Sebastian Vettel first discussed Ferrari move back in 2008

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Ahead of his debut for the team in Australia next weekend, Sebastian Vettel has revealed that he first discussed a possible move to Scuderia Ferrari back in 2008.

The German driver walked away from Red Bull at the end of 2014 after 15 years in association with the brand, with the relationship yielded four drivers’ championships between 2010 and 2013.

He ultimately secured a seat with Ferrari for the 2015 season, but explained to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport this week that the move has been years in the making.

“When I arrived at Toro Rosso [in 2007], I started greeting Stefano Domenicali and the Ferrari technicians who took care of my engine,” Vettel said.

“With Domenicali, I discussed once and again about a potential future for me at Ferrari. In 2010 there was another approach, but again with nothing put to paper.”

Vettel also revealed that he held secret talks with Ferrari in the 2012 off-season after defeating the team’s lead driver, Fernando Alonso, at the final race of the year for the drivers’ championship.

“In the winter between 2012 and 2013 I went in secret to Maranello to talk with Luca di Montezemolo,” he explained.

“By the middle of last year, Domenicali was gone but the contact continued with Marco Mattiacci and I spoke again with Montezemolo, but at one point Montezemolo and Mattiacci left the scene too.”

Vettel discussed the move Michael Schumacher when he was first approached by Domenicali, and asked his manager, Sabine Kehm, about it last year when more formal talks were held.

“Talks went on anyway and I asked Schumacher’s manager Sabine Kehm for her opinion,” Vettel said. “Unfortunately I couldn’t speak with Michael.

“A while ago I told him about the possibility offered by Domenicali, and he said that if I agreed, I would find a nice atmosphere and a great enthusiasm in Maranello.

“It was a dream for me. Now I’m happy I’m inside that dream.”

Like Vettel, Schumacher left a championship-winning team (Benetton) to try and rebuild the Ferrari into world-beaters. Ten years and five world titles later, Schumacher left the team and retired from F1 in 2006 having done exactly that. The challenge now lies with Vettel to emulate his childhood hero and take the Italian marque back to the top of the sport.

Hunter Lawrence defends Haiden Deegan after controversial block pass at Detroit


Media and fan attention focused on a controversial run-in between Haiden Deegan and his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Jordon Smith during Round 10 of the Monster Energy Supercross race at Detroit, after which the 250 East points’ Hunter Lawrence defends the young rider in the postrace news conference.

Deegan took the early lead in Heat 1 of the round, but the mood swiftly changed when he became embroiled in a spirited battle with teammate Smith.

On Lap 3, Smith caught Deegan with a fast pass through the whoops. Smith briefly held the lead heading into a bowl turn but Deegan had the inside line and threw a block pass. In the next few turns, the action heated up until Smith eventually ran into the back of Deegan’s Yamaha and crashed.

One of the highlights of the battle seemed to include a moment when Deegan waited on Smith in order to throw a second block pass, adding fuel to the controversy.

After his initial crash, Smith fell to seventh on the next lap. He would crash twice more during the event, ultimately finishing four laps off the pace in 20th.

The topic was inevitably part of the postrace news conference.

“It was good racing; it was fun,” Deegan said at about the 27-minute mark in the video above. “I just had some fun doing it.”

Smith had more trouble in the Last Chance Qualifier. He stalled his bike in heavy traffic, worked his way into a battle for fourth with the checkers in sight, but crashed a few yards shy of the finish line and was credited with seventh. Smith earned zero points and fell to sixth in the standings.

Lawrence defends Deegan
Jordon Smith failed to make the Detroit Supercross Main and fell to sixth in the points. – Feld Motor Sports

“I think he’s like fifth in points,” Deegan said. “He’s a little out of it. Beside that it was good, I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.”

Deegan jokingly deflected an earlier question with the response that he wasn’t paying attention during the incident.

“He’s my teammate, but he’s a veteran, he’s been in this sport for a while,” Deegan said. “I was up there just battling. I want to win as much as everybody else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a heat race or a main; I just want to win. I was just trying to push that.”

As Deegan and Smith battled, Jeremy Martin took the lead. Deegan finished second in the heat and backed up his performance with a solid third-place showing in the main, which was his second podium finish in a short six-race career. Deegan’s first podium was earned at Daytona, just two rounds ago.

But as Deegan struggled to find something meaningful to say, unsurprisingly for a 17-year-old rider who was not scheduled to run the full 250 schedule this year, it was the championship leader Lawrence who came to his defense.

Lawrence defends Deegan
A block pass by Haiden Deegan led to a series of events that eventually led to Jordon Smith failing to make the Main. – Feld Motor Sports

“I just want to point something out, which kind of amazes me,” Lawrence said during the conference. “So many of the people on social media, where everyone puts their expertise in, are saying the racing back in the ’80s, the early 90s, when me were men. They’re always talking about how gnarly it was and then anytime a block pass or something happens now, everyone cries about it.

“That’s just a little bit interesting. Pick one. You want the gnarly block passes from 10 years ago and then you get it, everyone makes a big song and dance about it.”

Pressed further, Lawrence defended not only the pass but the decision-making process that gets employed lap after lap in a Supercross race.

“It’s easy to point the finger,” Lawrence said. “We’re out there making decisions in a split millisecond. People have all month to pay their phone bill and they still can’t do that on time.

“We’re making decisions at such a fast reaction [time with] adrenaline. … I’m not just saying it for me or Haiden. I speak for all the guys. No one is perfect and we’re under a microscope out there. The media is really quick to point a finger when someone makes a mistake.”

The media is required to hold athletes accountable for their actions. They are also required to tell the complete story.