Vettel: Racing for Ferrari is a privilege


A driver wearing the overalls of Scuderia Ferrari knows from the outset that he isn't merely driving for a Formula One team, but that he is driving for a nation, and millions of Tifosi around the world.

Also, however, there is the fanatical Italian media, which is every bit as demanding and unforgiving as Helmut Marko.

When Sebastian Vettel joined Ferrari, for the German it appeared to complete a circle. A fan of Michael Schumacher since boyhood, Sebastian now found himself stepping into the footprints of his great hero, similarly charged with lifting the spirits of a legendary team that was enduring a difficult period.

However, like Fernando Alonso before him, the German found it hard going, and while Schumacher suffered several seasons of frustration before it finally went right, he was surrounded by a team that included Jean Todt, Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne who each brought their own vast experience to the table. Back then, it really was a family, while in recent years the Maranello outfit has appeared as dysfunctional as The Simpsons.

Many believe that the numerous mistakes Vettel has made in the last year, beginning with his unforced error while leading last year's German Grand Prix, is down to the pressure of leading the Italian team. Not so, says the German.

Asked if driving for the Scuderia is a burden, he replied: "It doesn't feel like a burden, it feels like a privilege, to go out and race for Ferrari," he replied, "Obviously my mission or my goal, as well as the team's goal, is to get back to, y'know, the - how do you say? - the winning ways. If we do that then we have a much better chance to fight for the championship.

"Having said that, I think from when I joined and where we are now, obviously this year hasn't gone the way we wanted after the last two years," he admitted, "but still, I think things are progressing in the right direction."

Asked if he feels "under pressure", which has led to the various mistakes, he said: "I always put myself under pressure so I can't be happy, obviously, if things go wrong.

"I think some of the things, obviously, were bigger than others," he continued. "I think the main thing is that - as I said previously - that we keep progressing in the right way but for sure if I get something wrong and make a mistake I can't be happy with that. The pressure I put on myself after that I think is bigger than any external factors. This has been the same as long as I can remember. For me it's the most honest and straightforward way to deal with it myself because I know what I've done wrong and what I've done right. I know when I had the opportunity to do well or not. I think you're always your best judge, no matter what you do so that's the rules by which I play."

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Published: 25/07/2019
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