Formula 1
Formula 1
28 Mar
Event finished
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
FP1 in
4 days
R
Portuguese GP
02 May
Race in
20 days
09 May
Next event in
24 days
23 May
Race in
41 days
R
Azerbaijan GP
06 Jun
Race in
55 days
13 Jun
Race in
63 days
27 Jun
Race in
76 days
04 Jul
Next event in
80 days
18 Jul
Race in
97 days
R
Hungarian GP
01 Aug
Race in
111 days
29 Aug
Race in
139 days
05 Sep
Race in
146 days
26 Sep
Race in
167 days
R
Singapore GP
03 Oct
Next event in
171 days
10 Oct
Race in
181 days
R
United States GP
24 Oct
Race in
196 days
31 Oct
Race in
203 days
R
Australian GP
21 Nov
Race in
223 days
R
Abu Dhabi GP
12 Dec
Race in
244 days

Has Vettel got his mojo back with Aston Martin?

Has Sebastian Vettel got his mojo back after his move to the rebranded Aston Martin Formula 1 team? Adam Cooper considers the impact of the German's move to the team formerly known as Racing Point.

Chatting to the media via Zoom during Aston Martin's launch on Wednesday, Sebastian Vettel was in an optimistic and positive frame of mind, making it clear that he's moved on from any disappointment at the way his Ferrari career ended.

That mojo phrase was used last year by Aston Martin technical director Andrew Green when speaking about what Vettel could bring to the team, and what the team could in turn do for him. But while Vettel may be an Anglophile, it's not a phrase that he's overly familiar with.

Read Also:

"The mojo term is not a German term, so whoever the guy mojo is, he doesn't exist in Germany! Maybe that's an easy way out of this question for me.

"Obviously last year, it's not a secret, at stages I wasn't at my happiest, so this year, I'm very much looking forward. It's a great group of people. The spirit is great, very enthusiastic."

Vettel spoke enthusiastically of Aston not being "about the fancy looks or the fancy expensive designer chairs in the office, it's more about the work that is done behind the scenes" and since making the mojo remark last year, Green is only more firm in his belief that "we can get Seb into the right place" having seen up close how the four-time world champion approaches his job.

"I think he's fitting in really well," says Green. "I think he's gelling with his crew, and with the team.

"He's obviously a very, very likeable chap, but he's also incredibly knowledgeable and meticulous about the way he works, and that's exactly why we wanted him involved. We're already starting to see how we can adapt to his way of working. It's different to the way we worked before, but that's the exact reason why we got him in. It is to impart some of his knowledge and wisdom on us as a four-times world champion and that's exactly what we need."

Green says that the team isn't interested in what might have gone wrong at Ferrari - "we are a team looking forward" - and instead notes that Vettel "appears incredibly relaxed".

"He's integrated into the team very quickly," he says. "His contributions started immediately.

"I think we were going to get the best out of Seb, I really, I really do. I think he's at the top of his career. If we can't extract the best out of Seb, then it's our fault, not his. I'm confident we can get Seb into the right place."

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, and Andrew Green, Technical Director, Aston Martin

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, and Andrew Green, Technical Director, Aston Martin

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

It's no surprise that the change of environment has proved to be a positive one for Vettel, given the deterioration of his relationship with Ferrari. Having joined the team in 2015 as its future saviour, Vettel mustered a victory in only his second start in Malaysia, but couldn't derail the Mercedes juggernaut. He was effectively displaced as team number one by the arrival of Charles Leclerc in 2019 and was told last summer that he wasn't required for 2021 before the much-delayed season got underway.

It didn't take him long to open up talks with Aston owner Lawrence Stroll, and a deal was quickly put together. However, he still had to see out the balance of the season in a difficult environment, made more awkward by the Maranello team's dive in form. At times even making Q3 was an achievement.

Vettel says he's "obviously not happy with how last year went in terms of performance, entirely my performance", but says he's now "very much at peace" with it.

"I know that it hasn't been to my standards that I mostly hold myself. I've never really cared what people think or say or write," he says.

Read Also:

Aston is a completely different world for Vettel. He did his deal directly with Stroll, owner not just of the F1 team, but also the sportscar manufacturer behind it. From the start he's been totally immersed in Stroll's ambitious plans, able to contribute insight and knowledge where he can, and made to feel that his presence is a key ingredient. That certainly hasn't been lost on him.

"People are very attentive and very welcoming," he says. "I think so far, it's been made very easy for me to integrate."

Clearly Vettel is much more relaxed this year. However, he downplays any suggestion that he will enjoy himself more simply because Aston is a less pressured environment than he was used to at Ferrari.

Racing Point built up some momentum over the past year to challenge McLaren for third in the constructors' standings, with Sergio Perez taking victory in the Sakhir Grand Prix, and the future offers real promise as the budget cap levels the playing field and a new rules package for 2022 creates a reset. There is a genuine sense that the team can challenge for titles, and being part of that process of creating a winning package is hugely motivating to Vettel.

"I don't think there's always a link between pressure and enjoyment," he says. "I think you can enjoy a lot when you're under pressure, in fact, I put a lot of pressure and expectation on myself.

"So in that regard, nothing changes, the satisfaction you get when you when you cross the line, and you've done a good job, you are your first and best judge. So that hasn't changed, I don't expect it to change.

"I'd be very happy to have tons of pressure and be able to fight for the championship. That's ultimately what I would love to do. Obviously, for us this year, it's a different situation to be in. I think it's a great challenge and we accept that and we want to master the challenge and hopefully come out better than what we thought.

"So the best way of doing that normally is to go step-by-step and focus on the things that are right in front of you, not getting disturbed by the big picture."

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, and Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, unveil the Aston Martin AMR21

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, and Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, unveil the Aston Martin AMR21

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Should Aston Martin be in a position to challenge for titles, Vettel could be in line to join Juan Manuel Fangio (Mercedes, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari), Jackie Stewart (BRM, Matra, March, Tyrrell) and Alain Prost (Renault, McLaren, Ferrari, Williams) by winning a race for a fourth different constructor (only Stirling Moss has won with five). A fifth title would perhaps lead people to reassess his place in the history books, however Vettel insists that he's not out to prove a point to anyone other than himself.

"Not interested in what people think," he repeats. "I think it's more about making a point to the team, to myself, rather than the people.

"Our world is moving very fast. And the world has to move on, fast or quickly, which is healthy and good. Otherwise, you will always be stuck in the past and you will still pray to Juan Manuel Fangio as the Lord and the Saviour of all racing drivers.

"I think no doubt he was very, very special. But if you ask a 15-year-old now who is Juan Manuel Fangio? I don't think they know. And that's good, time will move on.

"And especially [compared with] nowadays, probably Fangio had a longer legacy than any one of us will ever have, independent of the amount of wins and so on. And that's good. It's good to move forward and to move on. So I'm pretty sure that when I say goodbye to F1, I will be forgotten very quickly. And that's okay, I think that's healthy.

"So that's why I'm also not too bothered about proving a point to people, and really just focusing on my own bit, which right in front of me is myself. Hopefully doesn't sound too egoistic and arrogant, but it's myself and the team around me.

"You're always judged on the last couple of results, you can come from nothing and be a hero by having a couple of good results. And we can have, in my case, more than 50 wins on your side, and people think that you're just average. So that's how it goes."

shares
comments

Related video

Haas F1 claims Russian flag design not a result of WADA ruling

Previous article

Haas F1 claims Russian flag design not a result of WADA ruling

Next article

Bahrain GP open to fans who are vaccinated or COVID-19 recovered

Bahrain GP open to fans who are vaccinated or COVID-19 recovered
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Sebastian Vettel
Teams Aston Martin Racing
Author Adam Cooper
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Prime

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says Nigel Roebuck.

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Prime

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Is Formula 1 as good as it has ever been now? Prime

Is Formula 1 as good as it has ever been now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Prime

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Prime

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle.

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his teammate's F1 career climb Prime

How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his teammate's F1 career climb

Kimi Raikkonen's emergence as a Formula 1 star in his rookie campaign remains one of the legendary storylines from 2001, but his exploits had an unwanted impact on his Sauber teammate's own prospects. Twenty years on from his first F1 podium at the Brazilian GP, here's how Nick Heidfeld's career was chilled by the Iceman.

Formula 1
Apr 3, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Prime

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021
How Verstappen's Bahrain mistake can only make him stronger Prime

How Verstappen's Bahrain mistake can only make him stronger

Max Verstappen lost out to Lewis Hamilton at the Bahrain Grand Prix by a tiny margin, slipping off the track just as victory was within his grasp. But the painful lesson from defeat can only help Verstappen come back even stronger

Formula 1
Mar 31, 2021