F1’s managing director Ross Brawn is of the view that the incidents related to Ferrari’s Sbeastian Vettel is ‘no longer coincidence’ but the driver seems like ‘out of sorts’.
It has culminated into a torrid season for the four-time F1 champion Vettel as his title hopes are all but over for 2018. The German driver gave a stiff challenge to Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton but it wasn’t enough due to small errors made all-through the year.
In a highly concentrated fight, even one small mistake is magnified highly. While Vettel had many but his crash at Hockenheim will be the one which would hurt him the most when he looks back at the 2018 season.
The second half of 2018 hasn’t been top notch at all for Vettel. It all started with a spin at Monza and the same happened in Japan and USA – to add to that, the pace for Ferrari vanished in Singapore and Russia, leaving them to climb a steep mountain.
Veteran team boss and the current F1’s managing director, Brawn reckons that the mistakes from Vettel can no longer be termed as coincidence. He feels that the German is out of sorts at the moment and needs to find the missing piece.
“On a weekend on which Kimi demonstrated that the Ferrari was once again really quick, the other side of the coin is represented by Sebastian Vettel, who was again no stranger to mistakes,” wrote Brawn in his post-race column.
“On Friday there was a small one, when he failed to slow sufficiently for red flags, and he paid the price with a three-place penalty. Then, in the race, he yet again collided with a Red Bull, this time Ricciardo’s, and once again Vettel came off worst.
“It was another lost opportunity to close the gap in the title fight, especially when we saw what Raikkonen did with the same car. I certainly don’t want to put Vettel in the dock, but these incidents can no longer be seen as coincidence, but rather they would seem to indicate that Sebastian is a bit out of sorts at the moment.
“It’s a shame because this year, the Maranello team has been able to give him a really competitive car right – right from the start of the season. Since the start of the hybrid era, Mercedes has never faced such stiff opposition and has never had to push development as much as it has this year.
“That’s down to the men and women who work at Ferrari and obviously, that includes the drivers. Now, any hope of bringing the Drivers’ title back to Maranello is dwindling and the time has come to do the maths. Their most important task is to work out how to help Vettel make the most of his massive talent.
“You don’t become a four time world champion for no reason and Sebastian has definitely not forgotten how to win. In a sport as complicated as Formula 1, you only reach your goals if all the pieces of the jigsaw fall into place. If just one piece is missing everything is compromised.”
It has been an unusual run from Vettel this year which reflects a deeper problem than to the eyes outside. While the German has his share of unfortunate luck, Ferrari as well hasn’t been able to capitalise on certain moments to instill confidence.
To add to that, the death of their longtime boss Sergio Marchionne only made it mentally tougher as adjusting to the ideas of a new boss in the middle of the season is never an easy task especially the way the Ferrari management works.
The team also had to take a bold decision regarding their driver line-up where US GP winner Raikkonen – who has been hugely close to Vettel – will leave the team after 2018 with young blood Charles Leclerc coming in.
Also, Channel 4 pundit and grand prix winner Mark Webber feels the problem with Ferrari is with the top management which does not have enough experience in F1. He reckons Vettel’s wife Hanna being at Austin points out the tough space Vettel is in at the moment.
Elsewhere, Brawn had huge praise for Raikkonen for finally getting the much deserved win as he bids goodbye to Ferrari. At the same time, he continued to speak highly of Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen who fought his way from 18th to second.