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Leclerc can motivate Vettel to 'a new level'

  • Published on 10 Feb 2019 13:02
  • comments 3
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes that Charles Leclerc could push Sebastian Vettel to a "new level" at Ferrari this year. The two will be teammates at the Scuderia outfit for the upcoming season, as Leclerc replaces Kimi Raikkonen, who will race for Alfa Romeo.

Vettel has been paired with Raikkonen throughout his tenure at Ferrari. In 2017 and 2018, the German battled Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton for the world drivers' championship but lost out after a series of mishaps in the second half of both seasons.

But Horner, who worked with Vettel closely when he raced with Red Bull from 2009 to 2014, thinks that Leclerc's promotion could benefit him and allow him to find new speed.

"Charles is a really exciting talent," Horner said. "For the sport it's great to see. Sebastian's now 31, you've got these youngsters coming through starting to put pressure on the established guys. From a sport point of view, it's fascinating.

"He had Kimi pretty easily covered. He might have to work a bit harder with Charles but he may now find a new level. So it might in turn be good for him to be pushed even harder."

As well as refreshing its driver line-up, Ferrari also changed its team principal, with former chief technical boss Mattia Binotto taking over duties from Maurizio Arrivabene.

"I'm sure he [Vettel] must be supportive of the changes that have been made, and of course there's so much expectation when you're the number one driver at Ferrari," Horner added. "He's got new team-mates, new management - there's quite a lot new around him this year."

Replies (3)

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  • That or break him, like Daniel Ricciardo did in 2014. Seb is used to having a eunuch for a teammate like Kimi was. Not just a #2 but a willing one. I trust Leclerc will be faster and more filled with testicular fortitude than his predecessor

    • + 0
    • Feb 10 2019 - 15:49
    • Major Tom

      Posts: 152

      Yes I to favour the 'it will break him' train of thought. Vettel seems poor at handling pressure and having a new hot shot team mate could completely push him over the edge.

      • + 1
      • Feb 10 2019 - 19:18
  • f1ski

    Posts: 591

    Lets see but i think Seb is already broken. He needs some coaching help he still has speed but not the focus to tune out doubt and stay focused in the moment of the turn/lap and ignore the thoughts of the race and championship. If leclerc is good seb will crack as in 2014

    • + 1
    • Feb 10 2019 - 20:17

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