Sebastian Vettel’s opportunity to take Ferrari back to the pinnacle of Formula 1 with a championship win is “slipping away”, according to sport managing director Ross Brawn.
The German is a four-time world champion in F1, but all of these titles came with Red Bull, with none coming after his move to Ferrari in 2015. With the Scuderia, he has been embroiled in championship feuds with Lewis Hamilton each year, but has lost out every time, with Nico Rosberg of Mercedes also besting him in 2016.
In 2019, he is well off the pace in the title race in fourth place - 100 points adrift of Hamilton.
Brawn noticed the difference in persona between Vettel and team-mate Charles Leclerc after the British GP in which the former finished as low down as 16th after a crash with Max Verstappen, and wonders whether his time is running out for a Ferrari title win.
“Unlike [Charles] Leclerc, he never felt comfortable in the car, as can be seen from the gaps in qualifying and then, in the race, he didn’t make the most of the Safety Car opportunity, after it had seen him move up to third,” Brawn said of Vettel.
“Then came the mistake when he slammed into the back of Verstappen’s car. He realised immediately that he’d erred and after the race quickly sought Max out to apologise.
"It’s a difficult moment for Sebastian, as he probably feels under a different kind of pressure than he’s used to, and he must be asking himself what direction he should now go in, given that again this year, his chance of putting Ferrari back on top is slipping away.
Brawn believes it is vital that Vettel continues to receive support from Ferrari as he goes through this difficult phase of his career.
“Sebastian is an incredible driver, as his record shows, but at the moment, he needs to keep calm and to rely on support from his team, which I’m sure he is getting,” the F1 boss added.
“I reckon there is no other team like Ferrari when it comes to surrounding its drivers with affection and positive energy.”
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