Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2019

Should Mercedes grab their chance to sign Vettel for 2021?

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Sebastian Vettel is on the driver market for the 2021 F1 season.

With his Ferrari days numbered, and Red Bull indicating they won’t meet his salary requirements, his only chance of joining a team which has won a race at the last six years is at Mercedes.

Should they offer him a drive?

For

A four-times world champion who’s out-of-contract is a rare thing indeed. And, knowing they could offer him a very competitive car for 2021, Mercedes could potentially get Vettel for considerably less than Ferrari were paying him.

If they were to pair him with Hamilton, that would instantly create the most successful driver line-up Formula 1 has ever seen, with a combined 137 race victories and 10 world championships at the time of writing.

A Hamilton-Vettel partnership is not as unrealistic as it might sound. The pair have gone up against each other for world championships twice in recent seasons with little real needle between them, Azerbaijan 2017 run-in aside, and an awful lot of mutual respect.

Against

Neither a Bottas-Vettel line-up nor a Hamilton-Vettel partnership is realistic. The former would mean dropping F1’s star driver – a non-starter. As for the latter, combining even a reduced salary for Vettel with the sky-high retainer Hamilton can expect would still be a huge financial burden. Irrespective of the realities of the cost of Mercedes’ F1 programme to Daimler, it would draw unfavourable attention to it given the parent company was seeking to cut 15,000 staff even before the hammer blow dealt by the pandemic.

Mercedes had an enviable driver line-up in 2019. Any team would love to have Hamilton, who is at the peak of his form, and Bottas is making steady, incremental gains on him while taking care not to destabilise the team the way his predecessor did. There’s no reason to disturb that even to sign a driver of Vettel’s stature.

I say

Do I want to see the two most successful drivers in Formula 1 today going head-to-head against each other in what will surely be a championship-contending car in 2021? With Vettel fired up to put one over the team who lost faith in him?

Yes I would very much like to see that.

No disrespect to Bottas, who drove a very good season last year, but the chance to benchmark two great champions against each other is something surely all F1 ans wants to see?

Do I think it’s going to happen? Not a chance, sadly.



You say

Should Mercedes hire Vettel to drive for their F1 team in 2021? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Do this agree Mercedes should hire Vettel for 2021?

  • Strongly agree (32%)
  • Slightly agree (9%)
  • Neither agree nor disagree (5%)
  • Slightly disagree (11%)
  • Strongly disagree (42%)
  • No opinion (1%)

Total Voters: 387

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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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  • 140 comments on “Should Mercedes grab their chance to sign Vettel for 2021?”

    1. Of course, they should. A team should get the best drivers available, and no disrespect to Valtteri, Seb is better. On the plus side it’d be awesome for us fans. Will Mercedes do it? not a chance… why would they dismantle a pairing that works so well for them?

      1. Seb’ preformed no better than Bottas the last 3 seasons.

      2. No way. A team should have the best driver pairing available. It’s a team. No matter how good they are individually they would be an ongoing nightmare in the same car. If 2007 taught us anything it’s that. Unless they think that Hamilton is leaving the team in 2021 then Vettel is pretty much the worst signing that Mercedes could make.

      3. What you say at the start of your comment is contradicted by what you say at the end. Did you change your mind while writing?

      4. @fer-no65

        If they want the best possible pairing.. they would have paired up Hamilton with Ricciardo.

        1. @Todfod

          absolutely right! so this indicates to me Bottas is staying, he is without a doubt the perfect #2 out there, happy to give up race wins for the sake of an already won championship

        2. Don’t be ridiculous. Riccardo is massively overrated.
          He’s a one-trick pony, amazing at being late on the brakes, but that’s the only area he excels over others.
          Plus, the “shoey” is just disgusting, and it makes me want to vomit when he does it.

          1. @nvherman A one-trick pony that beat Vettel in their one season together where he was coming into Vettel’s title winning team. It’s ironic that you call Ricciardo a one-trick pony, when the only trick Vettel seems to have is to start on pole and drive off into the distance without having to race anybody. Or perhaps clashing with other cars and spinning counts as another trick?

            1. The red Bull gave RIC the opportunity to be late on the brakes. Not sure it’s a big skill of his, rather a skill of the RB. RIC is probably more hungry than VET but not sure he’s that much better. Both are good No 2 drivers. VET because he continually spins, capitulates or crashes in wheel to wheel battle and RIC because he is average at best in the wet. NO driver can be considered elite if they can’t excel in the wet stuff.

            2. the only trick Vettel seems to have is to start on pole and drive off into the distance without having to race anybody.

              @mashiat – You pretty much described Fangio and Senna, two of sport’s greatest legends. But because it’s Vettel, then it is a demerit to convert pole into wins. Innocuous argument, honestly.

              Ricciardo is indeed an overrated driver, firstly because he is too much of a pleasant guy and, let’s not forget, he’s under the Commonwealth. Secondly, because he has a racer aura, which is something every fan likes.

              But reality is, he failed to convert his poles into wins more often than not. The only one he could do it was at Monaco, which says it all. He is praised because he pulls unlikely wins. Yes, that’s pretty cool. Though, winning crazy races means he won by chaos, not by pure pace. It also means he failed to get a better grid position, which is generally true compared to his team mates. Oh, and… for those who likes to measure a driver because he lost to a so-and-so, let’s remember: Daniel managed to lose to Kvyat. KVYAT! Ergo, stating that he is a better prospect than a proven 4x WDC only because he beat him at a single subpar season, it is more than just a stretch. It’s a yoke!

              Watson outclassed Lauda without touching his legacy. Why should Vettel’s be harmed if he dealt with team mates with a better racing record?

            3. @niefer so, in Mexico 2018, where Ricciardo had transmission problems and eventually retired with a failed clutch – is Ricciardo supposed to magically repair his clutch whilst driving the car?

              No offence, but those comments about “he’s under the Commonwealth” have more than a bit of an air about them of prejudice too – in complaining about others, you seem to be rather guilty of the same fault yourself.

            4. @anon – Well, in comparison, I don’t see people cutting some slack to Vettel because of his misfortunes, and there were many in the years he got beaten. No one cares of the fair game races he lost because of mechanical failures either.

              No offence taken since I meant no disrespect in the first place. I simply meant that he’s under the English Press umbrella, the most influent in the sport.

        3. @todfod
          Ricciardo is a hell of a driver, however the absolute best possible drivers line up is Hamilton-Alonso !

          1. Don’t know enough about Fangio to comment but in terms on Senna

            “the only trick Vettel seems to have is to start on pole and drive off into the distance without having to race anybody.

            @mashiat – You pretty much described Fangio and Senna”

            I don’t agree, Donnington 93?

            1. @stjs16 – I believe it’s addressed to me.
              Donnington 93: grid 4th, same row as 3rd. The only race Senna won outside first two rows was 1990 USGP, grid 5th. Either way, it would be sheer pettiness for one to make case over a single race from the immediate position behind when the pattern between the two drivers remains the same.

              About Fangio, like Vettel, he never won starting further than 3rd. Still the GOAT if you ask me.

            2. Niefer: I’m not a senna fan at all but I think you’re far off the mark: senna won a race in the mclaren era while being prost’s team mate starting 14th or something, I think suzuka, and I’m sure there’s more.

              Surely he was a better qualifying than racing driver, but nowhere near as bad as vettel.

            3. Magnus Rubensson (@)
              19th May 2020, 10:11

              Fangio: Nurburgring 1957

      5. Vettel won’t adhere to team orders. Merc is doing austrias 2002 on a weekend basis. Bottas is the most subservient driver I have ever seen. I’m up for sparks.

        1. @peartree
          LOL; mercedes only implemented team orders once or twice in a season, when the hierarchy is already pretty defined by drivers’ results and, to be fair, they gave back to Bottas a couple of victories last season (Japan and USA).
          You mispelled Ferrari, mate.

          1. You’ve pretty much just described what Ferrari do. Although some people prefer to describe it as ‘ number2’ status.

            1. @asanator
              Ferrari implemented direct team orders far more often and far more early in the season.
              You should just stop making a fool of yourselves.

            2. Bahrain 2017 as early as 3th race Botas had to let Ham

      6. @fer-no65 What evidence is there for Vettel being better than Bottas? Back in 2013 when there was empty seat at Red Bull, most people wanted Kimi rather than “unproven” Ricciardo, who was predicted to be eaten alive by 4 time world champion in his team. We all know what happened and how Vettel fared against Ricciardo and Kimi.

        Vettel lost twice, in his team, racing alongside relative rookies. Who’s to say someone already experienced like Bottas, who is no slouch, wouldn’t achieve at least similar results as Vettel in the same team?

        1. @Armchairexpert 4 championships.

          Thats as much as i will acknowledge your laughable comment.

          1. 4 championships.

            Other drivers would’ve taken 7 with the cars and the status within the teams that Vettel had from 2009–2019.

            1. Indeed, thinking schumacher and alonso, obviously 2010-2013 you’d have to be really a bad champion to lose any, 2009 was doable, 2017 was the hardest challenge, 2018 again doable.

          2. @xcm What do you find laughable? Who won in 2014, 4 time world champion with 45 poles and 39 wins or a guy with couple of 7th places? Who won in 2019, 4 time world champion with 55 poles and 52 wins or a rookie with four 7th positions?

        2. Bruno Verrari
          18th May 2020, 19:36

          Eight titles: Four WDC and four WCCs..!

      7. What a stupid poll! I’m far from a Hamilton fan, but the real question should have been…

        If Vettel did sign for Mercedes, would Hamilton smash him by a smaller or bigger margin than Alonso smashed Raikkonen at Ferrari?

        Honestly.

        1. @nick101
          I don’t think anything like that would be possible without the collaboration of the team.
          I mean, Alonso was heavily favoured at Ferrari and Kimi left behind.
          I can’t see Mercedes behave like that and Hamilton wouldn’t ask for it.

    2. Why should mercedes hire a driver who has tendency to hit teammates, on track rivals and disobey team orders?

      1. Because he’s already won them 4 championships? ;)

        1. That still doesnt justify destroying team harmony which is present in current line-up.

        2. I laughed at this one eheh

        3. But they already have one with 6 championships. This internal meaningless internal competition would be disastrous to Mercedes

          1. There would be no internal competition. By half season, Hamilton will have utterly destroyed whatever pittance of Vettel’s legacy still remains.

            Vettel is done.

      2. He does have a temper problem

        1. C’mon guys, F1 is a circus, I can see Liberty pushing for a Hamilton vs Vettel, and Bottas his only there saying yes to everything, is so boring… WE WANT DRAMA!!!

          1. @paulo-gomes
            YOU want drama.
            I don’t think mercedes does.

      3. Hamilton before signing to Mercedes has had tendency to hit teammates (Canada 2011) as well as on track rivals (Massa, Maldonado, Kobayashi…) and he was perseverant in doing so especially in 2011 and has already disobeyed team orders in 2007.

        1. @tifoso1989
          Another spit of h@te on hamilton. LOL; you tifosi are so annoying.
          In 2007 he did not “disobeyed” team orders, in fact he let Alonso take the second place in Melbourne and the victory at Monaco.
          By mid season, he simply was too quick to still have to deal with the “first driver clause” fernando had. Fair enough.
          As for 2011, he had too many crashed indeed, but it was ONE season out ot his 13 in the sport. Give it a rest.

          1. @liko41

            Another spit of h@te on hamilton. LOL; you tifosi are so annoying.

            Nothing against Hamilton,it’s exactly the opposite. Hamilton who is one of the most successful drivers of all time has had ups and down in McLaren and those are facts. Mercedes didn’t consider that when signing him because they know how talented he is and given the right environment they were sure he could thrive which he did. In my opinion the same goes for Vettel, he could thrive again if he will join Mercedes.

    3. All Vettel had to do was perform and beat Charles, but yet again he was bettered by a first year teammate.

    4. For the fans, it would be fantastic. Unfortunately, it makes no sense at all for Mercedes.

      1. No, the IDEA of having a 4 X WDC teamed with a 6 X WDC is fantastic. The reality of Hamilton and Vettel as team mates would be a massacre at the hands of Hamilton. Would be pretty bad when you consider how over rated Hamilton is. Vettel is done.

        1. Yes, if hamilton is a 6x champion, which like you said is exagerated by the cars, no one had as good cars on average, vettel is a 1x at best, so wouldn’t really be a competition.

          1. As in performs like a 1x champion, like raikkonen, who however has an age justification for that.

        2. @nick101
          Hamilton overrated? Just LOL!
          How difficult must the last five years have have been for you, h@ters!

      2. Exactly this.

        I rate Vettel as the fifth-best driver on the grid currently, and Bottas as the sixth. I don’t think moving up one place is worth the potential clash of personalities between Hamilton and Vettel. We’ve seen time and again that the best thing for teams at the front – though sadly, not for the fans – is to have a clear #1 and #2 driver. Bottas might not like being called that but he’s mature enough to perform well in the role regardless. Would Vettel do the same? From everything I’ve seen of him over the years, I’d have to say no.

        With that said, if they did want him, I’m sure they could get him, regardless of the salaries involved. He’d be a marketable asset for them, especially in Germany.

    5. I mean why not. Altough I give it around 20% chance, the battle between Hamilton could be surely epic and a one year agreement leaves the door open for Russell in 2022. Wolff himself said that the future of their drivers is first thing to solve and it almost sounded like they are searching for a free seat other than Williams to make Russell happy, and bring Vettel in at the same time.

      1. Plus, Vettel could bring some interesting insight into Ferrari’s affairs, including their engine. I feel like the article didn’t fully count on this possibility.

        1. @pironitheprovocateur

          Plus, Vettel could bring some interesting insight into Ferrari’s affairs, including their engine

          If the FIA who spent the whole winter investigating the Ferrari PU, not to mention the countless checks Ferrari were subject to during the year, didn’t find anything to prove that Ferrari were using higher fuel rates and the only way to find out what were they doing was to sign a settlement.
          Do you seriously think that Vettel could actually know exactly what Ferrari were doing with their PU. Let’s suppose he knows enough, what’s the purpose of signing him now the FIA knows the Ferrari engine tricks and Ferrari themselves are helping them with the PUs monitoring :)

          1. Who said Ferrari actually told the FIA how they were cheating? They may have told the FIA a plausible lie. Or maybe they told them nothing and just paid up.

      2. I would add one factor into context. The article says, Hamilton-Vettel line-up would cost too much even for Mercedes. But let’s not forget teams will be restrained under budget cap from next year onwards, except driver salary. From the various articles I imagine Mercedes were operating under about 400 million euros budget, and next year it will be 145 million + salaries. So even with all the salaries it will probably be under 250 million. And this pairing would bring enormous marketing value, all the attention would be to Mercedes. And I don’t think Vettel now would cost that much more than Bottas. 10 millions would not make a huge difference. So from financial perspective I see only advantages. The only thing it won’t happen is because it will distract team harmony and it will be enough for it not to happen.

    6. They could probably win without Hamilton this year, especially as the pre-season seems to suggest they had gone all in with the rule changes in planned for the following season. Obviously, things have changed since then with the pandemic scenario. If Hamilton went to Ferrari of his own volition though, there is potential there. Pressure on Ferrari to win with Hamilton would be massive as they would have no longer have excuses that opposition driver(s) were just better than their previous line up, as he’d be in the Scuderia car. The pressure on Vettel would also be massive though as he would have to beat Bottas who, without Hamilton, could possibly already be a 2 time champion. Bottas being already established in the Mercedes would also be a huge advantage over any incumbent, for the first part of the season at least. Vettel would potentially lose out to Bottas and effectively cement his reputation outside of the all time greats, a prospect that seems likely already, given that he has been beaten by his last 2 team mates. Better for him to retire now and hold onto some credibility at least. Mercedes will win regardless of whether Hamilton stays or goes, IMHO.

    7. Adam (@rocketpanda)
      17th May 2020, 12:21

      If Hamilton leaves, a Vettel/Bottas lineup would be very good. If Hamilton stays, a Vettel/Hamilton lineup would be horrible – good fun to watch for us all at home as the pair take chunks out of each other but realistically why rock the boat? Both will spend more time racing each other and trying to establish some ridiculous notion of masculine dominance than paying attention to anyone or anything else.

      1. Hamilton leaves and goes where?

        1. Music studio.

          1. Yep..or some kind of business, see his earnings !?
            Smart lad…

            1. @budchekov
              haha. You h@ters wish.

    8. GtisBetter (@passingisoverrated)
      17th May 2020, 12:23

      YES! though mostly for selfish reason. I would love to see them fight in the same car. I agree with many that it is highly unlikely and probably not the smart move.

    9. German driver, German car. Go for it.

      1. W (@vishnusxdx)
        17th May 2020, 15:09

        Apart from the engine and the team boss, there’s not very much German going around. It’s mostly Brits, except for Ferrari, Alpha Tauri and Alfa Romeo.

        1. @vishnusxdx Pretty sure the team boss is Austrian.

        2. Even the Engine is British made, though German funded.

      2. Bruno Verrari
        18th May 2020, 21:34

        German Champ. +1!

    10. Having won everything there is to win in the last 5 seasons the obvious way forward is to sign an older driver who has been beaten by a virtual rookie and isn’t wanted by Ferrari, Red Bull or McLaren?

    11. Can Vettel win in a Mercedes with Bottas alongside? Yes.
      Can Vettel win in a Mercedes with Hamilton alongside? Impossible to say. Recent form suggests probably not but you never know with a new team and a new car.
      If Hamilton leaves after 2021 (which is a big if) I think Vettel would be a perfect fit there, be it alongside Bottas or Russel.
      If he doesn’t then I don’t think Mercedes can afford to have the two of them fighting each other because that might be a gift to Verstappen and Leclerc (it’s more than likely that their cars are up for it). This is of course all financial and marketing factors notwithstanding.

    12. When Mercedes began, it was a German team with 2 German drivers. Then Niki got Lewis onboard and they had one German driver. Then Nico decided to abruptly call it a day, and they lost their only German driver. This is a very long shot, but I’m sure the higher ups would like to see a German driving a German car, and that might actually be the reason for them to get Vettel on-board. They know their car is good so both Championships are definitely coming home to them, it is now only a question of who gets it. Though it substantially increases the risk, the rewards are definitely higher.

      1. Bruno Verrari
        18th May 2020, 21:38

        He highest up (the CEO, Ola Källenius) is Swedish (from Gothenburg) – although his boss, chairing the Board, is German…

    13. I think nearly all fans would like to see vettel and Hamilton in equal machinery (I know that vettel will have an experience disadvantage) but Mercedes have a solid team at the moment and I don’t think they’ll want two number one drivers taking points from each other if it ends up as a close season.

      The exception is if Hamilton retires and they want an experienced top driver.

      1. I think Mercedes will consider Vettel seriously this time. I really hope they sign him, I don’t want to see him leave yet, and it’s good for the sport too

    14. When I think about it, it seems rather strange that Vettel announced departure from Ferrari, but not a retirement from F1…where he appears to have no options. To me, it could mean some understanding with Mercedes. German with title potential in German team must have its value…plus it would serve as leverage to Hamilton’s demands.

      1. @gpfacts
        As mentioned by the folks in a previous thread, the team is British. Besides Mercedes have serious issues with values these days (DieselGate) that resulted in their business being impacted severely.

        1. @tifoso1989 “DieselGate” is a VAG problem. There’s nothing like as much mud sticking to Mercedes-Benz or BMW

          1. @nvherman

            “DieselGate” is a VAG problem

            No it isn’t. DieselGate unfolded with Volkswagen back in September 2015 and many suspected that other German car manufacturers were also cheating emissions tests. But it wasn’t until 2017 that other car makers were targeted and an investigation into Porsche and Daimler was triggered by the German Authorities.
            In 2018 the German government has ordered Daimler to recall ~ 240,000 vehicles in Germany after they were found to be fitted with the illegal software and in 2019 Daimler agreed to pay a €870 million fine as part of settlement with the German prosecutors.
            Daimler are still expecting more trouble and legal disputes with the regulators and estimated that the additional costs for covering those disputes and car recalls would cost the them around €1.5 billion

        2. I wonder whether it could be even more British than Red Bull?!

    15. I voted for strongly disagree. VB should be kept unless he’d suddenly start to out-perform quite a lot. Should he irrespective of his performance have to leave, it’d be fairer to replace him with George Russell instead to give him a chance in a top team. I expect the same current line-up to remain yet again, but in case not, I’d be more in favor of this alternative than replacing him with Seb.

    16. It would be a great driver line-up if paired with Hamilton, but I don’t see it happening.
      I’m not sure what’s in it for Lewis. If he beats Vettel then it’s just what people expected, but if they are close, or Vettel stronger, then it devaluates somewhat Hamilton’s titles.
      Mercedes should enter into discussions with Vettel though. It is the only German world champion on the market, and that will not change soon. And it will allow them to play harder to limit salary expectations from Hamilton. If all goes wrong with Hamilton negotiations then a Vettel Russell partnership could be the ideal continuation for the team.

    17. Over 2017-2019 Vettel proved quite clearly that he isn’t as good as Hamilton behind the wheel. So, if you are going to have a second driver who isn’t as good as Hamilton why spend all that money on Vettel when you already have Bottas doing the job just fine for much less money?

    18. Of course not.

    19. I bet Vettel wouldn’t mind to be paid the same as Bottas if that meant being in a Merc

      And if that is a real possibility, if I was Toto I wouldn’t even blink

      Also, I’m pretty sure that Vettel and Hamilton would only admit losing between them without creating too much of a fuss

      No brainer, Merc, sign the guy

    20. If the 2020 Mercedes car is far ahead of the rest of the field like pre season testing suggested, Mercedes have a duty of care to at least give us an in team fight for the championship. Ditch bottas, bring in vettel and let the entertainment commence.

    21. Although a Vettel Hamilton line[up from a fan perspective would be epic, from a realistic team perspective it would be disaster. It would ruin the harmony the team has now and probably destroy both racers season. Still as a fan I would love if they did it. Lewis and Seb do get along… But then Lewis and Nico were once best friends.

    22. Considering vote result, everyone has a strong oppinion on this.

      That is why I want to see him in Mercedes. We will have something to discuss here.

      Fireworks, etc, no doubt Lewis would be faster, but to no end we would discuss reasons for it. Or what if he was faster? Imagine the online drama?

    23. If it were for this season alone then it would be great to see in an already messed up season. But 2021 is going to be a pretty serious year despite the rule change delay and no way are Merc going to sign him.

      Seb had a bad year last year and add the Ferrari constantly getting things wrong it looked worse for him. But Seb in a reliable, consistent and mostly organized team he still could shine. Great for us, nightmare for a team.

    24. JR Love (@dermechaniker)
      17th May 2020, 14:33

      Mercedes doesn’t need a German driver stuffing a German car into a wall at the German Grand Prix. What a glorious marketing statement that would make!

      VET has lost his form. He is an expensive risk on a downward career trajectory. Ferrari clearly didn’t think it was worth keeping him.

      Mercedes had a mess with ROS vs. HAM. Based on VET’s record of behavior, it would be worse with him in the car. Mutual respect is one thing when you’re in opposing teams, it’s a completely different thing when you’re in the same team.

    25. Many have looked at this from a racing point of view, which makes sense. And there it would not have much benefit for Mercedes to hire Vettel.
      But there can be some political reasons why it could still happen…
      If Daimler/Mercedes is really unhappy with the cost of the F1 operation, especially now with the pandemic, they may want to hear a cost saving reason to justify continuing the programme. On top of that a wish for a German driver could be an additional argument for the top-management to push for a Vettel-Bottas line-up…

      1. Hamilton marketing benefits are worth millions if not billions. Why ditch him for a guy who doesn’t even have a social media page not to mention that he’s a slower driver? Mercedes most important Markers right now are China and the USA. They need as much support as they can in financially trying times.

        1. I know that @david-beau, but I don’t know what the (marketing) managers in Germany are thinking…

        2. Its hilarious that you think a social media page is the tipping point of driver hireability.

          1. xcm, it is reflective of the fact that the two drivers have very markedly different approaches towards the fan base and how they interact with the press – out of the two, Vettel has tended to be far less enthusiastic about interacting with social media or the press.

            In the past, Bernie openly complained that Vettel was “not doing much for F1” and actively hurt his attempts to market the sport because of Vettel’s lack of interest in engaging with activities outside of motorsport. In particular, he complained that Vettel doesn’t really command much popular support in Germany either. The Hockenheimring also suggested that Vettel’s lack of popular support and disinterest in marketing actively hurt them as well, as they cited public apathy towards Vettel as a contribution towards a slump in ticket sales.

            Quite a few fan surveys of recent years have also indicated that Vettel’s been losing ground in terms of popularity and fan interest, with Hamilton, Verstappen and Kimi tending to be much more popular and newer drivers, such as Leclerc, Norris or Albon also tapping in to the current zeitgeist as well.

            1. The corollary is that Mr Ecclestone, by putting races behind the paywall, did far more damage to F1 than Vettel’s desire for obscurity when away from the racetrack. I suspect that when arriving in a country F1 drivers could tell very quickly whether the races were on Free to Air TV or behind the paywall. One can add to that Mr Ecclestone’s insistence that TV cameras follow a few select cars on the race track and ignore the rest contributed to serious financial disadvantage to the other teams. This is something I commend Liberty Media for, they have been far better at ensuring each team gets seen on TV.

    26. Personally I think they should. I don’t think that Vettel became a bad driver, more that he has lost his way of late. I think being in a German team with Hamilton will fire him up to perform and realistically I would say that Hamilton will likely retire at the end of ’21, ’22.a future Vettel and Russell line up would be pretty handy.

    27. There’s two sides to this:

      If I were Merc I wouldn’t hire Vettel, because he’s too full of himself to play 2nd fiddle. However, as a spectator I’d love to see this fight happen. It’s bad for Merc, but great for the viewers!

      But it’s never going to happen, because both Hamilton and Vettel will retire before there will be any F1 races again. The kids are enjoying themselves on the simulators meanwhile, but for the old guard, this is the perfect time to quit.

    28. Are this many people afraid of seeing Ham beaten? Honestly, especially on a vets first year he shouldn’t stand a chance Ham is too good. Ros had ham covered in 2013 and it was neck and neck in 2014. The teams faith does decide who wins.

      1. Tommy Scragend
        17th May 2020, 15:09

        153 race victories? Not quite!

        It’s 137. Hamilton 84, Vettel 53.

        1. Tommy Scragend
          17th May 2020, 15:09

          That wasn’t meant to be a reply, sorry

      2. No they are not. Most of them are Verstappen fans who dread the thought of Vettel returning to Red Bull and making a better fist of of taking the fight to Hamilton than Max seems to be able to.

      3. @peartree.
        Neck and neck in 2014?
        Yeah, sure. 11 wins vs. 6 wins.

    29. Vettel has no chance against Hamilton. Only driver on the grid that has a chance of scoring more points in A Season than Ham is Max. Really like Vettel, his personality and humor but he no longer is an elite driver on the same level as Lewis and Max.

      1. Aw shame little boy. The adults are chatting here.

    30. Jockey Ewing
      17th May 2020, 15:11

      I’d like it, but then when will Russell get a good car? Iceing him for 3-4years is the waste of the show.
      I’d like some racing league format where drivers and teams can relegate from a championship if they underperfrom (so likely multi tier, so there are feeder series too).
      Although that is not easy to evaluate unless cars are equal.

      I can’t help thinking about things like this, because today’s world and motorsport still not heading to a
      honest and pure direction. They can’t choose the cheap innovation, they can’t act super brave, because too much money involved, and every stakeholder wants its share, as they are used to have that previously, even if that’s impractical, and this slowly and steadily escalated.

      I don’t want to wait years to see whether the new aero rules are sufficient enough to have wheel to wheel racing or whether that looks promising enough, but should be emphasized a bit more, or just plain bad so everyone is happy, or just plain bad. Could be done, would be cheaper, but there are the uncertainties and random results, and those collides with the stakeholders interest. Btw despite of these I enjoy strategic battles,
      and I realise that at those speeds it will never be about overtaking eachother all the time. I like the genre, but I don’t like dishonesty.

      And then there is the shifting towards electric propulsion, what I don’t hate, but yet to imagine an electric or almost electric Ferrari racercar or a road going one. I believe, that a top series could afford to use only naturally aspirated, or turbo engines. To put up a show with twentysome drivers and races per year, you don’t have to be green, and even many rational green hearted people can abstract away and enjoy some refreshing exceptions. So I can imagine F1’s future as electric, or in a back to the roots manner, and of course as being beaten by a more honest and pure emerging series.

      1. Jockey Ewing
        17th May 2020, 15:13

        correction: … or just plain good, so everyone is happy …

    31. Sorry for Valtteri, but even in the worst moment of his carreet Seb has “more blood” through his veins.

      1. Yes, Seb has certainly had many occasions where he has had an extra rush of blood to the head, it’s his biggest fault.

    32. With Vettel past his prime, it is the perfect moment for Mercedes to hire him.

      Advantages:

      – Will race for free (right?)
      – Might have a vendetta against Ferrari, might revenge himself by ramming red cars
      – Apparently wants to study engineering after retirement, option to rotate into engineering internship as plan B
      – And all the rest (great branding, historic pairing, British culture fit etc.)

      Disadvantages

      – Might crash into team-mate
      – Might crash (in general)

      It’s a no-brainer!

    33. “…while taking care not to destabilise the team the way his predecessor did”
      That was not Nico’s only contribution. He became WDC and spiced up otherwise rather boring seasons. Something we haven’t seen from Valtteri yet.
      Can Seb do better? I don’t know, but I am keen to find out!

      1. @zomtec
        That was not Nico’s contributions. He needed a substantial help from his team to “spice up” the seasons.

    34. Neil (@neilosjames)
      17th May 2020, 17:01

      It might have been a decent fight 5 years ago but Vettel has gone backwards since then while Hamilton seems close to his best. I can remember a fair bit of excitement about Alonso and Raikkonen before 2014 (well, some people thought it’d be a great fight, others didn’t), and it turned out to be a one-sided rout.

      Not sure it would be that bad, but I can’t honestly see present day Vettel bothering Hamilton even as much as Bottas does.

      So for me… it makes no sense for Vettel because it’d just be another ‘lost to that guy’ season… it makes no sense for Mercedes because they’d be breaking up a successful team for no improvement… it also makes no sense for Mercedes because he’d cost more than Bottas… and an extra ‘makes no sense’ is that they have a junior programme, and bringing in an outsider for no apparent reason would possibly undermine that. And it makes no sense for me because I like watching decent fights, not past-it champions getting battered.

      So, strongly disagree.

    35. The fact that such a scenario has come up and we constantly keep ‘reminding’ ourselves “there is no way that it will happen”, makes me think more and more that it will actually happen !!! I mean crazier things have happened in the past…

      From Toto’s perspective there is no way that he’ll drop Bottas, a driver who plays ball with team orders and is his client as his manager nonetheless, in favor of an erratic Vettel.
      Buuut from Mercedes CEO’s etc perspective if they wish to get involved, Vettel will probably drive for the same price as him. Plus he is German, a big plus for a German-controled company such as Mercedes and he’s much more marketable and more exciting character than ‘boring porridge’ Bottas.

      And in the end, in an era where every team goes for the youngest driver available because they want to build their teams with young blood, Mercedes, who are constantly rumored to leave F1 in 3-5 years time, could go (and can afford to go) in an opposite direction from young inexperienced drivers… pairing the two most successful drivers of the decade (and the most successful duo in the history of F1 in general) in the same killer machine and leaving F1 with a bang that everyone remembers. It would be MEGA and it could change the view that the Mercedes’s years were boring filled with team orders.

      1. @black
        “Boring filled team orders”?
        You h@ters must have really seen your own movie, instead of F1 racing.

    36. F1 teams keep talking about creating and cementing legacy. Mercedes, after 6 continuous years of domination, have not a lot more to prove. This gives them that opportunity. A dream team not seen since Prost-Senna (Alonso-Hamilton was an unexpected one and people didn’t realise until it was over). They will go down as the one (and chances are only) team in F1 history to have a driver pairing with 10 world titles between them. Come on Mercedes, take the shot. Give F1 fans a real matchup. One that will instantly give the sport so devastated by the current situation a massive boost.

    37. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      17th May 2020, 17:28

      Positives out way the risk for me. German driver, huge marketing for Mercedes, 4 x world champion. The two really seem to get along and have respect, Seb is a pro and will excel under the more structured approach of Mercedes. Ultimately I think Lewis will be able to beat Seb fairly comfortably so I can’t see it getting too tense between them. But it gives the sport huge excitement and all eyes and column inches will be on Mercedes when there are a lot of other big stories floating around. It’s worth the risk surely. No disrespect to Valterri, he’s the perfect number 2.

    38. RedBull or Ferrari
      Vettle is only as good as the car is.
      The answer is obvious.

      Team owners, please do Vettle a solid one and force him into retirement from Grand Prix racing.

      He came he conquered and now he can’t even keep up with Charlie Clerk. Trying to, brings the worst out of this once dominant driver. Four back to back Championships clearly shows he is only as good as the car. All the years at Ferrari finds him barely winning or struggling that then ends up in only ugly reputation damage.

      So force his retirement F1. You are well experienced in this matter. When a driver can no longer effectively win with a strong team, then the message is clear.

      Get rid of a proven winning driver and roll the dice on the potential of youth who effectively have little F1 level ability but tons of promise and most certain a reputation of greatness.

    39. I guess Hamilton fans are against xD
      Vettel would smash him totaly in same car

      1. Sure…if you mean smash right into him every chance he gets and spoil HAM’s chances of equalling Schumacher’s WDC record.

        VET’s never beat any teammate that performed beyond average and HAM’s arguably the apex F1 driver right now.

      2. Yea, Makes you wonder why Ferrari kicked him out, and no one else wants him when he would smash Hamilton like you say.

      3. @djordjeps
        Hamilton h@ters, you are the most ridiculous and hilarious bunch of chaps in the history of the sport, lol!

      4. I consider myself as a Hamilton fan, and I would love to see Hamilton and Vettel toghether at Mercedes.

    40. With Rosberg-Hamilton, they scored 86% of wins, 95% of poles, and 53% of 1-2s. With Hamilton-Bottas, they scored 61% W 61% PP 53% 1-2. It’s only fair to imagine numbers would go back to stunning under Vettel-Hamilton.

      In the end, it depends on how Mercedes feel about figures.

      1. With Rosberg-Hamilton, they scored 86% of wins, 95% of poles, and 53% of 1-2s.

        Of course, between 2014-2016.

        1. OMG, another error: HAM-BOT scored only 27% of 1-2s.

          I would make good use of an edit button, Keith!

      2. @niefer Vettel is clearly worse than Bottas. So it would only get worse for Mercedes. Vettel might be slightly in Q3 than Bottas (if he is even that), but Bottas is more able to not drive into other cars or spin off the track like Vettel keeps doing.

        Besides your numbers are daft. Ferrari had a car slightly better than Ferrari for 2017 and a much better car for 2018. Ofd course Vettel blundering away so many races still helped Hamilton/Mercedes to the better part of the wins, but still. You cannot compare the years when Mercedes was actually dominating with when they were actually the team behind.

        It’s a testament to Bottas that they still manage to keep up. Look at how Rosberg would falter at races where Mercedes wasn’t dominating.

    41. Bah.

      What has Vettel done to deserve another shot in a top team? It would be interesting to see but I suspect Vettel would get wiped out, as much because of Hamilton being so settled in the team as any on-track stuff.

      Vettel’s career is quite interesting, in that there’s a very clear decline beginning in 2014 and rarely hitting his RBR heights thereafter, possibly showing him to be one of those drivers who is perfectly suited to one specific formula/setup etc rather than a more “natural” driver like Hamilton has proven himself to be. Would Mercedes want to be dealing with that, let alone the myriad other complications arising from hiring a big name who seems to have lost the spring in his step? Where’s the respect for Bottas, anyway?

    42. No. Vettel is well past his prime and would be completely out of his depth against Hamilton at Mercedes. Is it really necessary to see his reputation dented any further? That’s not a vote for Bottas.

    43. I’d say yes. Mercedes has been very loyal towards Hamilton, perhaps a bit too loyal after Rosberg quit. Bottas has only been there as a Barrichello, fast enough to win races, but clearly been a number 2.

      It’s time he gets a little less comfortable. Ricciardo probably deserved that seat, but I understand why he moved so fast on that McLaren vacancy. The fastest car on the grid deserves two drivers that can fight for the WDC.

      1. Hadn’t Mercedes being loyal to Hamilton, they would have lost 2018 title. And probably 2017 one, too.

    44. The prospect sounds great on paper but I fear such a pairing would be very one sided and Hamilton would run away with the championship. I rated vettel as a driver in 2013. Now, not so much. He seems to have lost the bulletproof consistency that have been the hallmarks of Alonso and Hamilton’s careers.

    45. PMccarthy_is_a_legend (@pmccarthy_is_a_legend)
      18th May 2020, 0:14

      Anybody who votes disagree can’t call themselves a fan. If you are a fan you want to see two WC going head to head in the same team. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
      It is great fun. It is enjoyable and exciting to watch.
      Is it going to happen? Very unlikely, but still one can dream…

      1. @pmccarthy_is_a_legend – bang on right mate – and that’s why I said I Agree !!!!

      2. @pmccarthy_is_a_legend We have seen Vettel ruin two potentially epic season. 2017 and 2018 would have been utterly epic with a more skilled racer in that Ferrari. 2019 would have been a lot better too.

        It would be better to see Vettel at Renault and see if he could even manage to beat Ocon.

    46. In my opinion, might be a minority, but I have a lot of experience with recent f1 to say I’m pretty confident vettel would NOT be an upgrade over bottas, he might be faster on occasion but makes so many mistakes bottas would score more than vettel.

      When you add the team harmony factor it’s a no brainer ofc.

    47. What a rhetorical question. Who wouldn’t love to see that. Just as we’d have loved to see Alonso there for the last years.

      What a crazy sport when top drawer champions like Alonso and Vettel can’t get a good seat.

      Some team bosses are just too protective of their bromances. F1 should be about ultimate challenges, not stroking people’s backs. It’s so wrong.

    48. There was a pretty good example of what can be accomplished by having the current best drivers as teammates. Plus they shared the greatest McLaren at the time. I believe it was Brazilian who ruined it for seeing his teammate get the better of him. The bone head move at Suzuka brought an awareness of how desperate drivers act out. Blah blah blah…
      Put Vettle in the same car as Lewis?
      A good PR stunt for sure but what’s the point. Too much time wasted trying to better each other. Remember Nico?

    49. I’d be epic to watch, but it makes no sense for Mercedes. Plus, why would Vettel run from Ricciardo and now Leclerc just to go to Hamilton’s team?

    50. Nah, i’m bored of Seb v Lewis…we saw enough of their rivalry 2017 & 2018. Makes sense to keep Bottas….he makes less mistakes than Vettel. Then bring Russell in a year or two, to learn the ropes from Hamilton. Vettel’s form over the last couple of years has been poor. Merc would be mad to sign him

    51. Maybe if Hamilton leaves it would make sense, but I’d say getting Russel would make more sense then. Even Bottas is probably a better choice than Vettel anyway (at least he brings the car home without spinning/crashing so much) and Russel would be their future champion.

    52. It will be another year of “Mein Gott muss das sein” if they do.

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