‘Why does he need all this?’ Vettel tipped to retire this year amid drama over B-spec car

Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin contract expires at the end of the 2022 Formula 1 season.

Former Formula 1 driver Marc Surer believes that Sebastian Vettel will remain loyal and committed to Aston Martin until his contract expires at the end of the season, but predicts that he will depart after 2022.

Vettel joined Aston Martin from Ferrari last season, and scored seven points finishes along with the podium as the Silverstone side slid from fourth to seventh in the Constructors’ Championship.

It was Nico Hulkenberg that partnered Lance Stroll in the opening two rounds of this year when the four-time world champion tested positive for COVID-19, but he might well have been dreading coming back upon seeing the woeful performance of the car as the team failed to score points.

READ: Vettel to miss out as only Stroll to run Aston Martin’s B-spec car in Barcelona – Report

Vettel crashed twice in Australia when he returned, but he finally got the team off the mark in Imola and he led home Stroll as they both finished inside the top 10, before a crash with Mick Schumacher saw him fail to finish.

Though improvements have been made to the car that has patently struggled under the new technical regulations, the British team are still ninth in the Constructors’ Championship, and are having to fight hard just to score points every race.

The 34-year-old warned ahead of the season that his future with the team beyond the expiration of his current contract at the end of 2022 hinges on Aston Martin’s performance.

“We want to progress and win. So, ultimately, having had the path that I have had so far, I’m mostly interested in winning and that will determine what the future brings,” he said ahead of the new season.

The impact that the pinnacle of motorsport has on the environment is also something that the German has taken into consideration in recent months, and it has left him questioning whether he wants to stay.

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“It’s something that I am asking myself,” he explained on BBC Question Time last week.

“Certain things are in my control and certain things are not, I mean it’s my passion to drive a car, I love it.

“And every time I step in the car I love it, when I get out of the car, of course I am thinking as well, ‘is this something that we should do, travel the world, wasting resources?’”

Surer, having watched Vettel win 53 races in his illustrious career, does not see how Vettel can be convinced to stick around if he does not have the opportunity to win the championship.

“It doesn’t really seem that the team can become champion. Then why does he need all this?” he told Motorsport-Total.com.

“I see him fulfilling the contract and saying goodbye. Aston Martin was his last chance, and it doesn’t work there either.”

However, the Swiss reiterates that Vettel is professional enough to give 100 percent to the cause in the final year of his deal with Aston Martin.

“The fact that he returned from having coronavirus to continue to race speaks for itself,” he added. 

“He is trying to help the team, push it forward, and there are signs of progress. Vettel is doing his job.

“He could have just given up and no one would have been mad at him for it, except maybe the team.”

The 11-time points finisher in F1 with Ensign, Arrows and Brabham reckons that the four-time champion is still able to perform to an extremely high level.

“Under normal circumstances, Seb defeats (Lance) Stroll,” he explained. 

“[Sergio] Perez constantly had trouble with that, which already shows Vettel’s level.

READ: Wolff praises ‘rational’ Russell alongside Hamilton at Mercedes

“The question is motivation. Can the battle for tenth place motivate a four-time world champion? It’s hard to say.”

Vettel sits 14th in the Drivers’ Championship after his four points at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, and it remains to be seen if he will be a recipient of the AMR22B set to be rolled out at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.