Here are a few thoughts on Sebastian Vettel’s end-of-season departure from Ferrari. I think this is a good thing for Ferrari in one sense – it’ll allow them to focus 100 per cent on Charles Leclerc, who is quite capable of winning a championship if the car is good enough – but in another it’s kind of sad that Sebastian never really progressed as a driver beyond his golden days at Red Bull. The ultimate, super-precise “vee” driver who likes to extend the straights for as long as possible, Seb’s mid-corner rotation has always required a back end that would do exactly what it was told. He had that in the blown diffuser days at RBR but when that went away due to regulation changes he was always looking for the right set-up balance/Pirelli grip combination – and that, of course, whenever he found it, was always going to lead to dramatic compromise. Manipulation of the back end of the car has always been his bug-bear and I suspect he tried to solve this issue with data analysis and sim work back at the factory. What he really needed, of course, were days and days of testing at circuits like Mugello and Imola – as in the good old Ferrari days. But that, sadly, was never going to happen in today’s F1 world. In a Ferrari that lacked Mercedes power, he was always going to be exposed…particularly when they ranged him alongside the emerging Jackie Stewart who is called Charles Leclerc.
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