Will Vettel come to Ferrari in 2014?

Yesterday, Ferrari announced that Felipe Massa will keep his seat until the end of 2013 which also ended the biggest news resource of the season. I think every of us was enough bored about talking and wondering about this. The first part of scenario that I wrote before has become real. Ferrari left a seat empty for 2014. The biggest candidate for that seat again as i wrote is Sebastian Vettel. Everyone talks that there is already a done deal between Vettel and Ferrari from 2014. The aim of this article is to explain what this deal will bring and how likely it is.

As I told on my Twitter account today Ferrari is making their plans under the assumption “Vettel may come” not under “Vettel will come”. Can You imagine? A huge team like Ferrari holds major decisions for only the possibility of a 25 year old driver coming to team. Why? Because Sebastian Vettel is the most valuable driver of 2013-2023 era. He became double world champion at 24 and he is competing for third one at 25. So he is a very good catch for Red Bull, Ferrari and Mclaren. The team who hires him almost quarantees to compete for title. That’s why top teams dont want to let others have him. Ferrari made a pre-deal for this reason because they want to be prior in Vettel’s agenda if they decide to sign with him.

But there is a widely misunderstood point in F1 world, it is believed that deal is already done and Vettel will definitely race for Ferrari in 2014. As again I talked about this on Twitter today, the reasons which causes deal should not happen is more than the causes deal should happen. Let me tell you every of them one by one.
Let’s start with Vettel… First of all Vettel already has a deal with Red Bull which has an option for 2014 season. This means he has to stay in the team also in 2014 which depends on the results of 2011-2013 seasons. What can be the conditions? These kind of options are usually about both driver and the team performance. The worst case scenario could be “giving at least a winning car”. Team is already giving 3rd title for Vettel not just a win and it may be 4th next year. In my opinion, the so-called “option” is 100% realized. Perhaps, there is an “over success” clause in the option, which can be “driver may quit if he had at least 2 titles” which is enough ridiculous and unlikely. In short, Vettel already will have to stay at Red Bull legally.

Second; Vettel has got everything he needs within Red Bull team. A team who trusts him fully, biggest success, marketing power, money and most important asset in the team: success machine Adrian Newey. Why shall Vettel leave such a team? Under these circumstances it would be meaningless. At least until the age of 27-28. Then he can go to Ferrari to fulfill his dream of racing for Ferrari.

Third, Red Bull will lose a retired Webber next year and will they lose also Vettel? Would a 3 years champion team start a new seaon without a top driver? Obviously this would be nonsense and Red Bull would defend their right on the deal and even increase German’s salary as much as he wants. In short, RED BULL WON’T LET VETTEL GO! That’s why Horner told that Sebastian Vettel, without a shadow of doubt, will be part of the Red Bull Racing team in 2014,”. Red Bull won’t let Vettel unless they have a second Vettel, dont forget that.

Fourth, why shall Sebastian want to go to a Ferrari World where fans, mechanics, engineers and executives adore Alonso? Why wouldn’t he do this after 3-4 years to replace Alonso and be adored one? Yes, some may say he will do this to challenge Spaniard but that would be too emotional and risky decision to make such a move while there are many positive reasons to stay in Red Bull.

Let’s come to Ferrari…First and most important reason, as Montezemelo said putting Vettel and Alonso in same team is like putting two roosters in the same henhouse. Fernando is a leader driver. He has the all the qualities of his horoscope ‘Leo’. Since he has come to the team he showed well of these qualities. He made everyone fan of him, not only his garage but also the other garage’s mechanics. He spent days and months at Maranello, he carried the team in the worst and best days. It went to the point that Ferrari even told they are asking the ideas of Fernando for 2nd driver decision. All these happened because he has beaten Massa clearly. In these 3 years, no one has seen the wild face of Alonso except China 2010 (pushed Massa and got into pit) and Germany 2010 (famous Fernando is faster than you event). Let’s not live in pink dreams, Alonso does not want a team mate who is faster than him. As a pure Leo he hates to be defeated and as long as he knows there is someone at next garage who is faster than him, he shows his unpleasant acts in any every occasion. As Ferrari, would you like to bother a superstar like Alonso? At the end of the day you will have a one champion, not two. Yes, constructor championship would be sure in that case but who cares it? Who remembers if I ask who has been the Constructors Champion in 1995? But almost every F1 fan can count the World Drivers Champions of last 20 years.

Second, there is a probability that both drivers will fight and none of them would be champion like Mclaren had in 2007. If you believe that Alonso will beat Vettel easily, entomb your idea to your garden. Some people underastimate Vettel so much. As long as these two guys race together the gap will never be more than 15-20 points. In my opinion, it would actually be something like 10 points. They have some circuits where they fly and dominate separately. One of them is excellent in qualifying, the other stars in races. Yes Alonso is one step ahead of Vettel in terms of talent and experience but the difference is not so big. Please answer me, what would happen if Mclaren has focused on Alonso in 2007? Let me answer, he would quarantee his 3rd consecutive title before Brazil. Same would happen had they focused on Hamilton maybe. Under these facts, it is not logical to think Ferrari will leave his old tradition to focus on one driver.

Third, all champions in today’s grid (apart from Kimi and Button) like one-man-show. Schumacher, Alonso, Lewis and Vettel easily show their discontent as long as they are not flattered. They have done this several times. You put Alonso (who has a rich bad examples history about team mate wars) alongside Vettel who was glum after Webber’s win in Brazil where he was already World champion with 11 wins. Do you think this will work? Come on man!

For sure this is not impossible but I give a very very small percentage for this probability. My personal view is neither Vettel will want to come, nor Ferrari will take this risk. So, what will happen? Ferrari again will focus on Massa’s performance, if he will repeat a 2008 performance again, he will continue with Alonso. Otherwise, Ferrari will hire Hulkenberg and Vettel talks will end up to be opened again after Alonso’s retirement.

Metin Mete


A few thoughts on Raikkonen, Caterham F1 team and 1st driver dilemma in F1

F1 world began wake up from winter sleep after Jerez tests took place in Spain. We are reading news more frequently in Twitter and web sites. All eyes are on Mercedes challenger W03, Marussia’s non-KERS but “Pat-Symondesque” revolutionary 2012 car and more significant results of Barcelona tests. I wanted to share my ideas in a few subjects with you in this silent week.

Raikkonen’s Lotus adventure

I wanted to write this subject after I heard how top Lotus guys appreciated Kimi. Recently, Gerard Lopez and Eric Boullier expressed some words about Kimi like “we feel very good with him and he clearly feels at home. He smiles a lot when he’s with us! But most importantly that says he feels more like part of the family” To speak frank, I downplay these. Yes, Lotus (the old Renault actually) was one of top teams which has more primary relationships rather than secondary and huge team spirit. However, these words made me think that they smell a bit “advert”. They are making most of Kimi in terms of his name. What Kimi thinks is more important than this for me. Let’s remember, Kimi has stated similar words when he has been at Ferrari like:

“Ferrari is a great family to me. The relationships here are warmer than Mclaren, I feel myself relaxed”

Sorry, but I am not sure if he will use same words again.

The other subject is Lotus way of Raikkonen utilization for adverts. What are these? You should have seen this Twitter. To explain every minute of Kimi, in the car, out of the car, ate a bowl of muesli, went to toilet, drinking Coke and so on… If they keep this speed, they will over-use “Public Affairs and Adverts” what Kimi hates! Kimi will get disappointed again. What has Iceman been saying? :  “The only thing I like in F1 is driving on circuit!”

Will he succeed? Yes, definitely he will succeed. We can not know the degree of succession but everyone will accept that he succeeded. I am sure that Kimi’s non-F1 experiences improved his driving more and he will make the most of these.

Caterham’s 2nd driver limbo

I have always special feelings and sympathy for Caterham F1 Team, in other words the old Team Lotus. What impressed me most were a dedicated team for success, racing with experienced drivers instead of pay-drivers and improving technical team consistently. I believe that Renault engine and KERS system, Red Bull gear box and hydrolic system will boost team performance much more than most people expect. Undoubtedly, these did not happen easily, you need money for these. But, you need also belief to spend money. This is absolutely what impresses me. However, Caterham’s 2nd driver limbo confuses me. I don’t believe (like many) that Trulli’s seat is safe though he says reverse. Heikki Kovalainen did an outstanding job in last two years what caused eradication of Trulli’s respect. I don’t think that he should stay at the team. But, neither Petrov nor Van der Garde are not the man who should replace Trulli. Petrov is an inconsistent like Trulli and Van der Garde does not have any eye-catching success anywhere. I was already quite surprised when I heard that he will drive in Jerez.

The only thing I suggest to team is differentiating themselves with honesty in F1 world where we used to meet lies frequently. If they will replace Trulli, I suggest to make them imminently, not right after expressing that Trulli’s seat is safe. (Remember what Toro Rosso did to Buemi and Alguersuari and what Renault did to Heidfeld) I don’t tolerate such an action to Trulli who is liked by everyone on and  off the track.

If he will be replaced, who is right candidate? He is neither Petrov, nor Van der Garde, nor Liuzzi, nor Heidfeld. He is definitely Rubens Barrichello!

First and second driver dilemma

This is quite sophisticated and frequently confused subject in Formula 1. In last decade, the only driver representing 1st driver tag perfectly was Michael Schumacher. Why? Because, 1st driver is not that driver leading the other side of the garage on circuit. First requirement is that 2nd driver should have to accept that the other driver is 1st driver (like Rubens did in Ferrari) Fernando Alonso and Sebastian are not 1st drivers officially. However, they lead their team mates quite dominantly, so everyone accepts this. Even the technical team create the design by thinking 1st drivers driving style. Let’s remember, due to Schumacher’s preference on oversteer tendancy, Ferrari was designing the car compatible with him. We don’t see this recently in F1 world.

I did not label Mateschitz a liar when he claimed that Webber and Vettel will start the season on an equal basis. I put Mateschitz to the most honests leauge in F1 circus. In 2010, before the last race he was asked whether Vettel will support Webber for his title chance and responded like “Let the two drivers race and what will be will be. if Alonso wins we will have been unlucky. I predict a Hollywood ending. Worst case scenario we don’t become champion? We’ll do it next year. But our philosophy stays the same because this is sport and it must remain sport” This was not a bullshit as it has been told before the race and there has been 15 points gap between Vettel and Alonso. As a result, he did what he promised and honesty won!  But, I can not say the same words for Horner and Marko…

Yes, I insist that Alonso and Massa start the season on an equal basis. I know so many people claim the reverse but if Massa wins 3 of first 6 races and puts a 40 points gap to Alonso and continue his success in European season also, Ferrari will not insist on Alonso. Remember 2008 season and remember what has happened with Massa/Raikkonen battle.  Also, if Grosjean wins over Raikkönen several times, Lotus will not insist on Raikkonen. I see the only exception in Red Bull, because there are two top guys who adore Vettel. All other teams are hungry for title and who proves to carry champion blood, they will tail behind him.

Please do not misunderstand me, in my opinion both Alonso and Raikkonen will lead teammates clearly. As will Vettel…