Leclerc could make Vettel face "tough decision" on future

Jenson Button believes new Ferrari signing Charles Leclerc could force Sebastian Vettel into a "tough decision" over his Formula 1 future.

Leclerc could make Vettel face "tough decision" on future

Leclerc has replaced Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari for the 2019 campaign after just one year with Sauber, while Vettel is preparing to bounce back from a mixed 2018 in which he fought for the title but made several high-profile errors.

Button has joined Sky Sports F1 as a full-time pundit for this season and, speaking at a day of promotional filming for the channel, the 2009 world champion compared Vettel's situation to when Daniel Ricciardo arrived at Red Bull in 2014.

"It's a very different atmosphere for Sebastian at Ferrari than it was at Red Bull," Button told Sky Sports News.

"Maybe there's more pressure. We're going to see how he copes this year. It's going to be a big year for Sebastian. When Daniel came into Red Bull he found it difficult.

"Daniel put him under a lot of pressure and actually outperformed him.

"I think if Charles can do that this year it's a tough decision of where Sebastian is going to go for the future and what he's going to do."

Button said Vettel, a four-time world champion, is an "unbelievably skilled driver and super-fast".

However, the former McLaren and Honda driver said: "If your mind isn't in the right place, then forget it.

"Charles seems such a happy-go-luck guy, really relaxed, and I think the team are really going to take to him. And that sometimes can hurt the other driver."

Read Also:

Vettel led the 2018 championship before mid-distance but cost himself dearly by crashing out of the lead of the German Grand Prix and spinning early in three other races.

Button's fellow Sky pundit Nico Rosberg, the 2016 world champion, agreed that Vettel is under pressure against Leclerc.

Speaking at the same event, Rosberg told Sky Sports News: "He needs to improve and the team needs to improve.

"They've made some major changes as we know, they got rid of [team principal Maurizio] Arrivabene and put in [Mattia] Binotto.

"They've made a change in the highest position there. Also Leclerc could also be a very, very positive dynamic – but could also be negative, it could also backfire.

"That's going to be awesome to watch."

Button's Sky move will facilitate his return to the F1 paddock after spending 2018, his second year out of full-time grand prix racing, focusing on his title-winning Super GT campaign in Japan.

He said that Verstappen also faces an important year for his future, as Red Bull has tied up with Honda.

"For Max it's a tricky one because he's always moving forward, he's always looking for something else," said Button. "He jumps in a Red Bull and wins his first race.

"This year is a really important year for him to keep it moving. He has to be fighting for the championship or I think he's going to start asking questions where he should be in the future."

shares
comments
New test tech to aid Renault engine development

Previous article

New test tech to aid Renault engine development

Next article

F1 race promoters criticise Liberty Media's approach

F1 race promoters criticise Liberty Media's approach
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Charles Leclerc , Sebastian Vettel
Teams Ferrari
Author Scott Mitchell
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warm-up. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory Prime

The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy Prime

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion Prime

How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion

As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival

Formula 1
Apr 29, 2021
The biggest headache F1 faces over its sprint race experiments Prime

The biggest headache F1 faces over its sprint race experiments

The news this week that F1 has green-lit 'sprint qualifying' races that will determine the grid for three grands prix in 2021 was met with a blend of excitement and scepticism. But before those in both camps can be vilified, F1 must first work out what its criteria is for success - and what will justify making them a more permanent fixture

Formula 1
Apr 28, 2021
The essential quality Tsunoda has to harness better Prime

The essential quality Tsunoda has to harness better

A rapid ascent through the junior categories meant Yuki Tsunoda's arrival in Formula 1 was always going to be much-hyped. It's not been smooth sailing for Red Bull's latest protege so far, but his confidence has never wavered - something he'll need to rely on to continue his progress into the driver he believes he can be.

Formula 1
Apr 27, 2021