Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Vettel: Criticism of Ferrari strategy is “Monday engineering”

2020 Spanish Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel described criticism of Ferrari’s race management as the Formula 1 equivalent of ‘Monday morning quarterbacking’.

The Ferrari driver differed with his team over a strategy call for the second race in a row yesterday. After originally being told to push on his second set of tyres, the team then asked Vettel whether he could make them last until the end of the race, prompting an unimpressed reaction from the driver.

But asked whether the team needs to review how it makes its call Vettel said: “No, I don’t think so.

“We just had a brief chat, I think there is things we always can do better. I suppose if you play ‘Monday engineering’ it’s very easy to know a lot of things that you could have done, you should have done.”

Vettel ultimately made his tyres last until the end of the race and finished seventh, four places higher than he started.

“The important thing is that we agreed to take that risk and obviously it did pay off,” he said. “Where we were I don’t think we had much to lose.”

A brief portion of Vettel’s radio communication was broadcast on the world television feed by Formula 1. Vettel said people shouldn’t jump to conclusions based on the small extracts they may have heard.

“It’s normal that you communicate,” he said. “I think it’s very weird for you to judge because you don’t get all the… I don’t know, whoever is selecting which radio transmissions to broadcast and which not, I think it’s very difficult there for you to know what is being said and get the full picture.

“But I think it was nothing outstanding. Obviously, it’s a lot of managing tyres here and as I said at the end we took the decision and we stick to it.”

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said the important point was that the team reached the correct decision on Vettel’s strategy.

“Something that we decided together with the drivers is that we should be open as we can,” he said. “Sometimes questioning doesn’t mean that it’s a misunderstanding.

“I think questioning ourselves by communicating it’s important finally to get the right choice. I felt that the last few races we made the right choice, sometimes lucky as Seb said, but at least we came to the choice because we are communicating.

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“To be open on the radio, when you’re in the midfield, sometimes it’s difficult but just making sure at least just by questioning, again, we make the proper decision.”

Vettel, who will leave Ferrari at the end of the season, has been noticeably quieter on the radio in recent rounds. He remained silent after taking the chequered flag 12th in the previous race at Silverstone. During qualifying last weekend he said nothing at all in between spells in the pits, though the team saidhe was in communication with his team at other times.

However Binotto said he has not perceived a change in Vettel’s tone in his communication with the team while on track.

“I do not notice [this],” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “At least from our side, we’ve not changed a different type of tone or whatever, so [I’m] quite surprised. It’s not the case.”

Vettel’s radio exchange over his strategy

To VettelWhat do you think about going to the end with these tyres?
VettelOh for fuck’s sake. I asked you this before. Now I’ve been pushing for three laps.
To VettelYeah I understand, we are just checking.
VettelIt depends, yeah. It depends. How many laps to go?
To Vettel16 laps and we think to be five laps short.
VettelWhat’s the pace of the other people that stopped?
To Vettel22.6
VettelOK here’s the task for you. 22.6 to the end and then what do I have to do to stay ahead?
To VettelI’ll come back to you.
To VettelA 23.4, 23.5 to the end.
VettelI can do, I can do that. We can try, we’ve got nothing to lose.
To VettelWe are P5. That’s what I was asking for.

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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...
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22 comments on “Vettel: Criticism of Ferrari strategy is “Monday engineering””

  1. i know vettel gets a lot of hate (going back to when people used get angry about ‘the finger’) but honestly i never understood why: here’s a fast driver, multi-champion, who’s not a total pr machine and genuinely looks like a decent person!

    this here kinda shows what i’m about: it’s pretty obvious that vettel is frustrated with ferrari and probably thinks he wasn’t given a fair treatment. and what did he do? in a moment of frustration, he vented on the radio and it was broadcasted. now, he could pretty much doubled down on it: he has, on he’s on word, “nothing to lose”. but instead he didn’t back down on his criticism but also said essentially “it’s frustrating but it happens and i trust the team. class act, imo!

    1. Most people no? Internet can always throw up a keyboard warrior lying on his bed eating crisps, hating the world but that’s hardly comment consent. I’ve always thought Seb to be one of the few on the grid who would be genuinely good company. Maybe we are in the minority. The sad thing is his form is so bad that even the haters have got bored and gone to poke sticks at Hamilton/Grosjean/Stroll.

      A fine career that is ending with a whimper

      1. Agree with that sentiment. People like to go off about how bad Vettel’s character is based on 2 or 3 incidents, and it’s like they’re blind to everything else.

  2. The Ferrari driver differed with his team over a strategy call

    No he didn’t. He was just annoyed, because he didn’t understand what was going on.

    After the team explained they wanted to gamble a 1-stop rather than continue pushing and go for a 2-stop. he was fine with it.

    He could have been a lot more understanding about the process and less negative in his communication, but even in hindsight everything went fine. They made the 1-stop work and it propelled Vettel to P5.

    1. You forget ( and not shown in the transcript) he was asked to push (and did so for three laps) shortly after he changed tires..
      First push and then going till the end is a strange tactic. Its the best way to ruin your Pirellis it seems.

      1. No I did not “forget” that. I clearly said they went from a 2-stop (where he had to push) to a 1-stop

        Either way, it was not relevant to my comment on the quoted line.

    2. You’re joking, isn’t?

      1. What is that supposed to mean? “I am joking isn’t” what?

  3. Anyone who’s had a personal relationship go sour knows that everything the other person says (or does) it’s going to get on your nerves, rightfully or not. It’s very clear that Vettel is in that place now and he can’t stand his team anymore, and has mostly a negative attitude or he doesn’t even acknowledge them over the radio anymore. To me this seems a bit childish, because he’s supposed to be a pro and he’s paid a lot of money to do a job without making his team look bad, although Ferrari are very capable on doing that on their own…

    But one thing is clear, Ferrari didn’t have a clue what to do with his race strategy: they started Vettel on Mediums, then pitted him the same lap as Leclerc (who ran the Softs)!? Then they half-heartidly went for a 2 stop strategy only to switch the to a one-stopper, ofcourse after telling him to push.

  4. Imagine if Vettel had been the one to run over a kerb, thus switching his engine off (not that the blame was entirely on Leclerc either). Oh boy.

  5. The worst part of this was Vettel having to coach his engineer into figuring out what lap time he had to do to make this choice pay off. This seems like a key piece of data to decide whether to pit or run to the end. It shows how the engineer just wasn’t on the ball.

  6. Am I missing something? Where’s the transmission where Ferrari told Seb to push? I heard nothing, Racefans has published nothing (in the transcripts), and yet suddenly it is being taken as a gospel truth.

    1. Adami tells him it’s 16 laps to go, they new he would get lapped so it means the messages were exchanged on lap 50.
      There is a clear dip in Vettel’s lap time on laps 46, 47 and 48:
      I don’t think he just decided on his own to start pushing.

      1. Gabriella Figliomeni
        18th August 2020, 3:07

        Vettel needs to go….if it’s save both parties I cut him loose now….c yah..put in a reserve driver or whoever and get better results then Seb is giving. If not , everyone is happier anyway…and Hulkenburg looked pretty good 2 me..
        Ciao Seb…

      2. @lajo They asked for 23.8 though. So if Vettel decides to do a 22.7 instead then that is his choice.

    2. Don frika del prima
      18th August 2020, 7:19

      It’s the truth since you can hear them say it on the on board channel of F1tv.

    3. Good point. They ask him to do laps of 23.8 or faster. Later they calculate he needs to do 23.4 to 23.5 to keep P5 with the 1-stop.

      So that 23.8 they asked for was hardly “pushing”.

    17th August 2020, 21:00

    Your message is a parody, isn’t?

    1. Wring post

  8. Vettel is getting the same treatment at Ferrari that Kimi was getting during their time together. Just like Kimi he’s underperforming and the points tally reflects that.

  9. After originally being told to push on his second set of tyres

    Actually, they never did ask Vettel to push. Vettel asked what pace to do and they came back with 23.8 (or faster). Which is slower than the laps he is later asked to do to make it till the end.

  10. awful seb and ferrari, Is there anything worse? Like judas vs kkk.

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