Vettel not considering Ferrari exit before end of season

2020 F1 season

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Sebastian Vettel rebuffed speculation he could leave Ferrari before the end of the season following the poor performance the team has shown.

The opening race of the season confirmed suspicions the team has lost a significant amount of ground to its rivals. Vettel is already due to leave Ferrari at the end of 2020.

But speaking before Sunday’s race, when he was eliminated on the first lap by Charles Leclerc, Vettel rejected the suggestion he could bring forward his departure.

“No, I don’t think so,” he said. “I’m not running away from it.

“I think I have something to prove mostly to myself, and that’s what I’m here for. A lot of guys in the team have given so much to me in the last couple of years. And just out of respect, I want to give that support back and bring it to a worthy end. So I’m not at all even considering running away.”

Vettel’s options for the 2021 F1 season are dwindling. In the last week Renault has handed its empty seat for next year to Fernando Alonso, while Red Bull and Racing Point both denied the four-times world champion was under consideration for next year.

Drivers, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
List of 2021 F1 drivers and teams
“Obviously my future at this stage is open. Anything is possible,” said Vettel.

“If the right package comes up, then I’m very interested. If not, then I’m certainly not the type of guy that just hangs around just to participate or grab some money. I think that has never been my intention.”

He said his options are “remaining in Formula 1, taking a break or quitting” and admitted “it’s a very big question that I am also asking myself first” about his future.

“I’ve known nothing else so far in my life,” he added. “Racing is my life.

“Everything else is sort of out of my hands and certainly, it’s a busy period. But I’m up for the challenge and strong enough to overcome this as well.”

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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...
Josh Holland
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75 comments on “Vettel not considering Ferrari exit before end of season”

  1. Is that a jab at Kimi, who Seb supposedly liked?

    1. Kimi isn’t in it for the money. Any fool can see that. He still loves what he does.

      1. Exactly, I didnt understand the criticism when he went to the B team. For him it is about racing. If you dont pay him, I guess he will show up anyway. He is the real deal

        1. 100% agree. Kimi certainly isn’t there for the money.

          1. Yeah except when Lotus couldn’t pay him in 2012 he did not show up for the last few races. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying he should have raced for free, just saying :)

        2. @David He didn’t take part in the last two races of 2013 not because of that, but due to back pain.

          1. @jerejj 2013, you are correct. But are you sure he wouldn’t have waiting till the end of his contract with that back surgery have Lotus paid him as per his contract?

            Again please don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming him, just meant to be a reply to @Maryton ‘If you dont pay him, I guess he will show up anyway’

          2. @jerejj there were those who suspected that, whilst Kimi did have some issues with his back, he was playing those issues up so he could avoid voiding his contract with Lotus and still demand payment from them, yet protest against them by not driving for them.

            Kimi had already indicated that he was considering not driving for Lotus because he was not being paid for his services shortly before his back problems. Furthermore, shortly after it was announced that he was joining Ferrari, he explicitly stated “The reason why I left the team is really on the money side. The team said they haven’t got my salary. It’s an unfortunate thing.”.

            It’s not to say that the back problems were completely fabricated, but rather that some felt that he perhaps exploited the situation to get out of driving for Lotus.

            David, as you note, Kimi was certainly within his rights to press for what he was entitled to under his contract, although Kimi never drove for free for Lotus. It was reported that Kimi was still getting his basic salary payments from Lotus – what Kimi was complaining about was that he wasn’t paid the additional performance related bonuses that he was also entitled to.

    2. Piotr (@piotrzukowski)
      14th July 2020, 8:49

      @zimkazimka you can like somebody and still not agree with his life or career choices.

    3. No, I don’t think so at all. For him racing is clearly more important than money and that’s what he’s alluding to I think.
      And for Kimi it’s just a hobby :)

    4. Why does it have to be a dig at aynone? Maybe he just speaks his mind about his own intentions. There’s not always another story deeper down like some people always seem to crave.

    5. nah, I think everyone hates seb it is just that. he is annoying. I must say, he doesn’t trigger me as much as he triggers the media.

  2. Seb needs to do everything he can to beat Leclerc this season.

    I was never his biggest fan but he was a worthy champion at Red Bull and deserves more than to leave the sport with a whimper.

    1. Seb needs to do everything he can to beat Leclerc this season.

      Like driving lap 1 very cautiously ;)
      @sonnycrockett

      1. @coldfly

        Ha! Yes, that would help!

        I don’t know about you but I hate seeing a successful person lose their powers. Love him or loathe him, Vettel was a top driver and I’d rather not see him leave F1 a shadow of his former self.

        1. Fully agree, @sonnycrockett.
          I cannot believe he suddenly lost the skills he had at STR/RBR and even the first year(s) at Ferrari.
          I hope he shows us this year that he still has it, and picks up a nice drive next year.

          1. Seb didnt lose his skills, he still got the partial skills he always had. A lot of people however think he had allround skills since he is a Champion. That is not true imho. He is fast on an empty track. Maybe even the fastest out there. But never ever put him in traffic. Only Mercedes would benefit from Vettel. All other teams would be completely … should they hire him

          2. Mayrtlon, that’s simply a load of rubbish. Just look at races like Abu Dhabi 2012, Brazil 2012 and Germany 2019 for some prime examples of Vettel’s overtaking allowing him to come back up to the front after falling to the back.

        2. Yes but everyone does it eventually, that’s why they leave the sport and not continue on forever.

    2. Why? Because he drove off in the distance from pole for four years?

      1. You mean he beat his team mate who was driving an identical car in all four years?

      2. Thats it vettel looked better then he was because he was in a dominant team with a slow teammate and preferential treatment from red bull. Every single good teammate he has had he true skills have shown

        1. Was Webber that much worse than Rosberg?

          1. Absolutely. Rosberg is very much like Vettel – very fast and an excellent qualifier, but by F1 standards an average racer. Webber isn’t in the same category, at least the last three years Vettel won titles.

          2. @hollidog one thing we do know at least is that, back in 2010, Webber drove the last four races with a fractured shoulder and having to take injections of painkillers so he could drive the car.

            That was the second time in two years that Webber had suffered from a major accident – he’d been hit by a car and broken both his shoulder and his leg in 2008 when he was run over whilst out cycling – so it is perhaps not unreasonable to assume that, in late 2010 and early 2011 at least, he wouldn’t have been in the best physical condition and potentially performing below his maximum potential.

      3. Tommy Scragend
        15th July 2020, 16:38

        Why? Because he drove off in the distance from pole for four years?

        You mean like in 2010, when Vettel never led the championship until he won it at the last race? Or 2012, when there were seven different winners in the first seven races, and Vettel only won one of the first 13?

        Yeah, he totally drove off into the distance from pole for four years.

    3. + 1 I too agree with this.

  3. Albon and Perez need to avoid mistakes, otherwise, it is their seat on the line as well.

    1. @peartree If anyone would be at risk of losing his drive despite being under contract purely based on on-track stuff, it’d be Stroll rather than Perez.

      1. @peartree As for Albon: He hasn’t really done any mistakes. He only needs to achieve the minimum position-wise at the very least (which he did last time out), but also be closer to his teammate and the Mercedes-drivers on pace, which I’m positive he can achieve, so I’m not worried about him. He, after all, has done better than Gasly managed over the first twelve events of last season.

        1. But Albon is still quite a bit slower than Verstappen @jerejj. That is a failing in the eyes of Red Bull.

          And if Mateschitz wants to bring in Vettel, he will use that as an argument to agree with his Thai co-owners to put Albon into Alpha Tauri for a year or two.

          1. @bascb The Thai co-owners own a larger portion of the Red Bull company than Mateschitz and guess under which flag does Albon compete? Not only would bringing Seb in be against the team’s long tradition that dates back 13 years but even without considering this, Albon still has the upper hand due to again the Thai-family owning a larger portion of the company and him racing under the Thai-flag.

          2. @jerejj Vettel joining would actually be in line with their more recent tradition of bringing former Red Bull juniors back into the fold; Hartley, Kvyat and Albon.

          3. As I wrote @jerejj, IF Mateschitz wants to put Vettel in there, he will use Albon’s lack of pace vs. Verstappen as an argument to convince the Thai to go along.

            Will he do that? Will they agree? We will only know if it happens.

        2. @jerejj stroll owns the team. I like Perez but he should have had 2 podiums. I like Albon too but he is too far and getting into risky situations, as bascb pointed out, he would return to Tauri.

          1. @peartree Hence the wording ”purely based on on-track stuff.” He, of course, is guaranteed of a drive there as long as Lawrence is there.
            I don’t know where you get that Checo should’ve had ‘two’ podiums. He wasn’t anywhere near achieving a top-three position in the last race, but in the first race, yes, he could’ve been in a position to benefit from LH’s 5-second time penalty had he both not earned one for himself and pitted under the last SC-period.

          2. @jerejj he was quicker than max, had he started where that car belongs he could have taken advantage of verstappens broken wing. the mercs were, judging by how littel kerb they used, parading around.

      2. Lol stroll owns the team he could finish last every race and he would still have his seat

  4. Seb might move to Mercedes before the end of the season when Bottas is taken by a virus (or excluded by FIA due to reckless behaviour off track).

    1. Russell would be a much better option.

      1. Also Russell is managed by Toto Wolf and is a Mercedes driver.

    2. Why would Mercedes take a new older driver? They would much rather use so.done younger that can stay on for years.

  5. What media asked that kind of question? The Sun? InfoWars?

    1. @ruliemaulana Same question. Why would Seb not complete the year with the team?

      Seriously, who asked this? the fact that it made a full article here also raises some questions… “Vettel rejected the suggestions”… Who made those suggestions? We need the other half of the story…

  6. Who the hell asked that question?

    :D What kind a journo would ask it?

    Geez. In any case Right now it seems like retirement for him. Everyone else has seats under contract. Only Hamilton is still free.

    I still think Red Bull is the team with the worst #2 driver, of the top teams and no really good driver in lower categories.

    Mercedes will now have Bottas + Hamilton or Bottas + Russel.

    Who has room then? Haas? Williams might have an opening. Real ‘strong front running’ teams.

    1. @jureo The thing is that the Red Bull-backed drivers in the lower categories don’t have enough super license-points yet, but as soon as they have, it’s a different matter, and I suspect Kvyat is going to be the first one to let go.

      1. Both Kvyat and Gasly have shown not to be on championship level.

        Mercedes have a different problem, Ferrari have a bunch of junior drivers aswell.

        There is a question if Vettel still is a top driver.

        Leclerc is now considered to be the real deal, Vettel is faster than him sometimes. But if the teams really believed he was really good, they would sign him up right away. So now they are saving face, because he is a 4-time world champion.

  7. Just a thought. I don’t believe in this but I had this in my mind. What if the crash was deliberate. Ferrari has been so off the pace that they didn’t want to look so bad in Austria and crashed just to get away from the horrific car they have. Also Hungaroring should suit them better because there are not any long straights and they could be a bit better and faster in there?

    1. Honestly i think they will be faster but i think Mercedes is still in front. Or RB fixed the drag (little) they seems to have.

    2. @qeki Leclerc came 2nd at the same track a week previous. I don’t think they wanted to both go out on the first lap! Not sure how you could think such a thing!

    3. Just silly to think of that. Ferrari had much more to gain by accumulating data of the old parts versus the new parts on the same track! First updates, and now they don’t even know if they have gone in the right direction with them.

      1. @john-h It was just a random thought nothing serious. I wrote it just for fun :)

        But on a serious note they really have to do someting big to turn things around. Even though every track isn’t Spielberg.

    4. Both cars on first lap is far worse than any other alternative. Its embarrassing, loses you a chance for any points, prevents you from gathering data for further developement, etc.

  8. Looks like he is truly off to an unpaid Sebbatical.
    Sorry guys, It’s been a long off season, I’ll see myself out.

    1. And if he leaves before the end of the season he won’t be alonso.

      Let’s play outside, @aaaa!

  9. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    14th July 2020, 12:32

    There’s a seat open in a pretty decent car.

  10. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    14th July 2020, 12:51

    Ready, read this:

    Since 2009
    Red Bull Total Points: 4,621.5
    Vettel: 2,944

    Red Bull points excluding all of Vettel’s points (2009-2014): 3,044.5

    The last number includes 5 seasons of Red Bull having 2 drivers (Vettel at Ferrari) with 4 seasons for Danny Ric and 4 seasons for Verstappen.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      14th July 2020, 15:28

      In case the point wasn’t clear (no pun intended), the main point is that Vettel will remain in the books as one of the most winning and scoring drivers of all time even if he retires. Red Bull’s success will always be attributed to Vettel and vice versa regardless of whether win another title down the road.

      He’s the reason they won 8 championships and Red Bull are the reason he won them. You can make the case that Red Bull was at least going win one of each with a possible outcome of 2 of each but without Vettel, they would never have seen 8 championships. Not in an era when Alonso and Hamilton were in relatively competitive cars.

    2. So you’re saying that before 2020 Vettel had more points on average per season at Ferrari ((2944-(4621.5-3044.5)-X-1)/5) than he had on average at Red Bull ((4621.5-3044.5)/6) if he had less than X points at STR ;)

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        14th July 2020, 16:00

        @coldfly actually the point is that if you tally Mark Webber’s career points, add Daniel Ricciardo’s career points and then add Max Verstappen’s, you almost have the points that Vettel has scored in his career :-)

        It’s almost comical that he has nearly as many points as all 3 of them combined :-) He’s also 4-0 in Championships and 53-23 in wins compared to the holy trinity of Red Bull.

        Granted there was a different point system before and Ric has driven less than Vettel as has Verstappen.

        1. I guess the car might have a huge importance in that…

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            15th July 2020, 12:30

            @esploratore of course he was put in the fastest cars but you can’t fault the team for doing that anymore than faulting Real Madrid for hiring Ronaldo. Is it Real Madrid’s fault that they hired him and he would score 50 goals per season? Would they have been better with another striker scoring 20 goals per season?

            Of course Vettel would be in the best car just as Ronaldo would be at the best soccer team. That doesn’t make the goals or points automatic.

            If we used the soccer analogy, then Webber, Ricciardo, and Verstappen together have scored fewer goals than Vettel playing at the same team.

            Sure Verstappen made a lot of mistakes, sure Danny was slower than Verstappen and chose to go to Renault where he’d score half the points, sure Webber got Benzema treatment and probably didn’t deserve it.

            At the end of the day, Vettel has 3,000 points and 4 WDC titles and the others don’t… And Red Bull is struggling to see P3…

  11. The question should be:
    – will Ferrari want Seb to drive for them until the end?

    I would bet on them doing such move rather than Seb leaving.

  12. I feel a little sorry for Seb. I cannot really see much of a future in F1 for him though, even if he takes a year out.

    I guess there might be a vacancy at one of the slower teams come the end of 2021. I mean possibly Haas or Alfa Romeo. Kimi cannot go on forever. But then would Seb really want to take one of these? 2022 does bring a huge change in regulations of course so I guess there might be an opportunity for these teams to show sudden improvement.

    If he wants to keep racing though he is likely to have to look outside of F1. A bit of a sad way to end his career.

  13. I watched Ted’s notebook where apparently Mateschitz wanted Seb to ‘come home’ to Red Bull.
    I can easily see him joining Verstappen next season. I’m not entirely sure Albon is close enough to Max, being 1.5 seconds behind in the rain is not a great sign. I love Alex, he’s a great bloke, but he’s been promoted too early due to Gasly’s poor performance and no other options available. I can easily see Albon being back at Toro Rosso (in place of Kvyat) next season and Vettel at RB.

    1. By the way, I wouldn’t put any value in any words that come from Horner’s mouth. We’ve seen that when Gasly had his ‘full support’. Mateschitz is the boss, and what he says goes, not Horner.

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      14th July 2020, 15:36

      As far as I’m concerned, it’s a done deal. I’m not even sure why Red Bull is wasting their time talking about it. Horner’s comments will just make his life harder next year. Is it worth arguing with Mateschitz over something you should be proposing?

      Albon is a nice kid but he had enough races to prove himself and you can’t compare a 4 time WDC to a driver that ultimately is a good driver but needs to prove himself either way.

      If they sign Vettel, Albon has the remainder of the season to take it to Verstappen and prove to Red Bull that they made a mistake in which case they can put him in an Alpha Tauri or he can get another drive. If he can’t prove his worth, then what’s the point of signing him again?

      The Red Bull seat is a top seat and you need to constantly earn it with the exception of a few drivers who can throw away points and you have to forgive them as they are WDCs.

      1. If I was a racing driver, I would avoid Red Bull like the plague. Such a toxic atmosphere. You either win, or your career is over.

        No way would I drive for either team.

        1. Such a toxic atmosphere.

          strange.. if you speak with team members they all love to work at Red Bull. And lots of them have worked there for years and years. not something you do if the atmosphere is toxic. But a topteam needs performance and drivers that perform on the right level.

      2. @freelittlebirds the thing is, the last of those four titles came seven years ago in the 2013 season – time does not stop for anyone, and you have to bear in mind Vettel’s performances in the subsequent years after that and what his potential career trajectory might be in the coming years, not just fixate solely on those WDCs.

        After all, in some ways it was akin to Mercedes hiring Schumacher in 2010 – he might have been a 7 time WDC, and it was only six years since his last title, but that didn’t stop people questioning whether Mercedes was right to hire Schumacher.

        How much weight are you going to put on his WDCs relative to the performance of Vettel in the subsequent period? Even if he is a 4 time WDC, does not the argument about needing to earn your place still apply?

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          14th July 2020, 22:37

          Valid points, no doubt. Let’s put aside his stint at Red Bull and look only at Vettel’s Ferrari career.

          He won 14 races for Ferrari and about 55+ podiums. He came in P2 in 2 years. Last year, he had a terrible year and still managed to score 240 points some of those with help from the team.

          These aren’t bad performances. Sure Leclerc beat him and Seb doesn’t have an answer as the car is bad for him.

          It’s unlikely that Seb will continue spinning in a Red Bull – Kimi hasn’t since he switched to the Alfa Romeo.

          Either way, Seb still scores a lot of points and Michael Schumacher also scored a lot of points at Mercedes despite his ultra liberal driving style for the midfield.

          Will Seb be a match for Max? Probably not as all drivers in that car have been off the pace compared to Max. But things will change and if the car suits Seb, then Red Bull could find themselves in much better shape.

          Of course, there’s the Halo effect of Red Bull getting the driver who helped win everything for them. I expect Vettel to help energize the team in a way that Max or Daniel failed.

          Obviously Red Bull has proven to everyone and to themselves that they can’t win the championships without Vettel. Vettel couldn’t win them without Red Bull either.

          1. Red bull’s problem is NOT the lack of vettel! Vettel maybe isn’t suited to ferrari and would do better at red bull, but I think the main reason he won is he had a rocketship.

            Red bull’s actual problem is that since vettel left them, mercedes dominance started and NO ONE has been able to win against mercedes, it’s not only a red bull problem, but put a serious driver in place of vettel at ferrari and you win 2018 and 2017 with an exceptional one.

          2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            15th July 2020, 13:00

            @esploratore

            put a serious driver in place of vettel at ferrari and you win 2018 and 2017 with an exceptional one.

            I think Raikonnen is one of the most serious drivers in F1 – just watch his interviews :-) There’s no way to know that. If Raikonnen couldn’t even come close why do you think that another driver would have easily done that?

            If you put any rider in Marquez’s Honda would they have won the last couple of championships?

            Pedrosa couldn’t, Lorenzo couldn’t, Stefan Bradl couldn’t (did he do 1 race?)

            That’s without taking into account the opposition – Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes the 2 years you mentioned. The only thing that can beat Lewis is reliability or a few Latin drivers on track. Otherwise, any driver is fighting for the championship even if they have the quickest car.

  14. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    14th July 2020, 15:26

    I don’t really know where he can go apart from Haas or Williams at the moment – Haas who seem adrift at sea and Williams on the verge of sale. Even rebuilding them will take a lot. Alpha Tauri would be an obvious option to replace Kvyat but if AT is continuing the ‘junior squad’ thing from Toro Rosso I’d say employing a 4 times world champion might be out of their range.

    A Red Bull return would be dramatic and quite interesting to see how he’d fare alongside Verstappen, but that’d mean moving Albon and I’m not sure the Red Bull revolving door programme worked well for Kvyat, or Gasly. I don’t particularly want to see Vettel leave but there’s nowhere really for him to go.

  15. Vettel would host some ping-pong matches between F1 drivers once he retires.

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