Sebastian Vettel weighs in on Fernando Alonso’s success with Aston Martin

Michelle Foster
Sebastian Vettel in his race without trace overalls.

Sebastian Vettel in his race without trace overalls.

As Aston Martin hit their stride this season, Sebastian Vettel says “naturally” he has thought this is the car he could’ve been racing had he opted not to retire from Formula 1.

Struggling at times just to score points in his final two years on the grid with Aston Martin, Vettel made the call before last year’s summer break to hang up his helmet.

Going onto score 37 points and finish P12 in the Drivers’ Championship, 2022 was by no means the high on which Vettel wanted to end his career but he continued to push Aston Martin’s development all the way through to the final race of the championship.

Sebastian Vettel on looking ‘back’ being ‘excited about what’s coming next’

Development that this season is paying dividends, and podiums.

Replaced by double World Champion Fernando Alonso, the Spaniard has scored six podiums in 10 races to sit P3 in the Drivers’ Championship where he’s just 19 points behind the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel.

But as Alonso reaps the rewards today, Aston Martin team boss Mike Krack has made it clear Vettel deserves a large part of the credit for that.

“I think he has his merits in where the [AMR23] is today,” he said earlier this season. “We had many, many meetings last year where he gave us a hint: do this, or do that, or do not do this with the new car, so I think he has his merits in here.”

Aston Martin’s success has fans and pundits alike questioning whether Vettel regrets his decision to retire given he could’ve been racing a podium contender this season.

“Naturally the thought has crossed my mind ‘this would have been the car I raced in if I continued’,” he told Sky F1 Juniors.

“The bottom line is I thought so much about my decision and what I want to do next, even though I don’t know exactly what I will do next – I’m still figuring that out.

“I’m happy for him [Alonso]. He’s been around for a long time. He’s had very good cars and cars that are maybe not so good, so I’m happy he’s in a better car now again.

“Plus I worked with the team for the last two years and I’m really excited for them because they have a more competitive car and it’s always more exciting when you challenge for big points and podiums.

“I’m happy with it and happy as I can be now. Any racing driver or sportsperson, at some point it is time to do something else, even if it is your own choice like me, or through injury.

“Then you can look back at it in two ways – you can look back and say ‘that was so nice, I wish I could go back’. Or you look forward and are excited about what’s coming next.”

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What comes next for Vettel is, in part, doing his bit to bring environmental awareness to the masses – even on motor racing’s biggest stages.

The German was in action at the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed where he took to the track, including the famous hillclimb, in Ayrton Senna’s iconic McLaren MP4/8 which he’d converted to run on sustainable e-fuels.

“Biofuels originate from crops, so what you grow on the field or waste you use, to make fuel out of it. Synthetic fuels or E-fuels are made artificially in a lab. That’s what I’m using. The really exciting bit is, I love racing, and you can just pour the fuel in, use the same engine and car and run,” he said.

“It will run the same way, drive the same way and sound the same way. Arguably you lose a little bit of power but you won’t see that from the outside. The adjustments you have to make are tiny. That’s also part of the solution for ships or planes or cars that are already built.

“It would be unfair to get to your parents and say ‘bin the car. Buy an electric car’. Electric cars are still expensive and what would you do with your old car?

“For the roads it looks like it will be electrified. Maybe there will be other solutions coming in. Maybe a solution like carbon neutral fuels or E-fuels as a sort of bridge technology, until everyone can afford an electric car, or an alternative.

“But for racing it would be a shame if it disappeared because it’s a sport I loved and we all fell in love with. Therefore, it’s good we have a solution to pour in fuel and continue what we do, providing the energy to make the fuels comes from renewable sources.”

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