Ross Brawn feels sorry for departing Vettel

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Formula One motorsport boss Ross Brawn has revealed he can completely understand the difficult situation Sebastian Vettel has been going through for the last months at Ferrari.

In the coronavirus-induced shutdown period, Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto announced that Sebastian Vettel would leave the Scuderia at the end of the current championship season. Just a couple of days after the announcement, the Maranello-based team named McLaren driver Carlos Sainz as the German’s replacement.

The quadruple world champion now has to complete a full season for the Scuderia before he can leave the team. The situation is being further complicated by Ferrari’s underperforming SF1000 which further adds to the frustration.

Brawn thinks the situation is constantly getting worse when a driver has to drive for a team, knowing that he will leave it after that season.

„It’s tough to watch Sebastian and Ferrari go through the motions right now, with both sides knowing that the end of their relationship is almost upon them. They are in that period of a divorce where the papers have been served, but the divorce hasn’t gone through. It’s very awkward.”

Ferrari’s former technical director said that he knows from personal experience how difficult it is for a driver and the team leaders to manage these situations.

„The chemistry between a driver and their team is so important. You’re part of a team and you succeed as a team, and fail as a team. Managing that dynamic is always a challenge.

„When a driver has been told he is no longer needed, it’s one of the most difficult times for a team. He knows you no longer want him and the cracks appear quickly. It is up to the team to manage it as best they can. From my own painful experience, I know drivers in this situation can be a handful.”

Brawn also praised Sergio Perez for his performance at the Spanish Grand Prix. The Mexican tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of the British Grand Prix which ruled him out for two consecutive races. While his replacement Nico Hülkenberg performed brilliantly during his unexpected and unprepared return to racing, Racing Point had been very keen to get the Mexican in their car.

„His speed was very impressive from the minute he got back in the car. It’s clear he realised how much he missed driving. I think missing those two races will have hurt him a lot. But he didn’t let his head drop and came back in strong form, making the most of a very strong car. He’s got a reputation for being strong in the race and very strong on tyres – and he showed that again today, as he made a one-stop strategy work.

„His team mate Lance Stroll delivered a very impressive performance, too. His overtake on Bottas at the start was audacious and brave and he had the speed to close the gap to Perez in the closing stages and get within five seconds to inch ahead of him when the Mexican’s time penalty was applied for ignoring blue flags.”