Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020

‘We aren’t seeing the real Sebastian Vettel at the moment’ – Horner

2020 Belgian Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel’s former team principal Christian Horner says the four-times champion’s real potential isn’t being seen in Formula 1 at the moment.

The Ferrari driver lies 11th in the championship, seven places behind team mate Charles Leclerc, after the first six rounds.

“For whatever reason, things aren’t working for him at the moment,” said Horner. “I think any driver has to be happy in their environment and you can see that he’s he’s carrying quite a lot of weight on his shoulders. That has a bearing on any sportsman, on any athlete.

“So I don’t think we’re seeing the real Sebastian Vettel at the moment. He’s obviously having having a difficult time with the product that he has.”

Vettel’s successes at Red Bull show his true quality, said Horner. “You can’t take away anything that he’s achieved obviously in his career to date.”

“He drove a whole variance of different cars over the years and obviously what he achieved in the period during those years with Red Bull was quite special,” he said. “I think he’s the third most successful driver in the history of the sport and he’s achieved some incredible things, many records which will stand for for some time.”

At the previous round in Spain Vettel finished seventh after choosing to run a one-stop strategy. But he saw little reason to celebrate his second-best result of the season.

“Given where we were for the majority of the race, we took a gamble and took that risk and it paid off,” said Vettel.

“But a seventh place is obviously not what I’m aiming for and not what the team is aiming for. So it wasn’t like the champagne bottles popped after the race. We had obviously the issue on Charles’s side with the car retiring. And for me it was damage limitation.

“Obviously it is a very tight midfield pack and we were probably in the middle of it. And with that strategy move, conserving the tyres et cetera we were able to push a little bit more and get some points at least. But certainly not a high after the race.”

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2020 Belgian Grand Prix

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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...
Keith Collantine
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29 comments on “‘We aren’t seeing the real Sebastian Vettel at the moment’ – Horner”

  1. Excuses, excuses for Vettel. Of course he achieved great things in the Red Bull. He was given No.1 status in the best car. His team mate was disadvantaged, while Red Bullsh/# pretended he was being given equal status.

  2. Poor Leclerc is not getting any credit for beating a 4 times World Champion!

    1. @francorchamps17 Lol indeed.

      It’s like before hand people were expressing how Rosberg would suffer being partnered with Schumacher at Mercedes. Then when he kept on beating him all the excuses came out why they were all wrong before.

      1. If you expect an over 40 years old to perform like at his peak..

        1. @esploratore Yes well people did. Before they were confronted with the fact that Rosberg consistently beat him.

          Although after the first season of woopage, then it was “The car doesn’t suit him. It will be better next season”. Rinse and repeat.

          After this went on for three season in a row, indeed the tune changed to “Ah but you can’t compare since he’s much older now”.

          1. Precisely.

    2. Didn’t you hear? Ferrari gave Leclerc superior machinery to put Vettel in his place. So please appreciate Vettel managing to spin only once in a race with that dog of a car.

    3. This is the problem with the internet he spoke about Vettel and his performance nowhere did he denigrate Leclerc, but somehow that is what you have inferred from it.

  3. I honestly think he’s deliberately not making an effort out of spite or whatever

    1. @balue whilst I would not be surprised if Vettel was not making the maximum effort and wasn’t performing at his peak, I am not sure that I would necessarily ascribe that to spitefulness.

      What would not be surprising in the current situation, though, would be if Vettel was rather demotivated and frustrated due to the combination of a difficult car and the increasing estrangement between him and the team. In that situation, it would be plausible that Vettel might not be putting in the maximum effort, but perhaps more from lacking the desire to do so rather than necessarily acting completely out of spite.

    2. I could totally see Vettel doing something like that, even if it’s subconscious. He’s a guy who is trapped in his own head.

  4. Coventry Climax
    28th August 2020, 15:43

    I beg to differ: It IS the true Vettel we are seeing at the moment.
    He’s done it before, remember, when Ricciardo came to Red Bull? Showing the looks of a broken man, with no fighting spirit at all. He failed all those years with Ferrari. Failed to get the team to give him the best car, failed to get the team to back him up fully, and failed to bring home victory when it was there for grasps.
    Sure, he’s got four titles. But cracking under pressure was always there. As is the inability to correctly estimate the exact length of his car, ask Mark, his former Australian Red Bull team mate. Then there’s his being unable to cope with the hybrid power train and consequently it’s ‘loose end’, as I hear so many say.
    So, four titles because he was lucky maybe, to be with the right team at the right time?
    I simply can’t figure out why so many want to see him back at Red Bull. Just to see him get the next beating, from Max this time?
    Count your buttons and retire, buddy. There’s nothing there for you anymore, and by the looks of it, you know it.

    1. Keyboard warrior disagrees with Team Boss who has seen actual data of driver who was Redull academy driver and drove for them for 6years!

      The Internet is an interesting place!

      1. If Team Boss thought Vettel still got it, he would offer Albon’s car for next year.
        Vettel is obviously a good driver, a 4 time World Champion, but he was extremely lucky driving a car as dominant as the 2009 (midseason)-13 Red Bulls.
        I think nobody doubts that if Alonso had accepted Red Bull’s offer in 2009, he would have won every season with 2-3 races left (maybe even de 2009 title)

        1. @doctorlovesexy

          “If Team Boss thought Vettel still got it, he would offer Albon’s car for next year.”

          Could happen, doesn’t seem likely, but would certainly be entertaining.

        2. Indeed, as long as horner and wolf etc. just talk positively about vettel but don’t take him, it shows it’s only PR talk.

          Vettel is abysmal and no one wants it, he will be out of f1 by the end of the year, and if force india hire him, it’ll make things worse for them: paying more for a worse driver.

        3. Not only those RBRs were quite dominant. They were tricky, but Seb mastered the trick well. Mark Webber didn’t. Seb won 4 WDCs by mastering that blown diffusor trick. Without it, he’s been quite average, with ocassional flashes of brilliance (e.g. his maiden win)

      2. Coventry Climax
        29th August 2020, 0:48

        I’ll swallow my keystrokes, @Rocky, when Vettel is in a Red Bull coming months or next season, AND performing well.

      3. This kind of argument always amuses me. You’re reading the comments section of, not an analysis by

  5. It is like Schumacher when Rosberg showed up, Prost when Senna arrived, and Alonso when Hamilton joined the team.

    All of a sudden the elder star was loosing its shine and comfort.

    Vettel is an outstanding driver, and no Charles Leclerc will take that away from him. Right now(3 year moment wink) he has poor results and poor chemistry with the team.

    He also has a history of being poor whenever the car is bad. I think he would be amazing in this years Mercedes, maybe not so much in last years.

    Anyone old enough to have watched F1 10 years ago can remember him being the most dominant driver since Michael Schumacher… Who was the most dominant driver before him, and only Lewis managed to be even better after.

    If he would have retired in 2013, we might be arguing if he was potentially the greatest ever, but thus we argue how bad he is.

    In reality he is a great driver in a sucky situation, just like Alonso before him.

    Luckily Ferrari have a driver who does not destinguish bad from good situations and just gets on with it.

    Meanwhile Vettel cannot cope wit this mess. I predict wherever he moves, will bring out better performance in him.

    1. Schumacher was 41 years old, that is not an irrelevant performance difference!

  6. What has LeClerc done other than win 2 races at power circuits with a clearly illegal engine? Perhaps Vettel has lost it a bit, but I have yet to see anything from LeClerc at the F1 level that suggests he’s anywhere near Verstappen or Hamilton

    1. Compared to Vettel in a same car despite Vettel being given “No 1” status he’s brought in amazing results. Even you can’t deny that!

      1. Indeed, he’s overperformed basically whatever chance he had, imo he’s just as good as hamilton and verstappen, you just need an equal car, whenever he had it he was up there.

      2. That’s exactly what I’m questioning. What results were amazing? Won 2 races in a illegal straight line rocket ship at Spa and Monza? Lucked into a second place this year due to a war of attrition/mechanical failures? Demonstrably poor driver in changeable conditions. The bottom line is he came in 4th place in what was clearly the second fastest car last year. I’m fairly certain most objective race fans spending their own money and assembling a team would hire Max or Lewis in a heartbeat over CL.

    2. @spencer Yeah agreed, Leclerc been a bit disappointing. He had a good race in Austria though.

      It’s just too much up and down with him. He has as many good races as poor ones. Mixed with some reasonable, but not overly impressive ones. He doesn’t feel always “on it” like Hamilton and to some extent Verstappen.

  7. OtherPerspective
    28th August 2020, 17:16

    Vettel is German. If he gets more championships, that’ll be 11+ in a largely British sport which employs a lot of British ppl (technical, business, adjudicating and media ppl and the jingoistic local fans) and British businesses expecting ROI (with the likes of Sky and sites like these). What you’re seeing is, basically a protectionist local force going about diminishing any competition that isn’t deemed locally kosher. One has to be a completely blind and dumb person to not get this.

    What you have is, essentially, a local sport that is being given the status of a global sport just because not saying it like it is will essentially make formula 1 nothing more than Sky British Formula and social media competition (English version). That’s what it is basically. The only problem is that Ferrari is happy with attending royalty, which is what opens them up for engine gate vis-a-vis charles and closes it with the establishment deciding that Ferrari is not to have that engine mode until later (when other deals can be made, but for now you’ve got to get rid of Vettel, and show him doing poorly. After all, he was the “finger boy”, was he not? Who called him that? Take a guess.

    This will most definitely not be aired.

  8. It just shows how intense it is, how much intensity is needed to be at the top in F1. It’s the same when Lewis has sewn up a championship and he drops to 99.9%. There’s so much competition now, so many people trying to be an F1 driver, the standard is unbelievably high and they can’t do it on talent or hard work, they have to operate at the absolute, absolute max. And Seb always has been very intense in the car, but now of course after too many mistakes and the rise of Charles it’s gone away as far as Ferrari are concerned.

    So it’s not the Sebastian Christian knows. The question is can he rise again at Aston Martin? I hope we get to see, cos I don’t think Perez is top tier, quite.

  9. In a car not suited to his liking, he was off by seven hundredths from Leclerc in qualifying last season. And he finished ahead of Leclerc 11 – 9 in races. Team orders in Australia and China in his favor were sufficiently countered by mechanical failures in USA and Russia where he should have finished 3rd and 1st. Brazil’s opportunistic safety car hurt him and benefited Leclerc, and he made an aggressive move on Leclerc that was met with an equally aggressive defense leading to a crash – otherwise, that is also a race he should have been ahead of Leclerc.

    Leclerc is an extremely strong driver and it was a close season between them as expected. It was no different than from Alonso and Hamilton and Senna and Prost. Hamilton, Senna, Leclerc were all quicker in qualifying, but the race management of Alonso, Prost and Vettel negated that benefit in races.

    Vettel is and has always been a top top driver. He just needs to rejuvenate outside the pressure cooker of Ferrari.

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