Sebastian Vettel has opened up on his Ferrari contract, the 2020 F1 season, ESports racing and more as he spoke to multiple media this week.
With no racing happening, Ferrari had certain media outlets including F1.com connect with Vettel to speak about various topics amid COVID-19 pandemic related to his contract, ESports racing, 2020 season, time with family and more.
Starting with his contract, Vettel admitted that it can be sorted before the 2020 F1 season starts but it is something which is not priority as health is paramount in the situation. The discussions, though, continues at a mid-scale level about his future.
Even for a pay cut, Vettel noted that it is something which he will discuss with Ferrari and keep it with them as it has been in the past. “It depends when we will have the first race,” said Vettel. “There is a high chance we will have to make a decision before there will be the first race because at the moment it looks like there will be no race before June or even July.
“The main priority at first was to ensure that we’re all dealing with the situation in the right way. Therefore, everything was put on hold and I can imagine that’s the same everywhere else and it was the same for us. It’s not like a couple of days after Australia we said ‘right now we’ll talk. We will make progress.
“Whatever the deal will be like, it will be whatever I and the team will be comfortable with. So in terms of duration I don’t know. Normally the contracts I’ve had in the past were all three-year deals. I know I’m one of the more experienced drivers in Formula 1 but I’m not the oldest and I don’t think there’s an age limit in this regard.
“As for pay cut, it is definitely something I am talking about with the team. As I said earlier, we don’t know yet how the season will look and when it will start and how many races we will have etc. I’ve always kept whatever decisions I made on this front between the team and myself and it will be the same this time.
“I’m not keen to use this point at this time as an image polish or anything like that. What I’ve decided to do in the past it has been quiet and it will be the same now.” Vettel spends his time mostly at home with his three kids and wife in Switzerland.
He has all his training equipment with him and does a bit of cycling too. Other times, he spends with kids as their studies are on, which helps Vettel to keep his mind off from thinking about racing and F1. He admits to be missing it, certainly.
“We have spoken about that a fair amount inside the GPDA,” said Vettel. “It’s a very, very difficult one. It’s a tough decision. On the one hand you have the health of the sport if you look at it from a business aspect, on another hand you have the responsibility of the people in the paddock – the working people inside the paddock – and of course most importantly the fans.
“It’s a sport that is carried out in the open but we have a lot of people that normally come to watch our races. We need to make sure that as much as we are taking care of ourselves we are also taking care of the public. Now, there’s a lot of options you can think of in terms of how to get going again, what’s the best format to start racing again.
“Whether it’s without fans, whether it’s with fans, ghost races or no-ghost races and other things, I don’t know. I think nobody likes to race in front of empty grandstands, it feels a bit odd, but on the other hand the question is when is the right time to sort of say let’s start racing again and whether a ghost race can be held much sooner than a race in a way that we’re used to it.
“What we would all like is to get back to normal – not just for F1 but for everybody’s sake and the whole world – but as I said previously in this regard the best prescription will be to be patient. It is painful because I want to get back in the car and if I’m selfish I want to race, but there’s a lot of people that would like a lot of things right now compared to the situation they’re in now.
“Probably at the very beginning the first couple of races will be compromised compared to what we’re used to but hopefully not too much because obviously we want to race in a way that we are all familiar with, meaning in front of crowds, in front of fans, with great atmosphere and so on. We will see.”
F1 has had a meeting with the FIA and teams’ head to discuss about the budget cap and also a possible 2020 calendar, where Austria looks to be the season-opener and multiple rounds in United Kingdom is a possibility too but until then ESports remains the king.
Vettel noted that he has now got his simulator after his friends pushed him to be online. He noted that he will get on it soon after installing and see what games he can play with. “The truth is I didn’t have a simulator until a couple of days ago, so I haven’t been tempted because I didn’t have the chance,” he said.
“I have heard a lot of things about it, so I figured I should get one and try, but I still need to set it up properly. Generally I am not going to foresee a career in sim racing – I think it is more something to try for fun.
“I’ve grown up with some of the stuff and I have been playing some games, but to be honest since I had kids it’s not the first thing on my list to do. But we’ll see how much time there will be. I’m aware that some people take it very seriously and spend a lot of time there, but I also enjoy doing other things so it will be a bit of a mix.”
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