Sebastian Vettel ‘flirts with’ F1 plans as ex-team boss posts following surgery – F1 news round-up

Henry Valantine
A close-up shot of Sebastian Vettel smiling at the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka

Sebastian Vettel has been frequently linked with a return to F1 since retiring at the end of 2022.

Happy Friday to you, and it’s been another busy one in the Formula 1 world. Let’s take a look back at the day’s F1 news together, shall we?

From Sebastian Vettel admitting he does think about the possibility of returning to the grid in some form to Flavio Briatore having come out on the positive side of surgery and more, let’s delve into the stories from the day.

F1 news round-up – 29 March 2024

Sebastian Vettel does ‘flirt with’ idea of possible F1 comeback

Sebastian Vettel has admitted talking to Toto Wolff, but not about the vacant seat at Mercedes – though the idea of returning to Formula 1 has not ventured out of his mind completely.

He has been testing a Porsche 963 Hypercar this week as a potential drive for their World Endurance Championship team may present itself, but does not foresee a Formula 1 return just yet.

“We spoke on the phone, but not specifically about the fact that I could take the place, but rather that a lot is happening at Mercedes,” he told sport.de about his conversation with Wolff.

He did admit he does “think about” and “flirt with” the idea of a comeback but “when I made the decision back then, I had several reasons for it.”

Read more: Sebastian Vettel teases ‘plans for Formula 1’ amid Mercedes comeback rumours

Flavio Briatore posts after successful heart procedure

Former Renault team principal Flavio Briatore confirmed via social media that he underwent a procedure to get a benign tumour removed from his heart.

“Following a routine check-up, I had heart surgery as I had a benign mass that was removed with a minimal invasive procedure,” Briatore posted.

“The intervention was perfectly successful.”

Read more: Ex-Renault boss Flavio Briatore posts message after undergoing heart surgery

Max Verstappen sees chief mechanic depart Red Bull

Lee Stevenson, Red Bull’s chief mechanic, has confirmed via social media he has left Red Bull after 18 years with the team.

Having spent his final year with Red Bull as Verstappen’s chief mechanic, he had worked his way all the way up the ranks through the team, and has now decided to move to pastures new.

Stevenson’s successor as Red Bull’s chief mechanic is Chris Genty, who has been acting in this role since the start of this season.

Read more: Key figure departs Max Verstappen Red Bull circle ahead of Japanese GP

Carlos Sainz given World Champion approval by motorsport legend

After a dominant victory last weekend, Mario Andretti has labelled Carlos Sainz “World Championship material” after an astounding performance for Ferrari.

The 1978 World Champion is a legend in multiple disciplines, and he had high praise for the outgoing Ferrari driver.

Asked if it is a surprise that Sainz, not Leclerc, has claimed Ferrari’s most recent wins, Andretti told Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport: “Not at all.

“I have always said that both Carlos and Charles are drivers capable of winning races and even a Championship.

“They are both World Championship material, we have seen it and we continue to see it.”

Read more: New option for Carlos Sainz? Andretti hails Ferrari star ‘World Champion material’

Compared: Lewis Hamilton’s toughest season starts after ‘worst ever’ comment

After his retirement in Australia, Lewis Hamilton acknowledged his feeling that 2024 is the worst start to a season after three races that he has had in his illustrious career.

Having run the numbers, we have looked back at the other years he has struggled to get off the mark and why it might not be a case of all doom and gloom, as he has managed to turn it around before.

Read more: Lewis Hamilton’s worst F1 season starts and what happened next: Where could 2024 potentially rank?