Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2019

Vettel: Next races “really crucial” for Ferrari’s title chances

2019 Canadian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Sebastian Vettel says the upcoming races will be crucial for Ferrari if they are to have any hopes of staying in the championship hunt.

He is 55 points behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton with 390 available. However Ferrari are yet to win a race this season and have conceded they may need to rethink the concept behind their SF90 chassis.

“We’ve had certainly not the start we were looking for,” Vettel admitted. “Nevertheless I think we were able to score some good points.

“So I think the next races will be really crucial for us to try and get back to the front and give a much harder time to Mercedes. Once we can establish that then I think we have plenty of reasons to look forwards.”

While Vettel wouldn’t be drawn on how long Ferrari has to start making inroads into Mercedes’ lead before the situation becomes hopeless, he admitted “it will be crucial to do it rather sooner than later.”

Vettel echoed team principal Mattia Binotto’s comments in Monaco that understanding what has gone wrong this year is vital to ensuring the team is on the right path with its development programme for the 2020 F1 season.

“Rest assured we are flat out,” said Vettel. “Obviously there’s a lot of things going on, a lot of work going on. Obviously whatever comes to the car rather short-term has been launched and triggered a while ago.

“But certainly the fact that we’re struggling this year with certain things, the tyres, overall grip of the car, handling of the car, even if they are linked, for sure you look at all the options that you have. There’s a trend in the last couple of years that you start next year’s project rather sooner than the usual September or summer break, it starts way ahead, so for sure we’re looking into it to see if there is anything fundamental we want to change.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2019 F1 season

Browse all 2019 F1 season articles

Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

16 comments on “Vettel: Next races “really crucial” for Ferrari’s title chances”

  1. The way M are going at the moment, they could wrap up the WDC with 6 races to go. Not allowing for FLP(Fastest Lap Point) and that’s with a couple of hiccups along the way.

  2. Every year, Mercedes have had a race or two where things go wrong for them… 2014 Canada, 2016 Spain, 2018 Austria, not to mention troubles for individual cars.

    However, given the nature of the Ferrari car, I think they’d need Mercedes to have all that bad form/luck amalgamated into the remainder of this season for Ferrari to have a chance.

    Me? I’m wondering if Mercedes will top their 765 points from 2016, even after excluding FLAPs.

    1. @phylyp – Was going to make the same point about Merc luck, but you took care of that. So I’ll just pile on. :) Even if Merc pulled a 2016 Spain or 2018 Austria and lost both cars in a race, Ferrari/Vettel would still be more than a full race behind and Merc would still have the best car for the remaining races.

      Everyone else has brought an upgraded engine and still can’t beat them. Meaning Merc could probably finish the season on a single spec of engine and be fine. That is dire. Unless all of Merc’s physical assets (cars, equipment) were in a facility that got struck by a meteor, they cannot be stopped.

      1. @hobo – quite true. :-)

        I was actually saying that all of Merc’s bad luck over the last five years need to happen all at once in the remainder of this season for Ferrari to have a shot at a title.

        1. Exactly @phylyp.

          Sad, but that’s where we’re at.

  3. I get why he’s not publicly stating that the season is lost to anything but developing/testing for next year. He’s a company employee and it would cause a lot of problems if he was tossing in the towel already.

    However, as I’ve previously commented, neither he nor Ferrari have been able to recoup a deficit of this size in the past few years. Given that they are nowhere near as close to Mercedes as they were each of the last two seasons, it is a wrap and has been for some time. Start focusing on fixing issues for 2020 and developing that car in a useable direction.

    1. @hobo – yep, good points

    2. @hobo Last season, Ferrari clearly had the faster car on average and they were in the lead of the championships. They (Vettel especially) still managed to throw it away. Blundering in AZE, FRA, AUT, GER, ITA, JPN and USA is just too much.

      Similar in 2017, although Ferrari and Mercedes were more on par that season. Blundering in AZE, CAN, SIN, GBR and MEX did the trick though.

      1. @f1osaurus – I think we agree that Vettel’s mistakes have cost Ferrari in recent years. But we will have to disagree (again) on where Ferrari’s car was relative to Mercedes. In my opinion, Ferrari were closer to Mercedes than they have ever been in this hybrid era (since 2014), and for the first half of the season they were on basically equal terms. But overall Merc had 12 poles to Ferrari’s 6. So even without Vettel’s blunders–which happened mostly during the race–they couldn’t keep up with the German team.

        Likewise this year.

        I realize you see things differently.

        1. @hobo So you are pretending Ferrari didn’t have the fastest car in Baku, Germany, Hungary, Austria (taking merc double DNF into account), Monza, USA? The fact that Vettel blew it doesn’t mean the car was slower.

          Also add France, Singapore, Japan, Brazil where Vettel simply performed poortly or threw away a good result with blunders.

          Vettel made that car look bad. In proper hands it would have easily taken a WDC.

          1. @f1osaurus – I’m not pretending anything. One problem is that your claims are that Ferrari “clearly” had the best or fastest car. I disagree. On pole count alone, Mercedes was faster. Basing a conclusion on race finishes get trickier because of Vettel’s mistakes, in my opinion. But you also have to include Ferrari’s wrong development turn which cost them time.

            I think the first half of the season was fairly even. That was before the development wrong turn, and only included a few mistakes by Vettel. Australia through Great Britain: 5-4 on poles, 11-12 podiums, 3-5 wins. To me that does not indicate “clearly” faster.

            The second half of the season gets murky and falls Mercedes way heavily: 8-2 poles, 14-12 podiums, 8-2 wins. But again, this is when Vettel was error-prone and Ferrari went down a black hole of development. I’m not discounting, I’m not pretending, I have come to a different conclusion than you. That’s all.

          2. @hobo Well you counted wrong. Yes, Hamilton is a better qualifier so he will get more poles with the same speed car. Or even with a slower car than Vettel.

            Vettel blew between 113 and 142 (Motorsport-total estimate) on his blunders. Half of Hamilton’s race wins came from races which Vettel could/should have easily won.

            Also, there was no “wrong development” for Ferrari. Or not signioficantly so. That’s just something hey made up to save face for Vettel.

            It just shows how little you understand and that you are just parroting their propaganda.

            After the summer break we had, Spa, Monza and Singapore where Ferrari were faster by a country mile (apart from Vettel utterly messing up in Q3 allowing even Verstappen in front).

            Only in Russia and Japan yes they were marginally slower. That was the extent of their “wrong development”, two marginally slower races (ie P3) and they reverted to the old spec and promptly were faster again in the USA.

            So yes in two races they were potentially a tiny bit slower with a car that would be fine for P3. That in no way near cost them the championship or made their car slower over the whole season.

            Excuses excuses excuses. Just face the facts instead.

          3. @f1osaurus – You were stating just a month ago that Ferrari have the fastest car but are squandering it, against all evidence to the contrary, but I’m the one spouting propaganda.

            The second half of 2018 was 8 Merc poles to 2 Ferrari poles. Vettel wasn’t crashing out during qualifying, it was during races. But somehow he just lost his first half-2018 form? No one has debunked the wrong development path as far as I’ve seen. If you have a source, please share.

            And given that they’ve gone down a wrong development path in 2019, it seems completely reasonable that they did last year as well.

            I agree that Vettel has made many mistakes. I would also say that if he had driven cleaner during 2018 that could have been a much better fight. I don’t think he would have won but it would have been interesting to see what happened.

            My point is that you continue to say “CLEARLY FERRARI IS FASTER AND HAS BEEN CLEARLY FOR THE LAST 2 SEASONS!!!” and the facts don’t support that. And it undercuts your other points. Yes, Ferrari were closer in 2017 and 2018 than they ever were for 2014-2016. But even then Mercedes took more than half the poles, more than half the wins. If Ferrari was CLEARLY faster, that wouldn’t happen. Find me a season in the past 2 decades where the clearly faster car didn’t win. I bet you’ll find a few close seasons with close cars, and a lot of blowout seasons with clearly faster cars. At best Ferrari have been close and failed. But they were not clearly faster, and I think Merc has been faster, even if only marginally so in recent years, since 2014.

          4. @hobo Yes Ferrari did potentially have the faster car in the first few and yes they did squander it. They were faster in pre season testing, Bahrain and Baku for sure. Suatralia they compeltely messed up the setup, so we don’t know. and only in China were the clearly slower.

            So 2 races Ferrari faster, 1 race a draw and 1 race mercedes faster.

            The spain, Mercedes had an update and since then they are indeed mostly faster.

            Although in canada Ferrar had the faster car again and yet again they squandered a good result.

            Not sure how hard this is to grasp, but apparently you cannot understand so I will stop trying.

  4. I still chuckle at all those comments on Autosport forums from a couple of years ago claiming that Vettel was ‘doing at Ferrari what Alonso couldn’t do’. Some very strange sports fans about.

  5. No chances, guys! It’s worse than 2017, not to mention 2018. Relax and give your best… and might get 1-2 lucky wins.

Comments are closed.