Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Grazie Vettel

"Grazei Ragazzi" a phrase we heard 14 times by Seb in his career at Scuderia Ferrari since he joined in 2015 as he won 14 races to date with the team. He was the golden boy of that era in Formula One, winning 4 titles with Red Bull Racing under the guidance of Christian Horner, Seb was F1's hottest property. Apart from Lewis, there was no young driver that came close to him. Sebastian being German looked like the ideal package for Ferrari, he had the mindset of a winner and the Italian German combination harked back to the Schumacher reign so it looked like a match made in heaven for the Italians. The Tifosi were of course over the moon with such a talented signing and looked like Ferrari could be back challenging and more importantly winning again. You see the last time Ferrari lifted the constructors title was in 2008, 7 years on and things were getting rather uncomfortable without any silverware. Little did they know at the time, the team would face further turmoil in their endeavor to get back to the top. 

Ferrari hoped with Seb there to help them, he could rebuild the team back to their glory days with Michael at the helm. The problem was, it wasn't just Michael who took Ferrari to the top, he had the help of Ross Brawn and Jean Todt along with a stellar team of experts to take Ferrari to the heights we saw them achieve. In 2015 it was still a case of finding their feet instead of starting to rebuild. There were good days but there were many bad days. Just when you think they had it all figured out, the wheels would come off the very next race. As a fan, watching it was frustrating and sad, imagine being a driver, one that was touted to emulate the great Michael Schumacher. He definitely had the skill set to do so, anyone who says otherwise would be considered bitter in my books. Even the likes of Lewis would admit this, Vettel needed the backing of the team and the bosses the way Lewis had it at Mercedes. People pin point to Vettel's errors in his last two seasons but rewind back to Lewis at Mclaren Merecedes where he was teamed up with Fernando Alonso, a persona that of a spoilt brat, wanting things done his way, he wanted to be the number one driver based on who he was, not that old Spanish bloke. Lewis then got his opportunity with the Silver Arrows, his team, that similar of the golden era of  Ferrari, with Niki Lauda brought in to give advice and priceless vision to the team and look what they managed to achieve. 

Seb needed that support structure, one that he never got at Scuderia Ferrari and one that was ultimately his demise. The last two seasons were not great for Seb, especially with the inclusion of a new kid on the block as his partner, a young hungry driver that wanted to show he has what it takes to compete for the top spot. He was a risk taker and mule for the team but this proved to be a better option to get the most out of the car. Seb was dealt the raw deal again which forced him into driving more recklessly and ultimately cost him in many races. Singapore 2019 was a race to relish though, Seb did things his way and while we can all go on about how LeClerc was hard done by the team, it was Seb strategy that paid off for him. Canada was not kind to Seb either, hard done by the stewards in the end and left a very bitter taste in the mouth of many. Personally I feel for the German, I never liked him at Red Bull because he was a rival at the time but there was no denying him his talent. Was he another driver that suffered the curse of Ferrari from the likes of Prost and Alonso? Perhaps he had another 2 more titles in him during those 5 years, it's a pity he didn't achieve that at Ferrari, with news of the two agreeing to part ways at the end of the year, it is very hard to see him even achieve a title this year, that is if we do get any races at all. I'd like to see him end his F1 career on a high though, so here's to hoping he does. 

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