Grand Prix Drivers’ Association president Alex Wurz thinks the system implemented by Ferrari is prone to burning drivers out.
He believes the exit of Sebastian Vettel is another example of a driver burning out at the Scuderia.
The four-time World Champion has announced that he would leave Ferrari at the end of 2020, bringing an end to his six-year spell.
Vettel has so far been unable to add to his World-Championship tally in Ferrari red, and Wurz, who is good friends with Vettel, feels drivers burn out under the pressure that comes with driving for Ferrari.
“Sebastian is a friend of mine, but I didn’t see it coming,” said Wurz on the Sky F1 vodcast.
“He keeps those cards always very close to his chest.
“If you look at the history of Ferrari, you have this first few years and months of big love and all these radio calls, all the emotions that come out of it, which makes Ferrari so beautiful.
“But at one point, even with Fernando [Alonso, who Vettel replaced in 2015], it seems like the whole system makes you go into burnout. Maybe the love is not there anymore, and that seemed to happen. But Sebastian hasn’t spoken to me about that.”
Wurz made it clear that there is more than just racing passion going on at Ferrari, and if the success doesn’t come, then it “backfires” on a driver.
“There’s more to it than just racing passion. “There is really the national pressure up on you and the drivers go through that,” he explained.
“Ferrari are really demanding of the drivers, they really love you if you push them forward but if the success is not coming then suddenly that starts to backfire and they will also be protective about their heritage, work and quality.
“There is always friction, and that’s not just for drivers, they have also changed team principals also over the years. And I think that comes with outside influence but also the lifestyle. That mixture seems to be tricky.
“We look back at the (Michael) Schumacher, Ross Brawn, Jean Todt era, that group went in there and was so strong, could succeed, and could push that Italian pressure, whatever you want to call it, to the side.
“Since they left, Ferrari is behind its own expectations.”
– TEAMtalk media