Sebastian Vettel makes F1 retirement statement with verdict on Ferrari ace Charles Leclerc
Sebastian Vettel insists his love for F1 is undiminished despite being usurped as Ferrari’s No 1 driver by young team-mate Charles Leclerc. Team principal Mattia Binotto this week reiterated Ferrari’s desire to keep hold of Vettel beyond the end of the season, when his current contract expires.
Much will depend, though, on the German’s performances in the first few races of the campaign, which begins with the Australian Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.
A whole host of drivers, including long-time rival Lewis Hamilton and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, have been touted as options to replace Vettel ahead of the 2021 season.
Vettel says, however, that he is not under any more pressure than he was previously to hammer out his future and that the thought of retiring is yet to cross his mind.
“The situation is no more stressful than it was three years ago,” said Vettel at pre-season testing this week. “We are busy with other things right now, so the stress level [about signing a new contract] is pretty much zero.”
Asked about Ferrari’s new SF1000 and if he is preparing to retire, Vettel said: “The cars feel ultra fast, the fastest ever. The only downside is that they are still too heavy, but it’s still a pleasure.
“I don’t know what next year will bring, but the flame is still burning. I have been here for a long time but I still love what I do.
“I’m getting the pleasure and I’m here to win. The hunger and determination are there. But I would appreciate it if this was the last question on this subject [retirement].”
Uncertainty over Vettel’s future comes after he saw Leclerc handed a new long-term contract over the summer which ties the Monaco-born racer to Ferrari until 2024.
Ferrari legend’s record to be matched this year
Ferrari to use team orders in 2020 F1 season
Ferrari ace identified as Lewis Hamilton rival
- Red Bull chief gives Mercedes verdict with Ferrari dig at testing
Vettel believes, however, it’s a positive to know it’s Leclerc that he’d be driving alongside as he and Ferrari mull over their options going forward.
“At least I know who drives the other Ferrari in the future, but it doesn’t really change anything,” Vettel said.
“He is in a different situation in his career than I am, but our relationship has been good since the beginning.”
Binotto, for his part, is content for talks over Vettel’s prospective new deal to take place in a casual setting.
“We know what we have in him,” said Binotto. “At some point the moment will come when we will sit down. Maybe we’ll do it over dinner with a glass of wine.”
Source: Read Full Article