In mid-March, the F1 engines in Australia start to howl again, because that’s when Formula 1 starts its new season – and with it Sebastian Vettel, who is entering his last year of contract with Ferrari.
Whether the German will also get a contract with the Scuderia for 2021 is still open. A lot obviously depends on the outcome of the first races.
According to information from Germany’s “Sport Bild”, the decision about Vettel’s future should be made as early as possible in order to have planning security for the big rule change in 2021. In fact, Ferrari have – in effect – an ultimatum for the German. His must perform, and fast.
Specifically, the managers of the Italian racing team want to negotiate around the European start of F1 in May. This means that Vettel will only be staying for four to a maximum of five races (Australia, Bahrain, China, Vietnam and in the Netherlands) in order to attract positive attention to his abilities.
“We have a lot planned for 2020. I started preparing for the new season in December. Just because we don’t race in winter doesn’t mean I’m suddenly going to the South Seas,” the German from Heppenheim is quoted in “Sport Bild”.
With the momentum of an early start Ferrari wants to let the pendulum swing for itself this year. So the presentation of the new car was already set for February 11th, four days earlier than 2019 and well ahead of the competition. Afterwards, intensive tests are to take place.
“Leclerc is the driver we will rely on in the future, but Sebastian is the heart of our project. He is important for our team when it comes to developing the car,” revealed Mattia Binotto, adding: “His comments at the start of a season are crucial.”
From a Vettel perspective, what is obvious that he absolutely must hit the ground running if he is ever to secure an extension to his Ferrari contract.
In an interview with Motorsport Magazine, Sebastian Vettel warned his rivals:
“I am confident that I can beat any driver. I’m not afraid of competition. The opposite would make no sense.
“If you want to win but you’re afraid of your rivals, it doesn’t go together. It’s important for me to know how the year went and how I feel about it. ”
“I want to achieve something with Ferrari. That’s my motivation, my goal. I want to prove that I can do it. I haven’t done it yet, but I want to do it,” concludes Vettel.
Sky Sports F1’s Martin Brundle insists that Vettel still enjoys a blazing fast pace, but that his best years are definitely behind him, and has this to say about the German 4 time Champion:
“You can’t take anything away from him. What I think he’s always had, is somehow a lack of judgement in wheel-to-wheel combat, and it’s showing up more and more as he gets older.
“He’s still got the speed. Some of his qualy laps are outstanding, just lightning fast.
“I think he’s got the pace, you wouldn’t race him off, and you wouldn’t change him in a hurry for an unknown, but his best is behind him.”