Despite high hopes for the future, Sebastian Vettel says Aston Martin need to keep themselves grounded in their quest for 2022 success.
Owner Lawrence Stroll has made significant investments into the team to enable them to compete at the front of the field in the future, including the upcoming construction of a new factory and their own wind tunnel, alongside a hiring spree which has seen former McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh installed to oversee the racing division of the company.
But the Silverstone-based team finished in something of a no man’s land in 2021, cut adrift in P7 in the Constructors’ Championship above the backmarking Williams, Alfa Romeo and Haas teams.
But even with the new regulations in play, Vettel has urged the team to stay “realistic” for next season.
“Yes and no,” the four-time World Champion told Blick when asked if he could set a target for next year without having driven the 2022 car in testing.
It’s been a historic season for @AstonMartinF1, and what better way to celebrate the best of a memorable year than with a blast from the past.
Thank you for joining us on this journey. 💚 pic.twitter.com/2lFqLzDvam
— Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) December 31, 2021
“Of course, you can’t give any figures or forecasts yet. I can’t say now that we want to be the fastest team and become World Champion.
“But if you talk to all the teams, most of them hope and believe that they will be at the top. That doesn’t work out. We also have to keep our feet on the ground and remain realistic.”
Vettel said the “fire is still burning” inside him to add to his long list of achievements in Formula 1, and the regulation changes in 2022 have long been seen as a chance for the competitive pecking order to be shaken up.
The FIA also want the competitive gap between the teams to close up as a result of the new car configurations. Vettel admitted this brings new hope for all of the teams, but there is still plenty to be learned about how the new designs will affect the spectacle.
“That is the big question,” said Vettel. “As I said before, a new set of regulations gives everyone hope. We now have to wait a year and see if everything develops positively – in all regions of the current standings.
“In short: whether everyone is really moving closer together and whether there will be more overtaking.”
Teaming up with Lance Stroll for another season, Vettel said he and his team-mate are working well together and he likes the way the team works as a whole, saying he has found fresh motivation after moving from Ferrari.
“We have a professional relationship,” said the German. “And the team works like that, has been bringing in a lot of staff for months for the new start.
“There is a great atmosphere of departure. I like that, and I also enjoy continuing. New things have always motivated me.”