Seeking new challenges Sports

F1 stars Vettel and Alonso seek new challenges 

Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, (right) of Germany chats with Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso of Spain.

Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, (right) of Germany chats with Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso of Spain.   | Photo Credit: Lee Jin-man

After a disappointing season for both drivers, some team changes are on the cards

Sebastian Vettel says "it shouldn't be too long" and Fernando Alonso expects to go public "hopefully soon" as the two most successful active Formula One drivers are seeking new challenges. Vettel announced Saturday at the Japanese Grand Prix that he is leaving Red Bull after six years at the end of the season, in what is believed to be a move to Ferrari. There he would take the place of Alonso who has been strongly linked with McLaren but yet to confirm that he is really leaving the Scuderia. The Spaniard Alonso won two world titles with Renault 2005 and 2006, while Germany's Vettel has taken the last four trophies 2010-2013. 

However, both have struggled badly this season in the wake of sweeping rule changes in the sport, completely outperformed by the Mercedes team with championship leaders Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Alonso had an ill-fated one-year stint alongside the then debutant Hamilton at McLaren in 2007, and they both missed the world title by one point in the end with Kimi Raikkonen triumphing in what the so far last drivers' crown for Ferrari. 

  Alonso’s Ferrari fortunes

Alonso joined Ferrari in 2010 but has fallen short of winning a title, let alone matching the great Michael Schumacher who won five straight titles with the famed Italian marque 2000-2004. It was another German, Vettel, who stole the show from Alonso by taking the four straight titles for then dominant Red Bull, with Alonso having to settle for second in three of the four past seasons. 

Vettel’s worries
Vettel won the last nine races a year ago but has now stalled, without a further win, a mere two podium finishes, and consistently outperformed by his new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo. Joining Ferrari would came after a major management shake-up at the Italian team in the wake of an extended title drought, and the last race win, from Alonso, dating back more than a year. Ferrari would be hoping that Vettel brings success back to the team, just like Schumacher did more than decade ago. The German also gets on well with Raikkonen, who is in his second Ferrari term. However, despite the difficult 2014 season, leaving after six years was not easy for Vettel, who had also gone through the Red Bull youth ranks including the Toro Rosso F1 team. "It is a tough step after such a long time together with Red Bull. After so many fantastic years, I did and still am enjoying my time, but at some stage in life you want to do something else, something new. It is not the first time I have been approached but it felt like the right time," he said. "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." 

 

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



Vettel rarely expressed his likely frustration about lagging behind this season while Alonso has been a little more outspoken at times about his Ferrari. "Our season has been frustrating because we had high hopes with this year's new regulations. But we have found ourselves not in the right position and not competitive," he said last month.  Contracted until 2016, he had earlier years he would end his career there. But the speculation around a move to McLaren grew steadily and any idea that Vettel and Alonso could simply swap seats ended Saturday when Red Bull swiftly announced Daniil Kvyat as their new man. McLaren welcome returning Honda as new engine suppliers next year as it seeks a first title since Hamilton's 2008 success. Their current drivers are Kevin Magnussen and the 2009 world champion Jenson Button. 

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 4:07:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/in-school/sports/f1-stars-vettel-and-alonso-seek-new-challenges/article6478448.ece

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