Sebastian Vettel is like the beautiful Cecilia, who everyone wants, but nobody takes. The four-time Formula One world champion is realizing the serious mistake he made: having put himself out of Ferrari.
It is true that a part of the Maranello team no longer loved him viscerally as when he arrived back in 2015, but in the Scuderia’s strategies there could still have been an important role for the German alongside Charles Leclerc, the young talent on which Ferrari invested its future.
We will only know the real reason for the break later. Who was in Melbourne for the “ghost” GP had sensed an air of renewal between the two parts, with Mattia Binotto having words of esteem towards Seb, always recognizing that the German would have an equal role with the boy from the Principality.
In short, there were no signs of a break, although contacts with Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz had been carried out in the background, because you never know. Then came the pandemic, the lockdown and something broke. Irreparably.
Sebastian Vettel, the managerless world champion, made a mistake. He did not accept the salary cut that the Scuderia expected without if and without but. One who earns 40 million euros a season does not become poorer if he had given up half his salary, while many in the world due to the block of activities still cannot combine lunch with dinner.
He went against the Maranello troika
Sebastian conditioned the “cut” to the extension of the two-year contract with Ferrari. A “blackmail” that irritated the entire top of the Cavallino: John Elkann, Louis Camilleri and Piero Ferrari. An authentic own goal. Motorsport Italy sources say that Sebastian Vettel was no longer comfortable in Maranello and already at the end of last year he had sought contact with Toto Wolff to ask if there was a place for a German driver in the German brand team in 2021.
The Mercedes illusion
The Austrian probably did not close the door in his face because he is too smart not to put a bit of turmoil in the opponent’s field and with Sebastian’s availability he could also measure the “pressure” that Ola Kallenius was putting on him, president of Daimler AG, not at all willing to leave Brackley’s bridle in his hands, as Dieter Zetsche had always done.
But the incredible thing is that the Ferrari – Vettel tear caught the driver unprepared and not the Maranello team that was able to take its counter measures with the engagement of Carlos Sainz, the 25 years old Spanish driver who costs less (perfectly integrated into the new penalty line imposed by the Sporting Management) and opens a window on the future of the Cavallino, given that in 2021 the Scuderia will have one of the youngest line-ups in its history.
The break announced to “friends”
Seb had warned the friendly German journalists, leaking the “break” and anticipating the joint statement filed in every comma with Maranello. But just when he was breathing the air of those who feel “free”, Sebastian Vattel discovered that he was alone.
Toto Wolff broke the silence of the lockdown, to coax the German, showing him great esteem, but then he took care of his own things preparing the promotion of George Russell in the official Mercedes team, since the Star had not yet promoted any of its “babies”, while Ferrari and Red Bull had gone ahead with their plans. Helmut Marko has publicly stated that he spoke with Sebastian to analyze the possibility of him returning to the Red Bull house, but only to make him understand that there was no place.
Words words words…
McLaren was more drastic: the team signed Daniel Ricciardo saying that the Australian was the only choice taken into consideration. Vettel has discovered a “naked king”. Of course there is a place at Renault, a team with an uncertain future. While in France there is a threat to close four factories for the COVID-19 crisis, the Enstone team should look for the qualitative leap to catch the top teams and start winning in F1.
A utopia, especially if Cyril Abiteboul remains at the helm of the French team. And Seb knows it well so he goes offshore. Sebastian, therefore, in spite of his status and qualities, will be forced to a sabbatical year, unless he decides to hang the helmet entirely. Yet at 32 he is in the midst of competitive maturity.
The lack of Mister E
Bernie Ecclestone, if he was still head of the Circus, would have “managed” the market as he often did in the past (he brought Lewis Hamilton thanks to Niki Lauda from McLaren to Mercedes) and would not have left the German without a place in F1 something that Liberty Media did, as the company has been struggling with a F1 that is unable to restart after the Coronavirus pandemic.
Mister E has spent words of praise for Vettel, hoping for his arrival in Mercedes, as many other authoritative members of the Circus have expressed regret for an F1 that could continue without the German, but no one has moved a finger to change this situation.
The Latin character
The repeated mistakes of the last few seasons have somewhat affected the pedigree of a champion. Being separated from Ferrari probably freed Sebastian from the psychological burdens. The weight of the team is no longer on his shoulders. If the 2020 season starts he will be free to drive for himself and his palmares which is marked by 14 wins with the Maranello team.
Will he be able to revive himself?
Which Sebastian Vettel will we see debut in Austria? And which Ferrari will the German rely on? Will the revised and corrected SF1000 be able to be successful in reviving its slightly faded image? We will have to wait about one month to get the first answers, because in the meantime Sebastian has chosen the path of silence.