Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has given Sebastian Vettel outsider chances for a cockpit at the Silver Arrows from 2021. What sounds like praise is actually a waddle … A comment.
“Sebastian is of course a great personality, with four world championship titles a really outstanding racing driver of his generation and an outsider candidate for a cockpit at Mercedes, because we are looking first and foremost at our Mercedes squad,” said Wolff in a video press conference with German journalists on Wednesday. “In terms of talent and personality, he’s someone I wouldn’t say no to immediately.”
But then came the big BUT in the reasoning of the Austrian.
“I don’t necessarily want to create a tight corset for the timing,” says Wolff about the schedule for clarifying the driver question for 2021. “We want to let both drivers drive freely and also see how George (Russell) is doing and will then make this decision during the summer.” Russell (22) comes from the Mercedes junior team and is currently driving for Williams.
That means: The four-time world champion Vettel has to compete in the battle for the Mercedes cockpit with a rookie who has not yet achieved anything. And also with Lewis Hamilton’s current wingman Valtteri Bottas. A delay tactic that doesn’t really have much to do with appreciation and honest interest.
Of course: For Wolff, a Vettel commitment makes no sense. He wants to outdo Michael Schumacher’s seven world titles with Lewis Hamilton. The Austrian will not make the mistake of exposing himself again to the situation in which the duel Hamilton vs. Rosberg has brought him. This is also why a contract extension with Valtteri Bottas or a promotion of George Russell makes more sense than the Hamilton / Vettel driver combination.
So it seems that Formula 1 boss Chase Carey won’t get his wish fulfilled. He says to RTL: “Someone like him (Vettel) who is a hero for so many and has achieved so much, I would hope that he will still be racing when he is 60. But in the end that’s his decision. He’s certainly accomplished enough, but it seems like he still wants to compete.”
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