Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Baku City Circuit, 2019

Vettel dismisses retirement rumours

2019 F1 season

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Sebastian Vettel has denied rumours he is considering retirement from Formula 1.

The four-times world champion has endured a disappointing start to the 2019 F1 season. His Ferrari team is yet to win a race and Vettel is under greater pressure from new team mate Charles Leclerc than he was from Kimi Raikkonen last year.

Vettel has also previously hinted at his dissatisfaction with the state of the sport. In an interview earlier this year he said F1 is “now more a show and a business than a sport” and that he wouldn’t stay “just for the sake of being in Formula 1.”

Although Vettel is contracted to Ferrari until the end of the 2020 F1 season, rumours indicated he was considering an early exit at the end of this season. But Vettel told Auto Bild he is not thinking about calling time on his F1 career.

“I have no plans to stop,” he said. “I still have lots of fun, and I still have something to do at Ferrari.”

“We want to try everything again this season to bring about the turnaround and the Canadian Grand Prix should be the beginning,” Vettel added.

Vettel won from pole position at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve 12 months ago. His most recent race victory came in last year’s Belgian Grand Prix.

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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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54 comments on “Vettel dismisses retirement rumours”

  1. Even as a Hamilton fan part of me would still like to see Vettel return to form and finally take a championship with Ferrari, hopefully not in a dominant Red Bull era fashion but in a real season-long battle against Hamilton and Leclerc.

    I still rate him as a top drawer driver but something has clearly knocked his confidence in wheel to wheel fighting. We aren’t seeing the same Vettel who ran rings around Webber at Red Bull in 2013 and fought through the field in Brazil 2012 to clinch the championship. I’d really like to see him return to form and actually give Hamilton something to worry about.

    1. It is the very same vettel who crashed into the back of webber in Japan 07, into webber turkey 10, into button spa 10, off the road in canada 11 and the same vettel who crashed into Senna in Brazil 12 causing him to pass the midfield to barely win the championship in a dominant Newey rocketship. Vettel has never been special, but was gifted with newey rocketships that have taken several 2nd tier drivers to championships(Mansell, D Hill, JV, Vettel).

      1. Hakk the Rack
        4th June 2019, 14:32

        Agree. That the way I see him.

      2. Other than Alonso who doesn’t have a catalog of errors when you trawl through 12 years of racing?

      3. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
        4th June 2019, 15:09

        Please. Vettel was called baby Schumi. Senna crashed into people, he is still considered into the GOAT. Lewis was crashing every race in 2011. Most of the examples you listed was before he won the title.

        1. @panagiotism-papatheodorou He’s was called baby schumi at some point because of the way he works.

          Whereas Senna had massive talent AND he worked hard.

          Hamilton was crashed into a lot in 2011. Sure, Hamilton tried some opportunistic passes, but Massa and Maldonado simply would rather crash than let Hamilton past. At some point it became so obvious that they started penalizing Massa for when “Hamilton drove into Massa”.

          Vettel could actually have won the 2009 title had he not crashed into Kubica in Australia, spun out of Malaysia, crashed again in Monaco, made a complete hash of Hungary and/or made two dumb mistakes in Singapore. 3 race ending crashes and 2 races where he blundered away many points.

          So yes these happened before he was champion, but it’s also that he didn’t become champion because of them. Same as in 2017 and 2018.

      4. @megatron, in the case of the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix, the accident came about because Webber was caught out by Hamilton slowing down unexpectedly whilst behind the safety car. Webber, caught out by this, slammed the brakes on to avoid overtaking Hamilton, which caused Vettel to go into the back of him.

        Don’t forget that, when the FIA reviewed the external footage on appeal, they exonerated Vettel and actually considered penalising Hamilton instead for causing the accident by driving erratically behind the safety car and making Webber slow down suddenly, although eventually they decided to take no further action. I would say that the real cause of that accident was not Vettel’s driving, but that of the drivers ahead of him suddenly slowing down.

        In the case of the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, I would say that, when you look at the onboard footage from Bruno’s car, he wasn’t without criticism on his part. On the approach to that corner, Bruno’s car is obscured by di Resta’s car, which is between Vettel and Bruno, and Bruno was trying to make his move from a fair way back – from the position that Bruno begins making his move, he would have been in the blind spot of most drivers and I suspect that a lot of drivers would have made a similar move to Vettel, which was to move towards the apex to prevent di Resta from trying to pass up the inside of him. I’d say that was more of a racing incident, and Bruno does share at least part of the blame for what did look like a fairly optimistic move where he was driving into a closing gap.

        @philipgb, it’s worth noting that Alonso had some races early in his career where he made some fairly major mistakes himself – the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix, where he admitted to deliberately ignoring yellow flags and ended up crashing into debris from Webber’s crash, causing the race to be red flagged, is one example.

        I would agree that, if you go through the career of any driver who has been in the sport for a long period of time, you will find some times when they have made some rather bad mistakes – not just now, but also over the history of the sport.

        Indeed, if you look at the examples listed above, we have 5 examples being cited over a period of 5 years and over roughly Vettel’s first 100 races – one of which is questionable to include – which is actually not that different to most of the recent winners of the WDC over a similar period at the start of their careers.

        Over his first 100 races, Vettel is listed as being involved in 8 accidents that ended his race – that is the same number as Hamilton, only slightly higher than Alonso (Alonso is technically on 6 because the 2003 Brazilian GP was backdated to the lap before his accident, but it should really be 7) and lower than Button (10 accidents over the first 100 races) and Kimi (11 accidents over his first 100 races).

        With that in mind, I would say that Vettel’s accident rate in the phase of his career that F1ENGINEERING is citing was fairly similar to most other drivers, so I wouldn’t say that he was that accident prone earlier in his career. I would tend to agree with you that his recent dip in form does point towards more recent issues that have sapped his confidence – there were suggestions that there may have been conflict between Vettel and Arrivabene over the development direction of the 2018 car that contributed to Vettel’s poor form late last year, and suggestions of possible disruptions in his personal life that seem to have also effected him as well.

        1. Vettel is listed as being involved in 8 accidents that ended his race

          Indeed that’s only a tiny percentage of the blunders he makes. Vettel had 7 blunders last year which cost them the WDC and then some. Only one of those resulted in a DNF.

        2. While I do agree with you about the accident at the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix, I’d have to disagree with you about the one in Brazil in 2012. To take the apex of the corner coming from the outside of the track at turn 4 on the first lap in the way that Vettel did (and especially considering what he had to lose), when the chances are much greater than 50/50 that another car would be there looking to make up positions, was not only careless, but reckless.

          Looking back on it now, it’s actually astonishing Vettel’s car was able to continue considering the 2 impacts it received on the first lap in Interlagos!

        3. Vettel was fully at fault for 2007 japan and 2012 brazil and for every other crash I mentioned and many more. I could list them all but he isn’t worth my time.

      5. This is just a very limited view, sorry to say so, man. And it really does seem like you didn’t watch those seasons… @megatron

    2. I am sorry, but Vettel has never been great. He had a good car for 4 years and a hopeless inadequate team mate. He should consider himself one of the luckiest men in F1 ever.

      1. Agree….he’s a mid-field driver who was lucky to have the best V10 Newey designed car. If Ferrari had a replacement ready the dismiss of this rumor would be a shame. Not saying that Ferrari’s woes are Seb’s fault…just that he’s not as good as everyone wants to believe

        1. Vettel didn’t win any WDCs with a V10?

    3. The Vettel you know was babysit by Marco (teacher’s pet). He had the confidence and he was almost always in front. Remember Ricciardo? He beat him from almost any position. The moment he lost this type of support, he is gome. Lecrerc is not helping.

    4. (@philipgb)
      Vettel never had ‘form,’ he had Newey. 2014 proved that, 2018 proved that.

  2. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
    4th June 2019, 10:57

    Vettel needs his confidence back and it was knocked down last year in Germany. He feels like Mika in 2001 sometimes this year. He bounced back after 2014 and did his best year in F1 at his first year with Ferrari, he was better than Lewis that year.

    He obviously has passion for racing and he still loves the sport so I hope he returns to his old form to have more fights with Lewis and the others. I don’t he will retire before he wins a title for Ferrari, it is his childhood dream after all.

    1. Better than Lewis in 2015? Vettel has never in any season been better than Lewis and certainly not in 2015.

      1. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
        4th June 2019, 15:11

        Oh yeah. Lewis won over Nico but Vettel was still 2nd in the standings after USA with a car that was almost 7 tenths inferior to the Merc. Vettel had one bad weekend (Mexico) whereas Lewis had more than that (Spain, Hungary) and even more if you count the last 3 races. It was close between them but I would still pick Seb in 2015.

      2. Vettel was far superior to Lewis in 2011, 2013, and I think there’s even a case to be made for 2008.

    2. isaac (@invincibleisaac)
      4th June 2019, 17:00

      @panagiotism-papatheodorou Overall I believe that over the years Hamilton is a better driver than Vettel, but I do agree that Sebastian was the better driver in 2015. He grabbed all the opportunities he could (much like Verstappen so far this year) in a car that was inferior to the Mercedes, whereas Hamilton was strong but not as strong in 2015, in my opinion. I think Vettel was stronger than Hamilton also in 2011 and 2013, but these last few years HAM has clearly been the stronger driver. If VET can return to his best form then I would rate the two very closely.

      1. I think at the top of their game, they’re very close in ability. But Vettel is so much more volatile and is at the top of his game so much more than Hamilton who always seems to be at least like 95%

        1. so much less* of course

      2. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
        4th June 2019, 19:52

        Oh yeah Lewis is overall better. But I think in terms of speed they are close. Lewis just works better under pressure.

        1. @panagiotism-papatheodorou Withstanding pressure is exactly what winning a WDC is all about. Not crashing into your opponents or walls when the pressure rises.

  3. My dream is to have my two favourite drivers Vettel and Hamilton to retire with an equal number of titles each. But that won’t be happening anyways.

  4. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    4th June 2019, 11:54

    I think he’s a fantastic driver and one of the best out there but I don’t think Ferrari have managed to bring the best out of him as much as Red Bull did. Lately he just hasn’t seemed as into it as he used to – kinda like Raikkonen when he loses interest, so I figure he won’t stay for much longer. I do kinda hope when he does walk he does with a Ferrari title in his pocket.

  5. There should be no doubt at this point that Vettel is one of the best on the grid, but the fact still remains that he had a car capable of taking the title last year & blew it mostly through mistakes on his part (I think most would agree that’s been his Achilles heel: mistakes when under pressure). This year I don’t think either Ferrari or Seb have been getting the best out of each other but it’s still early enough for them to fight back. I sincerely hope they do (I’d still rather Merc & Lewis win but I love a good fight).

    That said, I don’t feel too badly for him. Or Ferrari for that matter. They’ve both had many years in the spotlight & their own periods of dominance (& lots of consecutive titles to show for it). I remember both vividly… it wasn’t that long ago.

  6. I never bought into those rumors (nor into the Hulkenberg/RBR rumors for that matter either) anyway. One should definitely expect him to see out his current contract-stint before potentially leaving the series for good.

  7. Well, all in all – Ferrari delivered the goods and Vettel delivered – DNFs… Still, he’s not a motivation King, even driving for Scuderia… LECLERC will ne next Ferrari WC, first after Kimi…

  8. Electroball76
    4th June 2019, 14:27

    Perez to Ferrari, Vettel to McLaren, Hulk to RedBull, Gasly to Burger King.

    1. Hahaha, priceless!

  9. Course, another season of cockups and he could get the boot from Ferrari, like Alonso.

  10. I see Ferrari as an over weight team; Slow to respond to changes on the track and slow to adapt to as the season matures.

  11. When he signed Ferrari, I thought it was a bad idea. After 2015, I was certain he would materialise his dream. But after 2018, I thought he was done. Currently, I reckon most of his recent errors came from over driving the car, pushing beyond all the limits to match the mighty Mercedes with the great Lewis Hamilton.

    I don’t think he’ll be champion ever again, and that’s only because I don’t believe Ferrari at all. Thence, I’m positive VET has no interest on winning anything but with Maranello — he’s already among the greatest, not that he seems to care about that anyway. Even if he goes to another good team, I don’t think he’ll be any motivated after the deception of failing in the red cars.

  12. British media being their predictable self. These ‘rumours’ had to be quelled just recently, but he will be hounded by them regularly until season is decided. And then next year of course. No such pestering about ‘rumors’ toward Hamilton of course. That would simply not be ‘cricket’.

    1. Why would there be “pestering about ‘rumors’ (sic) toward Hamilton”? Lewis has delivered more than any driver over the past half decade.

    2. @balue, that would be because Hamilton has already stated that he is planning on remaining in F1 for several years yet, so there is no logical reason to ask about him retiring in the near future given that he’s already answered that question.

      By comparison, in the past few years Vettel’s answers about whether he has considered the option of retiring have been more ambiguous. As recently as April this year, Bernie Ecclestone suggested that Vettel was thinking of retiring this year so he could spend more time with his family, with Vettel giving an answer of “I don’t know” – given that, not that long ago, Vettel was giving an ambiguous answer about whether he would or wouldn’t retire, it’s perhaps not surprising that the question has come up again.

  13. I don’t mind Seb but can’t say I’d miss him.

    If he does retire it would be great to see Kubica take his place at Ferrari and that contract he so nearly fulfilled right before his accident…

    1. Why would Ferrari want to hire Kubica at this point in his career though?

      There was a logic to that decision a decade ago, when Kubica was in his mid 20s and was a driver whom Ferrari could build a team around for the long term. Now, though, we’re still wondering where Kubica’s performance really lies, and even without his injuries, it would be unusual for a driver of his age to spend that many more years in the sport – from their point of view, it makes a lot more sense to focus on Leclerc, who is a driver whom they could work for over a longer period of time and who has better long term development potential, than Kubica does at this point in his career.

  14. His response to the rumours is kind of tepid, though. Whatever his thinking, or Ferrari’s, they have this season as contenders still, supposedly, so any rumours were always going to be denied. Still think there’s an outside chance Hamilton may yet finish his career elsewhere…

  15. Every man and his dog were praising Vettel back when he was raking in titles. It’s always been the thing to do in F1, big up the man of the moment incase you don’t look knowledgable. The media were comparing him to Fangio.
    Now everybody are on his back because he doesn’t have the car advantage. Funny that it’s no longer acceptable to point out that Lewis went 6 years without a title in a top team. A poor period that is now erased from history because he got a dominant car again.

    He’s obviously struggling with the Ferrari who are trying to keep his lip buttoned. Their reaction to Alonso’s odd hint says it all.

    1. @Big Joe

      You’ve got your **facts** about Lewis Hamilton wrong.

      Lewis Hamilton’s driving record has not been erased. It’s available all over the Interweb for everyone to read.

  16. If Vettel did retire this year then who fills his seat?
    – Schumacher, two young drivers at Ferrari ?
    – Alonso back again ?
    – Ricciardo if he has a release clause ?

    1. Should Vettel decide to retire, finding his replacement won’t be his problem. Perhaps Ferrari can persuade Rosberg to return, his wife is probably getting fed up with him being under her feet all the time by now.

  17. Rosberg would be a very interesting choice! I still think he was massively underrated. But I think he is not hungry for it anymore ?

    1. He came he saw he conquered!

      Nico has no reason to dive back into that circus!

  18. I called this at the end of last season ..haha

    I didn’t say he would retire outright, more like take a sabbatical. Things haven’t been going Sebs way, he is a pale shadow of the all conquering avatar of Schumacher. I’ve never held Vettel in very high regard, but one thing that we have to agree about him is that, when given a car that suits him to a tee, he is brilliant…but then again, same could be said about Jenson Button.

    Vettel’s probably asking himself “do I really need this right now?”. He’s being outpaced by his new young teammate, who in relatively terms is a rookie. Ferrari aren’t catching up to Merc fast and their pitwall seems to be more adept at arguing amongst each other as to which driver is on what strategy. He has 4 world titles and a ton of cash in the bank…maybe its time to go fishing?

    I wonder if Fernando is waiting on his phone to ring? :)

    1. Jonathan Parkin
      5th June 2019, 11:20

      But Jenson unlike Sebastian has won races below third on the grid. 14th when he won in Hungary and 6th in Canada after falling to the back of the grid twice.

      1. Winning from the back is always due to luck and not skill, hence there is a reason why since ’14 only Mercedes Redbull and Ferrari have won.

  19. Vettel was fully at fault for 2007 japan and 2012 brazil and for every other crash I mentioned and many more. I could list them all but he isn’t worth my time.

    This is not a duplicate!!!!

    1. Oops, I guess it is.

  20. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    5th June 2019, 15:07

    Something that’s been on my mind for a month now. Does Vettel retire after 2020 and does an older Lewis replace him or does Lewis stay with Mercedes and try to crush Schumachers numbers? It’s a real question and I think it potentially happens.

    1. Agree. I guess Ham wants to equal Schumi, but with the 7th title at Ferrari. Then he did so at 3 teams, basically outscoring Schumi. So, expect him to leave Mercedes after (his 6th title) this year. Only thing potentially stopping him reaching his 7th at Ferrari is RedBull delivering a good car the coming 3 years

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