Vettel insists Ferrari's expectations are 'not a burden' following a turbulent start to the season
Vettel's career has stalled as he returns to his home Grand Prix...     Credit: Getty Images

Sebastian Vettel denied the claim that the weight of expectation at Ferrari has become a burden for him.

Vettel arrives at his home race with his Formula 1 future under severe scrutiny after several high-profile mistakes - including his incident with Max Verstappen at Silverstone - and a barren run which has seen the German win just one grand prix since his championship-crumbling mistake in Hockenheim, last year.

Vettel's woes may well prove to be an unsolvable case, however, it is certain that the four-time World Champion's unforced error this time last year has had devastating psychological consequences.

Racing for Ferrari's a privilege

Despite his plight, Vettel still insists that it is a privilege to drive for Ferrari, despite the Italian constructor failing to deliver a package that could dethrone Mercedes.

"It doesn't feel like a burden," claimed Vettel during Thursday's driver press conference, "it feels like a privilege to go out and race for Ferrari.

"My mission, as well as the team's goal, is to get back to winning ways - if we do that we have a much better chance to fight for the Championship.

"Having said that I think from when I joined and where we are now, obviously this year hasn't gone the way we wanted after the last two years.

"But I still think things are progressing in the right direction in the big picture, but naturally the big picture doesn't interest you if you are not where you would like to be."

Not finished yet

Conceding victory to Lewis Hamilton in Canada, his error at the British grand prix behind Verstappen and the struggle to out-perform his team-mate Charles Leclerc has brought considerable pressure for Vettel as of late.

Rumours of an early retirement had begun to circulate in the aftermath of the German's penalty in Montreal, but Vettel insists his love for racing is urging him to address his current woes and challenge for the title once again.

"I don't know how long I am going to be here but I love racing, I think these are the fastest cars there are.

"The joy that I get from driving is like it's ever been, and the motivation is high to get the job done with Ferrari.

"So I guess those are the dictating whether I will be around for long or not."

Germany's F1 future in doubt

As Hockenheim enters the final year of its contract on the F1 calendar, there is a worrying consensus that Germany's momentous affiliation with the sport is beginning to deteriorate.

With no talk of a contract extension for the circuit, Vettel and compatriot Nico Hulkenberg are both looking to leave with a positive result in front of their adoring home crowd.

And Vettel admits that whilst there is still a strong interest there, the 'straightforward' nature of the German public means they won't spend money on a substandard product.

"I think that the biggest hype was when Michael (Schumacher) started winning as he was the first German to win the Championship.

"I think being the first is always more momentum and interest, but the interest last year also proved there is an appetite for racing.

"But I also feel the German crowd is a very fair, direct and honest crowd, so maybe some things have happened in our sport didn't help the popularity."

Aside from the uncertainty of no future German Grand Prix, with the exception of Michael Schumacher's son Mick Schumacher - who is currently competing in GP2 and a member of Ferrari's prestigious driver academy - there are very few German prospects that are progressing through the junior divisions.

The increasingly strenuous weight of his father's legacy have made it all the more difficult for Schumacher to make a desired impact in the lower Formula, however, Vettel stressed that he needs the time and support to break onto the Formula 1 scene.

"I think it's crucial that he is given the time he needs," he said. 

"I think it's fair to judge him and his racing like every one of us has been judged and will be judged.

"But it's not right to measure and compare too much to others and his father - it's a different time, different racing.

"To have Mick on the doorstep of Formula 1 and hopefully one day joining is huge and hopefully a big boost for Germany.”