Charles Leclerc, Sebastian Vettel, 2018

Vettel will find Leclerc less “accommodating” than Raikkonen, says Brawn

2019 F1 season

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Charles Leclerc won’t make life at Ferrari as easy for Sebastian Vettel as Kimi Raikkonen did, Formula 1’s managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn has predicted.

Brawn, who led Ferrari to championship success with Michael Schumacher in the early 2000s, suggested Raikkonen was more prepared to help Vettel than Leclerc might be.

“I don’t imagine Charles Leclerc is going to be quite as accommodating as Kimi was on occasions,” Brawn told the official F1 website. “Kimi is his own man, don’t get me wrong, but I think Kimi knew what the lay of the land was in the team.”

For the second year in a row Vettel led the early stages of the championship but ended the year second after being overhauled by Lewis Hamilton. Brawn believes his defeat was down to a combination of errors by the team and driver.

“Seb had a mixed 2018,” said Brawn. “He’s had some very good performances, and played a big part in taking the team forward, but in the end, Seb and the team didn’t deliver. They had a strong year but they have got to make that next step and deliver – and that’s Seb and the team.

“I don’t know the dynamic or chemistry in the team or Seb’s relationship in the team or how that all works. He made one or two errors, which is unfortunate but with drivers, that can happen. The team seemed to make a wrong turn technically for several races and then they came back again to an older spec which corrected their form.

“As a driver you have to be involved with those things, you can’t be a neutral passenger. I recall when I was at Ferrari, if we had something we were uncertain about, Michael would be banging my door down to talk about it and spend time with the engineers and work until he got himself comfortable with what was going on. That motivates a team and can be a catalyst for people to look at things in a different way or different perspective.”

However Brawn pointed out Leclerc will have to prove himself against a much tougher team mate than Marcus Ericsson in 2019.

“Leclerc has been pretty impressive. He’s not had a tough reference yet and that will come in 2019.

“Being at Ferrari brings enormous pressure and he’ll have the pressure of racing against a world champion, a multi-world champion, so he’s going to have a pretty challenging year. But from what I have seen so far, I expect him to do a very respectable job.”

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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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34 comments on “Vettel will find Leclerc less “accommodating” than Raikkonen, says Brawn”

  1. Impressive. These kind of small detailed infos about race drivers are very interesting to know, especially differences between them from technical point of view (e.g. Alonso vs Schumacher).

    1. Alonso and Schumacher’s commitment with engineers was very similar. Not versus. The main difference was that Alonso never had the best car so obviously would never got as comfortable as Schumacher did.

  2. I think Ferrari’s management will have to make some bold calls in managing their drivers next season. If Leclerc comes out of the box in front of Sebastian, there’s definitely going to be a whole lot more politicking within Ferrari next season.

    You never know how things pan out, but I can see either a very frustrated Leclerc in that #2 role, or Sebastian on his way out of the Scuderia.

    1. a very frustrated Leclerc

      I don’t think that’ll happen. What I’ve seen of Leclerc this year is that he is very mature. If it turns out he does well in 2019 but is held back by the team, he’s not going to start going all Ocon on Vettel, but will play the long game for 2020. He’ll put in his good performances (to the extent he’s allowed) and knows the pressure will be on Ferrari to give him freer rein in 2020, especially if Vettel doesn’t improve beyond his 2017/2018 approach.

      1. @phylyp

        It’s hard to say what the team dynamic will be like, and while I agree Leclerc seems like a level headed chap, if he’s got a chance of winning the championship, I just don’t see him playing nice in a ‘wingman’ role. I honestly don’t think Vettel is good enough to challenge Hamilton either, and if Leclerc can surprise us and take the fight to Hamilton, then I don’t know what Ferrari’s top management will do.

        Too many Ifs though.. let’s wait till Australia to find out how it plays out.

    2. The lesson for Leclerc is from Vettel: Once you get in front don’t obey team orders!

      1. Good point, rings true to me with the caveat that was at red bull, Ferrari might take it different

  3. I think that, Charles will be a big challenge to Vettel.
    It might take a few races for Charles to get accustomed to the Ferrari, but once he gets seated in the team, Vettel will have a lot to contend with.

  4. On the contrary, Leclerc be very accommodating to Vettel. He’ll almost certainly do what he’s told without fuss, and with his speed may even be a help in the championship by taking points off rivals.

    Brawn’s insinuation that Vettel did not work hard to understand the car issues during the drop-off is simply bizarre when he surely doesn’t know what Vettel did and did not do in this situation.

    It’s as if he’s still working for the opposing team, trying to psyche out Vettel.

    1. He did not say that @balue he said how Schumacher would react, and that he did not see the same effect in 2018,but can’t judge where the difference was, in the team or driver, and regardless they need to fix that together. As I read it, at least.

  5. Anyone is less accommodating than Kimi. He’s a great teammate, everybody knows that. If you lose to him, no big deal, he’s an incredible driver. If you beat him, he won’t make any fuss. The guy is straight-speaking and fair on track. Plus, he lost interest since he’s been champion. He is just enjoying and that’s fair, he is fast enough to do it.

    Now, Charles better be really incommoding to Seb, so he won’t be given wings, if you ppl catch my drift. With that, Seb will raise his game. And that would be great news, because he must reach the level Lewis is currently. This disappointing season aside, he still remains the one who can beat him in a title run.

  6. If Leclerc fares well on Saturdays, that’ll be half the job done, I think. Vettel on pole means he gets the favorable calls on strategy, so Charles needs to make sure he qualifies ahead as much as possible. He appears to have very good racecraft so I’m not worried about him on a Sunday. If he’s stuck playing second fiddle however… well, you don’t exactly need a vivid imagination to get an idea of how his season will go.

  7. Leclerc in a Ferrari is a significant change in Ferrari policy. A young driver without guarantees for succes puts enormous pressure both on Leclerc and Ferrari management. If it fails it will fail big time. So let us wait and see. Hope for good racing and much entertainment.

  8. I do find this notion that Kimi was super accommodating to Vettel a little unusual if I’m honest.

    Not letting vettel by in Germany for 10+laps when vettel was much quicker you could argue contributed to Vettel eventually crashing out( wore his tyres out in dirty air and ment gap to Hamilton was much less than could have been at time of accident)

    Balking Sebastian quite harshly at monza( which he was within rights to do) you could argue was the catalyst to the contact between vettel and Hamilton.

    On the contrary Seb let Kimi by in Brazil quickly and with zero fuss.

    Kimi might not play the intra team politics game but on the race track he was rarely Vettels friend from what I can remember.

    1. That’s nonsense dude. You just took the only two examples in 4 seasons of Kimi defending his position, while you left out over a dozen times where Kimi’s strategy has been sacrificed to help Vettel secure a better position, and the number of times Kimi just hasn’t battled Vettel on track and let him by.

      1. @todfod Please tell me the more than a dozen of times Kimis “sacrificed” strategy has helped Vettel in any way? I know he has had more than a dozen of bad races but when exactly has he helped Vettel in any meaningful way?

        Leclerc may be less accomodating but if he gets imposed teamorders he may actually be in a position to help.

        1. @rethla
          Did you watch the Chinese and Spanish GP this year?

          1. Also Mexico. Kimi left out long to act as road block.

        2. @todfod
          Keep em comming, you guys combined just have one more example than @pantherjag and you claimed more than a dozen.

          1. @rethla

            You seem like the kind of person who secretly believes that Barrichello and Massa were never #2 drivers either.

          2. @todfod
            Hes clearly a #2 just a useless one. He must have made some magic with setups, developement or just straight up fanservice which gave Ferrari some value in keeping him.

      2. Ain’t that something! Kimi has been playing 2nd fiddle to Vettel for 4 years and not once was he ever referred to as a “wingman”

        1. Maybe Ferrari doesn’t find it necessary to state the obvious.

        2. People conveniently forget that at some point in the season every team reaches a point where they have a “preferred” driver due to the points situation but because it was Toto unwisely referring to Valtteri as a “wingman” they just want to ridicule Mercedes, Toto and Lewis …… it’s getting boring.

    2. @rethla
      Don’t forget China 2017. Vettel was stuck behind Kimi for a solid 10 laps before overtaking him on merit, and then overtaking Ricciardo the next lap.

      1. @kingshark
        I dont know if you intended to quote me but yeh its a great/chaotic race to remember.

    3. the problem is arrivabene.. any team principal would have moved kimi faster in germany and in monza they have never give kimi a tow.. im 300% in favor of same treatment for driver.. but only up to half of the season

  9. Let’s try this….

    “Leclerc won’t find Vettel so accommodating”

    Some of you guys give Vettel no respect.

    1. Some of the unreasonable ones sure do (in fact, the unreasonable ones can only see the faults in everyone who isn’t their favorite driver), but I think in this context it’s more because Vettel is already a known commodity & Charles is relatively new to F1 & brand new to the Scuderia. The headlines, comments & debates will more likely center around the effect Leclerc will have on Vettel. Especially after the season Seb’s had… we know how he can flake under pressure, so everyone wants to know if Charles will bring any & what that might do. I certainly won’t find it too surprising if Vettel outperforms him though: honestly, it’s to be expected. But I also think Leclerc has shown he has plenty of what it takes to hold his own on track, so game on!

      1. Yep, well said @Aldoid

    2. Agreed, no respect for a multiple WDC, so he made some errors this season but that doesn’t make him a bad driver, I think 2019 will see a stronger Seb and Ferrari

  10. i dont care about politics, i just expect that WHOever is on top by the half of the season and with a very good margin becomes number 1 and is set on higher priority… (im looking at you arrivabene.. sackless guy) he has to be able to do the same things toto do with their drivers, even christian horner can do that

  11. Brawn bringing Schumacher up when they had the best car isn’t really relevent. Vettel was obviously not comfortable in the Ferarri all of the time. We saw what he could do in the Red Bull when Lewis had the faster car.
    LeClerc might already have been briefed he’s there to help a second pop at the title for Vettel which usually results in them being rewarded like Massa was. Massa initially holding up Alonso’s move to Ferarri.

    1. Valid point about Brawn and Schumacher but Ferrari have taken a very bold step in signing a largely unknown quantity in Leclerc, they have done that for a reason and if he continues to deliver the good results he had at Sauber then I think we might be in for some interesting times at Ferrari in 2019.

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