Ferrari went against Schumacher advice to sign Vettel in 2008

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Ferrari overlooked advice from Michael Schumacher to sign Sebastian Vettel back in 2008, former chairman Luca di Montezemolo has revealed.

The young German quickly burst onto the scene during his season and a half at Toro Rosso with some impressive performances, notably winning the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, but also producing some rookie errors.

Still, given his potential, it emerged the seven-time world champion was pushing Ferrari to consider Vettel for 2009 but Di Montezemolo wasn't ready to put his confidence in youth.

“Vettel was a driver that Schumacher would have liked at all costs for Ferrari already after the experience at Toro Rosso and before moving on to Red Bull,” he told Sky Italia.

“But we still found him immature and we preferred to have Fernando Alonso with us. Beyond some character aspects, he did great things and lost two World Championships in the final race.”

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Of course, on both occasions, 2010 and 2012, it was Vettel who the Spaniard lost out to, no irony in that then.

Eventually, in 2015, Ferrari would replace Alonso with Sebastian, who by then was a four-time world champion himself, though after five seasons together the wait for a first F1 title continues.

And now the Italian team have their own young charger in Charles Leclerc threatening the establishment at Maranello, and Di Montezemolo realises the new partnership must be handled with care.

“Leclerc? He has a lot of pressure and we hope it doesn’t get to his head,” he claimed.

“Can Ferrari live with him and Vettel? It must be explained to them that they drive for Ferrari, not themselves, as I did with Barrichello.”