The real matter that is under Sub-Judice, an examination of Ferrari driver’s Sebastian Vettel in 2019.
By TJ13 contributor Parth – In legal terms, a “Sub-Judice” matter is one which is under judicial consideration and thus is prohibited from public discussion. And we are pretty sure that the jury at Maranello is looking at the position of their star driver Sebastian Vettel, and potentially considering a media black-out like 2018 should ‘undesirable’ circumstances occur.
With the change in management at the Scuderia, the noises that are coming out of the team are sounding right. People are happy, Binotto is going on about how Ferrari should enjoy Formula 1 again and the sorts. But the real question is how safe is Sebastian Vettel?
With the conclusion of the final test and the start of this second test, it is apparent that Ferrari has produced a title challenger again or at least should be near the front. And unless, Mercedes doesn’t do something very dramatic, close to finding a magical elixir, Ferrari can get this title or stay in the hunt, like they did in 2017 and 2018.
Further, in past couple of years, the thing that doesn’t work with the perfect harmony of the Ferrari machinery is being removed. We saw it in the case of Kimi Raikkonen, who struggled a touch in starting of 2018, especially during qualifying (Baku 2018 stands out), was fired from the team, even though during the second half of the season where he drove well and scored podiums consistently and even got a win.
Ferrari believed that the cog is not working, so it needed a replacement. This was followed by Maurizio Arrivabene, who quickly became ‘Maruzio Arrivaderci’, even though it’s under his command that Ferrari became title contenders.
The last very identifiable and visible cog in this machine is now Sebastian Vettel. The star driver for a fact earns a lot of money, and most of it comes from Ferrari. Unlike, Lewis Hamilton, Vettel has very less personal sponsorships.
Further, his mistakes from both 2017 and 2018 are very well documented that is not expected from a driver that is driving a title winning car. Contrasting this to his years at Red Bull like 2011 and 2013, there were no mistakes on the part of German. This brings the question of that whether he is even performing at his best or not. A caveat here is that Ferrari is nowhere as good managed team at race operations as Red Bull was.
Another, thing that hurts Vettel’s case is the legacy that Ferrari’s previous star driver left. We know this certain Spanish driver who goes by the name of Fernando Alonso. 2010 and 2012 seasons have stamped his legacy that he could drag any car to a title-winning position if he had a chance.
He lost 2010 title because of a wrong strategy call. And in 2012, Ferrari was nowhere near the pace of Red Bull and you could argue that if he had not been a victim of Grosjean’s antics at Spa, he might just have done it. I am not writing this as an Alonso fanboy, but the point is that even if you look objectively at the time that Alonso spent with Ferrari, nobody ever questioned his driving.
There were no mistakes that made people go that it’s not the car, it’s Alonso who lost the title. It was always an underperforming car pushed to limits by Alonso. This bought him in title contention.
The case is much different for Sebastian Vettel. Since Baku 2017, questions came up if he can keep his calm during tense situations to countless spins last season. It was further not helped by the fact that Lewis Hamilton is driving at his best, pulling out insane qualifying laps and the whole of the Mercedes’ team is much better at trackside operations than Ferrari, case being 2018 Japanese Grand Prix qualifying.
With the coming of the young gun, who if turns out to be a sensation will be a headache for Sebastian Vettel. For this year, if Sebastian has a title-winning car and he fails to win it, there are two plausible narratives that can come out, especially if Leclerc is close.
If Sebastian fails to win, when the car was capable and he let it go due to his mistakes, then it might be game over for Sebastian, and Jury at Maranello may run their axe on his chopping board. If he is beaten by Leclerc, then also it is game over, because Leclerc is in his second season, whereas Sebastian is in F1 for a decade and has 4 titles to his name. Being beaten by a young driver in his second season doesn’t win you appreciation.
If Charles finishes closer to Sebastian but is beaten by Seb but Seb still fails to win the title, then also it is a bad image for Seb as he is a four-time world champion and the team leader, having support behind him as Binotto has recently confirmed. Whereas, Charles is in his 2nd season and is finding his feet
The zero-sum game for Sebastian is that if the car is as good as last year where he can stay in the title hunt, he has to win the title. Otherwise, his childhood dream of replicating Michael Schumacher and fulfilling his childhood dream might be over.
This matter might be in Sub-judice of Jury of Maranello right now, but it won’t stay that way for much longer, especially when the team in question is Ferrari, who carries expectations and hopes of a nation on their shoulders.
Funny: Vettel forces a child to swap Mercedes for his Ferrari cap