Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2020

Ferrari hail “outstanding professional” Vettel after his final drive for team

2020 F1 Season

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Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari said an emotional farewell to each other following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after six years together.

Sporting director Laurent Mekies, who took charge of the squad last weekend as team principal Mattia Binotto was absent due to illness, said Vettel would have a place in the team’s history, despite not winning the championship since joining them in 2015.

“We certainly don’t feel like it’s a normal Sunday,” said Mekies following the race. “It’s a very special Sunday because it’s Seb’s last race.

“We wanted to say a real thank you to Seb for what have been these six years with us. He’s the third most winning driver in Ferrari history.

“What we will keep with us is that he is an outstanding professional, that in good moments and in bad moments has been part of the team, putting it together.”

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Vettel’s final season at the team has been their least successful for many years. The team finished sixth in the championship, its worst result since 1980, and neither Vettel nor team mate Charles Leclerc scored in either of the final two races.

Sebastian Vettel, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2020
Vettel and Leclerc swapped helmets after the race
“Of course we are finishing in the most difficult scenario possible,” said Mekies. “But even in these conditions, it’s been a year where he has been pulling us together, always keeping constructive and positive no matter what difficulties we were having. That’s the way you drive large teams like us, with everybody at the race track and Maranello.”

Vettel, who won 14 races during his time at Ferrari, said he would cherish the time he spent at the team, “not just with the professionals but also with the people ‘behind the red dress’, with a great passion that drives them and the commitment they have towards the team – the guys in the garage, the guys in the engineering office, the guys in Maranello.”

“Obviously there are many reasons why you can be at Ferrari and not succeed, it is the mission that we set out to achieve but what you keep is the memories, the passion which I shared with so many people along the way,” he added.

Reaching the end of his time as a Ferrari driver was an emotional moment, said Vettel. “I have no regrets looking back. Certainly there’s been mistakes, there have been highs and lows but I think it has sunk in. I’m not normally the most emotional guy, it’s not today that I will remember after finishing 14th, but looking at the big picture it’s a day that I will treasure.

“It’s a goodbye to many friends and many people that I have worked with a lot in the last years, so those I will miss. But I’m sure that I will not miss them completely – we have a saying in German, I don’t know if you have it in English, but it’s that you always see each other twice in life.

“I think time will tell but I’ve learnt so much from this team and they’ve given me so much, I’m very grateful for that. It’s beyond titles or victories. For sure, that’s what we were after, but in the end we didn’t get but it doesn’t change anything and I wish this team well.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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25 comments on “Ferrari hail “outstanding professional” Vettel after his final drive for team”

    1. Welcome to the world of adults.

  1. I hope Seb can bounce back in Aston Martin. An occasional podium or even a win might happen if he’s still up to his speed (I think it won’t be that unrealistic considering Aston will be getting rear suspension from Mercedes without having to use any aero tokens, and that will be a big advantage over Alpine or Mclaren). Overall, a classy farewell with Ferrari, I think he set up an example for other great drivers – both by saying goodbye and by never blaming his team for doing that many mistakes (and I’m not saying Seb didn’t do any).

    1. It helped binotto was absent

  2. Seb might not have always delivered the performances that were expected of him, but he was definitely loyal to the team and not critical of their efforts. He wasn’t treated particularly well over the past season by Ferrari, but he didn’t lash out at them and disrespect them. For that, he still has the respect of the entire Ferrari squad.

    1. Agreed although I don’t think the team badly treated him neither. Clearly something was broken for both parties, but overall they all managed the situation decently and avoided complete fallout.

      1. I do think that is is a bit of a sign that these words come from Mekies who was the boss on site in AbuDhabi and not Binotto, I guess that points to no great love between Matteo and Seb being lost.

    2. mistreated? how? Marchionne got mistreated, not Seb.
      In the end hiring a replacement before 2020 even begun says a lot.
      Seb did step out of his mark in a number of occasions, good riddance.
      I bear no grudges on Seb, hope he does well. In my view Ferrari never gave him a championship winning car.

      1. @peartree

        Marchionne got mistreated

        eeek, that’s a dark joke.

      2. Marchionne got mistreated? Read something about that person, bro. He was a tyrannical maniac from ancient times.

      3. Ahm Peartree, Marchionne was clearly behind having Vettel there. It was only after his unexpected death that the team first signed on Leclerc and then ditched Vettel without even negotiating with him.

        Maybe Marchionne was planning on doing so anyway, as @pironitheprovocateur mentions he was certainly no mister nice guy. But the reality is that he did not. He was the one who signed on Vettel in the first place.

        1. It was only after his unexpected death that the team first signed on Leclerc and then ditched Vettel without even negotiating with him

          Umm, don’t think that’s true. Marchionne infact very much wanted Leclerc in the Ferrari seat for 2019. Read that on this website itself (https://www.racefans.net/2018/07/26/far-reaching-consequences-ferraris-unforeseen-leadership-change/).

          I don’t think Vettel would have had a 2021 seat even if Marchionne had been there. He was a no nonsense guy who wanted to replace Kimi after 2018. After seeing the way Seb performed in 2019, why would he have wanted to keep Seb?

          It probably would have been handled better under Marchionne than Camileri but the end result was always going to be Seb out.

      4. @peartree

        They did give him a championship winning car in 2018. It was quicker than the Mercedes on more than half the circuits that year. That’s the definition of a championship winning car.

        1. @todfod Except that is not true, that is sky sports bull, 2018 was when ferrari got their PU closer to parity though. In fact Ferrari 2017 car was the closest they got in performance, clearly faster than the merc up until Catalunya when Merc introduced the cape nose, even so Vettel would have won that race had it not been for great strategy, competent driving from Lewis overtaking on drs and of course Bottas’ teamwork, he didn’t pit in order to block Vettel, merc knew his engine was going to go and it did.

          1. @peartree

            Except that is not true, that is sky sports bull, 2018 was when ferrari got their PU closer to parity though.

            I don’t get sky sports coverage.. so I can’t comment on that. It was my own opinion formed from following all the sessions and looking at the season as a whole. We’ll have to agree to disagree here .. considering our definition of championship winning car might be different. For me, Ferrari was a championship winning car.. even if people might suggest that it wasn’t as good overall as the Mercedes, it was still close enough throughout the season to be considered a championship contender.

            The 2017 car was pretty good too, it’s just that Mercedes developed the car way better in the 2nd half of the season and left Ferrari behind.

            Regardless, I thought that Vettel was the first Ferrari driver in a decade who had a genuine shot at the championship and failed to deliver.

    3. He’s spent the last 6 months insinuating that the cars aren’t equal and that he’s being sabotaged.

      Overreacted in Bahrain when Leclerc put a legitimate pass on him.

      Russia last year he was petulant ignoring team orders. Brazil 100% at fault for hitting Leclerc but wouldn’t accept it was his mistake.

      Hasn’t tried all year, not that he’d beat Leclerc if he tried hard, but the Alfa Romeo’s were beating him.

      Handing out a few beers and singing a song off a page doesn’t change how far he’s fallen in my eyes in the past 12 months.

    4. @todfod
      Vettel is probably a dream to work with. Horner and Marko still speak very fondly of him so many years later.

      Too bad that he can only shine in cars with strong rear stability. A far cry away from drivers previous Ferrari drivers like Schumacher and Alonso who could drag mediocre Ferrari’s to incredible results.

      1. @kingshark They love him so much that they hired him back to replace Albon. Oh … wait .. they didn’t.

        1. @f1osaurus
          It would not be within Vettel’s best interest to join a team with the fastest driver in the sport as his teammate, for obvious reasons.

          Aston Martin with Stroll is a good place to be, far less pressure at this point in his career.

          1. @kingshark Lol. So he’s chicken too.

  3. At least he and Fernando can have a beer and and a laugh at being members of the “wasted Ferrari years club” both with illusions of wanting to be like Schumacher factor.
    Michaels Ferrari years have become difficult for even the best drivers to imitate. Charley Clerk and mr.Carlos will bring interest as Ferrari climbs out of these deep times. Might surprise us all. A win by either driver creates that momentum. Two young hungry drivers, a fresh new start of the team. Let this year fine focus their readiness for the big change in 2022.

  4. Enjoy Australia 2021 with more ping-pong to play, Seb!

  5. My guess is that Seb has breathed a huge sigh of relief that the season is over. Kudos to him for putting such a brave face on for the past season(s) and not doing an Alonso.

    I wish him all the best in his new role. Hopefully he’ll thrive there and we’ll see some of the old Seb next year.

  6. The honour he’s shown is exemplary given the way Ferrari treated him.

  7. I honestly hope Seb can bounce back.

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