Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Yas Marina

Vettel expects similar rivalry with Leclerc after Raikkonen

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In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel expects little change in the competition from the other side of the garage when Charles Leclerc replaces Kimi Raikkonen as his team mate.

What they say

Vettel was asked about his expectations for the 2019 F1 season alongside Leclerc.

Time will tell, obviously. I don’t know Charles yet so much, he doesn’t know me. I think he’s a good kid so I don’t expect that there’s anything wrong on-track. I think we will be rivals as much as Kimi and myself have been rivals.

We always try to get first and if you do that you beat everybody else, also your team mate. So we’ll see. We also know that we want to bring Ferrari back to winning ways. And for him it’s a different point in his career compared to mine. But as I said time will tell, what I know now he seems like a good guy.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

The new front wing rules for 2019 have to be positive, @Socksolid argues:

Even if the downforce levels and dirty air effects stay the same in 2019 despite the front wing change I’d still say it is net positive because without the changes we would just be getting more and more downforce and sensitivity to the dirty air in 2019. F1 has never had this much downforce.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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52 comments on “Vettel expects similar rivalry with Leclerc after Raikkonen”

  1. So SV expects to lead CL early in the season, and with LH grabbing the lion’s share of the points at Merc, CL will have to play second fiddle along with VB to LH and SV.

    1. I expect CL to go into Qualifying at the Melbourne GP thinking he can get Pole Position, and I expect him to line up on the grid thinking “I can win this”.

      1. I’m sure all the drivers in the top cars will be thinking that.

  2. On the Mexican GP.

    As a Mexican, I’m really proud that the event is considered among the top destinations; the Austrian GP and the Abu Dhabi weekends really stand out and it’s neat that Mexico beats those two.

    As a taxpayer, I’d like the government expenditure on it to be good business, and a traceable and transparent deal as well. So I’d really expect the sanctioning fee to be on par with that of the Montreal and Austin GPs and the government subsidy rate to be thereabouts.

    If the event can go ahead clearing those two restrictions, well, good! If it can’t, shoot.

    As a petrolhead, I can’t stop thinking the usable parts of the track were butchered by Tilke and the racing is mediocre nowadays.

    1. Totally agree! Very well done event, but the way the circuit was butchered….it’s truly sad. The flow of the old circuit was incredible. When they enter the stadium sector, I always regret the Tilke effect on f1

  3. Re COTD.
    But the teams are saying its costing them upwards of 15million in development.
    Perhaps some teams will spend a little less than that, but the net result is we end up with performance disparity and the same old story

    1. That money would have been spent on something anyways. I also think fia needed to do something. Even if at best case scenario 2019 stays where 2018 was then it is a win because otherwise it would be worse. As for the performance disparity I don’t think it makes single iota of difference. Only 3 teams can get a podium in the current f1 with some lucky exceptions. The division 1 cars are going to run away from the division 1.5 and 2 cars. But this change might even give us tiny eeny bit more racing among those groups. But even in absolute best case scenario a front wing change can’t alone fix all the problems.

      The way f1 is now every problem has a compounding effect. On track this means dirty air starts to effect downforce levels from really far away which then causes the car to slide more which hurts tires which have very narrow performance window and melt away quickly if you don’t treat them gently. You have fuel saving which encourages conservative driving which again works against overtaking. You have heavy cars with tons of weight and downforce which hurt the tires quicker. And because of the high downforce levels and high dirty air levels the cars are also more sensitive to dirty air. Every problem has a compounding effect and you have a problem that is bigger than the sum of its parts.

      1. I agree it’s a small step in the right direction, but I want to comment on another thing:

        F1 has never had this much downforce.

        I still think we saw the downforce pinnacle back in 2008 with all the winglets and huge rear wings. More drag probably, but also more downforce.

    2. Yup same old crap but it’s different people making the mistake. Can’t help but feel these changes are to keep the big teams at the front and the small teams at the back, as the small teams take the biggest hit. Would rather it stayed the same but with a budget cap.

      Mercedes keep banging on about they won consecutive championships through a big rule change. Well… That’s nothing special considering Mercedes have such a massive budget. I didn’t feel that anyone really bought into it.

  4. As long as Charles has level playing field against Seb , l predict another Seb/Ric beating by charles

    1. I think the odds of that are remote since SV won’t have just had his 4 year in a row WCC/WDC car ripped away from him and replaced by something unrecognizable to him. Sure, similarly to DR in 2014, CL will have less pressure since if he is bested by SV that will be no surprise but if he matches or beats him that will be gravy, but as I say the odds of that are slim from the aspect of how SV will be able to approach 2019, as opposed to how utterly dejected he would have felt upon pre-season testing the 2014 RBR car.

      1. Sebs best is past, Charles will have him on toast if Ferrari will let him.

      2. Wouldn’t be surprised at all if from race one CL has the upperhand. And surely over the whole season CL will finish ahead.

        1. Wow. I have no idea what CL has done to be put on such a pedestal but we’ll have to see it to believe it. He’s shown promise of course, but 4 time Champ beater? That, he’ll have to prove.

          1. Beating vettel isn’t more impressive than beating ricciardo, 4 times world champions means nothing if you’re weaker than a 7 times race winner, and by that I’m not referring to 2014, just look at the performance this season, ricciardo was still better than vettel.

          2. It is just as much faith in CL as non faith in VET. Don’t let the nrs of WDCs fool you, those were for the majority won from pole.

      3. SV won’t have just had his 4 year in a row WCC/WDC car ripped away from him and replaced by something unrecognizable to him

        lmao how dramatic. It was still an F1 car just with alot more torks and less rear grip. You’re talking like he was forcibly made to switch series lol

        Vettel apologists say the funniest things.

        1. ‘ripped away’ im creasing 🤣

  5. I am still wondering on what the position between Seb and Kimi is inside Ferrari. If they are truly equal then my guess is that they only can race on the first lap, and the one that loses must give way or support the car in front until the chequered flag.

    The idea of Kimi being a wingman for Seb was gone in a puff in Monza, and even as late as the USGP where Kimi pretty much acted as their 1st driver. We haven’t seen a Bottas/Barrichelo/Massa style of blatant team order subtle ones like Massa changing a gearbox post quali so Alonso could start ahead. At most we’ve seen him being told to extent his stint and held up the Mercs but other teams does that as well.

    It would be nice seeing Charles racing Seb, but regardless of who the faster driver is I still think the main threat will still come from #44 both on and off track

    1. Bottas/Barrichelo/Massa style of blatant team order or subtle ones like Massa

      1. Hopefully Charles doesn’t become Vettel’s butler like #77

        1. I hope so too
          I find that Charles is more solid mentally than Seb, something that would be useful against Hamilton’s strong mind games which have tilted drivers like Alonso, Nico and Seb

          1. @okeptl Since CL has never been in a top F1 car playing with the big boys and living with higher expectations and pressures on and off the track that comes with being in a top car, CL will have to prove what he is capable of mentally in this new chapter for him. 2019 will be new territory for him, so he has everything to prove yet about playing at a higher level and sustaining a Championship level battle throughout the season.

          2. @Robbie Yeah I agree. The pressure at the top and racing for Ferrari could be too high for him, but it’s what make it interesting as a CL fan. I hope he can handle them well, and not become an insufferable driver like most of the people on the grid.

          3. @okeptl Agree too. It will be very interesting to see. It was quite interesting to read that Kimi found the Sauber to be not that unlike the Ferrari, so that could really play into CL’s hands in terms of getting up to speed physically with the car. If he can mentally sustain a real challenge throughout the season against LH, VB, and SV (I’m assuming RBR will have teething issues with Honda) then that will be quite something and we will see a star being born, which will be great for F1. For me it is and has always been that it is not until drivers are in top cars and feeling the pressure at it’s greatest that we see the men separated from the boys. And I don’t think CL need feel the greatest pressure as a relative rookie and the newbie on the team, but certainly come 2020 there will be no ‘excuses.’

          4. @robbie, I’m not entirely surprised that Kimi felt that the Sauber was similar to the Ferrari he’d been driving, given the technical links between the two teams.

            Sauber do not just use Ferrari’s engine, but the entire transmission system as well. That, in turn, means that they have very similar rear suspension mounting points to that of the works Ferrari, so you would expect a similar response from the rear end of the car.

          5. @anon Oh for sure. I would think the front end of the Sauber must have been designed pretty similarly to Ferrari’s as well, in order to give the car balance, since as you point out the back of the car is all Ferrari.

  6. Wishful thinking by Vettel.
    I expect Leclerc to have an up and down year. But his ups will be closer to Vettel at his best than Kimi was.

    This can be either good or bad for Vettel. It might break him and he could start making the same (desperate?) mistakes as this year.
    Or maybe he can do as Hamilton and find that extra gear when under pressure (unlike 2018 though).

    1. @coldfly Time will tell if it’s wishful thinking by Vettel or by yourself.

    2. I don’t think he is speaking in terms of results to be honest. Just the relationship

  7. I think he’s a good kid…

    I am not really comfortable with this tone Sebastian seems to be taking. I feel he is still underestimating Charles and what he can do in a Ferrari. Come 2019, Seb might be under pressure right away for two things–to do well in the Championship and secondly to ensure that he isnt beaten fair and square by a ‘kid’ !!

    To be fair, perhaps I am already expecting too much from Charles in his rookie season with team red.

    1. @webtel I don’t detect a ‘tone’ because I think he is just saying the only thing he really can say at this point. a) We’ll just have to see, and b) CL and all the drivers will be trying to be on top of everyone, which inevitably includes their teammate.

      1. @robbie
        Judging the tone based on particular line or comment is not very wise. I agree. But Sebastian did perhaps underestimate one of his teammates earlier. Like you said, “we’ll just have to see”.

        1. @webtel It wasn’t just me that said it, so did Seb. And I’m not sure what underestimating his teammate means. It’s not like he would have done anything different if he estimated all his teammates exactly correctly. He has still gone out and done his best in every race of every season doing things within what he can control, namely his own performance. I highly doubt he has gone out and put in only 80% at times because he thought to himself that is all it would take to beat his teammate. I’m sure he’s always giving it everything as there is a full grid to beat, not just his teammate.

  8. “And for him it’s a different point in his career compared to mine. But as I said time will tell, what I know now he seems like a good guy.”

    This reads to me like Seb expects Charles to settle back and play the subservient role to his more experienced teammate. I don’t think that’s what’s going to happen…

    1. I don’t read it the same way. It is a fact that Seb is the proven 4 time WDC on the team, and CL hasn’t proved to even be a race winner in F1, having not won one yet. I’m sure he will though, and of course being in a top car is the first and most important ingredient needed. As Seb points out, ‘we’, meaning the drivers always try to be first, which means beating everyone on the grid including one’s teammate, so I’m sure SV expects that CL knows that too. It’s just that Seb has proven to be able to win races and sustain Championship fights and prevail, as in, 4 years straight. CL has everything to prove yet in that regard and that’s not an insult, just a fact. As Seb said, we will just have to see.

      1. @robbie l predict Seb will call F1 quits after this contract the pressure will take it’s toll on him..and Ric the man he stopped as his teammate will take his seat…karma!!!

  9. It’d be a real shame if the Mexican GP were to be dropped as it’s been one of the best races event/atmosphere-wise even if the quality of racing hasn’t been the greatest albeit the two most recent races there were decent on that aspect as well.

    Regarding the COTD: Yes, I agree with it although it isn’t necessarily about the level of DF itself. It’s more about how the DF is generated/how the cars are designed aerodynamically. Yes, now it seems that despite the changes to the cars for next season (mainly to the front wing) the DF-levels are set to remain approximately the same as this past season, but since the front wing design is more simplified, and thus supposedly less clean air-dependent, following another car through the corners shouldn’t be as big a struggle as it’s been in the recent past. We shall wait and see.

    Regarding the On this day in F1 section: Yes, the temporary double-points system proved to be extremely unpopular amongst everyone both people inside and outside the paddock, but in the end, I think it was still good to experiment something different for a single race merely to see how it’d work in reality.

  10. After all I’ve read regarding the hype that Leclerc is getting for Ferrari, and the expectations from Vettel, and the fact that almost everyone expects Ferrari to make a car equal to, or better than Mercedes, I think it would be safe to say that at least a constructor’s championship is the least we are expecting of them.

    1. I also expect multiple strategic blunders and wheelnut thread misalignments.

  11. I think Seb is intelligent enough to know that he could be under a lot more pressure from his team mate next season than he has for many years and this is all just Mr nice guy PR speak.

    1. @nullapax Precisely. And that’s why I hope that should Vettel rise to the challenge and at least their first seaso together play out the same as Seb vs Kimi 2018 that those same “fans” that are now confidently predicting how Charles will be at Vettel’s level or higher will not suddenly become disappointed with CL and belittle him. Alas it’s probably too much to hope for.

  12. I had high hope for the last two years in Seb to bring excitement for driver championship. Not anymore. I’m rooting for Charles to be the youngest F1 champion!

  13. SV will never match CL and am lookin forward to the SV crying. Sayin that I bet he will make a few cry. I like CL but still would like LH to win the WC. Mexco must stop and get rid of borein ones.

    1. Yes, it’s 5 years that mercedes wins the driver’s championship, why not 6, why not some change!

  14. I’d be surprised if Vettel finds the experience of being on the same team as Le Clerc to much resemble his time with the famously laid-back, taciturn Kimi. Charles is fast and ambitious. He will not easily give way, and the moment he gets the upper hand, the Italian press is going to be all over Seb like white on risotto. The pressure will be all on #5.

    1. Dave, I don’t disagree, but let’s give SV some credit for being very experienced in F1, having seen it all. He’s been the ‘Leclerc’ himself, the young up and comer, and he’s been the Champion, so there’s nothing about Leclerc’s nor his own situation that he isn’t aware of. Mainly SV will be concentrating overwhelmingly on his own performance along with his side of the garage, and will not have control over what CL does. It will be what it will be. That includes if the press has any reason to be all over him. It’ll be a session at a time, a race weekend at a time.

      1. VET was experienced before he put in yet another terrible performance in 2018. VET has been crashing and making mistakes his entire career, the only thing different now is that he doesn’t have a highly dominant car like he did in the past. I see VET crashing into LEC, just as he used to crash in RAI.

        1. @megatron @robbie I guess it boils down to racing (ie battling) skills. Seb doesn’t score high in that department. He does scores high on sheer speed and pace on an empty track. That’s how he got his titles, leading from the front in the best car. But I have seen better battling skills from CL. So if the Ferrari is in need of battling than I expect CL to be the better man in 2019. If Ferrari has the best package, I expect Vettel to lead.

  15. I wish Vettel retire or simply leave Ferrari, so Ferrari could dump loads of money and hire Hamilton.
    It’ll be fun to see Hamilton push a slightly slower car.

  16. Looking forward to the teammate tussles in 2019, Ric/hulk, Seb/Charles and serg/Lance and fireworks with gas/ max

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