Two Vettel insiders evaluate Ferrari’s current behavior – they can only shake their heads.
In Sochi Ferrari provided the topic of conversation that lasted. The reason is simple. The Scuderia embarrassed itself and Sebastian Vettel (32) in front of the whole world by deliberately delaying his pit stop, so that team favorite Charles Leclerc (21) could take back the lead from the German. That Vettel had to give up later due to a defect didn’t matter anymore. The stage for the drama was set.
Shortly after the race, Red Bull chief consultant Helmut Marko predicted the consequences for his former protege:
“Vettel has no future at Ferrari,” the Austrian proclaimed. On Servus TV (Austrian TV) Marko continued his salvos:
“Vettel has probably found the better race setup,”
“Leclerc could have caught up, but he didn’t make it. Vettel was just quicker. In such a situation, it’s clear that Vettel had a different interpretation of what was discussed.”
“And then he was kept hanging so obviously on old tires, of course, that doesn’t add to the mood.”
“I don’t think that’s good – Vettel is in front, Leclerc complains and then the race engineer gives in more or less officially: Don’t worry, we will manage it during the pit stop.”
“In other words, we manipulate the pit stop so you can go ahead.”
“Actually, this is against fairness and against the whole sport.”
Marko sees the blame at Leclerc:
“Leclerc didn’t stick to the agreement in Monza because he should have given Vettel a slipstream, and Leclerc delayed it so much that the last five pilots couldn’t finish their laps.”
Gerhard Noack (67) who discovered and sponsored the Heppenheimer during his kart times had this to say:
“Sebastian is not the guy who gives up that easily.”
“For a competitive athlete, he has already seen a few years.” Nevertheless, he drives at the very top level.
“In Singapore, he showed good nerves and won the thing on older tires. For that you have to have ‘balls’ on such a street circuit. No one drives like that who has no desire left. That gave him a boost.”
Commenting on Ferrari Noack continued:
“Some things happened that weren’t clean, even in qualifying in Monza. Leclerc played hardball and Binotto expressed himself awkwardly.”
Noack knows that Vettel takes these things to heart:
“He is coming under more and more pressure, he said so himself.”
Noack is curious how his master student will fight back at the next race in Suzuka (October 13th):
“In the next race, it will be decided who will be Ferrari’s number one…”
“I think Sebastian will still race in 2020, what happens then is still in the stars.”
PS: Last Tuesday Vettel interrupted his tests to have a discussion with team principal Mattia Binotto at the Ferrari factory in Maranello. The conversation was constructive according to internal sources … To be continued!
*This article was first published in German at autobild.de/motorsport.