Berlin: Sebastian Vettel knows he will have to be patient when he starts his latest Formula One adventure with the Aston Martin team.
“You have to give the whole thing time,” the four-time world champion has said.
But the 33-year-old German eventually wants to return to the top after six mainly difficult years at Ferrari where he didn’t win another title and where his contract was eventually not extended beyond 2020.
With no vacancy at world champions Mercedes or at his former team Red Bull, Aston Martin was all but the only option for Vettel to keep racing, and to do so at a team which has shown some competitiveness.
Known as Racing Point until last year, the team finished fourth in the 2020 constructors’ standings. Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll funded the team and has also acquired a large stake at Aston Martin as the famed British brand now returns to F1.
Stroll, whose son Lance is Vettel’s team-mate, and Vettel both want to get to the top.
There was plenty of euphoria at the car’s launch in early March which included a message from James Bond actor Daniel Craig.
Pre-season tests in mid-March showed that a lot of work remains ahead for Vettel and the team but team principal Otmar Szafnauer rather wanted to see the bright side.
“One of the main tasks this week was to continue helping Sebastian settle into the team and we’ve made a lot of progress already,” said Szafnauer, while Stroll helped them “gaining some useful data on the long runs, race simulations and shorter runs too.”
Vettel said at the launch that “to win is very ambitious but we’re here to win,” with Aston Martin sounding very similar when the signing of Vettel was announced in September.
“Sebastian is a proven champion and brings a winning mentality that matches our own ambitions for the future as Aston Martin F1 Team,” the team said at the time.
Vettel’s experience from 257 grand prix and 53 victories will help the team move forward but as he said patience is required.
“First of all it is about getting on to the podium,” former driver Gerhard Berger of Austria told DPA, adding that Vettel “has already proven that he belongs to the best drivers ever in the sport.”
Former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone believes that the 33-year-old German can shine again.
“I am convinced he is in the right team now where he is looked after. That gives him the conditions to show the old Vettel again,” Ecclestone said.