Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn feels it is “essential” that Ferrari does everything it can to help Sebastian Vettel regain confidence after his latest high-profile error.
While running in fourth place early in the Italian Grand Prix, Vettel spun at the Ascari chicane before clipping Lance Stroll’s Racing Point when trying to rejoin the circuit.
Vettel was slapped with a 10-second stop/go penalty and later received three penalty points on his license meaning he is just three points away from a race ban.
It marks the latest in a long line of mistakes from the four-time world champion in the past 18 months, who is also trying to preserve his team leader status after team-mate Charles Leclerc’s wins in Spa and Monza.
“Vettel is clearly one of the greats of our sport, but at this tough time he really needs the support of the team to regain the confidence he seems to be lacking at the moment,” said Brawn in latest his post-race column.
“That, as well as pushing on with the car development, has to be a priority for Mattia Binotto in the coming weeks.
“It won’t be easy, but it is essential especially in terms of 2020.”
Since the Canadian Grand Prix in June, Vettel has been out-qualified by Leclerc in seven consecutive races, and is now behind him in the drivers’ standings.
Brawn is seeing comparisons with Vettel’s final year at Red Bull in 2014 when he was beaten by Daniel Ricciardo in the Australian’s debut season at the team.
“It’s an unavoidable fact that no matter who the driver is and regardless of how good things are in the team, your first rival is always your team-mate,” Brawn said.
“To a certain extent, Sebastian is experiencing what he felt at Red Bull in his final year there, in 2014, when he found himself up against Daniel Ricciardo, a youngster setting incredible pace.”
Speaking about Leclerc’s performances over the past two events, Brawn says the young Monegasque is beginning to show signs he could emulate seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.
“Following on from his win in Spa the previous Sunday, Charles had an incredible weekend. The thing that impresses me most about him is how quickly he learns from everything he does, getting better all the time, as a driver and as a man.
“The last Ferrari man to do that in these two races was Michael in 1996. Maybe history is beginning to repeat itself.”