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Is this a new low for Sebastian Vettel? After the recently concluded Japanese Grand Prix, it now requires a miracle to turn his fortunes around. Yes, he has done it in the past, remember 2010 or 2012 season? However, this time around, things are different and so do the opponent.

Talking about the opponent, I am not referring to Lewis Hamilton, the ghosts reside within Vettel and it is ambling its way out since the 2014 season. What we have witnessed this year is its acceleration. The highs of this season have come to terms with disappointments and it is not over.

What can go wrong? Another four no finishes in the remaining races?  Overtaken by Bottas and Max Verstappen in the points tally? Suddenly, the season looks ordinary. Mind you, this has nothing to do with the car’s performance in general.

The last time I saw Ferrari this dominant was in 2008, albeit 2010 comes close. The 2012 season went into the final race thanks to the impressive drives made by the Spaniard, Fernando Alonso.

The team Ferrari is mercurial and that’s the way they play the game. Most people fail to understand the DNA with which they are wired. People look for logical explanations, curated PR messages and expect Ferrari to appease the non-Italian journalists. If you are expecting them to behave like a well-oiled corporate entity, then forget it.

At the heart of its operations it is conducted as an extension of family business and to be honest, there is nothing wrong in it. They do as they wish and they are in the sport for the passion and not to forget money.

The former term ‘passion’ is what separates Ferrari from rest of the pack in Formula One. In the history of Formula One, there are enough examples that illustrate Ferrari is in it for the long haul whereas other competitors have been finicky.

For Ferrari, all is fair in love in the war of F1 business/politics.

It is in such a setup Vettel has re-discovered himself and in that process, he is letting the ghosts out within him. And, he must let them out to come back as a better driver both on and off the track.

Frustration, ego, anger have masked the fact that he is a four-time world champion. Currently, Vettel is in a lonely place.

And, with it, the time is ripe for introspection. He isn’t the same care-go-free Wunderkind as he used to be four years ago. Things have changed and the winless years have contributed to this mini-crisis.

Last time when Vettel won a driver’s world championship, Michael Schumacher was sound and healthy (2013). Unlike his formative years and his early days in F1, his mentor isn’t around for the past four years.

There would have been no better person than Michael Schumacher to talk about driving and his current ailments. The seven-time world champion went four seasons without a win with the Italian team before winning five consecutive titles between 2000 and 2004.

Not just winning, during those five years and up until his first retirement in 2006, we saw a different Schumacher. He had overcome the image of a ruthless, arrogant driver whose antics made headlines over his prime driving skills.

The accident at the 1999 British Grand Prix was the timeout Schumacher needed. Not just physically, he came back to the sport mentally tougher and stronger. That made a lot of difference during that winning streak, an ordinary 2005 season and a close 2006 season.

Vettel is no Schumacher; however, both have tasted success quite early in their careers. There comes a time in every person’s life when one should come to terms with who they are. An honest conversation within is a good starting point.

In the current case of Vettel, if Ferrari performs as well as they have this season, there is nothing he needs to worry from the machinery point of view. He must bring his new avatar onto the racing track sans excess negative emotion that’s in him currently. That’s something he must invest time before the start of the next season.

Until then, Vettel is in a lonely place and only he can turn his fortunes around.


Image – SkySports

A hunk/ hulk who found his Ferrari

I was being profligate when I missed many opportunities to realize a lot of things in me which could have made a difference. For not achieving what I could have, my feelings were astringent. I did realize my faults within me, when I felt bad once taking pleasure in noticing faults in others.

Me being very low after missing opportunities, I always used to turn to people around me because nothing from my inner voice was acceptable. It’s almost like stone walling it.

By the way this turned out to be another mistake. I always got an answer from others perspective. Very few situations provided me the exact facts. My mom was one who made me accept the bitter medicine and advised to be pragmatic than looking out for the perfect solution, which isn’t there according to me.

One of the things I was able to achieve was me not becoming more and more credulous about things I go through. Unless I was convinced totally, I would have never agreed on a personal front but more importantly started acquiring the art of appreciating others in the way they went about life and their thoughts.

The demeanour quotient in me seemed increasing and slowly I was listening more than talking. I found a new friend who was very shy but powerful when I went to him with any of my problems.

He always had one vision and was absolute recalcitrant in the decisions he took. He never forced me to believe his thoughts but he was always right. I used to have quibbles with him over certain things but more I was arguing the more I was getting convinced that I was wrong.

It’s my fortune to say, to have found a friend in him. But he keeps telling me even he is grateful to me to have accepted him. He keeps telling me I found him in a broken down position and fixed him. But the truth is he fixed me. And I guess in a way, we fixed each other too.

He is my only friend who is available anytime and never asks anything in return. Instead he just keeps telling me, as long as I fulfill what is good for our friendship, he doesn’t want anything else.

“All my life I had been looking for something and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naïve. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: that I am nobody but myself”

To me, he answered all my questions and my alacrity to know more about my life and life around me in general.

True to Samuel Johnson words, almost every man wastes part of his life in attempts to display qualities which he does not possess, and to gain applause which he cannot keep. I was no different and I guess I am still no different.

I don’t want to do things, which would attenuate my confidence at the end of it, Even though it means sacrificing temporary pleasures.

My friend is so shy that he never opens up to others except me. I was slowly becoming the representative of his thoughts. Slowly I was embellishing his every thought and it was visible to my friends circle. I could see a change in me and my friends whom I am with since childhood also felt the change.

I remember Shirley MacLaine quoting –

I think of life itself now as a wonderful play that I’ve written for myself, and so my purpose is to have the utmost fun playing my part.

To be honest my friend had a great role in scripting a play for my life and the greatest quality I think I had was to trust him and I just did what he said. Sometimes I am so stupid that I don’t even think as to what is the impact it’s having on others. But I never felt acerbic while doing things in my life. However bitter moments do arise, but it’s the way you get out of it and still retain our friendship.

One thing is sure and certain; he is never going to make compromises hence he can be inimical critic. But a friend nevertheless.

One of the things I did was to express myself which was the only way of me introducing my friend to others.

Now, I never feel bad of showing my feelings, my pristine feelings or I don’t apologize for having showed also. Somewhere I feel when I apologize for my burst of pristine feelings, I apologize for the truth which is as good as losing my friend.

But I do apologize to people who are not close to me, since it’s bad on my part to expect them knowing me and accepting my behaviour.

To me, no one is greater than this friend because he never lets me separate from good friends and people that I have. All he does in a while, shows me who really are my pals and who aren’t.

If my creator wanted me to be otherwise than me, he would have created me otherwise.

And to end it all, Fanny Brice repeatedly kept telling-

“Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you?”