Vettel hails Stroll as Aston Martin’s saviour

Jon Wilde
Aston Martin driver and team owner Sebastian Vettel and Lawrence Stroll at the French Grand Prix. Paul Ricard June 2021.

Sebastian Vettel and Lawrence Stroll walking through the paddock at the French Grand Prix. Paul Ricard June 2021.

Sebastian Vettel has expressed his admiration for the way in which Lawrence Stroll has transformed the Aston Martin team.

In 2018, the Silverstone-based squad were on their uppers having been put into administration after running into big financial difficulties when known as Force India.

After Stroll purchased the team’s assets, they were retitled and rebranded as Racing Point for 2019 and 2020 before undergoing another new look to become Aston Martin – the luxury car manufacturer of which the Canadian businessman is executive chairman.

The 62-year-old’s son, Lance, was joined in the driver line-up for this season by Vettel following the four-time former World Champion’s exit from Ferrari.

Although driver Sergio Perez has also been credited with helping financially to keep the team afloat during their darkest days, it is Stroll to whom Vettel has paid tribute for preserving their place on the grid and turning them into an operation which hopes to challenge for the World Championship in the next few years.

“He basically saved the team – a lot of jobs, a lot of people that are passionate about racing,” Vettel told Ziggo Sport.

“It’s also quite a transformation, if you saw where the team was a few years ago and what it is now. There’s a lot of commitment, a lot of people joining.

“It’s a big project – probably the biggest project in the last couple of years in Formula 1.”

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Progress has perhaps been slower than anticipated this season, with Aston Martin, like Mercedes, being among the teams most affected by the tweaks to the aerodynamic regulations that were introduced for 2021.

But there have still been some moments to enjoy for the 34-year-old driver, who endured a poor final year with Ferrari.

An excellent runner-up finish at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix was repeated in Hungary, only for it to be taken away from Vettel and Aston Martin when a sufficient fuel sample could not be extracted from the car.

Attempts to overturn the decision by the stewards have proven to be unsuccessful.

Despite that disappointment, Vettel has shown he and the car are still very much capable of hitting the heights when things fall in their favour.

“It all looks great at this stage, but it’s the actual getting of results that is most challenging,” said Vettel.

“Lawrence is definitely very determined and the team has a great future.”