Former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer, who left Renault during the 2017 season, is part of the BBC team and offers insight and analysis from the point of view of the competitors
Sebastian Vettel’s performance at the Bahrain Grand Prix has raised serious questions – about his series of unforced errors, about his status within Ferrari and about his claim to be a potential world champion this year.
A spin while battling with Lewis Hamilton and a weekend on which he was out-paced by his new team-mate were exactly what Vettel did not need just two races into the new season.
The German came into 2019 needing to bury memories of 2018, when Ferrari had the fastest car for much of the season. Vettel had it within his hands to win a fifth world title, but a series of errors cost him that chance.
A crash out of the lead in Germany, and spins in Italy, Japan and the United States all left a lot of doubts.
As such, Vettel would have welcomed the winter break by the time Abu Dhabi came around last November.
The off-season is the perfect time to get away from Formula 1 and the mental anguish it can sometimes bring.
The season is unrelenting – 21 races across five continents over nine months. Every day the drivers are at the track they are answering questions from the media, and that can be particularly tough when you are on a bad run, as Vettel was in 2018.
But just two races into 2019 and the very same questions will be asked once more, and this time they will be asked louder.