Former Minardi team principal Giancarlo Minardi has suggested that Sebastian Vettel should call it a day at the end of the 2022 season after his nightmare weekend at the Australian Grand Prix.
Vettel was given a 5,000 euro fine on his return to Formula 1 after recovering from COVID-19 having missed the opening two rounds of the season when his Mercedes engine gave out during free practice, and he took a scooter onto the circuit to get back to the pits.
Sadly, his fortunes did not get any better from there, and the four-time champion crashed during the third practice session on Saturday morning, necessitating a huge repair job by his team.
When he did make it back onto the track, he was fined another 600 euros for speeding in the pit lane, and failed to make it out of the first qualifying session along with team-mate Lance Stroll, who had also crashed in practice and then again in qualifying when he collided with the Williams of Nicholas Latifi.
The two Aston Martins spent the majority of the race running towards the back of the order, and the German’s weekend culminated with him slamming into the barrier at Turn Four, sending him out of the race.
It was a dire weekend for Vettel and his team, and Minardi no longer sees any value for him in the pinnacle of motorsport.
“He was unlucky to have missed two grand prix because of COVID,” he said.
“But he should retire. He has a lot of money, he has won titles and he will never win again.”
Team principal Mike Krack, however, emphasised that the 34-year-old’s issues last weekend were mainly related to fundamental handling issues with the car.
“Everything is fine with Seb,” he stated.
“The fact that a driver like him, a four-time world champion, has so many problems over a weekend has little to do with his driving performance.
“It’s not normal when a driver of his calibre is off the track so often over a weekend.”
Vettel said after the race that “there’s too many things going on” with the car, and Former Formula 1 driver Timo Glock warns that his compatriot may lose all motivation if the Silverstone squad cannot rectify the situation quickly.
“It’s going to be a tough road for the whole team,” he told Sky Germany.
“I can imagine that Sebastian Vettel will lose his patience at some point because he knows very well how long it takes to get out of a hole like this.
“We’ll have to wait for the next races to see how he can motivate himself – and what he then decides for his future.”
Vettel is out of contract at the end of 2022, and he has previously indicated that his future in F1 is likely dependent on Aston Martin’s performance this season.