Sebastian Vettel has been told to be “more calm” next season by Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne.
The German, a four-time world champion, is contracted to Ferrari until the end of next season.
Marchionne said: “With Vettel, it doesn’t make sense to talk about renewal now. We must first understand if he feels comfortable with us in 2017.”
Vettel endured a difficult year as he ended the full 2016 season winless, but secured seven podium finishes for Ferrari.
“We must give him a winning car, otherwise talking about the future is useless,” Marchionne added.
“We know Vettel wants to win with us. Can we guarantee it? In return, he must drive with composure, be more calm, less agitated.”
The remarks by the Ferrari chief will be in reference to Vettel’s actions over the radio during race weekends.
Vettel launched his frustrations of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen’s driving in the Mexican Grand Prix towards race director Charlie Whiting in an explosive rant.
It is the second time in less than three months that Vettel’s attitude has been questioned by a senior Ferrari figure.
At the Japanese Grand Prix in October, team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said: “it is only right that anyone, no matter who it is, earns their place and their salary.
“(Vettel) just needs to focus on the car. He is a person who gives so much, and sometimes this means he is interested in a bit of everything – so sometimes you have to re-focus him, remind him to be focused on the main job.”
Ferrari "looking around" at their options
Ferrari says they are “looking around” at their driver options beyond next season and is a “work in progress.”
Vettel’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen also comes to the end of his contract at the end of 2016.
Raikkonen ended 2016 strongly and ended up out-qualifying Vettel 11-10 over the campaign.
“I’m happy with Raikkonen’s season – he will race again in 2017, but what about after? Does he want to retire or carry on?” said Marchionne.
“We have two world champions and it’s up to us to give both a winning car. Then we’ll see what happens after 2017.”
Many will see the decision not to offer Vettel a contract extension a strange decision considering the difficulty Ferrari would have in finding a driver of a similar status.
With the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Verstappen, and Daniel Ricciardo all tied down to at least 2018, the only driver left with superstar status would be McLaren’s Fernando Alonso.
A return for Alonso would be unlikely, however. The Spaniard ended his contract with them two years early in 2014 because he lost faith in Ferrari ever providing him with a title-winning car.
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