In Depth

F1: Sebastian Vettel wants to keep racing but it may not be at Ferrari

Lewis Hamilton ignores rivals’s claims and Ross Brawn sends warning over coronavirus restrictions

Vettel admits he could leave Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel maintains that he wants to continue driving in Formula 1 but the German admits it could be away from Ferrari. 

The 32-year-old, a four-time world champion from his days at Red Bull, is out of contract at the end of the 2020 season and there have been question marks about his future in the sport. 

In an interview with German publication Sport Bild, Vettel said: “There are no signs and no reason why I couldn’t or shouldn’t continue.

“I had a little bit of time in the winter and I used it to make up my mind that I definitely want it [to continue] and that I still enjoy it.”

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has revealed that preliminary talks have started with the driver. 

Speaking to Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Binotto said: “We have started to discuss it with Seb. They are preliminary talks, but soon we will get to the point where we evaluate what is best for both of us. I believe and hope that an agreement can be reached very quickly.”

Despite Binotto’s recent comments Vettel says he could follow in the footsteps of Michael Schumacher and drive for another team. 

When asked if that was possible, he said: “It is. I think there is even an example of a German who went somewhere else after Ferrari, if I remember correctly.”

F1 teams object to FIA Ferrari settlement

Seven F1 teams have issued a joint statement expressing their “shock and surprise” to the FIA’s confidential “settlement” with Ferrari over their 2019-spec power unit. 

Signed by McLaren, Mercedes, Racing Point, Red Bull, Renault, Alpha Tauri and Williams, the joint statement said: “We, the undersigned teams, were surprised and shocked by the FIA’s statement of Friday 28 February regarding the conclusion of its investigation into the Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 Power Unit. 

“An international sporting regulator has the responsibility to act with the highest standards of governance, integrity and transparency.

“After months of investigations that were undertaken by the FIA only following queries raised by other teams, we strongly object to the FIA reaching a confidential settlement agreement with Ferrari to conclude this matter. 

“Therefore, we hereby state publicly our shared commitment to pursue full and proper disclosure in this matter, to ensure that our sport treats all competitors fairly and equally. 

“We do so on behalf of the fans, the participants and the stakeholders of Formula One. In addition, we reserve our rights to seek legal redress, within the FIA’s due process and before the competent courts.”

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Lewis Hamilton drives the Mercedes W11 at Silverstone

Hamilton not listening to rivals’s claims

Following the conclusion of pre-season testing, Ferrari and Red Bull have suggested that Mercedes will be favourites ahead of the first race in Australia on 15 March. 

However, reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton says the Silver Arrows are not listening to what their rivals are saying.

Hamilton, who is aiming to equal Michael Schumacher’s record of seven championships, told Sky Sports: “I don’t pay attention to anyone else through testing. We literally just focus on our job and I have no idea what other people have been saying.

“I’ve been here a long, long time so I’m aware of people bigging us up and talking themselves down so that they can potentially overachieve unexpectedly or whatever.

“It doesn’t make a difference. Some people think that it’s a psychological battle but it’s really not. Only for the weak-minded maybe. But it doesn’t affect us whatsoever.”

Brawn warns over coronavirus restrictions

F1 motorsport managing director Ross Brawn has warned that if any team is unable to compete in a grand prix because of coronavirus restrictions then the race will not go ahead. 

With Italy one of the countries most affected by the outbreak, Reuters reports that some countries have imposed “quarantine periods on anyone who has come from or been in Italy during a two-week period prior to entry”.

This has raised concerns over Ferrari’s participation in some races, but Brawn said: “If a team is prevented from entering a country we can’t have a race. Not a Formula 1 world championship race, anyway, because that would be unfair. 

“Obviously if a team makes its own choice not to go to a race, that’s their decision. But where a team is prevented from going to a race because of a decision of the country then it’s difficult to have a fair competition.”

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