Sebastian Vettel will need to 'earn' his place in the Ferrari team beyond the 2017 season following a series of incidents this season, according to team principal Maurizio Arrivabene.
The four-time world champion joined Ferrari at the start of 2015 after six seasons with Red Bull on a three-year deal and led a 'revival' of sorts for the Italian team with three race wins.
However, Vettel has endured an indifferent 2016 campaign characterised by a series of clumsy incidents, most notably last time out in the Malaysian Grand Prix when he retired after hitting Nico Rosberg at the first corner.
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They are issues that have called into question Vettel's current focus and motivation and while Ferrari has previously attempted to bolster confidence with the likes of Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso by offering commitment with new long-term deals well before the current expiry, Arrivabene has told Sky Italia
no talks will take place until 2017.
“Sebastian has a contract with us,” he said. “We work together his year and next year. Then during next year we'll see. Everybody has an objective. I have, the team has, Sebastian has, everybody has. So it's right everybody has to earn their position and salary."
Vettel's difficulties in 2016 have been compounded by a series of technical issues – including grid penalties –, the upturn in form from Red Bull and his results relative to Kimi Raikkonen, who he is currently behind in the overall standings.
Indeed, though Arrivabene gives no indication that Ferrari is planning to replace Vettel, he admits the German needs to be 'focused on the main job'.
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“Today, times are a little changed in the sense that what worked with Michael might not necessarily work with Sebastian.
"I do not think people can be conquered with renewals. Sebastian just needs to focus on the car. He is a person who gives so much, and sometimes this means he is interested in a bit of everything - so sometimes you have to re-focus him, remind him to be focused on the main job.
"He does not do it in a polemical spirit, but because he is totally immersed in the family that is the Ferrari team."
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