‘Vettel’s Ferrari future is in his own hands’

Michelle Foster

Sebastian Vettel expects the grid to close up for second Austria race.

Mattia Binotto has made it clear that it is up to Sebastian Vettel whether he continues with Ferrari, saying he knows what he needs to do.

Vettel joined Ferrari in 2015 but to date has yet to achieve his goal of winning the World title with the Italian stable.

In an era where Mercedes have dominated, the German’s best showing in the standings was runner-up in 2017 and again in 2018.

Last year he fell to fifth, winning just one grand prix and losing to his new team-mate Charles Leclerc in the standings.

It was only the second time in his F1 career that Vettel had lost to a team-mate.

His fall from grace led to rumours that Vettel would walk away from F1 at the end of the season but instead he decided to honour his contract and will race for Ferrari when the 2020 season finally gets underway.

But it could be his last with the team.

Vettel is out of contract at the end of this year although his team boss, Binotto, has made it clear that he’s his number one pick for next season.

But whether Vettel stays at Ferrari, or leaves for another team, is entirely up to him.

“We have started discussing a new deal,” Binotto recently said. “It’s important we address it quite soon.

“It’s not something we will leave until the end of the season.

“It’s important for him and for ourselves to get clarity as soon as we can. Discussions are ongoing, and hopefully that will be done soon.

“He’s in very good shape. I think he’s focused. He knows he needs to do well.

“It’s a key moment of his career, because whatever he may do at the start of the season will be important for his renewal. It’s in his hands.

“So I think he’s very motivated. Last year was important for him. Charles’ performance took him by surprise.

“It’s not the case anymore, he knows where the benchmark is and he knows what he needs to do, so I think he has prepared himself very well through the winter.

“He spent last year trying to understand what went wrong and making sure he does better this year.”

Follow us on Twitter @Planet_F1 and like our Facebook page.