Aston Martin have described the impact Sebastian Vettel is already having on the set-up of their car – despite being yet to drive it.
The quadruple former World Champion is starting life with a new team for the first time since 2015 having joined Aston Martin, the rebranded Racing Point operation, from Ferrari.
The expectation at the team’s Silverstone base is that the German’s vast experience and knowledge will not only push Aston Martin forward, but also reinvigorate the 33-year-old himself after a poor sixth and final season with the Italian giants.
Unlike other drivers who facing a new challenge in 2021 – such as Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) and Mick Schumacher (Haas) – Vettel is unable to gain any experience of his new machinery, or even an older version, on track before pre-season testing.
But team principal Otmar Szafnauer has said Vettel is already making his presence felt in terms of the processes that can make Aston Martin successful.
— Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) January 28, 2021
“First and foremost, he can bring in the experience and working methods of his World Championship days,” said Szafnauer during an interview with Auto Motor und Sport.
“He has already instructed our race engineers on which data he needs to help us with the car set-up. He’s already helped us to improve the ergonomics in the cockpit. For example, where the switches should go and how they should be used to make the car easier to operate.
“He’s already driven in the simulator and compared it to others he knows. What’s good about ours? Where do we need to improve? We can work with that.
“There will be a lot more to come. Sebastian has only been with us for a few days and already in this short time he has given us this useful feedback.
“He hasn’t even driven our car yet. We can still learn so much from him and thereby improve.”
Szafnauer, who previously said Vettel had been “asking all the right questions and a lot of them”, reiterated that his new driver was eager to learn.
“He’s already driving us,” said the Romania-born American. “He’s very inquisitive. He keeps asking us ‘why do you do it this way and why not differently?’ In just two days he had so many questions.
“He not only asks us questions but also passes on his experiences. That’s exactly what we need.
“We want to turn every stone to improve performance so that in March we can say we made the most of our opportunities over the winter. Both Seb and us as a team.”