F1: Sebastian Vettel has "no future at Ferrari" following Russian GP issues
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Sebastian Vettel has “no future at Ferrari” after the team “sacrificed” him at the Russian Grand Prix, according to Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko.
Vettel bolted into the lead of the race ahead of pole sitter and teammate Charles Leclerc, and refused to swap back the position.
Leclerc overtook Vettel in the pit stops after being given the optimal strategy, before the four-time world champion’s race ended with an engine issue.
For many, as the dust settled, the cracks in Ferrari appeared to open wider following the seeds sown in the previous race in Singapore, where Vettel made the most of an undercut to defeat an unhappy Leclerc.
However, despite Vettel appearing to have the wood over Leclerc in race trim in Sochi, Marko — a former long-time advisor of Vettel in his Red Bull days — believes the Scuderia has placed its faith firmly in Leclerc’s side of the garage, thus leaving Vettel out to dry.
“Ferrari has managed to not win with the fastest car,” Marko told Auto Bild.
“And although he was the fastest man, they sacrificed Sebastian.
“He has no future at Ferrari anymore.”
Italian media took a dim view of the drama, with Tuttosport describing the mood of the Vettel-Leclerc relationship as “poisonous” as Corriere dello Sport declared it’s “open war” between the two drivers.
Should Ferrari’s mid-season resurgence carry into the 2020 season, many fear the team will be unable to manage a strained driver relationship, despite Vettel and Leclerc watering down the situation.
21-year-old Leclerc replaced Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari for the 2019 season, and has outqualified Vettel in nine straight races.
However, in races both Ferrari drivers have reached the chequered flag, Vettel leads the head-to-head 8-6.
Vettel will be entering the final year of his current contract with Ferrari next season, and has recently had to address questions about retirement.
While expected to honour his Ferrari contract, Vettel has been linked with a possible return to Red Bull, although Marko also told Speedweek that the German’s future “has no relevance for us”.
Despite team orders playing a key role in Sochi, with Vettel seemingly unwilling to follow the pre-race agreement, Leclerc was adamant he still trusts his elder teammate.
“I think the trust doesn’t change,” the 21-year-old said.
“We need to trust each other, Seb and myself, because I think it’s hugely important for the benefit of the team in some situations to know that you can count on the other car and vice-versa.
“In both ways. I think it’s very important but yes the trust is still here.”