivers per team and there is a reason for this. 

Embed from Getty Images

Ferrari needs to establish a number one and number two driver before it is too late. They need a team leader. 

The Scuderia needs to establish who is the team leader if they want to have any chance of winning the title. I am sure that Ferrari don’t want both drivers going wheel to wheel to fight for the crown. I would love that as a journalist, but I don’t think Ferrari will enjoy it as much as I would. 

Red Bull have once again succeeded in this task. Max Verstappen is number one and Perez is obviously second. It is simple. They have defining roles: they know their position and function. 

Under Binotto’s management, the Monegasque was the Number one driver. But with the new leadership, neither Leclerc nor Sainz are number one drivers. There won’t be a leader, as they will compete as a team. 

Not having a Ferrari number one driver won’t benefit the team, and will not allow them to win a driver’s championship. Not establishing roles soon is likely going to cause an internal crisis between the drivers. 

During the last few weeks, there have been rumours of a bad relationship between Sainz and Leclerc. However, any hint of a rift was disproven during Thursday’s press conference ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. But this could become a reality if the Prancing Horse doesn’t start making some decisions. 

Embed from Getty Images

A large part of last season’s problem were the wrong decisions made by the former Team Principal, Mattia Binotto, but it seems that the new principal is making the same bad decisions. Is this something that sticks with Ferrari?

If they want to bring the F1 Drivers Championship to Maranello they need to make either Leclerc or Sainz the number 1 driver.


  • Ana Rodriguez-Martinez

    Ana Rodríguez is a 22 years old bilingual journalist (Spanish and English). Writer for the Sports Gazette. Looking forward to make a career in motorsports broadcasting casting, concretely F1 and MotoGp. Experience working with Purdue University Athletics Communication department, and "La Voz de Galicia".