Sebastian Vettel hasn’t had a particularly great time since he moved from Red Bull Racing to Ferrari in the Formula One championship, and 2020 looks like it’s just been the pinnacle of disaster. After Vettel’s first-lap spin at the 70th anniversary of the British Grand Prix, the German driver just needs to find some way to hit the reset button on the whole year.
Vettel has made the most out of the cars Ferrari has provided him, scoring in the top five of the World Drivers’ Championship every year, but the signs of disaster have been there for years. After all, in the 2019 season, Ferrari was its own worst enemy.
But the writing is on the wall, now. Vettel won’t be signing with Ferrari for 2021, and his performance has dropped off so drastically that it seems a little mind boggling.
Vettel started today’s race in his worst-ever position. Even when he’s qualified well, though, it’s been a tough road to score a top 10.
At the first race of 2020, the Austrian Grand Prix, Vettel attempted to pass Carlos Sainz Jr. on a restart and made contact with the Spanish driver. He dropped back to 15th place but managed to make it to 10th by the end of the event—in part because nine drivers dropped out before the end of the race.
At the Styrian Grand Prix, Vettel and teammate Charles Leclerc collided on the first lap. Vettel retired from the race.
His best finish has thus far been a sixth at the Hungarian Grand Prix because he gambled that the predicted rain wouldn’t fall while other drivers made the opposite call.
Vettel managed to secure points again with a 10th place last week at Silverstone, despite a tough race.
If there’s one thing the German driver is able to do, it’s make the most out of a bad race, but it just doesn’t look like it’s completely possible this year for him. Whether it’s a mindset problem, a team relationship problem, or something else, Vettel has been something of a disappointment when compared to his teammate.
During today’s race, Vettel wasn’t afraid to let Ferrari know that they had put him on the wrong strategy, one that saw him stuck behind his competition. That said, he had his own spin to contend with: he likely would have been running higher up in the pack.
Whatever the case here, Vettel and 2020 just haven’t been meshing. It’s time for a refresh—but it’s hard to imagine that’ll happen with such a compressed schedule.