After his bruising final season with Ferrari, Aston Martin are ready to put an “arm around the shoulder” of Sebastian Vettel and listen to his needs.
Vettel has a new team for the 2021 season, the German signing with Aston Martin after being dropped by Ferrari.
The Scuderia informed him even before the first race of the 2020 season that it would be his final year racing in red.
And that, team owner Lawrence Stroll believes, played a part in his disappointing final year with Ferrari.
Vettel’s new team has vowed to do things different with the 33-year-old with team boss Otmar Szafnauer saying Aston Martin will do everything it can to encourage the driver.
“I’ve always said, and will continue to say so, at 33 years old you don’t forget how to drive a Formula 1 car fast,” he said to Autosport.
“So it’s got to be other things. And we will work tirelessly to make sure that we don’t introduce those things, and actually alleviate them.
“An arm around the shoulder means that everybody’s listening to his wants and his needs. And we’ll work hard to make sure the car is to his liking and the set-up is like he wants it.”
That, though, doesn’t mean Lance Stroll’s needs won’t also be met.
“We’ve got two drivers to look after,” Szafnauer added, “and if we treat them equally, which in the past we’ve been really good at doing and I anticipate we’ll do that in the future as well, I think that’s all it takes with Seb.
“And then if he doesn’t overdrive the car, drives like he can, and we will definitely get the best out of him.”
— Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) March 3, 2021
The team boss is predicting an interesting tussle between his drivers, the two in very different places in their F1 careers.
He is, however, confident Stroll can rise to the challenge of partnering a four-time World Champion.
“To beat Sebastian Vettel, you’re gonna have to work hard,” he said.
“Sebastian’s got a great work ethic. And we’re working really hard to make sure that Sebastian feels comfortable at our team, and we get him back up to his best. So it’ll be very interesting.
“Does [Lance] have the wherewithal to do it? Absolutely. But, like I said, it’s going to take a lot of hard work. And I would imagine Sebastian is going to also try to beat his team-mate.”