A tribute to Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari: The four-time F1 world champion will leave the Italian automobile great as their third-most successful driver, but failing to win a world title.
“I think it was pretty much a rollercoaster ride over the years, with a lot of things happening.”
This line by the great man himself brilliantly sums up his six-year Ferrari tenure which started in 2015 and will end with the ongoing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel joined Ferrari with a lot of fanfare after winning four world titles with energy drinks company Red Bull.
Ferrari Sebastian Vettel helmet designs over the years: pic.twitter.com/XlLy2W4hKs
— yas marina (@ORANGEMARlNA) December 12, 2020
Naturally, the tifosi were expecting more of the same, and they were desperate for it. Ferrari had last worn the F1 crown in 2008 when Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa were teammates. Since then, they had seen a new team Brawn GP and Red Bull win all the titles under their noses. Sebastian Vettel was brought in to his ‘dream team’ to change exactly that.
Why is Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari a failure?
But it was not to be, with the V6 hybrid era catapulting Mercedes to an unprecedented era of domination in Formula 1. Mercedes have won every single championship ever since Vettel hopped on to the Prancing Horse. When asked why he considers his Ferrari tenure to be a failure despite leaving as their third-most successful driver in terms of race wins, Vettel pointed to the failure to win a title.
There were many reasons for Ferrari not being able to match Mercedes’ racing standards, but the key ones for Vettel seem to be about personnel, more than cars. He pinpointed three key men’s departure as the turning point for his and Ferrari’s misfortune in his stint while adding that this is not all.
“I think in the ’18 season, obviously we had the passing of Mr. Marchionne (former chairman and CEO of Ferrari Sergio Marchionne). And I think the change in leadership from Maurizio (Arrivabene) to Mattia (Binotto), so maybe the ’18 year was a decisive year for many things.
“But I don’t know if you can really break it down to only one thing. Obviously in 2016, we parted ways with James (Allison, Ferrari’s then Technical Director, who is now Mercedes’ main man) because of personal conflicts at the time and I think, looking back, there were a lot of things that we should have and could have done better.”
“But everything that happened, happened for a reason, so the main thing I think on my side is that I learned from it and I think I have grown with it.”
Sebastian Vettel: The Ferrari spirit remains unbroken
Sebastian Vettel ideally should have belonged to the old generation of drivers. He speaks only when he should, and more importantly in the current era, is not active on social media. For all of you who have followed him closely, he would do a brilliant job in the role Niki Lauda played at Mercedes, or Alain Prost does with Renault currently.
“2021 is the beginning of a new and exciting time, and I’m looking forward to it”.
— Sebastian Vettel #5 (@sebvettelnews) December 12, 2020
Speaking about the atmosphere at Maranello, Ferrari’s base, Vettel paid a tribute to Ferrari and their “unbroken spirit”. He sounded optimistic about his current teammate Charles Leclerc’s future at the great team, alongside Carlos Sainz next season. Lastly, as a man focused on his mission for glory, spoke about Aston Martin, and his excitement of starting a new chapter in his breath-taking Formula 1 career, thus far.
“I think the atmosphere in the garage is still the same, the spirit remains unbroken and I think it’s obviously a shame that we didn’t achieve what we set out to achieve. But there are reasons for the strengths and there are probably reasons for the weaknesses in the past years.”
“Charles (Leclerc) has a long time ahead of him with the team, a lot of work, so we’ll see how it evolves. But for me obviously, the chapter ends here and I’m starting a new one with a different team (Aston Martin0, which I’m very excited about.”