Gerhard Berger says he understands why Sebastian Vettel would be interested in joining Racing Point for 2021, but if he were asked for his opinion, he would advise the Ferrari driver to retire.
Vettel will exit Ferrari at the end of the season and some believe he has already mentally done so given his recent performances, but it’s expected he will line up alongside Lance Stroll at Aston Martin Racing – currently known as Racing Point – replacing Sergio Perez.
A deal is rumoured to be done, but nothing can be announced until Racing Point and Perez agree a way forward, given the Mexican has a valid contract for next year.
But Berger thinks Vettel would be wise to retire from the sport given what he has achieved, but reckons the true racer spirit within is pushing the German to hang on to Formula 1.
“Sebastian is a four times world champion and has survived everything with good health,” Berger told German publication Sportbuzzer. “My advice would be to retire.”
Berger was co-owner of the Toro Rosso outfit in 2007 when Sebastian Vettel joined the grid. He spent one and a half seasons with the junior team before he was promoted to Red Bull.
Berger therefore knows Vettel well and understands the passion he has for motorsport, and says he wouldn’t be surprised by a switch to Racing Point.
“I know Sebastian very well. He is a thoroughbred racer, he wants to win races again. Racing Point is best suited for this at the moment.
“They have a car that Perez or Stroll can take to the podium. I would say that a calibre of driver like Sebastian is clearly worthy of the podium and can maybe beat Mercedes or at least play a role up there.
“It’s a much better situation than he finds himself in at Ferrari. So that’s a realistic alternative – and I would have total understanding if he took this step.”
Speaking of Ferrari, Berger believes they have a difficult road ahead of them to try and claw back the performance they have lost over the winter.
It will take some time before this performance disadvantage can be levelled out. Ferrari lost a second, that’s 50-60hp. Before that, however, they weren’t ahead of Mercedes in terms of performance. So you are looking for 70-80hp [to beat Mercedes]…at the level, it’s an incredibly hard job. It’s will be a year or two of work.”