Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2019

Vettel is considering his future in F1: ‘It’s now more show than sport’

2021 F1 season

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Sebastian Vettel is concerned Formula 1 is becoming less about the driver and more about the show.

Speaking in an interview with The Times conducted before the Bahrain Grand Prix, the four-time world champion says he will pay close attention to Liberty Media’s planned changes to the sport from 2021. His current Ferrari contract expires at the end of 2020.

“A lot of the values that used to be around, they are only partly around,” said Vettel.

“Formula One is now more a show and a business than a sport. You can say the same probably for other sports, but maybe in other sports it doesn’t filter down as much to the actual athlete as much as it does here.”

F1 needs to decide whether it wants to be more about entertainment than competition, he said.

“If we say we are a show, then bring on the show. I feel we are wasting so much time and energy with regulations that are just expensive really for nothing.”

Vettel made it clear Liberty Media’s plans for the future will affect his decision about whether he wants to continue in F1.

“I’m certain I really want to drive this year and next year, then I don’t know what happens to the regulations. Nobody knows so far.”

He added he won’t remain in the sport “just for the sake of being in Formula 1.”

For the latest on Liberty Media’s plans to overhaul Formula 1 in 2021, don’t miss the new edition of Dieter Rencken’s RacingLines column today on RaceFans

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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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  • 118 comments on “Vettel is considering his future in F1: ‘It’s now more show than sport’”

    1. Leclerc thumping imminent.

      1. My thoughts exactly. Should be a good show at least.

        1. Bad news when Harry Potter turns up in your team and one race later he’s showing you how to do it. Will Vettel last out this year never mind 2020 if these comments were made before this happened?

      2. For what is worth, I agree with Seb: the grapes are green….

      3. Would be nice having in the same team Alonso and Leclerc. The best possible combination of old school with young blood.

    2. I like you Seb, but your priorities are completely out whack.

      You delivered us one of the dullest periods in motorsport (2nd only to Schumacher’s Ferrari reign) , Leading from the front and controlling the race.

      Liberty are striving to make F1 a more level playing field and you think that denotes ‘show buisness’ and ‘unsporting values’.

      You don’t have to watch the bloody races Sebastian, we do! They might feel exciting from inside the car, but for us mugs who have to watch it on a screen, the races are (on the whole) processional (or have been until recently).

      You are in a ‘RACING’ series Seb. Go out there and race, that is you ‘raison d’être’, come on lad!!

      1. True. The dullest periods in motorsport, like having seven different winners in the first seven races.

        1. Pedro Andrade
          3rd April 2019, 10:23

          The truth lies somewhere between both your comments. 2010 and 2012 were great. 2011 and 2013 were terrible.

          1. But this is Formula One. It has always been this way.

            The only thing that never changes about F1 is people complaining that it’s boring.

            1. Pedro Andrade
              3rd April 2019, 14:32

              So true!

            2. Go watch a race from the 80’s 90’s or 2000’s. And watch the whole thing, for the MOST part they were processions and domination by one or 2 teams. Its funny how we only tend to remember the good moments in past history and forget the boring. Social media today only plays highlights of the best moments of the past, this is why we say, “oh the good old days were better”. Watch an entire race and let me know what you still think. Most were boring as heck and rarely you see wheel to wheel.

            3. Couldn’t agree more! For example, watch the summary of the 1990 Italian Grand Prix on Youtube. Senna, Prost, Mansell were on the grid and… nothing happened. Apart from Derek Warwick crashing, Senna won with extreme ease. Even the narrator says it was one of the most boring races he had ever seen (at least that’s what the Brazilian commentator says)

        2. @ruliemaulana good point. the only point during vettel’s reign when I started to switch off was the back end of 2013. even then it was kind of impressive and there were some good races for 2nd place during his amazing streak of 9 wins. I feel that vettel is going to get a lot of stick for these comments in the light of what leclerc achieved, but we should remember he was speaking before bahrain. still, if his heart’s not in it, then he’s better to stop. rosberg has my enduring respect for his snap retirement – it indicates a clarity of mind that you don’t see in a lot of people.

          1. @frood19we should remember he was speaking before Bahrain” is a good one too.

            1. Well it wasn’t Vettel’s fault if he had a car capable of winning in some margin. He just did his job. Eventhough it was utterly boring to watch (when he won every race after Hungary 2013) the first races of 2010 and 2012 made it more tolerable.

              But I think Vettel has a point. He has given a lot for this sport and I think driving a Ferrari and not winning championships does take your mind away to do other things.

          2. rosberg has my enduring respect for his snap retirement – it indicates a clarity of mind that you don’t see in a lot of people.

            Lmao. The next time someone beats me on Xbox because my controller battery died and they managed to sneak a win despite inferior skills then promptly logs off i’ll try and remember to be charitable with the ‘enduring respect’ lark. 🤣

            1. For your information. It’s not about the f1 game, it’s about reality.
              Rosberg won fair and square, Lewis missed to many occasions to earn a title that year.
              Next..

            2. So much clarity that he signed a new deal in the brief period when Hamilton took the lead of the wdc.

              Rosberg only left because he won. He was oversawing the possibility of another defeat when he signed the new deal.

      2. rushfan, whilst it might be the case that “Liberty are striving to make F1 a more level playing field”, whether the way in which they are attempting to make that happen, and the reason why they are attempting to do so, is palatable to Vettel, and others, is another matter.

        One aspect is that part of Liberty’s strategy does seem to be aimed at making the drivers into more of a “superstar” figure, and perhaps getting them to engage in media events that stray much further outside of the usual remit of racing drivers – a bit like what IndyCar are doing in the US right now. I get the impression that Vettel, as a more private individual, doesn’t like the idea of having to engage in the sorts of activities that Liberty might want him to do and might feel that the push to hype up the drivers and make them into more of a celebrity figure adds layers of unnecessary rubbish, with the actual racing itself becoming almost a secondary aspect to the process of cultivating the right sort of image.

        Furthermore, I think that another aspect that he is perhaps less keen on is the sense of a homogenisation of the teams and the sport. Vettel is a driver who is reported to have more of an interest in the history of the sport and the teams than some drivers, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he feels that Liberty’s plans for the future are likely to erode the individual character of the teams as not just the importance, but the identity of the teams themselves, is downplayed.

        1. anon, good perspective, I hadn’t considered that aspect, but I must say that embracing the ‘off the track’ spectacle is just a function of the times changing. All sports will have to embrace this way of life now. I would suggest the eight figure salaries the drivers enjoy should more than compensate them for moving outside their comfort zones in this area.

        2. erikje Well you got us there! Strong argument.

          p.s. it’s ‘too’ not ‘to’

    3. Would you say that a motorsport show would have cars racing or making donuts? Donuts right? So stop contributing for the show Seb, and focus on the sport part.

      Jeez, someone make me president already

      1. i actually respected f1 for “not allowing” donuts back then. It’s a stark contrast from the coreographed donuts at Abu Dhabi last year…

        Allowing a driver to do donuts is ok.
        Planning out the donuts is advance is not.

        1. I had zero issues with Abu Dhabi last year, Three huge F1 Champions celebrating the year and the last race for Alonso. Sorry but that was not a bad thing.

    4. All this time I thought he would consider retiring because there are better drivers than him on the grid who could take his seat, but clearly Liberty’s plans for the future is what he’s really concerned about.

      1. I don’t get, do you like Stroll or not? C’mon he isn’t that good

    5. Join wec. I’d love to see him compete at Le mans.

    6. I’m sure he was asked about this and hasn’t just spurted words out of the blue. That said, it’d really say something about his character if he was to really knuckle down and take the fight to Leclerc; something which didn’t happen when he was last challenged in this way (Ricciardo, 2014). I’m not expecting that given that his go-to does seem to be excuses and diversions, but I’m hopeful.

      For the first time since joining Ferrari (in my opinion), he has a car that is fully comparable to the Mercedes. The problem now is that his team-mate looks like being the one to take advantage of that. He’s making too many mistakes and you can almost see the steam coming from the cockpit when he’s going wheel to wheel. He’s a World Champion, a very good driver and a funny, personable guy when he wants to be. He has everything he needs to be World Champion this year if he gets his head straight.

      1. For the first time since joining Ferrari (in my opinion), he has a car that is fully comparable to the Mercedes.”

        Come on! The ferrari in 2018 was every inch as good as the Merc, possibly better. And Vettel had the best reliability too.

        1. I respectfully disagree. As I said, this is all in my opinion, as the performance of cars is always tricky to read, especially when they’re clearly close. It was very close last year, but I think the Mercedes was faster on more weekends than the Ferrari.

          1. agree with @ben-n, and also that when Ferrari was better, it was a slim advantage. When Mercedes were better, it was sometimes quite a bigger advantage. All in all, Mercedes were slightly ahead of Ferrari, but the italian car was good enough for a WDC.

          2. Behave.

            The 2017 machine was a match for the Mercedes until late season, and the 2018 better on 11 of the 21 weekends.

            Run Seb, Run.

            1. @gav

              AMuS concluded Ferrari was better on 11 of the 21 tracks. Also people are ignoring the fact that Vettel had a more reliable car than Hamilton. Overall, i agree the Ferrari was a match for Mercedes, maybe even marginally ahead of Mercedes:

              Interesting is what Chanhok said:

              “Mark (Hughes) and I talked about it last year, I think Ferrari had the quicker car at arguably 11 races and you could say they were equal at 3 or 4, Mercedes certainly had a quicker car at less races last year yet LH won the championship with races to spare

    7. Mark webber always said seb is one that will do everything early. Get to f1, win the championship, retire.

    8. Values like the rookie aint allowed to humiliate the experienced WDC?
      Yeh those values are gone even in Ferrari Seb.

      1. who is the rookie in that sentence?

        1. Leclerc. Obviously not a rookie, but it’s not that far of a stretch.

          A Ferrari rookie.

          1. If that is the definition, he wouldn’t be the first Ferrari Rookie to win the championship

    9. Beat Leclerc, win the title and retire, I will give you my respect.

      1. do a ‘Rosberg’.

        1. @coldfly

          He might need the odd Blow Up or two as well ;)

          1. @chikano

            On Bottas’, Verstappen’s, Hamilton’s and Leclerc’s cars (each)

            1. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
              3rd April 2019, 15:13

              You are downplaying Seb’s abilities if you compare him to Bottas.

            2. @panagiotism-papatheodorou

              Well.. he is ahead on him on points by a decent margin already. Regardless of Bottas’ ‘level’ , Sebastian could only gain from his mechanical failures.

        2. you mean disrupt Leclerc’s side of the garage and have a huge disparity in reliability?

          1. sorry, rushfan.
            Didn’t know that it still hurts you so much after all these years :P

            1. @coldfly biggest injustice in F1 since Hill ’94. Rosberg with the most reliable AND most dominant car in the field and barely scraped it by 5 points.

            2. Hill 94? Really RB13???

      2. No respect after the Monaco incident. Vettel should have (been) retired right there and then.

    10. Let’s see things from Vettel’s point of view…
      Beaten by Hamilton in an inferior car
      Beaten by his new, young team-mate
      Ferrari’s financial advantage probably disappearing
      Liberty seeking to create more wheel-to-wheel action (his weak point)

      Let’s see things from the fans’ point of view (F1 is a spectator sport, after all)…
      New talent entering the sport – good
      More level financial rewards for teams – good
      More wheel-to-wheel action – good
      Moustache – bad

      1. Fully agree. Furthermore Vettel can be sincerely happy with what he has achieved. Which imho is more than he has talent for. He got lucky with the RB he had, it happens and good for him.

      2. the interview was given before the race.

        1. @magon4 Leclerc was better in Melbourne too and Hamilton beat Vettel in 2018 too (with Hamilton having a slower car)

          1. @f1osaurus @gardenfella72 dear co-f1 fanatics, Leclerc wasn’t better in Australia, he just had the better strategy. Leclerc was clearly better in Bahrain, beating Vettel the whole weekend. In Australia, he was beaten more often than not, and the team order made sense not only for the team (too risky to overtake there, different to Bahrain), but also in terms of sportsmanship, since Vettel had been faster all weekend. I share your passion for Charles, he is the real deal. But his opening weekend was full of mistakes (for which Vettel would be cruficied here) and a slightly inferior pace.

            1. @magon4 Oh come on. Vettel’s strategy wasn’t that much worse. More likely that he ruined his tyres trying to driving too close behind Hamilton (without actually even attempting an overtake) or something. Clearly his own fault.

        2. @magon4 team orders in Melbourne. Vettel was beaten and he knew it.

    11. A lot of people here don’t see to know Vettel that well. The guy oozes F1. He knows the history really well, he loves the sport through and through. He hates gimmicks and loves pure racing. Many forget that he is a father as well. That must have its toll. What he hates is the following:
      – RDS
      – Pirelli gimmick tires

      I have noticed that once Bridgestone was gone, he raced worse. After becoming a father he also became slower. The guy is a huge advocate of the sport, a bit sad to see everyone always trying to get a whack at him.

      1. Well, the timing of publishing this after his not so great race in Bahrain does help with that @niedle (yeah, I he said this well before the race). However, some points:

        * DRS – is there now, and has been there for years, but will likely be gone in 2021 – not clear why that would make him go then.
        * gimmick tyres – didn’t they try to get rid of those for this year and make them harder? Perhaps not quite there at the moment, but it is improving, and there’s no reason to think that with the 18″ wheels, things won’t be quite different after 2020, when their characteristics will be again very different – so again, maybe time to wait and see then?\

        But, I don’t drive the cars, and I’m not Vettel either.

      2. Its not so much a whack but a consequence of having four wdc’s vs his post RedBull performance. That puts things around him under pressure. People expect things from him I never would expect if you study his victories and driving more closely. He is incredibly fast over one lap, but is less skilled in racing. Fine when starting from the front with the best car. More difficult in other circumstances. So his 4 wdc create an expectation that is not realistic and this translates into people taking a wack at him. Take away 2 or 3 titles and we would have an enjoyable fairly skilled character walking around we all enjoy

        1. Look at the last WDCs from Hamilton. Hamilton got even beaten by Rosberg in a very dominant car. At McLaren he got beaten by Button one year. Nobody complaining about that or taking whacks at Hamilton for every mistake the guy makes. But everything Vettel does is under a microscope for some reason. Vettel was never beaten by Webber for the WDC during RBR dominant years. How come everybody always complains on the dominance of RBR? When the Mercedes dominance from 2014 – 2017 (2018 maybe) was ever greater?
          Both Vettel and Hamilton are amazing drivers, so why always the low digs?

          1. @niedle Rosberg didn’t beat Hamilton that year, reliability did.

            Last Year Hamilton had:
            An ERS failure at the start of qualifying in China, relegating him to 22nd on the grid. He finished seventh.
            An ERS failure during Q3 in Russia, restricting the Mercedes driver to 10th on the grid. He finished second.
            An engine mode issue during the European GP. He finished fifth having started in 10th following a crash in qualifying.
            Used all 5 of his season engine allocation by the mid way point Race 12 Spa, forcing him to start from 22nd on the grid, finished 3rd
            A hydraulics fault during Practice Two in Singapore which was cited as a critical factor in his defeat to Rosberg. He finished third.
            An engine blow-out in Malaysia which cost him 25 points since he was 22seconds ahead of the Red bull in 2nd
            At the end of the season the engine usage statistics were
            Hamilton: ICE: 6 TC: 8 MGU-H: 8 MGU-K: 6 ES: 5 CE: 5
            Rosberg: ICE: 5 TC: 5 MGU-H: 5 MGU-K: 5 ES: 4 CE: 4
            f1technical (.) net/news/21099
            Only Alonso had worse reliability than Hamilton.

            All Rosberg had season had was a minor gearbox issue which cost him 3 points at Silverstone after getting demoted from 2nd to 3rd for driver coaching which was banned at the time and a grid penalty for a gearbox change at Austria.
            He was effectively bullet proof all season.

            1. Whatever. They’re just facts.

            2. Not that story again and again and again..
              Rosberg won, Lewis did not. The points tell the story.
              All the other bs is bs.

          2. @niedle)
            “w come everybody always complains on the dominance of RBR? When the Mercedes dominance from 2014 – 2017 (2018 maybe) was ever greater?”

            There’s a difference between dominance in results, as opposed to dominance with the car. Mercs were very dominant with their car 2014-2016. But from 2017, that wasn’t the case. The Ferrari car was a near match in 2017 & arguably better than the Merc in 2018. But Vettel’s mistakes have made things far easier for the Mercs.

        2. People really forget fast. 2015 Vettel was very strong, probably the best driver of that year.

      3. @niedle

        How many of he’s championships were won on Pirelli tyres?

        1. 3 I believe. But the car was fast enough anyway. RBR at its peak.

      4. I think Vettel would advocate the removal of his beloved exhaust blown diffuser gimmick, which Red Bull exploited so much better than the other teams, and he could much better than Webber to win those championships!

    12. Looks like he is thinning on top a little – add in the moustache, the drop in his performance and the constant stress that must be a big part of driving a Ferrari… Maybe he is suffering a little bit of a mid-life crisis?

    13. GtisBetter (@)
      3rd April 2019, 10:24

      I’m not sure what he is talking about, but for example the fact that Ricciardo has so much PR around his home GP that he can hardly do F1 it seems not right. If they want to have drivers do all kind of PR stuff and now maybe liberty shows before and during the weekend and at the same time expect them to drive at a 100% level seems a bit much. I think F1 drivers can have some criticisms on what is expected from them without immediately being told off. As many world championship winning drivers have told us, it’s a very mental game.

    14. Sometimes I find it hard to figure out if he’s ‘unhappy’ or just private. He’s certainly very different to the curly haired kid of 2010, and there’s nothing wrong with that, people change over time, of course and his priorities will have changed in what’s nearly a decade. I just think if he doesn’t need the money (which he doesn’t) and he’s not enjoying it, go spend time with the family, do something he enjoys. He’s always come across as a nice guy, even in his more tempestuous moments.

      And what does it matter if he’s a 4x WDC or 5x WDC? He’s beaten Lewis, he’s beaten Fernando, and yes you can say in a ‘dominant’ car, but then that’s how most WDC are won.

      1. @bernasaurus

        Sometimes I find it hard to figure out if he’s ‘unhappy’ or just private. He’s certainly very different to the curly haired kid of 2010, and there’s nothing wrong with that, people change over time, of course and his priorities will have changed in what’s nearly a decade.

        He lived in a bubble when he was driving the Newey rocket ship. That bubble has now burst.

        1. i would expect more from you, @todfod. It was a rocket ship in some races, sure. But not dominant over 4 years and surely less dominant than the Mercedes from 2014-16. I mean, McLaren to Red Bull in 2012 as Ferrari was to Mercedes in 2018.

          1. @magon4

            I agree it was less dominant than the Mercedes of 2014 to 2016. But it had a consistent edge on its rivals of close to 0.5s on an average in qualifying (with the exception of monza and a couple of others) and it was mighty on race pace as well. Red bull was also incredibly strong on strategy and operations it was probably as strong if not stronger than Mercedes.

            You can say that for the opening few races of 2012 and 2013 they might not have been the strongest, but come mid season they were again back to a healthy advantage over their rivals. But there no way in hell you can argue that Red bull was consistently the team to beat from the middle of 2009 to the end of 2013.

            1. I agree with that. And would argue that Mercedes has been the same from 2014 up to today. I wouldn’t put Ferrari on par in the last two years, mostly because of its operation.

              Vettel has a lot to prove, that is sure. But the way he is treated and some sort of over-lucky guy who just had to beat Mark Webber to win the championship 4 consecutive times.
              And even if that were to be his only real achievement in the sport (and there are good arguments to go against that narrative), it’s something that not even Lewis managed against Nico.

              To be sure, Lewis is a step above Vettel. But if the german were to turn it around this season, he would be back to deserving being mentiond with Lewis in the same sentence.

              So that was just a general statement, not directed at you, @todfod. I mostly agree with what you right here, the “I would expect more” comment sounds condescending, but it wasn’t meant like that at all.

    15. It’s good to have a driver that speak about sport future regulation. We need more of them. The fact that Liberty only having the teams and sponsors/promotors session about its future, is proving Seb’s sentiment that the driver is just a jockey. Not substantial part of the sport.

    16. The start of 2019 has been excellent I think. The midfield exciting and getting closer with McLaren and others improving, new drivers everywhere, the racing seems better. Formula 1 seems alive and well.

      Apologies in advance for the amateur psychology: back in 2017, Ferrari and Vettel were both in hyper-aggressive mode, on track and off, which seemed part of a new atttitude to winning the title. That seemed to go fine until the Baku incident when Vettel’s happy-to-be-angry attitude culminated in his swipe at Hamilton. He then got penalized, lost points and impetus in the championship and the season seemed to unravel from there. Since then, last year especially, the anger has been replaced by a kind of weariness and fatalism that’s weird and clearly doesn’t fit with winning a championship. So (amateur psychology bit) maybe he needed that anger to motivate himself. After he decided it wasn’t helping him, though, his motivation and some of his confidence has drained away. A similar thing happened when Ricciardo started beating him, it’s like his passion/anger for racing is needed for him to focus and once lost, the mistakes creep in and the speed drops.

      1. Or he’s not just that good. Most people seem to forge that Vettels Kryptonite Is Lewis Hamilton. It’s unfortunate that he is racing in the same era as Lewis. If Lewis did not exist, Vettel would be knocking on Michael Schumacher’s records.

        It’s really that simple. The competition will bring out the best in you (in this case, Vettel’s best is not good enough)

        1. @lums

          Rubbish, Vettel was driving better than Lewis earlier in the decade. Lewis left it for Alonso to challenge him for the title in a weaker car and team.

          1. @Big Joe,,

            You speak rubbish,

            Hamilton was able to challenge for the title upto the last race in 2010 (as did Alonso).
            As for 2012, the McLaren car was too unreliable and the pitwall made too many mistakes.

            You really need to stop making things up

            1. No one would seriously make the point that Lewis was a better driver than Vettel from 2009 to 2013. Not even in restrospect.

            2. @magon4

              “No one would seriously make the point that Lewis was a better driver than Vettel from 2009 to 2013. Not even in restrospect”

              Are you kidding? Plenty thought Hamilton was better than Vettel back then. Vettel had the better cars but there were plenty in and around F1 who thought Hamilton was better. Plenty thought Hamilton performed better than Vettel in 2009, 2010, 2012 especially.

            3. Especially in retrospect it’s clear that Vettel really only won because of his car (and designated #2 team mate).

            4. @aman look at how they ranked in the main publications top ten lists. Even in the Ferrari years, Vettel has beaten Hamilton once or twice, in terms of perceived performance over a season.

              Lewis was always extremely good, but he has become a true first class great in the last two seasons. Vettel hasn’t been able to make that step, and he might never do it. But there is still a chance for him.

            5. @magon4
              Yes, i agree that perhaps in 2011, Vettel clearly performed better than Hamilton. And despite the dominant RB car in 2013, Vettel was also excellent.

              But in yrs such as 2010, 2009 & 2012, many in F1 ranked Hamilton’s performances as better than Vettel’s. For example, Hamilton was ranked number 1,by this site, in 2010

              https://www.racefans.net/2010/12/22/2010-f1-driver-rankings-part-four-3-1/

              Alonso’s performance was universally ranked number 1 in 2012, but, many main publications/experts ranked Hamilton’s performance as better than Vettel’s e.g.

              https://www.racefans.net/2012/12/14/2012-f1-driver-rankings-2/

              https://sports.ndtv.com/olympics-2012/formula-one-review-top-5-drivers-of-2012-1544272

              2009 too, some main publications/experts ranked Hamilton ahead of Vettel e.g.

              https://www.autosport.com/f1/feature/2509/mark-hughes-top-10-f1-drivers-of-2009

              I am well aware that there were perhaps an equal number of main publications that ranked Vettel’s performaces as better than Hamilton in the above yrs. But, my only point was to counter your inital claim that “No one would seriously make the point that Lewis was a better driver than Vettel from 2009 to 2013“. As you can see, many in F1 did seriously consider Hamilton a better performer in some of those years.

            6. @magon4

              I don’t think so. Vettel was just very good at making the most out a machinery advantage. Which is commendable, but come on, drivers like Lewis and Alonso used to punch above their car’s weight race-in race-out.

              Vettel hasn’t proved much once he’s in a good but not a dominant car. Hamilton, Alonso and Verstappen have proved themselves to be fantastic regardless of the machinery.

            7. @todfod i really can’t see it that way. First, the Red Bull advantage in those years is clearly overblown (and, once again, much less than the Mercedes one later); second, we have seen Lewis struggling a lot with cars that were not up to par, and being scrappy when not driving at the front. He has made a step up that Vettel hasn’t yet, granted. But up to a few years ago, they were at the same level.
              Alonso is overrated by himself. He is fantastic, no doubt at all. But he also had some lackluster seasons.

              By the way, Vettel had been great at Toro Rosso, and did quite a lot in this first Ferrari years. After the 2014 debacle, he came back in style and with new motivation.

              I would love to see him make that step to the Hamilto level this year, and he still could do it.

            8. @magon4

              At point of time were Lewis’ and Alonso’s struggles even comparable to Vettel’s. Lewis has won a race in every season in F1 (even in 2009 and 2011). Alonso has taken cars that weren’t quite championship contenders to within a whisker of the title (2012). Vettel hasn’t even come close to winning a title in 2017 and 2018!

              As I mentioned, when the going has gotten tough.. Vettel has failed over and over again. So, I don’t know how you can hold him in that high a regard.

    17. But the context is.. there is a young buck in the other side of the stable.

      Meanwhile we are all wondering. We all want it to be a sport, yet “nobody” watches F2, and lower tier spec series..

      I wonder how many fans would we loose if 2021 F1 just brings out spec chassis, spec engine,… lowers cost to 50M per team and off to the races.

      Would most people even notice? I am a casual MotoGP fan, I watch sometimes, I like what I see, but at no point am I following indepth development, bike technical aspects etc. All I hear about are excuses how one brand is faster than the other.

      What does the casual fan see?

      1.) It is impossible for someone in a slow car to be first.
      2.) Best driver is not necessarily winning.
      3.) There are no overtakes
      4.) Driving in circles with no change in position

      These are the comments I get from my woman whenever she watches a race by accident.

      1. @jureo Yeah I agree. This site would go into meltdown if they went with a spec chassis and engine but the number of overall viewers would increase because the sport would be much more entertaining to watch. I used to go into work and be able to speak to lots of people about F1 – not in too much depth but they’d have seen the race or the highlights.

        These days, this site is the only place I can go to speak to people about F1 who have any interest in it.

        1. @petebaldwin I disagree because F1 would lose its differentials and become just a normal racing series. There are many series around that provide the kind of thing you guys say people want to see, and yet most still prefer F1, unsatisfying as it often is and, by the way, has basically always been.

    18. The mustache now finally makes sense in this light as an early preparation for his next career in adult entertainment

      1. Not adult entertainment. He is going into politics; after all he is a SPIN MASTER……:))

    19. Juan Esteban
      3rd April 2019, 11:54

      So many people are missing the point; Liberty Media is out to destroy the sport as we know it. Formula 1 has always been about innovation and the teams. Now they want to level the playing field just to put on an exciting show. I don’t want to see a bunch of cookie cutter cars racing around a track, it’s what separates F1 from NASCAR.

      1. hear, hear!

    20. she obviosly does not understand the sport. no offense. but just like chess which i dont know or understand is very analytical, strategic etc but to me its just moving things on a board.

    21. georgeboole (@)
      3rd April 2019, 12:40

      I see nothing wrong here. Vettel is a show off doing donuts in the middle of the race. He belongs there.
      (Really is this his best excuse for retiring?)

    22. Vettel is considering his future in F1: ‘Youngsters are better than me’..

    23. Hamilton has also said he won’t plan for post 2021 until he sees the direction F 1 is taking. He too is out of contract then, like Vettel, Räikkönen and some lesser lights.

    24. Show? Like doing twirly spins every time you’re overtaken instead of fighting straight back?

      In 2021 expect to see Seb in Strictly come Dancing & Icecapades.

    25. You have to admire Liberty for tackling the issues in F1 but they have to tread a fine line between keeping what makes F1 what it is and reducing it to yet another spec series. Drivers like teams will not necessarily stay if it becomes a spec series.

    26. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
      3rd April 2019, 14:21

      I think Vettel wants to just a win a title for Ferrari. I can see him winning one in 2019 or 2020 and then leaving the sport. He has 4 deserving titles and no one can take that away from him. He isn’t better than Lewis or Alonso but he is a great driver in his own right.

      Vettel needs to return to his 2017 form to win a title tbh. He barely made mistakes that year, the only ones being Baku and Mexico, and lost the championship to reliability. This year, he hasn’t been top Vettel but people overreact after two races.

      After Australia, everyone said Bottas was going for the title this year, I didn’t listen anyone talking a lot about him after Bahrain. Leclerc has showed much promised and he beat Seb fair&square in Bahrain. However, this is just the second race of 21. We can’t judge a season based on that. If we judge 2018 based on the first two races, then Vettel stomped Lewis but this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

      1. “Vettel needs to return to his 2017 form to win a title tbh. He barely made mistakes that year, the only ones being Baku and Mexico, and lost the championship to reliability”

        You are forgetting Singapore (crashed on first lap). Malaysia (destroyed his car after the race). GB partly responsible for destroying his own tyres etc

        And Merc/ Hamilton also had their share of reliability issues. Vettel had 2 races affected by reliability issues, as did Hamilton

        Strange, titles that are truly decided by skewed, disproportionate unreliability (like 2016), people often ignore (see @niedle‘s post above, stating Rosberg beat Hamilton, without a mention of the multiple reliability issues Hamilton had in 2016). And titles where reliability was more even, such as 2017, often get cited as a title decided by reliability. It’s like people pick & chose to mention reliability, depending on their particular agenda/narrative

        1. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
          3rd April 2019, 15:15

          Singapore was a racing incident. Kimi was in his blind spot, no way he could have seen him. It was an unfortunate racing incident.

          1. Yes, Singapore was a racing incident for which Vettel was partly to blame. It was poor judgement from Vettel.

          2. @panagiotism-papatheodorou Singapore was a racing incident in the sense that he did not get a penalty for it. The reality is though that he it was a dumb move and, combined with Baku, it cost Vettel the WDC.

            You mentioned Baku and Mexico. AM@AM added Singapore, Malaysia and Silverstone. I’d also add Canada where he was last going into the first corner three abreast costing him his front wing.

            Either way your argument completely falls apart. Vettel did not lose more points due to reliability than Hamilton did and Vettel also blew his WDC chances in 2017 completely with his own blunders of which there were not “barely” any, but 6.

    27. Vettel and Lewis are tied for titles this decade. Vettel is also putting up a better challenge than Lewis did against him. Lewis regularly got beat by Alonso in a weaker car and team.

      1. This makes no sense as usual

      2. Mr Big Joke, trying to be funny as usual.

    28. Comparisons to Leclerc and his recent spin aside, I think he has a fair point. If drivers have to spend more time adapting to car attributes that detract from the actual driving ability for the sake of excitement then his sentiment makes a lot of sense. Very clear minded to recognize that the sport might not be what he signed up for.

    29. Seb is definitely right. Liberty media wants to transform F1 in an “american” spectacle! I’m also getting tired of this thing about everything has to be a big show…. I just like to see cars racing each other – that’s enough.

    30. F1 needs to decide whether it wants to be more about entertainment than competition, he said. “If we say we are a show, then bring on the show. I feel we are wasting so much time and energy with regulations that are just expensive really for nothing.

      Sebastian’s comments are interesting because they seem to be in contrast to what Liberty want. At one time most of the cars in a race would hardly be seen on TV, and those at the back of the grid were almost guaranteed to not be seen at all. However, almost from the moment Liberty Media took over we get to see many of the battles for position up and down the grid. When the majority of a TV time is focused on the leading cars, even when not much is happening there, that is what an entertainment focused sport does, it focuses on their leading actors. When the cameras are focused on where the action is that is what a competition focused sport does.
      Maybe there is more regulation, but those regulations encourage competition. For example there are rules about the amount of oil that can be consumed in a race, and last year rules were introduced regarding the supposed use of flexible fuel hoses after the fuel flow regulator, which again discourages cheating. Rules have been introduced that allow for active suspension systems, which again is good for competition. There are rules that supposedly allow cars to follow closer, which is supposed to encourage competition. There are rules that allow teams to share the back end chassis technology, which again is there to encourage competition.
      Liberty Media are lobbying teams to accept more equitable TV rights payouts and to accept a budget cap. Again, the aim is to encourage fair competition. One of the most important points is Liberty Media’s desire to do away with the special bonuses. I don’t know if he realises it, but Sebastian is saying F1 should completely stop all special bonuses and just have the Column One and Column Two payments. Special bonuses are a rewarded to leading teams for their “star” quality, which is again is what an entertainment focused sport does. A competitive focused sport discourages such practices.

    31. I assumed he had his Mario mustache because he likes to play Mario Kart on his Wii?

      Going for something like that fits better with his style of driving. Or perhaps he would rather be driving alone on the circuit. Guess that’s even more his thing. None of those pesky other cars around overtaking him.

    32. lol – Vettel is a spent force. LeClerc will put him out to pasture.

    33. Makes me wonder if Seb gets that it’s always been a show, it’s just been Bernie’s show and he was always ok with letting the teams bicker with each other and with the FIA as long as the show made him a very rich man. Which they did. Now the show has to pay shareholders too, and the 21rst C media environment requires that the players dance a little more in the spotlight. The show must go on!

    34. “Its more now a show now than a sport”
      People are bagging Seb, but is he wrong? Liberty didn’t get into this for a motor race, but they did for entertainment…. and money.

      Seb is thinking his younger team mate may be quicker, and he probably is, times change. Seb is a Champion but he is very smart too- but F1 has changed since he stared. The guy may be worth 200m, I may have stopped racing too :)

    35. Well done, Seb. That’s exactly what a few Alonso fans like us want to hear. Now if you can hasten you retirement plans…

    36. Maybe if you stopped doing donuts every time Hamilton is alongside, it would become more sport than show..

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