Current FIA President Jean Todt believes that a lack of team unity at Scuderia Ferrari has been a crucial factor in the exit of Sebastian Vettel.
Todt, who was the team principal at Ferrari when Michael Schumacher went on to win five consecutive world championships, also believes this lack of unity is why Vettel was unable to emulate the success of his childhood hero.
“The result, good or bad, you can always explain it,” Todt said in an interview on Sky Sports F1.
“Together with Michael, the whole team at Ferrari, we had so much success because we had a very united, strong team, who were supportive to each other, mainly in the difficult times than in the good times.
“It’s easy to be together when all is good, but you see a good sailor in a rough sea. When we were in a rough sea, we were all on the boat, and I think that’s what made the difference.”
Vettel joined the Scuderia in 2015, and has won 14 races for the prancing horses. However, he has been unable to capture the world championship that has proved so elusive since they last won the constructors championship in 2008.
Todt still believes in the four-time world champion Vettel however, saying that any team would be “very lucky” to have him pilot their car if he can find a team to race for in 2021.
“Sebastian Vettel is one of the greatest talents in motorsport,” Todt explained.
“An announcement has been done, but he will not drive for his actual team beyond 2020. There are a lot of other opportunities.
“We can only wish him the best, and I really feel that whoever will take him, will be very lucky.
“He is clearly one of the drivers that with a proper car, he can win championships. When Michael arrived in ’96, he only managed to win three races – not because he was not motivated, he simply did not have the car to allow him to be world champion.
“Slowly, we built the car and built the team which made it possible, so it’s a combination. You take Lewis Hamilton – if he would not be able to drive a winning car, he could not be world champion.
“You saw that with [Fernando] Alonso, you saw that with Vettel. It’s logic.”