No more bull for the German wunderkind as he saddles up with the Prancing Horse
When four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel announced that he was leaving Red Bull Racing, it sent shockwaves rippling through Formula 1. To some though, it came as little surprise.
The German’s dominance had been seemingly swept away after the many rule changes were brought in before the start of the 2014 season, managing at best only four podium finishes. With that, he became the first defending champion to fail to win a single Grand Prix in the following season since Jacque Villeneuve’s disappointing campaign in 1998.
Enter The Scuderia
Now following in the footsteps of his hero ‘Schumi’, the 27 year old has made the switch to Ferrari – a team that itself saw a tumultuous 2014 season after failing to win a race in a season for the first time since 1993. “When I was a kid, Michael Schumacher in the red car was my greatest idol and now it’s an incredible honour to finally get the chance to drive a Ferrari,” said Vettel.
The title-winning partnership that Schumacher and Ferrari forged two decades ago is something Vettel will be looking to emulate, and with major restructuring under new team principal Maurizio Arrivabene, there are high hopes that they can once again triumph on the track.
Vettel joins teammate Kimi Raikkonen in what stands as one of the most formidable pairs on the grid. After a bumpy 2014 season, Raikkonen is itching to up the ante and recapture his 2007 World Championship.
An Ace for Ace
Vettel replaces Spanish speed demon Fernando Alonso, a divorce that was a long time coming after the Spaniard lost faith in Ferrari, failing to lock down that elusive third world title – a feat which would put him in the same standings as his hero, Ayrton Senna.
Alonso’s move to McLaren comes as a bombshell as well as the two have a turbulent history stemming, among other things, from a major falling out with McLaren chairman Ron Dennis. Meanwhile, Ferrari have had a longstanding, unspoken agreement with Vettel, that the champion would join them after leaving Red Bull.
The split with the latter comes after an illustrious career spanning some 12 years, when he joined the bullish stable at the tender age of 15, before rising through the ranks as the golden boy of the Red Bull programme, bagging four world titles along the way. “I’m not leaving because I don’t like the team or individuals, I’m not running away from anything. The voice inside me, the hunger to do something new was bigger,” said Vettel with steely determination.
The German will be chasing his fifth world title, racing for perhaps the most famous of all racing marques, albeit currently a struggling one. Out of his Red Bull bubble, the challenge is all but real, and perhaps it is this that drives him most. Time for Vettel to burn rubber.