Sebastian Vettel: With four world titles, 53 wins, 57 pole positions and 122 podiums under his belt, the German is statistically one of the greatest Formula 1 drivers of all time. However, his last title started in 2013 and his last victory and a good position from 2019. Nowadays, his career is no longer smooth with Aston Martin who did not do well. And in addition, Vettel focuses outside the track which is almost completely opposed to Formula 1: sustainability and environmental friendliness. Is there still a future for – so he says – the ‘hypocritical’ Vettel in the sport?
Vettel, who celebrated his 35th birthday on race day at the British Grand Prix, recently gave an interview to Sports1 He said he will think about his future in Formula 1: “The decision is still pending, but I will think about it in the coming weeks. Of course it also depends on the direction of the car and how much potential I see in the team.’
“I have emphasized several times that I want to fight for points, but also for victory,” Heppenheimer continues his story. He shows that the joy is over when he can no longer participate in the front: “So in the coming weeks I will have to find out with my family how true my goals are and how much I still feel in myself to continue. grow with the team.”
How realistic are Vettel’s goals?
Vettel mentions something very important, that he will check how realistic his goals are. For Aston Martin there seems to be no success in the short term. This year, the British team is more or less the ninth team on the grid, despite strong performances from Vettel in Imola, Monaco and Azerbaijan, among others. With the AMR22 updates, heavily inspired by Red Bull Racing’s RB18, things don’t look much better than before. The German hinted that Aston Martin has his first priority if he were to continue in Formula 1 after this season.
The Silverstone team is also keen to continue with Vettel, who is out of contract. Team principal Mike Krack recently said the following: “We’re talking. We have a very good relationship and it’s not like we have to set deadlines. It is clear that at some point, if it takes too long, we will also be in trouble and he knows it. But it is a very good discussion that we are having. From that point of view, it’s all good.’
Conversation? Yes. Security? No. It seems from Krack and Vettel’s words that the continuation of the partnership is nothing but a preconceived notion. Given that the former Red Bull driver also indicates that he does not think about moving to another team, Aston Martin seems to be the only option for Vettel to continue in Formula 1. The team has prepared a five-year plan, whose goal is to be champions and happy even with Vettel. Based on the first two years back in the game, the five-year plan seems unlikely. And there is Vettel’s wish: he needs to think about how real his goal is to be able to compete forward again.
McLaren seems to be the only way out for Vettel
The team that can give him some perspective, instead of Aston Martin, seems to be McLaren. The team from British Woking does not seem too enthusiastic about the long stay from Daniel Ricciardo and the 12th of July. BBC except that Vettel is named as the successor of his former Red Bull teammate. McLaren is in better shape than Aston Martin, although the team has seen a dip in performance this season. If the green firm does not improve quickly, McLaren could be an attractive option for Vettel.
The only question is: Would McLaren, if possible, complete for the signing of multiple champions? They have many more options – confirmed and unconfirmed. According to BBC also called Alexander Albon, Pierre Gasly and Oscar Piastri, although Albon and Gasly are probably only available for the 2024 season. With all these names there seems to be more future prospects than Vettel, who at 35 years belongs to experienced hands in the field . Still, that’s not saying much. Lewis Hamilton is 37 years old, Fernando Alonso is 41 years old and Ricciardo is not much younger either: he is only two years younger than Vettel.
In addition to Albon, Gasly and the younger Piastri, McLaren can also look to IndyCar drivers Colton Herta, Patricio O’Ward and 2023 nominee Alex Palou. The former has already tested for McLaren on Monday and Tuesday, with O’Ward driving for of the British team of the American championship race and Palou will compete for McLaren in 2023. It is interesting: in the announcement that the 2021 IndyCar champion is coming to McLaren, it was not said that he will remain in that class. That leaves the door open for a possible switch to Formula 1, while meaning the door is closed for Vettel.
It seems that Vettel can’t go above Formula 1 either. Mercedes is happy with Hamilton and George Russell and a return to Ferrari seems unlikely due to the long-term contracts of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. Vettel and Ferrari also did not part well after 2020. Finally, Red Bull has Max Verstappen – no pun intended – and Sergio Pérez in the ranks. None of the drivers in the top teams have a reason to leave at the moment.
So how realistic is Vettel’s desire to fight for wins and podiums in the near future? Unless Aston Martin magically improves, or McLaren contends for the title from next year after the German makes a change, that wish seems completely impossible. It can be heard from Vettel, who with his wishes shows that he still has the motivation to continue in motorsport.
Formula E or pension for Vettel family member?
There is only one important point that was briefly mentioned in the introduction. Vettel is now a climate activist, doing all sorts of things to promote sustainable living and in Formula 1 that can collide. It is also not for nothing that the man who became champion four times in a row between 2010 and 2013 calls himself a hypocrite for participating in Formula 1 pollution and also demands action from world leaders to deal with global warming. Earlier this year, he was also a guest in BBC– program Question Timewhere he expressed his interest, passion and commitment to sustainability.
To strengthen his activism, it may seem prudent for Vettel to consider his options outside of Formula 1. What about Formula E? This choice doesn’t seem too crazy, because DS Techeetah team boss Thomas Chevaucher has already given the F1 driver a test day in his electric machine in mid-May. He said car photo: ‘Sebastian is very interested in protecting the environment and thinks about climate change, just like we do in Formula E. We don’t know what his intentions are to continue his career in Formula E. That shouldn’t be a topic here either, but we would like to give him the opportunity to test the car a CO2-neutral race.”
Vettel has not yet commented on a possible Form E test, but Heppenheimer would be a perfect fit in the electric road race class. McLaren also comes into the picture here. Starting next season they will replace Mercedes and also will not continue with current drivers Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne. Felix Rosenqvist, who currently drives a McLaren car in IndyCar, has been named one of the drivers. The second seat is the unknown of the two. Who knows, maybe Vettel will be one of McLaren’s strengths in his first season of Formula E.
A future in motorsport is not necessary. Vettel is known as a family man, he is married and has three children. Maybe he thinks it’s been good after sixteen seasons of Formula 1 and decided to retire. Then the 35-year-old does not need to worry about his future prospects, as he no longer has to travel around the world for one year. In addition, Vettel can focus more on his climate activism, but also against discrimination and equality. In that regard, all options are still open, but considering Vettel’s goals in Formula 1, the future in the premier class seems very difficult.
Terrence Riepma (Twitter: @TerrenceRiepma † email: email@example.com)