“People think I enjoy watching him suffer”– Mark Webber assesses why Sebastian Vettel is suffering and debunks rumours of a rift.
Mark Webber was Sebastian Vettel’s partner during the latter’s peak years in Formula 1, where he won four consecutive world titles before Mercedes planted its dominance.
However, Vettel failed to replicate the same success with Ferrari, even though his team had some incredible cars over the years, and 2019 seemed like the year of Ferrari before FIA imposed a dubious sanction, which stripped Ferrari of their might.
From there on, Vettel has not managed to be among the top drivers, and even with Aston Martin, which was expected to be his revival point, he has been underwhelming in the last two races; Webber has reasoned out that why is this happening.
“I think his confidence is incredibly low now,” the Australian told Marca. “His time at Ferrari didn’t work out for him. Sport puts men and women to the test sometimes, but in his case, it was a very long period of time.”
“I think the standards of these cars don’t suit Sebastian very well; they are not his type of car. He likes cars with many grips, a lot of downforces, and he is a very delicate driver, with a lot of feeling with the car.
“Remember Monza in the rain with the Toro Rosso? It was unbelievable, and he got away from everyone that day. But when there is less grip, with the Pirelli… the cars now give you less confidence, and the rules don’t suit him.
“That’s a problem for him, but it’s about being good with all the rules, look at Hamilton, he’s strong all the time. I think the stars have aligned against him. And he’s getting tired, he put a lot of effort into Ferrari.”
I don’t enjoy watching him suffer.
Webber and Vettel’s relationship strained during their partnership in Red Bull, as they were constantly vying against each other for the race wins. And it eventually peaked when Vettel defied the team order in Malaysian Grand Prix 2013 to overtake the Australian.
The prints of that era are still alive in the public eye, and Webber claims that people opine that maybe he is enjoying watching Vettel suffer these days, but the Australian claims otherwise.
“I don’t like it. People think I enjoy watching him suffer, and no, I’m not happy,” Webber added. “I want to see him do well because it’s bizarre to see him so different from how he was.
“But this is F1, we can’t complain about the drivers who don’t perform. It’s the top, we have to celebrate drivers like Norris, Leclerc or Max performing well. If you are a driver who is at the end of his career, or who is suffering… you also have to talk about it.”