Enzo Ferrari would have treated Sebastian Vettel “with much more respect” than the way the Scuderia have in 2020.
Those are the words of Mauro Forghieri, a trusted member of the Ferrari design team in the 1960s and 70s who was personally hired by the Italian giants’ founder.
In an interview with Italian journalist Leo Turrini, the 85-year-old claims things would have been different in the past when it came to decisions about drivers’ contracts.
Vettel, of course, was informed before the 2020 season got under way that his services were not required by Ferrari for next year, before talks had even begun over extending his deal.
The German has been with the team since 2015 and he, like the Scuderia, has been enduring a poor campaign on track having collected only 16 points from the first six races, leaving him 11th in the Drivers’ World Championship standings.
Regarding how things would have been different back in the day, Forghieri said: “I don’t like to stir Enzo Ferrari, precisely because I really knew him and I know there are things attributed to him which he would never have done. He is a legend.
“But I’m sure Il Drake would have handled Seb’s farewell quite differently. He would have treated him with much more respect.”
Forghieri added that he thinks too much is being expected of Charles Leclerc, on whom Ferrari are pinning their hopes amid Vettel’s impending exit. Leclerc will be joined in the team by Carlos Sainz for 2021.
“The boy (Leclerc) has a lot of talent but Ferrari shouldn’t have burdened him with so many responsibilities so soon,” said Forghieri. “We are talking about a young man who hasn’t even raced 50 Grands Prix.”
As for the team structure as a whole, Forghieri echoed the words of Luca di Montezemolo, with whom he helped to revive Ferrari’s fortunes in the mid-1970s when Niki Lauda won two World Championships for the team.
Di Montezemolo said recently that Mattia Binotto was “too alone” – and that advice was quickly heeded as Ferrari announced the creation of a new Performance Department to support the Team Principal.
Foghieri said: “Binotto plays a very delicate role. I know from experience! Being the head of the Gestione Sportiva is really difficult, the pressure is enormous, Ferrari never forgives anything.
“Nobody wins alone…Binotto must surround himself with the right people. I am not thinking of a revolution, that won’t help, but finding the right people with the skills that are now obviously lacking.”