F1 – Aston Martin gives Sebastian Vettel a new chance. Vettel is quadruple world champion and statistically the second best driver on the grid. Only Lewis Hamilton is above him. At Ferrari, the German didn’t add too much to his tallies but in 2021 he will join the ambitious Aston Martin.
Full disclosure – ahead of the delayed start of the 2020 season, I predicted Sebastian Vettel would have a fine farewell season with Ferrari. That prediction was made before it became clear just how big a limitation the 2020 Ferrari had at the rear end, and proved very wide of the mark.
That’s always been a weakness for Vettel and it constrained him last year. But unless what is now called Aston Martin gets its car changes spectacularly wrong, we can expect the rear end to be more to his liking.
Vettel didn’t win four championships by chance and the enfeebled performer of last season is not representative of his capabilities. That doesn’t absolve him from responsibility for his struggles because it is the driver’s job to adapt, but he should be back in his comfort zone.
He also has the boost of knowing he’s Aston Martin’s main man and should be revitalised by the challenge of helping it emerge as a regular winner in the long-term. So hopefully we’ll see more of the old, virtuoso Vettel in 2021 as a result because history shows us he’s capable of being a wonderful driver – even if there were times at Ferrari when things went wrong.
The four-time world champion has left Ferrari following a woeful 2020 campaign to make the switch to the new Aston Martin squad, which is returning to the F1 grid as a rebrand of the Racing Point entity.
After finishing fourth in the 2020 constructors’ championship and claiming its first victory at the Sakhir Grand Prix, team owner Lawrence Stroll spoke of his desire to build Aston Martin into a championship-winning outfit on the day it announced American IT company Cognizant as its new title partner for 2021.
Vettel, whose arrival at Aston Martin has been delayed due to the current travel and lockdown restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, said he cannot wait to get started and help the team improve.
“I can’t wait to start working with the team,” said Vettel.
“There’s so much for me to discover over the next few months and I’m incredibly determined to help make this team even more successful.
“Before we know it, we will be at the first race, seeing this famous name back where it belongs. I’m proud to be part of this journey.”
Vettel will be partnered by Lance Stroll this season and the Canadian insists he has already noticed a renewed energy within the team following its transition to Aston Martin.
“Seeing Aston Martin back in Formula 1 is a huge deal – especially with a new title partner, Cognizant,” he added.
“Whenever I’m at the factory, you can feel the buzz and energy. We’re ready for this. There’s so much hunger in the team and I just can’t wait to get the season started.”
The presentation of the new car has been moved back in view of the apparently postponed start of the season. The new green racer was supposed to be presented to the public in February, but now not until March at Aston Martin’s headquarters in Gaydon. This also means that the team is using every day to work on the car.
Vettel’s first official statement as an Aston Martin driver: “I can’t wait to start working with the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ team.
There is so much for me to discover over the next few months and I am incredibly determined to help make this team even more successful. Before we know it, we’ll be at the first race and seeing this famous name back where it belongs. I’m proud to be part of that journey.”
He is particularly excited about the Mercedes engine, the acknowledged leader in the powertrain sector. So far in his career, Vettel has only driven with Renault, Ferrari and BMW engines. But never with the monster power unit from the Stuttgart racing engine factory in Brixworth. Vettel: “Of course I’m mega-excited to see how it feels.”
Until the presentation in February, the Heppenheim native wants to drop by the F1 factory in Silverstone as often as possible. Seat fitting, getting to know the staff and numerous simulator runs are on the agenda until the end of February or mid-March (postponement from Barcelona to Bahrain is currently being discussed) when the only three test days there are before the first race (presumably March 28 in Bahrain).
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THE NEXT RACE 2021
|Bahrain ||26 Mar|
|14:30 - 15:30||Free practice 1|
|18:00 - 19:00||Free practice 2|
|15:00 - 16:00||Free practice 3|
|18:00 - 19:00||Qualifying|
|18:00 - 20:00||Race|
|Bahrain||57 laps||308.238 km|