Sebastian Vettel has warned Aston Martin that hiring staff who have previously won is no guarantee they will win again.
Vettel signed with the team for 2021 but is now only four races from not only the end of his time with Aston Martin but his time in the sport altogether. However, it seems Vettel is leaving just as Aston Martin are building towards a successful future.
Earlier this year, the Silverstone-based team acquired some key members of staff, including former Red Bull head of aerodynamics Dan Fallows and Mercedes’ chief aerodynamicist Eric Blandin, and the 2023 car will be their first chance to have a serious input.
Two-time former World Champion Fernando Alonso will also join, taking Vettel’s old seat, but the departing German has warned that just because someone has a history of success, that provides no guarantee it will happen again in the future.
“Winning doesn’t guarantee you will win again but it definitely helps,” said Vettel. “The people are in place, the new factory is being built, so it’s all coming together – but it will take time.
“There was a huge chance with the regulation changes this year, but we fell into the same trap many others did. Some teams maybe got a little lucky, designing a car around a ride height that would work.
“Now we have these regulations until 2026, so the teams that had a good start will have a head-start over the teams that had a bad start, and the budget cap means you can’t just throw money and resources at the problem to catch up.”
Vettel was also asked if he had any words of wisdom for the incoming Alonso but he declined, stating the Spaniard “will be fine”.
“Fernando doesn’t need any advice,” said the 35-year-old. “I’m not sure he’s taking any advice but he doesn’t need it anyway. He’s been around for so long and seen so much – he’ll be fine.”
It has been 61 races since Vettel last tasted victory and while he cannot say whether two years of winning grands prix would have changed his retirement decision, he admitted finishing 10th does not give him the same “buzz” as finishing first.
“Would I be retiring if I had been very competitive over the last three or four years, winning races, fighting for championships, maybe winning another one? I might have come to the same decision,” he said. “Equally, I might not have. It’s impossible to say but it has crossed my mind.
“Finishing 10th doesn’t give me a buzz because I know how it feels to finish first. If you’ve never finished first, the first time you finish 10th you get a real buzz. But I’m happy I don’t get a buzz from finishing 10th.”
Vettel leaves the sport as the joint fifth most successful driver of all time but still does not believe he will be remembered for long once he hangs up his gloves.
“People can decide if they want to remember me but I wouldn’t be offended if they don’t,” he said. “It’s not important to me how I’m remembered.
“I always try to succeed – sometimes I don’t succeed – but above all else, I always try to treat people with respect and be nice. If that’s what people remember about me then that will make me happy.”