RIP Formulino: The iconic Imola cat that cursed Sebastian Vettel

Sam Cooper
Sebastian Vettel and Formulino the Imola cat.

The Imola cat that once cursed Sebastian Vettel has passed away.

The famous Imola cat Formulino that may have once cursed Sebastian Vettel and brought Lewis Hamilton good luck has reportedly passed away.

The sight of a cat in the F1 paddock is unusual at almost every circuit except one, Imola. Formulino, who lives at the track, has become a cult figure as he has often been spotted wandering in and out of teams’ garages as he pleases.

But that sight will unfortunately be no more after the cat reportedly passed away on Sunday.

The curse of the cat for Sebastian Vettel?

Like most sportspeople, F1 drivers and staff can be a superstitious bunch so when a cat reportedly brings good luck, you can be sure they will believe it.

Well, most will. Then-Ferrari driver Vettel may have angered the racing gods when he declined to stroke the cat, going on to state he hates them and called Formulino overweight.

“It’s good luck if he comes and sees you,” Sky Sports F1 reporter Ted Kravitz told Vettel during an interview in 2020.

“I don’t like cats,” was the German’s reply. “I have nothing to offer it. He’s a bit overweight though, maybe because there hasn’t been much racing lately.”

Superstition or not, it turned out to be a terrible weekend for the Ferrari man as he qualified 14th and improved only two spots in the race itself after a 13-second pit stop.

It was a different story for Lewis Hamilton though who was seen stroking the cat on his way into the Mercedes garage and as luck would have it, Hamilton went on to win the Imola race after starting in P3.

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Formulino is not the only run-in Vettel has had with animals during an F1 weekend as a couple of seagulls cost him victory at the 2016 Canadian Grand Prix.

As he went into Turn 1, Vettel noticed two “suicidal” seagulls sitting on the track and felt the need to steer clear.

“I was a bit distracted, we chatted about it and I have to mention it, there were two seagulls, I think they were a couple who wanted to commit suicide!” Vettel said.

“They were at the apex of Turn 1 so I saw them and I just went wide into Turn 1. Lewis obviously didn’t care so made up quite a bit of time, half a second, but I didn’t do the couple that favour to maybe say goodbye for good. So by the time Lewis came round, they changed their mind and flew off! It wasn’t fair. I brake for animals, Lewis doesn’t!”

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