Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says Formula 1 is not currently seeing “the real Sebastian Vettel” as the German’s struggles at Ferrari continue.
Vettel worked closely with Horner when he won four world championships with Red Bull from 2010 to 2013 before he opted to leave the team and join Ferrari in 2015.
Vettel led Ferrari’s charge in 2017/18, finishing second in the standings, but was beaten by Charles Leclerc last year, and this season holds only 13th in the standings amid his and Ferrari’s problems.
Horner says the 33-year-old is clearly no longer comfortable within the Ferrari environment and that the sport is not currently witnessing his true potential.
“For whatever reason, things aren’t working for him at the moment,” Horner said.
“I think any driver has to be happy in their environment and you can see that he’s carrying quite a lot of weight on his shoulders and that has a bearing on any sportsman, on any athlete.
“I don’t think we’re seeing the real Sebastian Vettel at the moment.
“He’s obviously having a difficult time with the product that he has at the moment – but yeah, you can’t take away anything that he’s achieved, obviously, in his career to date.”
Horner pointed out that Vettel has enjoyed success with many different car characteristics and regulations in place, and expects that he will remain high up in the record books for many years to come.
“Sebastian drove with refuelling, no refuelling, blown diffusers, no diffusers, F-Ducts, no F-Ducts, DRS, no DRS so, he drove a whole variance of different cars over the years and obviously what he achieved in the period during those years with Red Bull was quite special,” Horner added.
“I think he’s the third most successful driver in the history of the sport and he’s achieved some incredible things – many records which will stand for some time.”