Montreal ‘damaged Vettel’s faith’ in Formula 1

Ex-Formula 1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone, feels Sebastian Vettel has “lost something” and the events of Montreal have had a significant impact on him.

Vettel was given a controversial penalty in Canada which gave Lewis Hamilton the win and demoted Vettel to second place.

More mistakes have followed since the Canadian Grand Prix and he is still without a victory since the Belgian Grand Prix in 2018. Team-mate Charles Leclerc has won twice following back-to-back wins in Belgium and Spa.

Vettel’s future with not just Ferrari, but in Formula 1 overall, was called into question after another self-inflicted error at Monza and his friend, Ecclestone, believes Montreal has had a lasting effect.

“He seems to have lost something,” Ecclestone said in an interview with Auto Motor und Sport. “The worst thing that happened to him was the punishment in Montreal.

“The punishment there was completely wrong and unnecessary. It somehow damaged Sebastian’s faith in the sport.

“His action was not dangerous. Everyone else would have reacted like him. Lewis was clever, making it look dangerous.”

Meanwhile, Ecclestone also named that his ideal driver line-up at the moment would be Lewis Hamilton partnered with Max Verstappen.

He said: “These are two different drivers, two completely different types – and they also win their races in different ways.

“That’s why the choice is hard for me. We could really compare the two in the same car. I wish to see that.”

Ecclestone has also had his say on the ever-increasing calendar, with the 2020 Formula season to feature 22 races.

He, like Vettel, feels 16 is more than enough.

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Vettel, Ferrari not surprised by Leclerc’s rise

The outside world might be surprised by Charles Leclerc’s performances this season, but Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari knew he had the potential.

Leclerc has taken to life at the Scuderia like a duck to water as he has often out-performed his more established team-mate Vettel during his debut season with the Italian outfit.

The Monegasque driver won his maiden F1 race at the Belgian Grand Prix and then followed it up with Ferrari’s first win on home soil at Monza since 2009.

The back-to-back wins have seen him move ahead of Vettel in the Drivers’ standings and put the German under a bit more pressure.

Vettel, though, says Leclerc’s potential was clear to see since his academy days.

“I think it is positive that he has surprised people outside but inside he has been with the Ferrari driver academy for a while,” he is quoted as saying by

“It was clear to see that he had a lot of potential and he had a very strong rookie season with Alfa so I think it is good to see that he was right on the pace straightaway.

“From a team point of view I think it is important that we work together not against each other, that seems to work so that is important otherwise it would be a waste of energy. Those are key.

“It was a big weekend for him [in Belgium] even though it was overshadowed by the circumstances and the passing of Anthoine [Hubert].”

Leclerc’s victories at Spa and Monza have helped Ferrari to open a handy gap between themselves and third-placed Red Bull in the standings, but both teams are still well adrift of first-placed Mercedes.

For now, Vettel just wants both drivers to “push in the right direction” with the hope that “one day” they can battle it out for top honours.

“We are trying to work together to push the team as our car is not where we want it to be,” he said. “We don’t have the car or ability to win every race so that is our objective so it serves both of us if we push in the right direction.

“I believe one day we will have that car and then we can fight it out.”

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Vettel: F1 will realise it needs the German GP

Four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel believes Formula 1 will quickly realise that it needs the German Grand Prix.

The German Grand Prix was the only race to drop off the 2020 calendar which will feature a record 22 rounds.

The British, Spanish, Italian and Mexican GP‘s all secured extensions to their contracts which were up at the end of 2019, yet the German GP, which provided the most thrilling race of this season, was not offered a new deal.

This is something which Vettel believes Formula 1 will regret in the future.

Asked by what should be done to bring the German GP back, Vettel said: “Maybe nothing needs to be done.

“Maybe next year or the future will show that F1 needs to be in Germany, and F1 will start looking into it again.

“I think it is not possible for F1 to lose races in countries where there is a big history, like the UK, like Italy, like Germany, so it is a big shame. Probably it’s a money question.

“As I said maybe nothing needs to happen, and just realising that we need to race in Germany, we need to race in these countries, is enough to bring the GP back.

“I would hope so. In the mean time obviously we lose out.

“I just hope that wherever we go as replacements will have as good of a race as in Germany, with as many people in the grandstands, which I’m not sure is a given, to be honest.”

Vettel has already stated his desire to return to a 16-race season, not for the sake of him or other drivers, but instead citing the pressure 22 races will place on team members like “mechanics”.

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Montoya: Vettel’s problems not mental

Ex-Formula 1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya believes Sebastian Vettel’s recent errors are due to “technical” issues not mental ones.

The German hasn’t won a race since Belgium 2018 while he suffered another high-profile error at this year’s Italian GP when he spun off at the Ascari chicane, before re-joining the track and driving straight into Lance Stroll.

The four-time World Champion is now one serious incident away from a one-race ban, while his Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc has turned his own shaky start to the season around with back-to-back wins at Spa and Monza.

But Montoya, who won seven races in Formula 1 across stints with Williams and McLaren, believes Vettel’s issues are due to technical problems with the SF90, not the German’s mentality.

“I think he doesn’t like something in the car or this year’s tyres and Leclerc is able to better adapt,” Montoya told

“Vettel has to suffer to go as quick as the other guy. Because he has to suffer and he is not comfortable, he makes mistakes. When you’re not happy with the car and you push, mistakes happen.

“I don’t think it’s a mental thing. It is more a technical one. It’s about understanding, having someone on your side who’s able to find what’s going on.”

Montoya believes the situation is similar to his time with McLaren from 2005-06. The team developed a different front suspension just to suit the Colombian’s driving style better, while he “had to change they way I braked the car and it started doing very different things to what I was used to”.

Montoya therefore thinks that Ferrari should look to build the car around Vettel, rather than expecting him to overhaul his style.

“Changing the way you drive is very complicated,”he explained. “If you change the way you drive the car you can still be quick, but probably not as quick as you used to be.

“He will have to adapt to a certain extent, but learning to be quick in a different way is very difficult. It’s better to adapt the car to your driving than your style to someone else’s.

“He’s going to have to get his head down with the team and work harder than he ever has.

“The only way is working harder, doing something different to what he’s doing now. He must be used to working in a certain way, but right now it’s not working out for him.”

Vettel is under contract with Ferrari until the end of the 2020 season.

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Berger warns Vettel: You can never rely on Leclerc

Angered by Charles Leclerc not giving him a tow in qualifying for the Italian GP, Gerhard Berger has warned Sebastian Vettel to “never” rely on his team-mate.

Heading into qualifying at Ferrari’s home race, the deal with the Scuderia team-mates was for Vettel to give Leclerc a tow in the first run of Q3 and then for the Monégasque driver to return the favour.

Vettel did his part, putting Leclerc on provisional pole. Leclerc didn’t do his, leaving Vettel P4 on the Monza grid.

And while the team-mates have reportedly cleared the air, former F1 driver Berger has warned Vettel not to expect favours of any sort from his Ferrari team-mate.

“I have to say it clearly: there is no team play at this level in Formula 1,” the Austrian told the Kolner Express.

“Everyone is on their own and has to see that he gets his own nose in front.

“I do not know if he fooled Vettel, but it has long been clear that Leclerc has an absolute killer instinct and is headed in the direction of the World title.

“That was not so surprising for me.

“For me, it was rather incomprehensible why Sebastian waited so long and did not go alone hunting for pole.

“Without the slipstream, he might not have cracked Leclerc’s time but he might have finished second or third.

“He can never rely on Leclerc.”

Asked if Vettel had been naive to trust his team-mate, Berger replied: “Let’s not call it naive, but he has too much good faith.

“And good faith has little place in top-level sport, where the World Championship is concerned.”

Leclerc went onto win the Italian GP, breaking Ferrari’s nine-year duck, while a spin and a penalty left Vettel down in 13th place.

This has left many wondering if Leclerc is now Ferrari’s official number ‘1’ driver.

Put to Berger, he replied: “Ferrari will always back the one who has the best opportunities and that is currently the Charles because Sebastian did not do a great job.

“To spin and then hit Lance Stroll in front of you, you can not expect from a four-time World Champion.

“He has to keep cool and race-by-race get his nose back to the front.”

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Vettel spin opened the door for Mercedes

Mercedes’ motorsport strategy director James Vowles believes Sebastian Vettel could have proved a big problem at Monza if he hadn’t have spun.

Vettel spun on lap 6 of the Italian Grand Prix and was given a ten-second stop/go penalty for re-joining the track in front of Lance Stroll and causing front wing damage for both drivers.

That sent him to the back of the field and opened up a wider range of strategies for Mercedes in their pursuit of the win – they had initial concerns that the German could have forced Lewis Hamilton into a shorter first stint.

“Before the race started we highlighted that our best chance to beat Ferrari was to go one car on the slightly shorter side, one car on the longer side and create a situation that Ferrari may not be able to cover in both circumstances,” Vowles explained in Mercedes’ PurePitWall debrief.

“The difficulty was [Sebastian] Vettel, when he was there you could lose a position to him, Ferrari could use him to effectively stop the car going very long.

“When he spun, however, the opportunities were then created and we executed the plan.

“With Lewis we took the first available opportunity to undercut when [Carlos] Sainz moved out of the pit window.

“With Valtteri [Bottas] he always knew he was going to go on the longer side, take the medium tyre, and attack at the end of the race when Leclerc’s tyres would be at their weakest.

“[Ferrari’s] plan worked he [Leclerc] was very quick at the end of the race and Lewis had done everything he could but wasn’t able to get through, Leclerc now damaging his tyres to defend, however, it wasn’t meant to be.

“Valtteri tried his hardest, got close twice, but on both of those occasions not close enough to be able to complete the overtake despite that big difference in both tyre age and compound.”

Despite falling short in their pursuit to deny Leclerc the win at Ferrari’s home race, Vowles doesn’t believe either strategy had flaws against the other.

“As we went into it there isn’t really one strategy that worked out better or worse,” he confirmed.

“Lewis could have managed his tyres more and attacked less and would have made it to the end of the race and kept his P2, but he did the right thing, you fight for the win.

“Just on this occasion he damaged his tyres doing so and wasn’t able to get through and was compromised as a result.”

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Wolff on Vettel: No doubt he’ll bounce back

As Sebastian Vettel woke up to yet another week of negative headlines, Toto Wolff has warned against writing off the four-time World Champion.

Vettel had a weekend to forget at the Italian Grand Prix, Ferrari’s home race.

Not only was he denied, he made even see it as robbed, of pole position when Charles Leclerc didn’t return the favour by giving him a tow in qualifying, but his Sunday quickly went from bad to worse.

Vettel spun all by himself and the clipped the Racing Point of Lance Stroll as he made an unsafe return to the track.

The German, who had to pit for a new nose, was hit with a 10-second stop-go penalty that dropped him to the back of the field.

He recovered only as far as P13 while Leclerc broke Ferrari’s Monza duck.

He was then handed penalty points on his license, putting him just three points away from a one-race ban.

As to be expected Monday’s headlines were anything but flattering for Vettel.

Wolff, though, has warned against writing off the four-time champion.

“I am just saying don’t write him off,” the Mercedes motorsport boss told

“He’s a four-time World Champion and the difference between the great ones and the good ones is that the great ones are able to get back up again.

“And I have no doubt that he can do that.

“He had a spell of bad races and now it will be about the ability to get himself back where he deserves to be.

“Today for sure is a bad day for him.”

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