Will he, won’t he? Former Ferrari driver Gerhard Berger does not rule out Sebastian Vettel’s early withdrawal from Formula 1.
“I believe he will, because Sebastian is a very intelligent guy. In his life he certainly still has many ideas he would like to tackle. He is very family oriented, has children, earned a lot of money, so he doesn’t need money anymore and he is also very frugal with himself. His heart is very attached to his old motorcycles and old cars next to his family,” Berger told the “Deutsche Presse-Agentur” on the occasion of his 60th birthday on Tuesday.
In recent months, there have been speculations about Vettel’s possible departure from Formula 1 at the end of this year. The four-time World Champion, who is contractually bound until the end of 2020, is likely to miss out on the Ferrari title in his fifth season as well. A retreat or a team change is “not an option” for him, Vettel had said at the German race at the end of July.
“I can well imagine that one morning, when he gets up in the morning and says it’s getting on my nerves, I’ll do something different or drive cars that I enjoy more than these under such complex regulations,” Berger said. “It’s not that it’s not good for surprises.”
Berger was co-owner of the Toro Rosso team when Vettel sensationally won his first Formula 1 race at Monza in 2008. Since this season, Ferrari’s Monegasque Charles Leclerc has been a young and strong stable rival for Vettel from Heppenheim.
“Dealing with this situation is not easy for Sebastian. He is running out of time. Sebastian is not making enough progress for his team at the moment,” said Berger. “He’s a bit different from Michael (Schumacher), who was much stricter with the team and steered it more. That’s no reproach to Sebastian, who is very hard-working and very clever, but that’s not his nature. He rather sees the management in the duty that the team works.”
Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator
Gerhard is right – a wise man. Seb probably can see the wood for the trees and probably doesn’t need the hassle of being shuttled around the world to the same old (and a couple of new) spots and, although many of us would give our right arms to drive an F1 car, let alone be in Seb’s position, he has seen it all, done it all and got the Championships.
There are maybe two things to reflect on if he were to decide on continuing – 1) Does he still enjoy F1 and would he miss it if he stopped as a competitor? 2) Has he spoken to anyone and asked the question “What’s it like to be an ex-F1 driver?” – maybe he could ask Nico Rosberg (well, he probably can’t ask Schumi !)?
The corollary of those questions is whether he genuinely thinks he could be competitive and win races or a WDC again in a future Ferrari or any other car/team. That is especially important if his earlier motivation (to break all the F1 records – especially to be the ‘winningest’ F1 driver of all time and break all of Schumi’s records -which are fast becoming Lewis’ records) is ever to be a realistic hope.
I suspect that his ambition and optimism will run out of time because Lewis will probably hit six this year and exceed seven for 92 (cricket references for those who don’t follow that sport) in 2020, which would really be too much for Vettel to stomach. Seb will probably conclude that he’s unlikely to add 40 wins to his total and even less likely to add three or four champions medals to his collection and he is not getting any younger, so easier to retire gracefully to become a Ferrari ambassador and to throw in his commentating skills where people are willing to pay him to attend the races and a few selected social events (just like Jackie Stewart does now, but probably not like Martin Brundle).