Some people often use the phrase “there are no words” during times like these; I am not one of them. Because I have words. Plenty of them. Words fueled by the multitude of emotions I’m feeling right now.
As I type this, I am flabbergasted. I am confused. I am disappointed. I am conflicted. I am sad. I am angry.
I am angry at Ferrari, for letting go of yet another World Champion and exceptional, once-in-a-generation talent (don’t get me started on this). I am angry at the world, for being so uncertain and unfair and generally horrible right now. I am angry at myself, for investing so much emotional energy over someone who does not know me at all.
But you know what, I’m not angry at you.
How could I be angry at you?
I’ve liked and supported you since you first burst into the F1 scene, during 2006. I’ve been a witness to your highest of highs and lowest of lows. I’ve tirelessly defended you. I’ve accepted you and all of your (fabulous) flaws and shortcomings.
The exultation and relief I felt when you signed for Scuderia Ferrari? The tears I shed when you had your first Ferrari victory? That pure, new brand of joy when I saw you win a Grand Prix in person after meeting you merely a day before? And everything else in between. Those tiny, little pockets of moments that eventually turned into a mountain of memories tinged in Red. I remember them all. Your thousands and thousands of fans remember them all.
Your hope and faith and unwavering belief in yourself and in teamwork, in talent, in hardwork. The laserlike focus. That next-level nerdiness. All of the times you laughed and cried and got shady and commiserated and celebrated with your team. Your endless stream of quotable quotes. Every single fan you signed for, took a photo with, took the time to speak with. You are more than a driver. You are more than an employee. You are a fan like millions of us. You get it. Your excitement and engagement and sincerity are palpable. That’s what sets you apart. You gave us all a gift. A gift we will always carry with us.
The news of your departure hurts. More than I can ever articulate. It’s a searing, impossible loss. I sit here stewing in sadness, partial denial, and complicated feelings, wondering why the world is filled with injustice and why good people cannot have good things, but ultimately, it is not about me. It’s about celebrating you, and what you have managed to achieve in the 6 years you were with the Scuderia.
Thank you for the leap of faith. Thank you for trying. Thank you for throwing yourself into the challenge with all of your mind, heart, body, and soul. You went absolutely all in and never backed down. Come hell and high water, you gave your best and hardest. That’s what matters. I am so ridiculously proud of you, it’s not even funny.
You are not The Michael Schumacher. Or his Second Coming. You never will be. And that’s a good thing, because you are The Sebastian Vettel and you are amazing just the way you are, and that is more than enough. When I think of the modern Ferrari driver, you will be the name that comes to mind. Whoever follows in your footsteps shall have a gargantuan gap to fill. What you have brought to and achieved for Ferrari? A unique blend of talent, passion, relentlessness and resilience that will leave a historic mark. You are a force of nature. A Phenomenon.
You love Ferrari with every single fiber of your being, a love that is both tragic and admirable. You are a Red. You will always be a Red. You are the Champion we wanted and the Champion we deserved. You’re Ours. Never forget that.
Whatever you decide to do next, I shall support and (eventually come to) accept unquestioningly. You’ve always been wise beyond your years and you know your worth better than anybody else. You deserve to be happy, you deserve to be appreciated, and you deserve to achieve them on your own damn terms.
Sebastian, go on and shape your own narrative, forge your own path, as you always have, stubbornly and magnificently.
I will miss you and your big, non-crystal, racing balls.
If you can only take a single thought from all of this rambling, let it be this: Thank you, Seb. With all of my heart. That is all.