Sebastian Vettel made the right choice in deciding to leave Red Bull for Ferrari.
That is the view of 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, who said it became clear last year that despite winning four titles with the energy drink marque, the Vettel era at Red Bull was over.
“There was this young guy now with a big smile,” said the Canadian, referring to Daniel Ricciardo, “and everyone knew — that’s the future of Red Bull.
“At 27, he (Vettel) was in Red Bull’s view a grandfather. Sebastian also felt that, which is why he needed to change,” Villeneuve told Sport Bild.
“After five years in a team you have finished learning, but now at Ferrari he’s like a newcomer again.”
Villeneuve, whose legendary late father Gilles was also a beloved Ferrari driver, also thinks Vettel and the fabled Maranello team is a perfect fit.
“His attitude is reminiscent of Michael Schumacher,” said the former Williams and BAR driver, “and that’s why the Italians will love him.
“And that’s important at Ferrari, otherwise the pressure can quickly become overpowering. But he comes as the saviour of the team, like the Messiah, and is the legitimate heir of Schumacher,” added Villeneuve.
However, while Ferrari’s 2015 car has appeared good so far, new president Sergio Marchionne warned that it may be as late as 2018 before a title is ready to be won.
“Of course I want to be world champion before that,” Vettel said on a visit to his native Germany on Thursday.
“And I absolutely believe in that, otherwise I would not have taken the plunge.
“I am very encouraged by what I have seen so far, but with so many changes in the team it does take some time. The sooner the better,” he smiled. (GMM)