Sebastian Vettel’s ability to unite the Ferrari team has been hailed as “second to none” by their current sporting director.
The German spent six seasons at Ferrari having joined from Red Bull in 2015 and achieved 14 wins with the team, but there was always a sense of what could have been.
Having left Red Bull as a four-time World Champion, Vettel would no doubt have hoped he would add to that tally during his time at the most successful team in the sport – but his period in the seat coincided with the emergence of the dominant Mercedes as well as problems within Ferrari.
By the time of his departure, Vettel’s relationship had dramatically deteriorated to the point it was debated whether he may even leave the team mid-season rather than wait until the end.
What’s next for Sebastian Vettel?
Sebastian Vettel has plenty of offers on the table but he may choose to leave sport entirely and focus on off-track issues.
The German did stay until the end of the 2020 campaign before moving to Aston Martin but despite his issues, current Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies has praised Vettel’s ability to unite a team.
“I like to separate the driver from the man,” the 45-year-old told Formula Passion. “The driver always had an incredible attention to detail and from his very beginnings you could tell he had something special.
“He has grown throughout his career and at Ferrari he developed a talent for trying to bring the team together, in good times and bad. In this, he was second to none. Plus, with his talent and dedication, his attention to detail, he achieved what he achieved.
“But I think we will also remember about him the incredible respect for all his colleagues. In his eyes, you can clearly read that when you talk to him. And that was something that pushed us to improve and it was a privilege to have shared the path with him.”
It appears it is not only his team Vettel is able to unite as his opponents also speak very highly of him. He serves on the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association board as a director and there have been plenty of calls for him to stay on even after he hangs up his racing boots.
Williams’ Nicholas Latifi also praised Vettel for having the welfare of all racing drivers at heart, not only his contemporaries in Formula 1.
“Sebastian is definitely one of the more vocal ones – that’s not the right word, but he’s definitely one of the drivers who always speaks his mind and gives it to the stewards when he has one,” said the Canadian, quoted by Motorsport-total.com.
“Especially when it comes to the safety of drivers, and not only the drivers on the [F1] grid but also in the junior classes.
“It also shows what a good guy he is because logically it’s extra work on top of his already busy life as a Formula 1 driver.”