Demoralised Vettel should quit Ferrari now – Berger
Gerhard Berger, the former Ferrari driver, has urged Sebastian Vettel and the Italian team to get a quickie divorce now rather than limp on until the end of the season.
Vettel, the four-time world champion, is being replaced by McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jnr at the Scuderia next year and looks to have mentally checked out already. The German has been miles off the pace of his young team-mate Charles Leclerc.
At last weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone, Vettel spun on the opening lap and then publicly accused his team over the radio of “messing up” his race strategy by releasing him into traffic.
The 33-year-old finished 12th, nearly a minute behind Leclerc, who leads him by nine places and 35 points in the drivers’ championship.
“For the mood in the respective teams, it would be best to switch to the 2021 line-ups now,” Berger, who chalked up 10 race wins during his 13-year Formula One career between 1984 and 1997, told Austrian television.
Doing so would not be straightforward. It is understood that Ferrari have not approached McLaren over releasing Sainz from his post.
And it is unclear whether Vettel – who is poised to join Racing Point next year – would be able to move early to the Silverstone-based team.
One option might be for Sergio Perez to move to Maranello for the rest of this season in exchange. Nico Hulkenberg, who has impressed as a stand-in for Perez, could also be a short-term option for Ferrari should Vettel’s time with the Italian team end prematurely.
Either way, Ross Brawn, the former Ferrari boss who is now managing director for the Formula One group, believes Vettel and his old team should have talks to ensure the relationship does not spiral out of control.
“It’s going to be a measure of Sebastian and the team how they deal with the rest of the season,” Brawn said. “They clearly have a very frustrated driver, and they need to find ways of keeping it together for the rest of the year, for the interests of both of them.
“They need to try to turn a loselose into a win-win.
“When I met these situations in my career, I’d sit down with the driver one-to-one and understand what the issues are.
“Then you look at bringing people into the discussions, engineers etc, that are going to be helpful to improve things.”
Frustrated: Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel accused his Ferrari team of messing up his race at Silverstone