Sebastian Vettel must seek professional help – Mark Webber

Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel will need to seek professional help to unlock a "new phase of passion and energy" ahead of the 2020 Formula 1 season, according to former team-mate Mark Webber.

Vettel endured a tough 2019 season – many would claim it has been his toughest in the sport – after being beaten by Ferrari newcomer Charles Leclerc.

The four-time champion scored just one race win and finished fifth in the standings, leading to claims he could walk away from the sport after recently having his third child, though Vettel has denied this.

Webber, who partnered Vettel at Red Bull, reckons the German is heading into what could be his "biggest" off-season and reckons he should seek some professional help to better prepare mentally ahead of the new season, if he's to come back in a better frame of mind to tackle the challenge presented by his F1 rivals and team-mate Leclerc.

"I think this is definitely the biggest off-season of his career without a doubt," Webber told Channel 4.

"It’s been his worst season [at Ferrari] and he’s got a big, big fight on his hands to come back next year.

"He’s a winner, a fighter, a small chink in his armour...he's not a great listener.

"I think if he needs to seek some advice off people – this is uncharted waters for him because he is coming towards the end of his career – but he needs to seek all the different professional advice that he can from people who might have also been on this journey to understand how he can unlock that new phase of passion, energy, that drive to get going.

"He’s got three kids at home now, 22 races coming up next year. I don’t have kids but that will be a real challenge and some of the other guys don’t have that."

It's not unknown for F1 drivers to seek such help, with Romain Grosjean and Nico Rosberg openly discussing how they overcame hurdles within the sport thanks to psychological assistance over the off-season.