Sebastian Vettel is “finished” on the track but shouldn’t worry about getting the boot as he “pays his own salary” in PR, says former racing driver Jason Watt.
Vettel joined Aston Martin after being dropped by Ferrari, the German signing a multi-year deal with the Silverstone team.
The change of scenery was heralded by many, including his new bosses, as a new start for the four-time World Champion.
However, so far it has been more of the same old story.
Vettel had a nightmare debut in Bahrain, failing to make it out of Q1 and then crashing into Esteban Ocon during the grand prix, which earned him a time penalty.
Although he did make it out of Q1 at Imola, he wasn’t able to join his team-mate Lance Stroll in Q3, and was running outside the points on Sunday when Aston Martin called him late in the race to retire the car.
But despite his troubles out on the track, Vettel need not worry about being sacked.
According to Watt, the 33-year-old is still worth a lot to Aston Martin with the Dane saying he “effectively pays his own salary” with what he brings in through sponsorship and marketing.
“Vettel is a finished man,” the 51-year-old said via Formula1News.
“It’s a very long time since he did anything good. He also makes many mistakes and looks like a man under pressure.
“I don’t know if he can keep it up mentally. I do hope he stays the year, because he’s probably clinging to the hope that things will start to go his way all of a sudden.
“People talk about him being an expensive guy for the team, but you also have to consider that he will have attracted a lot of sponsorship money, so he effectively pays his own salary.”
While Vettel has yet to get off the mark this season, his team-mate Lance Stroll has bagged back-to-back top ten finishes. His five points have Aston Martin sitting P6 in the Constructors’ Championship.