Sebastian Vettel And Ferrari Spiral Into Defcon 2 State of Existence
Over a month ago we said Ferrari will almost certainly sack Sebastian Vettel at some point during the 2020 season. Such an option seems more and more likely after Vettel openly criticized his team over the radio during the British Grand Prix. The Defcon moment came when Vettel pulled no punches as he exclaimed: “you’ve messed up”. He also detailed that the entire race strategy was fundamentally flawed and not in his favor. In Formula One, criticism is not unusual between a team and its lead driver. But this is Ferrari, and no one driver, no matter their status, is allowed to put themselves above the Ferrari. At the British Grand Prix (70th Anniversary Grand Prix) Vettel’s time at Ferrari effectively came to an end.
Vettel is a frustrated driver. He started the opening race of the season strongly, outperforming his teammate. However, at the British Grand Prix, his pace has suddenly and mysteriously declined. Vettel will leave Ferrari at the end of the season. However, he feels Ferrari has betrayed him after they initially indicated Vettel would be resigned for two more seasons during pre-season testing.
Such open criticism of Ferrari is akin to trying to shoot a mafia boss in his lounge. For Vettel, there will be repercussions and it may well be the case that Ferrari severs ties with Vettel earlier than planned. However, for commercial and sponsorship interests both parties may well have to slug it out for the remainder of the season. But that hasn’t stopped the speculation going into overdrive.
Former F1 and Ferrari driver, Gerhard Berger, suggests that Vettel should leave Ferrari with immediate effect. Berger also raised the point of a driver swap between Racing Point and Ferrari. Speculation suggests that Vettel has signed to join Racing Point for 2021. A simple temporary swap with Vettel and Sergio Perez would stop the fireworks at Ferrari. But that would leave Perez with nowhere to go for 2021.
Nevertheless, this is a Ferrari issue because they created this Defcon situation. Vettel has every right to express his frustrations in any way he sees fit. But he must also accept that the relationship is over, bide his time, be professional, leave on good terms. Afterwhich he is free then to unleash the torrent of criticism.