The ongoing friction between Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari has led to uncertainty over whether the four-time World Champion will see out the season with them.
Vettel and Ferrari are going their separate ways at the end of the 2020 campaign but their final year together has already turned out to be a pretty miserable one.
Vettel has scored just 10 points this season and was heavily critical of the team’s race strategy at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
He was forced to pit earlier than he would have liked as he continued his recovery drive following a first lap spin and the resulting traffic prevented him from finishing inside the points.
Vettel told the Ferrari pit wall during the race that they had “messed it up” and back in the paddock questioned if the early pit stop was so Charles Leclerc did not have to try overtake him on track.
Ex-driver turned pundit Jolyon Palmer thinks the “toxic” situation between Vettel and Ferrari may lead to an even earlier departure.
? Vettel: "It is in the gap that we didn’t like. We spoke about it this morning. I’ll hang in there, but we know that you’ve messed up”#F1 #F170
— Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1) August 9, 2020
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“I don’t know if he can [see out the season with Ferrari],” Palmer said via BBC Five Live’s Chequered Flag podcast.
“It’s just getting more and more toxic by the day, not even by the race. He’s basically performing really badly compared to Leclerc, who is the golden boy at Ferrari.
“Leclerc is in his second year with the team and outshone Vettel in his first year. He got a big lucrative contract with them and is seen as their man going forward.
“Vettel, meanwhile, is leaving the team and he is really struggling to even get points right now. Four races he has barely been in the points and it was only Hungary where he showed any chance of getting sensible points – even then he ran off the road twice.
“Vettel believes there is something wrong with his car and that was evident in the very cagey post-race interviews and it’s just getting nasty between him and Ferrari.”
Former F1 mechanic Marc Priestley suspects the Vettel v Ferrari situation could just be the tip of iceberg and symbolic of a deeper issue within the team and its working environment.
“It’s not a new problem is it at Ferrari with relationships falling apart,” Priestley added.
“People have talked about a toxic environment at Ferrari before and this is perhaps a sign of that. This is something that may stem much deeper than just the surface level between the team and their current driver in Vettel.”
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