Vettel’s surprise pivot away from Le Mans in 2024

2024 appears to dim the chances of Sebastian Vettel making a much-anticipated comeback to premier motorsport, beginning at Le Mans this year. The former F1 champion, who has claimed the world title four times, now finds his prospects of rejoining the racing elite this year more uncertain than ever.

Vettel, at 36, remains a topic of speculation regarding a spectacular return to Formula 1 in 2025, amidst the surprising news of Lewis Hamilton’s transition from Mercedes to Ferrari. “I’m talking to Toto (Wolff),” Vettel shared with Auto Motor und Sport this week. “But I don’t know if that means I’m officially talking to Mercedes. We talk about a lot of things.”

He further elaborated on his current engagements, saying, “I have a lot of ideas. I’m planning events. That’s why I’ve also spoken to a lot of other team bosses and not just about motorsport.” His dialogue with Sky Deutschland also hinted at ongoing collaborations, “I have some projects and ideas together with Formula 1. We’ll see if anything comes of it or not.”

Despite earlier predictions favoring Vettel’s return to Formula 1, his involvement in the upcoming Le Mans race in June now seems less probable. Having recently tested Porsche’s hypercar, the shift to sports cars presented a new frontier for Vettel. Nevertheless, skepticism from Porsche about Vettel’s entry into its third car, citing concerns over his inexperience in this category, has surfaced. Motorsport Aktuell reported, “The Porsche factory drivers have apparently already been informed that the third car will be driven by Mathieu Jaminet, Felipe Nasr, and Nick Tandy as originally planned.”

As an alternative, Vettel might adopt the role of a brand ambassador, setting the stage for a more robust entry into Le Mans by 2025. His participation in the hypercar testing, completing two double stints, was noted by Auto Motor und Sport. However, it was mentioned that “according to sources, it was clear that Vettel still has work to do on his consistency,” highlighting areas for improvement in his adaptation to sports car racing.

GMM

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