Sebastian Vettel wishes he could get advice from Michael Schumacher because he has “lost some faith” in Ferrari.
That is the opinion of two-time F1 champion Mika Hakkinen, who says Vettel needs to be able to focus if he is to overhaul Lewis Hamilton.
Sebastian Vettel went into last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix hoping to gain some ground on Hamilton at the top of the standings.
But he could only come home in third at the Marina Bay Street Circuit as the Mercedes driver extended his lead to 40 points.
Vettel has since revealed he wishes he could chat to Schumacher, who has been stricken ever since a skiing accident in 2013.
Hakkinen has now revealed why he believes the German craves the chance to speak to his compatriot.
“The [Singapore Grand Prix] result was a big disappointment to Ferrari in general, and Vettel in particular,” Hakkinen said.
“I have seen that he has said he wishes he had Michael Schumacher available to ask for advice, and I can understand why.
“Working very closely with the management and senior technical staff, Michael knew how to help get the most out of the Ferrari team, and it looks like Vettel has lost some faith in the team to provide him with the necessary support.”
Ferrari have failed to deliver a strong strategy this season, despite having an extremely competitive car at their disposal.
And Hakkinen says the Italian constructors must get their act together so Vettel can get his head in the right place.
“Once a driver starts worrying about things outside of the car, it can be a real problem in terms of focus and mindset,” Hakkinen added.
“If Vettel is to win the World Championship, his mind has to be clear.”
Adrian Newey, with whom Vettel enjoyed great success at Red Bull, has offered his own take on the four-time F1 champion’s relative struggles.
“First I have to admit: Sebastian is a friend of mine,” Newey said. “We get along very well.
“He works incredibly hard, sometimes too dogged. Hardly anyone is more self-critical than he is.
“If he has a weakness, it’s that he can make stupid mistakes in the heat of the moment.
“If he leads, he is almost unbeatable. But in direct duels he sometimes slips off.
“In sports, but also in life, there are people who deal differently with pressure. For a racer this can be particularly difficult.
“In the car, he is not only responsible for himself, but has the entire team in the garage on his shoulders. Some drivers do not care.
“Take the Finns, Kimi Raikkonen and Mika Hakkinen. But there are others who really feel the pressure weigh on them at the end of a world championship.
“The harder a driver works, the more he feels the pressure. That’s particularly true of Seb.”
Vettel will be eager to close the gap on Lewis Hamilton when F1 returns to Sochi for next Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix.