Stats, data and opinions correct to November 6, 2014:
Currently sitting in 5th place in the standings, world champion Sebastian Vettel has taken the F1 world by surprise by announcing to move to Ferrari from next season onwards. Read on, for why Red Bull’s lack of upgrades cost them a prized asset.
After his domination last year out, it has come as a surprise that Vettel hasn’t been up there alongside Rosberg and current leader Hamilton in the FIA World Championship title battle. He broke a cluster of different records last year, including the most wins in a calendar year as well as the most championship points and the most wins in a season as he steamrolled himself into the category of a racing star for many years to come.
So what has happened?
Well, the lack of upgrades has really hindered Vettel’s progress at Red Bull – so even though he has been with them for as long as he has, it does not come as a real surprise that he has taken the decision to join Ferrari from next year onwards.
Currently in 5th place, he has not won a Grand Prix this season and is over 160 points away from Lewis in the standings as it stands.
Team-mate Daniel Riccardo, who is two years younger than Sebastian, has managed to overtake and steal the headlines from his RB counterpart in this campaign which suggests that you cannot hide behind the “upgrades” excuse, it also has to come from the driver himself. With that being said, Daniel’s underdog tag will not be as high in the future – especially given the fact he will be one of the favourites to win the title in 2015 alongside Vettel, Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, who recently confirmed that he will race for McLaren, as opposed to British driver Jenson Button, whose future has been uncertain for a number of months now.
Given the success he had last year, Red Bull decided not to upgrade the car as much as they probably should have; which has had a negative impact on Vettel’s ability to race to the same level as he did in the previous season. The car itself went from the fastest on the grid, to 2nd behind the Mercedes. Hamilton and Rosberg have raced ahead of the pack, and it shows in all data you try to analyse. The latter has struggled when it counts, up against his team-mate with Lewis on-fire at the moment.
And although this may sound far-fetched, give Sebastian the same car as Lewis and you’re in for a real match of both mental toughness and ability. He has shown flashes of the brilliance that allowed him to dominate last term, even though he has barely been seen on the winners’ podium this year. If Red Bull had upgraded sufficiently, Vettel would probably be on-top again.