Vettel still hungry for success in Formula One

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Four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel has revealed that he only wants to continue in the sport beyond 2020 if he finds a competitive package.

Ferrari announced at the beginning of May that Sebastian Vettel will leave the team at the end of the current season. The Scuderia’s announcement set the silly season on fire during the coronavirus-induced lockdown period. While most of the pieces of the puzzle of the driver market have already been placed, it is still unclear where the quadruple champion will continue his ultra-successful career in Formula One.

Speaking to SkySport’s Martin Brundle ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix on Thursday afternoon, Vettel ruled out the possibility of driving for a team with which he has no chance for fighting for top places.

“I am really here to achieve something and I will see in the next [period of] time whether that’s on the cards or it’s not. I think that will drive my decision. Given the right circumstances, I feel like – that’s the confidence I have – [I can] be as good as anyone else. But things need to be right.”

Vettel was reported to be in talks with Racing Point over a race seat for 2021. The team that completely based its RP20 car on Mercedes's title-winning 2020 machine has established itself as the second-fastest team so far right behind the reigning champions. The German revealed that he will base his decision not only on the current packing order, but also on the potential of his future team.

“At the moment you look and it looks probably great. But you know, I’ve been around for such a long time that you try to obviously look beyond that in terms of seeing what might firm up and what might not firm up along the grid."

The Heppenheim-born joined the Scuderia in 2015 in the hope of adding to his world title tally. Unfortunately for him, this spell coincided with Mercedes’ utter domination that started with the introduction of the hybrid power unit in 2014. Despite failing to win a title, the German experienced periods of success with the fabled Italian outfit, winning 15 races and finishing second in the Drivers’ Championship in 2017 and 2018.

“I think the decision is the decision. I’m a professional in that regard and I have to take any decision. You know, the way it [was done] could have been, maybe, a bit different, but it is what it is and whatever my feeling might be about it, I owe them respect and give them everything I can and trying to have the best season that I can despite the difficult situation.”

“Ferrari has always been a dream of mine, massively inspired by my childhood, by Michael in the red car… I was inspired by him, and still am inspired by him because I think he is the best there ever was.

With Lewis Hamilton enjoying the benefits of the dominant Mercedes cars, the Briton could easily take over Formula One’s most important record, the achievement for the highest number of championship titles from Michael Schumacher. Given Mercedes’ current untouchable form and the freeze on car development, Hamilton is on his way to secure his eighth title at the end of 2021.

Vettel said that he wanted to secure titles with Ferrari not just for himself, but also for his childhood hero, Schumacher. „I was hoping to take some championships away from Lewis [Hamilton] so that Michael’s record stands a bit longer; now we are a bit out of striking distance to try and block him.

“But I think I wanted this to work for myself more than for Michael. I think looking back, my mission, my target was to win a championship, and we didn’t do that. So in that regard we failed. But still, we had some really good years, some highlights and some good races. So I don’t regret it,” Vettel concluded.