Sebastian Vettel should be wary that new team-mate Charles Leclerc won’t be quite as “accommodating” as Kimi Raikkonen warns Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn.
Vettel enjoyed a fruitless relationship with the Finn during a four-year partnership at Ferrari, one the German admits he is going to miss.
Leclerc’s promotion from Sauber, in light of his sensational rookie campaign, results in the team’s first driver change since 2015, when Vettel joined from rivals Red Bull.
Although Vettel is exciting to work the young Monegasque driver, he remains coy on how he sees the relationship panning out over time, and Brawn believes the four-time champion won’t feel as comfortable as in previous years.
“I don’t imagine Charles Leclerc is going to be quite as accommodating as Kimi was on occasions,” Brawn told the official F1 website. “Kimi is his own man, don’t get me wrong, but I think Kimi knew what the lay of the land was in the team.
“Leclerc has been pretty impressive. He’s not had a tough reference yet and that will come in 2019.
“Being at Ferrari brings enormous pressure and he’ll have the pressure of racing against a world champion, a multi-world champion, so he’s going to have a pretty challenging year.
“But from what I have seen so far, I expect him to do a very respectable job.”
Ferrari and Vettel come off the back of a season that promised much but delivered little, despite a clear improvement in both performance and reliability.
Too many errors from both parties lost them bigger results, and although both played a part in collective mistakes, Brawn feels Vettel needs to adopt a more hands on roll in the team to iron out blunders in specific areas.
“Seb had a mixed 2018. He’s had some very good performances, and played a big part in taking the team forward, but in the end, Seb and the team didn’t deliver,” Brawn added.
“They had a strong year but they have got to make that next step and deliver – and that’s Seb and the team.
“I don’t know the dynamic or chemistry in the team or Seb’s relationship in the team or how that all works. He made one or two errors, which is unfortunate but with drivers, that can happen.
“The team seemed to make a wrong turn technically for several races and then they came back again to an older spec which corrected its form.
“As a driver you have to be involved with those things, you can’t be a neutral passenger.
“The difference between success and failure is often down to small things. I don’t think he or the team need to change things dramatically, they just need that final bit of polish to get off the line.”