Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel: A partnership destined to fail from the beginning

Much has been said about the relationship between Sebastian Vettel and his current employers Ferrari in recent times. Reports suggested that perhaps there was a sense of frustration in Vettel’s mind after learning that he wasn’t being provided with the kind of car that would be competitive enough to win a World Championship. Ferrari, on the other hand, have their own reasons to be cross with their ‘lead’ driver, after uncharacteristic mistakes have cost the multi-time Constructer’s Champion vital points in the race to finish top of the pile.

It’s an unfortunate situation all around at Ferrari as we speak, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get better before the end of this particular campaign. Lewis Hamilton extended his Championship lead to a whopping 67 points after cruising to victory at Suzuka, while Vettel fumbled yet again after colliding with Max Verstappen during a key stage of the race, finishing a lowly sixth place as a result.

The ‘Prancing Horse’ hasn’t been helped by reports that Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene could be moving on to Juventus at the end of this season, meaning that a new boss could enter a jaded Ferrari setup.

It begs the question, have Ferrari got it wrong from the offset?

It seems odd that a team which was unbeatable more than a decade ago hasn’t won a driver’s Championship since 2007, despite being the most recognizable name in Formula One history. Moreover, they appear dazed and confused over what the future holds. The team was competitive between 2010 and 2014 and perhaps should have won a title during that time. But since then, the Italian giants have found it increasingly difficult to keep up with the front-runners despite having the visible pace at certain stages of the campaign.

The Ferrari downfall coincides with the appointment of Sebastian Vettel in 2015 after the German won four straight Championships with Red Bull from 2010-13 in a supremely fast car under the guidance of race engineer Adrian Newey. But Vettel’s departure in 2015 seemed somewhat odd when you consider that Red Bull always possessed the knack of striking back despite having lean periods.

The 31-year-old nonetheless wanted to emulate his idol Michael Schumacher and continue his winning ways with Ferrari. The story took a turn for the worse when it became apparent that the team wasn’t as strong as they once used to be. It is a testament to Vettel’s predecessor Fernando Alonso that the Spaniard was able to bring the best out a below-par Ferrari on most occasions and the same was expected from the German too. However, he only gave flashes of his quality in his first two seasons which clearly wasn’t enough.

A period of Mercedes dominance in 2015 and 2016 saw Vettel fall behind in the Championship race, failing to win a single Grand Prix in 2016 and raising serious questions over his ability to perform the way he could at Red Bull. While this is no knock on a clearly talented driver, fans of the Italian team have to be frustrated with constant mistakes and even non-finishes of a driver who promised so much when he entered through the illustrious doors of Ferrari.

The team itself hasn’t helped out matters and when 2017 posed a genuine title challenge, they slipped up, with Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton taking advantage and winning the Championship yet again. This year has been more of the same, with Vettel unable to make his partnership with Ferrari tick despite the F1 heavyweights repeatedly putting their faith in him.

A promising start to the season has since spiralled out of control with slip-ups in France, Germany, Italy and now Japan, leading to murmurs that maybe the German is past his best. Clearly, Ferrari doesn’t think so, deciding to keep Vettel for next season and replacing the elder statesman in Kimi Raikkonen with the hugely inexperienced Charles Leclerc.

For one reason or another, this partnership just isn’t working out and fans are beginning to get fed up with the mismanagement and strategical errors coupled with silly mistakes by one of the sport’s most recognizable faces, which leaves just one thought in mind – maybe this pairing was destined to fail from the very beginning?