Sebastian Vettel has taken a not-so-subtle dig at Ferrari by suggesting his new team, Aston Martin, prefer substance over style.
The four-time former World Champion is settling into life with the Silverstone-based outfit, who launched their AMR21 car this week as they return to Formula 1 as a constructor for the first time in 60 years.
Although a luxury brand of British car, it should be remembered Aston Martin are the rebadged Racing Point team, operating from the same factory next to the Northamptonshire circuit as when they were previously known as Force India and, initially, Jordan.
That means none of the prestige and grandeur associated with Ferrari, Vettel’s former employers who announced last May his contract would not be extended for a seventh season – and he promptly endured a miserable final year at the Italian giants.
Now the 33-year-old has joined a team who finished two places and 64 points ahead of Ferrari in the 2020 Constructors’ World Championship – and are showing the ambition that could see them improve to challenge the dominant Mercedes before the Scuderia reach such a level.
Vettel clearly finds it refreshing that Aston Martin are showing there is more to life in F1 than plush furnishings for those who call the shots.
Guess who got the keys to their new home. 🤩
— Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) March 4, 2021
“The team is still growing and things are different here,” said the German, quoted by The Guardian.
“It’s not about the fancy looks or the expensive, designer chairs in the office but more about the work done behind the scenes.
“From what I’ve seen, the people are very capable and very talented. It’s the first time in the last one or two years that they are getting the oxygen to breathe.”
Having raced in the midfield throughout 2020 when, for whatever reason, his team-mate Charles Leclerc was able to get more out of the Ferrari than he was, Vettel is expecting to be closer to the front with Aston Martin.
“It’s not a secret that at stages last year I was not at my happiest,” he added. “I know it wasn’t to my standards but I’m very much at peace with it. This year I’m very much looking forwards.
“I think I have another World Championship in me. It’s been in me before and it was a big relief winning the first one and knowing you can do it.
“Since then, I don’t see why it’s not there anymore. I’m not too old and I still have a long time in me.”