Ferrari should cut ties with Sebastian Vettel now – Gerhard Berger
Former Ferrari driver Gerhard Berger believes his old team should sever ties with Sebastian Vettel.
The four-time world champion’s future looks on increasingly shaky ground after he finished 12th at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
Vettel spun on the opening lap and then publicly accused his team over the radio of “messing up” his recovery drive with a poor strategy call.
The 33-year-old, who is a lowly 13th in the championship, nine places and 35 points behind team-mate Charles Leclerc, is being replaced at Ferrari by McLaren’s Carlos Sainz next year.
But speaking on Austrian TV, Berger, who had two stints with Ferrari in the 1980s and 1990s, said: “For the mood in the respective teams, it would be best to switch to the 2021 line-ups now.”
It is understood that Ferrari have not approached McLaren to seek the possibility of releasing Sainz from his post.
Vettel is poised to join Racing Point in 2021. And one theory is that Vettel’s transfer could be brought forward – with Sergio Perez moving in the opposite direction as a temporary fix.
Nico Hulkenberg, who has impressed as a stand-in for Perez, could also be a short-term option for Ferrari should Vettel’s time with the Italian team arrive at a premature end.
Vettel was hired by the Scuderia as the man to end their drivers’ championship drought which extends back to Kimi Raikkonen’s triumph in 2007.
But, despite having the machinery to take the fight to Lewis Hamilton in 2017 and 2018, he was comfortably outclassed by Britain’s six-time world champion.
Ex-Ferrari chief Ross Brawn believes Vettel and his old team should sit down for make-or-break talks to ensure the relationship does not spiral out of control.
“It’s going to be a measure of Sebastian and the team how they deal with the rest of the season,” said Brawn, Ferrari’s former technical director who engineered Michael Schumacher’s run of five straight championships at the turn of the century.
“They clearly have a very frustrated driver, and they need to find ways of keeping it together for the rest of the year for the interests of both of them.
“They need to try to turn a lose-lose into a win-win. When I met these situations in my career, I’d sit down with the driver one-to-one and understand what the issues are.
“Then you look at bringing people into the discussions, engineers etc, that are going to be helpful to improve things.”
The Formula One circus will head to Barcelona in the coming days for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, with Hamilton 30 points clear of Sunday’s victor Max Verstappen in the championship.