Button: Leclerc's Ferrari drive can give Vettel tough F1 future call

Jenson Button believes new Ferrari signing Charles Leclerc could force Sebastian Vettel into a "tough decision" over his Formula 1 future

Button: Leclerc's Ferrari drive can give Vettel tough F1 future call

Leclerc has replaced Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari for the 2019 campaign after just one year with Sauber, while Vettel is preparing to bounce back from a mixed '18 in which he fought for the title against Lewis Hamilton but made several high-profile errors.

Button has joined Sky Sports F1 as a full-time pundit for this season and, speaking at a day of promotional filming for the channel, the 2009 world champion compared Vettel's situation to when Daniel Ricciardo joined him at Red Bull in 2014.

"It's a very different atmosphere for Sebastian at Ferrari than it was at Red Bull," Button told Sky Sports News.

"Maybe there's more pressure. We're going to see how he copes this year.

"It's going to be a big year for Sebastian. When Daniel came into Red Bull he found it difficult.

"Daniel put him under a lot of pressure and actually outperformed him.

"I think if Charles can do that this year it's a tough decision of where Sebastian is going to go for the future and what he's going to do."

Button said Vettel, a four-time world champion, is an "unbelievably skilled driver and super-fast".

But the former McLaren and Honda driver added: "If your mind isn't in the right place, then forget it.

"Charles seems such a happy-go-luck guy, really relaxed, and I think the team are really going to take to him.

"And that sometimes can hurt the other driver."

Vettel led the 2018 championship before mid-distance but cost himself dearly by crashing out of the lead of the German Grand Prix and spinning early in three other races.

Button's fellow Sky pundit Nico Rosberg, the 2016 world champion, agreed that Vettel is under pressure against Leclerc.

Speaking at the same event, Rosberg told Sky Sports News: "He needs to improve and the team needs to improve.

"They've made some major changes as we know, they got rid of [former team principal Maurizio] Arrivabene and put in [Mattia] Binotto.

"They've made a change in the highest position there. Also, Leclerc could also be a very, very positive dynamic - but could also be negative, it could also backfire.

"That's going to be awesome to watch."

Button's Sky move will facilitate his return to the F1 paddock after spending 2018, his second year out of full-time grand prix racing, focusing on his title-winning Super GT campaign.

He also said that Max Verstappen is another driver facing an important year for his future, due to Red Bull's tie-up with Honda.

"For Max it's a tricky one because he's always moving forward, he's always looking for something else," said Button. "He jumps in a Red Bull and wins his first race.

"This year is a really important year for him to keep it moving.

"He has to be fighting for the championship or I think he's going to start asking questions [about] where he should be in the future."

shares
comments
Mazepin to complete private Mercedes F1 testing programme in 2019

Previous article

Mazepin to complete private Mercedes F1 testing programme in 2019

Next article

Formula 1 race promoters criticise Liberty Media's direction

Formula 1 race promoters criticise Liberty Media's direction
Load comments
The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory Plus

The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon at the returning Circuit of the Americas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement Plus

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man ANTHONY PEACOCK explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it)

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Plus

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Plus

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021