Vettel retirement rumors 'increasing' (7th Update)
|Vettel squashed retirement rumors at Thursday's press conference|
UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. Sebastian Vettel says quitting Formula 1 is "not an option".
Clearly under pressure at Ferrari, the 32-year-old German insists he is still enjoying driving "the fastest cars there are".
And so he told the German broadcaster RTL ahead of his home race at Hockenheim that quitting is "not an option".
"The goal is to succeed with Ferrari," he added.
When asked specifically about reports that he is thinking about stopping at the end of 2019, the quadruple world champion added: "Well, I've never said that.
"I wonder who did, but it is unfounded," said Vettel.
|Vettel knows Ferrari is no match for Mercedes. In F1 the car is 99% and the driver 1%. He is so dismayed one has to think he will now retire|
07/15/19 Sebastian Vettel skulked through the paddock on Sunday night with his headphones on and his face a mask of torment. All year, the Ferrari driver has reached for all manner of excuses to try to explain his under-performance, but this time there was no contesting the facts. In a year when he was once thought to have the fastest car, he now lies a staggering 100 points adrift of Lewis Hamilton with 11 races of 21 still left. A crash on Sunday with Max Verstappen, which relegated him to 16th and which the stewards decided was entirely his fault, was but the latest entry in a catalog of failure.
Rumors are rife that Vettel, in a state of deep disillusion with F1 since a penalty in Montreal last month deprived him of a win, could yet follow Nico Rosberg’s example and take a shock early retirement at the end of the year. That might be an over dramatic reading – for a start, he is under contract at Ferrari until the end of 2020 – but he looks this summer like a pale imitation of the driver who won four world titles at Red Bull.
Since his row with the stewards in Canada, Vettel has not managed even to qualify in the top five for three races in a row. Plus, just as happened with Daniel Ricciardo in 2014, he is finding himself upstaged by a younger team-mate in Charles Leclerc. Oliver Brown/The Telegraph
06/26/19 (GMM) A figure who is very close to Sebastian Vettel has played down reports the Ferrari driver is poised to quit Formula 1.
For years, Peter Burger has produced the four-time world champion's famous helmet designs.
Vettel, 31, is not just struggling to beat Mercedes in 2019, he is also being challenged for status at Ferrari by teammate Charles Leclerc and openly unhappy about the direction of the sport.
Kolner Express newspaper asked Burger if Vettel's sudden marriage to his partner Hanna is a sign that he is about to bow out of F1 and focus on his family.
"No, he and Hanna have lived together for a long time," he said. "It was just now the right time for them.
"Besides, he still has a contract, which he definitely fulfills. Seb has always kept to contracts and is not one to give up.
"As he has said, he still has something to do at Ferrari," Burger added.
Burger also played down the significance of Vettel's recent complaints about F1, including his post-race 'tantrum' after the controversial Canadian GP.
Asked if he is worried about Vettel, Burger said: "No, because that's how I know Seb.
"In the car he is exposed to enormous emotional tension. And if he is then treated unfairly, as in Montreal, then the valve opens and we see what we saw.
"If Seb were to say 'I earn tens of millions so I don't care', that's when you have to start worrying about him retiring," Burger added.
06/25/19 (GMM) Sebastian Vettel has once again played down suggestions he is contemplating retirement.
With Ferrari struggling against Mercedes, Charles Leclerc pushing for priority and Vettel out of love with F1's strict rules, some believe the German could quit at the age of 31.
What is true is that Ferrari's great hope of finally winning in 2019 is now being lost amid a clear decline for the Maranello team compared to a year ago.
"Maybe I'm not smart enough but I don't think much about these things," Vettel said after Paul Ricard.
"Honestly I don't see so many differences compared to the last years. We are better than in 2015 and 2016, and while it is true that last year at this point we were more competitive, this is what we have.
"We can't stop to think how we were doing ten races ago, we have to understand what we should do better now.
"So I love racing and nothing changes, in fact I enjoyed Paul Ricard a lot even though I would have liked something more than fifth," Vettel added.
The quadruple world champion therefore played down the prospect of quitting or leaving Ferrari.
"I do not want to be anywhere else, so I have not thought about it," said Vettel.
"We would like to be in a different position now, but it is up to us to close the gap to Mercedes. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about other things."
|Vettel laughs, why race when the race stewards want a follow-the-leader parade|
06/23/19 (GMM) Serious doubts are beginning to emerge about Sebastian Vettel's future in F1.
Already fiercely private, the German married his long-time partner Hanna between the Canadian and French grands prix.
His friend Bernie Ecclestone recently said Vettel does not want F1 to affect the "balance" of his family life.
As he was getting married in a short registry office ceremony, Ferrari was preparing its push for a 'review' of the stewards penalty in Montreal that cost him the race win.
It was rejected.
"What should we do now? Retire. At least I wouldn't be in any trouble anymore," international reports quote the 31-year-old as saying at Paul Ricard.
He was joking, but it is clear that all is not well with Vettel. He qualified seventh at Paul Ricard, four places behind his teammate Charles Leclerc.
There was even a tetchy radio exchange involving Leclerc, with Vettel saying: "I'm not trying to kill him so don't worry."
Some think the world of F1 could be witnessing quadruple world champion Vettel's final season on the grid.
"If Lewis Hamilton stays motivated, he still has another four or five seasons ahead of him," Kolner Express newspaper wrote. "Unlike Vettel."
Italy's Corriere della Sera added: "The German is no longer hiding his discomfort about the repeated difficulties facing him.
"Rumors of his F1 farewell at the end of the season are increasing."
Vettel's former Red Bull bosses think the pressure is showing on the German.
"With us, Sebastian was like a metronome when he was in the lead of a grand prix," said Christian Horner.
"He obviously looks a lot more under pressure these days, as he carries the hopes of Ferrari in a pressure-cooker environment."
Dr Helmut Marko agrees: "Sebastian has to fight against Mercedes with blunt weapons, and deal with things in his own team that are anything but pleasing."
06/04/19 Sebastian Vettel has dismissed reports that suggest he could quit F1 at the end of the year.
Former F1 driver Emanuele Pirro says the German is clearly "not having fun" this year or last, as he now grapples for number 1 status at Ferrari with Charles Leclerc.
Vettel's friend Bernie Ecclestone also thinks retirement is an option for the quadruple world champion.
"He won't change teams, he will end his career," the former F1 supremo said recently. "And I think not much is needed for that to happen.
"Sebastian has a happy family life and does not want F1 to put him out of balance."
31-year-old Vettel, though, now dismisses the retirement talk.
"I have no plans to stop," he told Auto Bild ahead of the Canadian GP. "I still have a lot of fun in Formula 1 and something to do at Ferrari.
"We want to try everything to bring about the turnaround this season and the Canadian GP should be the beginning," Vettel added.
|Alonso dreams of an F1 return, but he can dream all he wants|
06/03/19 According to reports coming out of Spain and Marca, two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso wants to return back to Ferrari to replace Vettel if he retires.
With Vettel's future uncertain could Alonso be the man to partner Leclerc and bring the glory days back to Ferrari? Or did Alonso burn to many bridges at Ferrari and they will tell him to go pound sand?
05/28/19 Sebastian Vettel could be competing in his last season in Formula 1 according to rumors after the Monaco Grand Prix.
The German has endured a difficult period at Ferrari after moving to the Prancing Horse in the hopes of emulating Michael Schumacher and ending a long championship drought for the Scuderia.
Despite having a contract for the 2020 season, Vettel may be calling time on his career a year early according to Joe Saward's 'business of motorsport' newsletter.
In his post-Monaco Grand Prix newsletter, Saward reported that Vettel may be considering a move away from Formula 1 at the end of the current season.
"The most shocking rumor that started to spread in the paddock in Monaco is that Sebastian Vettel is considering retiring from F1 at the end of the season at the age of 31.
"After winning four world championships with Red Bull between 2010 and 2013 he tried to bring Ferrari back to success, but he made several mistakes and is now under pressure after the arrival of Charles Leclerc, younger and apparently with more growth margin than the German.
"A choice that in some ways would follow that of Nico Rosberg, who left F1 after winning the title in 2016 aware of the fact that he would hardly succeed in the enterprise again. The big question, of course, is who would be Vettel's successor.
"The names that have been circulating for now are those of Sergio Perez, Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean and Valtteri Bottas."