Vettel and Ferrari will not renew contract
Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari have announced that his contract will not be renewed at the end of the year. The news broke late on Monday when it was reported that there was a breakdown in negotiations over a new contract.
This morning the team announced that the decision was made to part company at the end of the season. In a statement Ferrari team principal, Mattia Binotto said, “This is a decision taken jointly by ourselves and Sebastian, one which both parties feel is for the best.”
“It was not an easy decision to reach, given Sebastian’s worth as a driver and as a person. There was no specific reason that led to this decision, apart from the common and amicable belief that the time had come to go our separate ways in order to reach our respective objectives.”
Vettel suggested in this statement that he was using the enforced delay to the season amid the coronavirus pandemic to assess “what really matters” for his future. Adding “What’s been happening in these past few months has led many of us to reflect on what are our real priorities in life.”
It has been suggested that Vettel was offered a short-term contract at a reduced salary compared to his previous deals, but stressed in his announcement that financial considerations played no part in the decision.
“In order to get the best possible results in this sport, it’s vital for all parties to work in perfect harmony. The team and I have realised that there is no longer a common desire to stay together beyond the end of this season,” Vettel said.
The decision to leave Ferrari will now prompt the rumour mill of who will replace him, many drivers are also out of contract at the end of this year and Ferrari had already been linked with several leading names.
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo could be options, while six-time world champion Hamilton has also been linked with the Scuderia.
Hamilton has insisted that while Ferrari would be a dream, he has insisted “I’m with my dream team”.
Vettel added, “Scuderia Ferrari occupies a special place in Formula 1 and I hope it gets all the success it deserves. “Finally, I want to thank the whole Ferrari family and above all its “Tifosi” all around the world, for the support they have given me over the years.
The dream which became a nightmare
Sebastian Vettel joined Ferrari from Red Bull with the dream of following his childhood hero Michael Schumacher by winning the title with the. what has now caused that dream to come to an end, remains unclear.
Vettel has been Ferrari’s lead driver in 2015 after Fernando Alonso negotiated an exit from the team at the end of 2014 having lost faith, they could ever provide the circumstances in which he would win the world title.
2016 is where Vettel’s reputation began to fall apart, the Ferrari was uncompetitive and while Hamilton struggled against Nico Rosberg Vettel was nowhere to be seen.
The second half of that season it was clear Vettel was frustrated, his driving became scrappy. In the second half of the season, he started to make mistakes, trying to force the car to do things it didn’t want to do, drive it in the way he wanted to drive it.
Things came to ahead in Mexico when he repeatedly swore at race director Charlie Whiting over the radio during the race because he was unhappy at Red Bull’s Max Verstappen not being penalised for what Vettel perceived as a driving infringement.
Vettel was in contention for the title in 2017 and 2018 with Ferrari had the faster car than Mercedes, however, a series of mistakes by himself and the team began to develop leading to a breakdown in trust.
2017 was defined by two incidents when Vettel was the closest, he had been to beating Hamilton. The ‘Baku break test’ when Vettel accused Hamilton of deliberately slowing caused him to drive into the back of him.
The famous three-car crash in Singapore when he got caught between Raikkonen and Verstappen, which saw all three retire. the two subsequent races in Malaysia and Japan. Meanwhile, Hamilton was on a run of five wins in six races, and Vettel was left behind.
A small mistake at Hockenheim the following season when he slid off the road and into the barrier in the Stadium section, handing victory and the championship lead to his rival. The errors soon mounted up, Monza, Suzuka, Mexico, all cost him.
It was almost as if he was a rookie not for a novice to make so many with such regularity; let alone a four-time world champion, a driver of such quality. Things appeared to shift in 2018-19 when young teammate Charles Leclerc joined Vettel.
The Monegasque was immediately a threat to Vettel, who started 2019 as the designated number one, and Leclerc ended the season having out-scored his senior team-mate on every metric – wins, poles, points and average qualifying pace.
As Leclerc began to get more confident mid-season he regularly beat Vettel, causing the German’s mistakes to return. Ramming into the back of Verstappen in the British Grand Prix. He spun on his own early in the Italian Grand Prix and crashed into Lance Stroll’s Racing Point as he clumsily tried to re-join the race.
That simmering tension between Leclerc and Vettel culminated in Brazil when the two crashed into each other. When the season does get underway, Vettel will face a new reality knowing he is the team’s number two driver.
Leclerc thanks Vettel despite ‘tense moments’
Charles Leclerc has paid tribute to outgoing Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel, saying he “never learnt so much as I did” than when racing with the four-time world champion.
This morning it was announced that Vettel would be leaving at the end of the 2020 season after both parties agreed to call off talks over a new contract.
Leclerc was given a new five-year deal late last year after impressing through his first season with the team, beating the more experienced Vettel in the points standings.
While the pair had several tense moments on track last season, most notably when they crashed together in Brazil, both stressed they always maintained the utmost respect for each other. In a number of Tweets, Leclerc paid t tribute to Vettel for his work during their time together at Ferrari.
Writing, “It’s been a huge honour for me to be your teammate. At the end, it’s my job to adapt to the person next to me and you can always learn from whoever is your teammate.”
“So I would welcome anybody, but if Seb stays I will definitely be happy.”
“We’ve had some tense moments on tracks. Some very good ones and some others that didn’t end as we both wanted, but there was always respect, even though it wasn’t perceived this way from the outside.”
“I’ve never learnt so much as I did with you as my teammate. Thank you for everything Seb.”
The identity of Leclerc’s teammate for 2021 remains unknown, with Ferrari yet to take any formal decision on who will replace Vettel.
The future for Vettel & Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel’s decision to leave Ferrari leaves many big questions, about what went wrong with the dream and where next for the four-time champion?
Throughout last season there was a shift from Vettel being Ferrari’s attention shifted towards his new young teammate Charles Leclerc. Leclerc was Ferrari’s youngest ever driver and surprised everyone with how good he was regularly beating the four-time champion.
Since the crash at Hockenheim in 2018, Vettel hasn’t been himself he has made more errors and appeared to be more cautious. Since that race, Vettel has only two wins. Looking back on that race that defined his career as there have been more incidents than successes.
However, Vettel cannot be seen as wholly responsible Ferrari have also made key mistakes on strategy and communication. Looking back 2019 it was clear to me there was something very wrong going on at Ferrari, leadership wasn’t there.
Ferrari hasn’t won a driver’s championship since 2007, they have had two of the greatest drivers of their generations in Vettel and Fernando Alonso. It seems the dominance and leadership in the early 2000s have gone, they need to go forwards is unclear.
Vettel may now walk away from the sport; he has been looking increasing frustrated with not only Ferrari but the way the last few years have played out. Having these to big drivers walk away from Ferrari will harm the team, such as the pressure from Italian media the expectation to win is so high.
In Italy, it was reported that Ferrari wanted to lower Vettel’s salary, with an answer by the end of April to ensure potential replacements were still available. Also, a year which has been dominated by internal politics at Ferrari.
Where next that is a big question, but he won’t rush into any decisions and will take time during this enforced break to consider his options.
Silverstone at a standoff over money with Liberty
This year British Grand Prix is under threat because of a financial stand-off between Formula One and Silverstone. F1 believes Silverstone is making unreasonable demands to host races on consecutive weekends on 19 and 26 July.
According to reports, Silverstone has asked or £15m to host the races – the same amount it pays as its race fee, which F1 is waiving. F1 has offered to pay enough money to ensure Silverstone is not out of pocket.
Insiders say that F1 has offered to cover all costs the track will incur for hosting the two Grand Prix’s this year. However, Silverstone says the cost covered isn’t enough and the two sides remain a considerable distance apart in their positions on what they regarded as a fair price for the races to go ahead.
F1 declined to comment. A Silverstone spokesperson said: “Silverstone and F1 remain in close dialogue with each other and the relevant authorities to try to make a British Grand Prix happen behind closed doors.”
Hockenheim in Germany is said to be the leading contender to replace Silverstone if an agreement cannot be struck, with Imola in Italy an outside contender. Neither track was on the original 2020 calendar.
British teams have contacted Liberty to express concerns. This issue appears to be centred around money, neither side is making money due to the Coronavirus. Silverstone is having to refund tickets due to government guidelines which has forced the circuit to go behind closed. Doors.
F1 chairman Chase Carey said on a call with investors last week: “Whether it’s the teams or promoters or sponsors, we’re not going to be handing out candy to everybody.
“We’re going to expect to be treated fairly, but we’re going to deal with it as adults and with the expectation that 2021 is going to look like the business that we all knew four months ago.”
Carey did not directly refer to Silverstone in the call, but insiders say that comment can be taken as a reference to the current impasse in talks with the track.
Time is running out to make a deal because F1 needs to know this week whether there will be a race at Silverstone as it seeks to finalise arrangements for the European part of the season.
This is complicated by talks with the UK government over a new requirement for international travellers to self-isolate for 14 days after arriving in the UK. F1 has a plan it believes will ensure the races are coronavirus-safe, with extensive testing and social distancing measures, which it hopes will justify an exemption for travelling staff.
Drivers won’t be rusty – Magnussen
Kevin Magnussen doubts drivers will struggle when they return to racing following the extended break due to the Coronavirus pandemic as plans ramp up to start the new season in Austria.
Formula One is currently working on plans to create a “biosphere” at the Red Bull Ring so the Austrian Grand Prix can go ahead as planned 03 – 05 July. The race will take place behind closed doors, with extensive protocols and testing in place for all attending to ensure the environment is safe to work in.
When the action does resume it will be eight months since the last Grand Prix and almost four months since the end of testing in Barcelona. But Magnussen believes there won’t be any issues getting back up to speed once racing resumed, having previously experienced longer spells out of action.
Magnussen told Sky Sports, “It wouldn’t fear me, but it would be exciting in a way. We’ve been out of it for so long now. But I know that you don’t really forget it. You don’t get that rusty. You get a little bit rusty, but you don’t get that rusty.”
Magnussen went a year without racing between McLaren and Renault, only testing a couple of other cars in the meantime. Before returning to the sport, he only had two days worth of running. He explained, “I had a whole season out of a race car in 2015, and that was really out completely out of a race car.”
“I had two test days, one in a DTM, one in an LMP1 car, but nothing in an F1 car. So in 2016, winter testing, when I got back in an F1 car, it didn’t take many laps. It felt like I had only been out of the car for a normal winter. You pick it up quickly, and it’s been the same for everyone. It’s just exciting, and it would be good to be back”
Magnussen says while it would be “tricky” for F1 to get all the protocols in place to ensure the race went ahead safely, he was hopeful the plans would come off to allow the season to begin.