Sebastian Vettel doesn’t see himself as an outdated member of Formula 1 and wants to continue “in the foreseeable future”, despite hints and rumours that he’s done with F1.
After Canada’s lost victory Sebastian Vettel seemed close to resigning from Formula 1, saying “This isn’t the sport I fell in love with anymore,”.
But there won’t be a withdrawal from Formula 1 soon, the German emphasises in an interview with the Austrian media outlet ‘DPA’.
Currently, his contract with Ferrari is still in force for the coming season, but he doesn’t foresee that he will stop after that: “I don’t intend to retire in the foreseeable future,” says Vettel. “I really enjoy racing.”
Obviously feeling rather vulnerable after the debacle of Brazil wherein it’s commonly accepted that the majority of the blame for the team Ferrari cars coming together lay with the senior driver, Vettel is doing his utmost to clarify his position in the sport, and in particular his position at Ferrari.
Having put the seed of retirement rumour into play in Canada after a harsh penalty was issued, of which said rumour continued for several races after, one could argue that Sebastian is his own worst enemy. By claiming such things, maybe a poor attempt to force the bias of the team back from Leclerc to himself, we see the German desperate to keep his drive at Ferrari, and perhaps in F1 itself.
Although Vettel, at 32, is already one of the old warhorses in Formula 1, he now claims that age is not as important compared to other sports. His former team-mate Kimi Räikkönen, for example, is already 40 and will continue to compete in the coming season. His great role model Michael Schumacher even drove at 43.
But Vettel says that doesn’t necessarily want to go on driving for that long. However, he definitely wants to decide for himself when he wants to stop and then feel comfortable with the decision. Some might argue that come soon be considered a luxury.
Of course, Vettel would like to become world champion with Ferrari, as Michael Schumacher had done in the past. He even sacrificed his career at Red Bull in order to make it happen, but after five seasons attempting to do so, he’s now further away than ever.
“I just hope it won’t be another five years before we can win,” says Vettel.
Vettel does seem to admit that he has been thinking about his life outside of F1, for when the time comes, saying that he already has “many ideas”.
This applies to other activities in racing as well as to things outside of racing for which he simply doesn’t have the time at the moment.
“I don’t like it when you stop with something that has determined your life so much and then have no plan as to how things should continue.” says the German.
But Vettel can rule out one thing: a withdrawal from the retirement plan, back to racing as Schumacher once did. “For me it’s clear that once I stop, I stop and never come back.”
F1 2019 : Vettel versus Leclerc
Qualifying: Vettel 9-11 Leclerc
Best result: Vettel 1st (x2), Leclerc 1st (x7)
Race: Vettel 11-8 Leclerc
Best result: Vettel 1st, Leclerc 1st (x2)
Points: Vettel 230-249 Leclerc
If Vettel stays at Ferrari after 2020, which I somehow doubt, he’s going to take a massive cut in salary. Ferrari aren’t going to pay him $43M a year anymore. When he went to Ferrari his salary was based on what he had done at Red Bull. Now it’s based on his time at Ferrari – which hasn’t been much.
The Italian press is also reporting Elkann is getting a lot of heat from Ferrari’s shareholders that Vettel isn’t worth what he’s being paid.
The reality is that there isn’t really a top team Vettel can go to. I think he retires at the end of next season.
Unless Red Bull take him back, which is still plausible, there’s very little likelihood Vettel will remain in F1 after next season