Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel is currently going through a lean patch in Formula One in 2019. According to some experts, there are two main factors contributing to his poor form. The first one is technical in nature where the SF90 is not as fast as Ferrari had hoped. Secondly, others believe that Vettel’s struggles are more psychological in nature. This in turn has triggered rumours that Vettel could retire, and Circus F1 believes that Kimi Raikkonen could be a good backup plan.
Some suspect that the 2019 Ferrari is not the best machine for the four-time German world champion. This is evidenced by difficulties in entering slow corners, in addition to problems adjusting to the Pirelli tires.
Capping everything off is Vettel shooting himself in the foot with his innumerable mistakes. These mistakes have plagued him in the last 12 months and dictated most of Vettel’s performances. Poor old Sebastian Vettel has had a dry run right from Monza 2018 to Silverstone 2019, and it is in danger of continuing.
Even when compared to his team-mates, Sebastian Vettel does not do himself any justice. In fact, in the last nine races of 2018, veteran teammate, Kimi Raikkonen scored 5 points more than Vettel. The Finn ended the season with 111 points and a win in USA, meanwhile, Vettel could only muster 106 points.
Coming to the 2019 season, granted Sebastian Vettel is ahead of his teammate, Charles LeClerc. However, the Monegasque youngster, being hailed as the next big talent, is a mere three points behind and breathing down Vettel’s neck. Taking the last 4 races into consideration, Charles Leclerc has visited the podium on all four occasions and amassed 63 points, compared to Vettel’s 40 points and one podium in the same time-frame.
The data speak for itself and clearly heralds a decline in performance, as the German driver’s career begins to slowly wind up.
Taking all this into consideration, it is clear that the rumors about a possible Sebastian Vettel retirement is not as farfetched as people thought. Although the four-time world champion is contracted with Ferrari for the 2020 season, there are chances that he could walk away from Maranello at the end of the season.
It is no secret that Scuderia Ferrari need to have a World Champion driver for the sake of sponsorship reasons. If Vettel does hang up his boots, Kimi Raikkonen is the next obvious choice. He is one of three remaining World Champions on the grid and Scuderia Ferrari would be foolish to even touch Lewis Hamilton.
Further backing up this claim is the fact that Raikkonen is performing very well in Alfa Romeo. He is also good at developing the car and his inputs will be crucial for Ferrari, not to mention that he also fulfills the champion driver criteria.
With Maranello’s focus slowly shifting to Charles Leclerc, Sebastian Vettel could lose the Ferrari favour. Since Kimi Raikkonen is not particularly bothered about whether he is lead driver or not, he could be the perfect candidate.