After 365 days comes again Hockenheim. Again, its Motodrome. The treacherous section in the rain; the first big mistake of Sebastian Vettel in 2018 since at least from the Turkish Grand Prix of 2009 (with the clash with teammate Mark Webber): shunting the car with slick tyres in the slowest part of the circuit while leading the race at the time has been the turning point of the championship. Not only regarding the table point classification, but more onto the psychological side of the Ferrari-Mercedes first drivers’ battle. For the first time the phrase “It’s over for this year” was spreading among the Tifosi even if the German round was at the middle in the calendar. Then came Suzuka (clash with Verstappen) but been in October there was little to do against Lewis Hamilton.
And one later? Arriving at his home Grand Prix, Sebastian has collected 41 points less than 2018, when he arrived as the leader; at the other side of the box, Leclerc has 4 more points compared to Kimi Raikkonen in the previous season. Just statistics, right. But numbers give us the perception that the crisis of the German isn’t diminishing even with a stimulating team mate as Leclerc: did You remember how Raikkonen was seen back a dozen races ago?
Remedies? For the long term the news of the return young engineer Simone Resta, claimed from Italian press as the saviour of the Scuderia, is certainly a precious asset; both for technical management, but even for decluttering Mattia Binotto from all the incumbencies outside the Team Principal ones. But we are talking for the 2021 car project: Resta is still concluding the gardening period at Sauber and then at the Ferrari Customer Racing. An entire season ahead.
A possible retirement for the 4-time champion could be a reasonable decision? The substitute could panic everyone at Maranello more than the probable outcomes: with the death of all the main teams’ Academy or Junior Teams, will be hard finding another driver at the level of Leclerc. Giovinazzi could be only an emergency solution having been deployed at the simulator.
What people often tends to forget when summing up, is the experience that a driver as Vettel can bring to a team: scrolling the field is hard to find a good level of experience and talent in one team. Reliability in results when coming to point scoring, counselling team when the new car needs to be set up during the pre-season testing, been a team leader and a group player in motivating everyone doing more and better, attending events and marketing venues for becoming popular to crowds: tons of qualities are needed excepted the shot single lap speed in qualifying. And until now Sebastian got them all.