Sebastian Vettel, a four-time world champion, has endured a torrid year at Ferrari, culminating in the Scuderia’s decision to replace him with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. It was announced, on 10 September, that the German will be joining Racing Point, who will rebrand as Aston Martin, in 2021.
The German driver has not restored Ferrari to the top of motorsport and has failed to follow in Michael Schumacher’s legendary footsteps. Vettel was, however, Formula 1’s runner-up in 2017 and 2018, much to the disappointment of the Tifosi. The four-time world champion was plagued with reliability problems in 2017, but made too many mistakes in 2018 to pose a serious title challenge. In Ferrari’s absence, Mercedes have been utterly dominant.
During the 2019 season, team-mate Charles Leclerc proved to be the better of the pair. Leclerc’s famous win at Monza, coupled with this season’s results, show that Vettel is on the back foot. So, what does the future hold for Vettel?
Clearly, Ferrari are putting all their focus on Leclerc. There were no talks about a contract extension for Vettel, he received a phone call from team principle Mattia Binotto who informed him that his services would not be required after 2020.
The current Racing Point car has consistently got better results than Ferrari’s SF1000
Despite Ferrari’s lack of belief, the German racer believes that his abilities have not been hindered: “I’m no worse than I have been in the years I have been in Formula 1 before. I feel very good, and there’s a lot to give,” Vettel said earlier this year.
The current Racing Point car, very similar to the 2019 Mercedes car, has consistently got better results than the Ferrari’s SF1000. Racing Point have also bested Ferrari’s efforts in the Constructors’ Championship. For 2021 at least, Vettel will have a better car at Aston Martin than he would have had at Ferrari. 2022’s regulation switch could, however, complicate matters.
Racing Point are also known for being extremely savvy when it comes to costs. This means when the cost cap is introduced in 2022, they will be used to spending less whilst getting the most out of the car. Ferrari are tipped to struggle, as they have the highest bill in F1 and have not produced a first-class car, meaning Vettel is better off at his new team.
The change of scenery will also prove beneficial, as he leaves the toxic relationship with Ferrari behind. Vettel has vocalised this by saying “you’ve messed up” to the team at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after placing him on a poor strategy. Binotto went onto announce that Vettel would no longer be asked to give development advise, further souring the relationship.
There is the chance that Racing Point won’t be able to sustain this level of success
Vettel will for sure be in a better mood where his services and expertise are appreciated. Racing Point team boss Otmar Szafnauer said: “Everybody at Silverstone is hugely excited by this news,” and believes the future looks brighter with Vettel’s arrival.
There are concerns his move to Aston Martin will make no difference, as Vettel’s last success came at Red Bull seven seasons ago. Six years at Ferrari may have done too much damage to the German’s confidence, despite his assurances that he is still going strong.
There is the chance that Racing Point won’t be able to sustain this level of success. They also have a very similar car to Mercedes, which they have been accused of copying, and there is a possibility that their 2021 will fall below the level previously set. After all they have nothing to copy from.
Finally, Vettel must have the courage to take on Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen again. He should look to take the rest of the season to get back in the grove of things as he has something to look forward to next year where. Mercifully, the four-time world champion could be podium-bound once again.