Could Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel retire at the end of the 2019 Formula 1 season? That’s the rumour doing the rounds following last weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.
Vettel won the world championship four times with Red Bull but has yet to bring the title to Maranello. Third in the 2019 standings, Vettel is without a victory this season and trails Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton by 55 points after six races.
British motor sport journalist Joe Seward reports that Vettel could retire although his contract with Ferrari does not finish until the end of the 2020 campaign.
Writing in his business of motor sport newsletter F1 expert Seward said: “The most shocking rumour that started to spread in the paddock in Monaco is that Sebastian Vettel is considering retiring from F1 at the end of the season at the age of 31.
“After winning four world championships with Red Bull between 2010 and 2013 he tried to bring Ferrari back to success, but he made several mistakes and is now under pressure after the arrival of Charles Leclerc, younger and apparently with more growth margin than German.
“A choice that in some ways would follow that of Nico Rosberg, who left F1 after winning the title in 2016 aware of the fact that he would hardly succeed in the enterprise again.”
Seward also asks the question: who could replace Vettel should he leave Ferrari? He added: “The names that have been circulating for now are those of Sergio Perez, Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean and Valtteri Bottas.”
Leclerc and Scuderia at ‘breaking point’
Ferrari’s struggles are also having a negative effect on the performance of Vettel’s team-mate Charles Lerclerc.
In his first season at Ferrari the Monégasque driver has been “undone on two sides, team orders and errors”, Planet F1 reports, and the latest mistake during qualifying in Monaco has left the 21-year-old’s relationship with the Scuderia at “close to breaking point”.
Italian outlet Formula Passion said: “The Monaco Grand Prix is likely to cost Ferrari dearly. Relations between Maranello and the managers who manage the Monegasque’s career are already close to breaking point.”
After six races in 2019 Leclerc is fifth in the drivers’ standings with 57 points while Vettel is third with 82. In the constructors’ championship Ferrari are 118 behind runaway leaders Mercedes.
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- Niki Lauda: Fans say last goodbye to F1 legend ahead of funeral (Sky Sports)
- John Watson on Niki Lauda, driving the infamous Brabham fan car and more… (F1 Beyond the Grid podcast)
- Another podium stripped, what’s going on Max? (Planet F1)
- Leclerc’s impetuosity down to Ferrari’s error, says Brawn (PitPass)
- Raikkonen: Monaco GP was boring (GPFans)