Former Force India boss Colin Kolles believes Sebastian Vettel’s move to Aston Martin was made to enhance the reputation of Lance Stroll, rather than improve the team’s line-up.
The four-time World Champion has been on the receiving end of some hefty criticism over the last couple of years, being comfortably beaten by Charles Leclerc at Ferrari in 2020 and seeing his fortunes seemingly on a downward spiral of late.
Vettel did make Q3 at the Portuguese Grand Prix at the weekend, but it was the end of a long 15-race streak without finding a way into the final part of qualifying.
With Stroll’s father Lawrence owning the Aston Martin team, there have been rumblings that the Canadian could get preferential treatment in the team – with Stroll receiving a new upgrade on his car before Vettel at Portimao at the weekend, albeit with Vettel out-qualifying him and finishing one place ahead in the race.
In spite of that, Kolles says that Lawrence Stroll’s quest is to add to the buzz surrounding his son on the F1 grid, and beating a driver of Vettel’s calibre over the course of a season would be proof of that.
“Vettel was only signed to make Lance Stroll look better. Mr Stroll wants to make his son a World Champion,” Kolles said, via Express.de.
David Coulthard echoes the sentiment behind Kolles’ opinion, adding: “I wonder if a brand is to be built up. Not Aston Martin, but Lance Stroll. If he beats Vettel, then that justifies why he should be a future World Champion.”
Vettel, meanwhile, says he is self-critical and doesn’t need to listen to what people say on the outside to ascertain whether or not he is performing well – preferring to listen to those around him.
“Sometimes criticism is justified, other times not,” the German previously told Radio et Télévision Belge Francophone.
“It doesn’t matter much what people think in the outside. The people who are close to me and in the team, I always want their honest opinion. If it’s criticism I need to deal with, then I need to make it better.
“The moment I get out of the car, I know when I have good and bad feelings, I am the first to judge myself,” he added to AS.
“People have their own opinion and judging is something very normal today, but I don’t think about what others have to say about me. I only listen to the people closest to me, my team.”