‘Sebastian Vettel could not motivate Aston Martin like Fernando Alonso has’

Michelle Foster
Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin and Fernando Alonso, Alpine, embrace. Azerbaijan, June 2022.

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin and Fernando Alonso, Alpine, embrace in front of fans. Azerbaijan, June 2022.

Fernando Alonso does bring more to the Aston Martin party than Sebastian Vettel did, but Christian Danner says that’s based on motivation with the Spaniard all-in.

Vettel announced midway through last year’s championship that it would be his final season in Formula 1, the German wanting time to focus on his family and issues close to his heart.

Within days Aston Martin had snapped up Alonso who signed a multi-year contract, one that has already paid dividends with the double World Champion on a hat-trick of P3s for this season.

After his third on the trot in Melbourne, he was asked whether he thought Vettel would be regretting his decision to retire given Aston Martin’s form.

Alonso replied: “I don’t know if he could have made the Aston Martin that fast, so you never know.”

Speed, though, isn’t the only thing Alonso has brought to the Aston Martin table, team boss Mike Krack recently talking up his “enthusiasm and seemingly inexhaustible energy.

He added: “He is truly fascinating to work with, he sweeps us all away like a powerful wave. You just have to listen to his comments on the radio. They are proof of his enthusiasm.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

Fernando Alonso doubts Sebastian Vettel could have made Aston Martin so fast

Ted Kravitz predicts Sebastian Vettel’s next F1 career move

Memorable meltdowns and temper tantrums: Five drivers who lost their cool on team radio

And it’s that, Danner believes, which sets Alonso apart from Vettel, at least the Vettel that was racing last season.

“I’ve always been a big Vettel fan, but I don’t think so,” Danner told Motorsport-Magazin.com when asked if Vettel could have matched Alonso’s early season results.

“[Alonso] says very clearly: I don’t have a plan B, I’m a racing driver, that’s it. That’s a big difference.

“You just have to talk to Tom McCullough. It’s amazing how Alonso electrifies people. He has energy and can always implement what needs to be implemented.

“That’s something that Vettel could certainly be in the beginning, but he was so far away from Formula 1 last year with all his bee hotels and all the things he did there, that as a result he was no longer as good at [motivating the team] as Alonso is still.”

Alonso’s three podiums have elevated him to P3 in the Drivers’ Championship while Aston Martin are second in the Constructors’, nine points ahead of Mercedes although 58 behind the rampant Red Bull.

Danner has applauded Aston Martin’s signing of former Red Bull aerodynamicist Dan Fallows, the Briton largely credited for today’s success.

“If you extract the right people or groups of people from the engineering construct, there is no reason why they should not work again immediately,” said the German. “Nevertheless, [the success] surprised but apparently there is something about the car that Alonso really likes.”

Don’t discount the part Vettel played in today’s AMR23

Although Alonso, after his third podium of the season, said he did “not know if he [Vettel] could have made the Aston Martin that fast”, the Spaniard is reaping the rewards of work carried out by Vettel and also Lance Stroll last season.

The Aston Martin that’s on the track today is an evolution of last year’s Spanish Grand Prix upgrade, the first race in which the Silverstone team went down the Red Bull bodywork route.

Such was Vettel’s commitment to the team and his desire to leave them on the right footing that Krack revealed he had to ” kick him out of the office” on the Friday night in Mexico. That was Vettel’s third last race weekend.

It has the team boss saying today that without a doubt Vettel deserves some of the credit for the car Alonso is racing.

“I think he has his merits in where the [AMR23] is today,” said the German. “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.”