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Formula 1

Aston Martin foolish not to keep Vettel if car ‘deserves’ him

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
4 min read

Aston Martin Formula 1 boss Mike Krack says it would be “foolish” not to try to retain Sebastian Vettel beyond 2022 if he can be motivated by a car that “deserves” him.

Vettel’s deal with Aston Martin expires at the end of this season and so far the union between the four-time world champion and the ambitious team owned by Lawrence Stroll has not achieved the results either expected.

The 2021 season, Vettel’s first at the team after leaving Ferrari, was compromised by the winter floor rule changes that hurt Aston Martin’s car concept and the fact it opted not to develop that much before focusing on the all-new technical regulations for 2022.

But that has not paid dividends this year yet either as the Aston Martin AMR22 appears to be the worst-affected by the porpoising phenomenon afflicting the 2022 generation of cars.

Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin F1

Vettel said ahead of this weekend’s Imola event it would be “bad to write off” this season so early but made it clear his primary motivation is how successful he can be and that his future will “depend on how this year goes”.

His team principal Krack said on Saturday: “Obviously if you have a driver like Sebastian Vettel, that you can keep motivated by giving him the car that deserves the quality of his driving, I think you would be foolish not to try to retain him.

“But I 100% understand his comments – he wants to see progress, he wants to see the car moving forward, because he’s not a driver who wants to fight for P18 or P16 or whatever.

“I fully understand his comments, and it’s up to us to deliver the tool that is needed for him to perform.”

Mike Krack Aston Martin F1

Krack had defended Vettel after an awful weekend for him in Australia, Vettel’s first race of the season after missing the opening two events with COVID-19.

An engine failure in FP1 put Vettel on the back foot in Melbourne as he missed all of FP2 but then Vettel crashed early in FP3 which cost him more track time and stopped him driving until the very end of the opening part of qualifying, in which he was unsurprisingly eliminated.

Vettel then had an off early in the grand prix before making another mistake and crashing out, but Krack described said the “not normal” number of incidents reflected poorly on the quality of the car Aston Martin had provided Vettel with.

He said at Imola he has been impressed by “everything” about Vettel so far, having been reunited with a driver he first worked with back when Vettel was the reserve at BMW Sauber in 2006.

“He has a very very competitive approach, despite the big success that he’s already had,” said Krack.

“He has a very high work ethic that I really share and really appreciate.

“There is no time of the day that it’s too late to work or have some input.

“From that point of view, it’s really a pleasure to work with him, because first of all he’s what I described already, but also he’s a nice guy, he’s a nice fellow.

“He understands where our limitations are at the moment but he doesn’t stop pushing, he’s realistic about what we do, so it’s a matter of trying to do match what he thinks we have to do, and be open, transparent, have good conversations and move on.”

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin

Vettel and Aston Martin have had a well-timed boost this weekend at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix where the mixed conditions have led to a better showing from the team and allowed Vettel to make it into Q3.

Such results will ease any tension while Aston Martin’s performance remains below expectations, although Vettel had said pre-weekend that he was pleased with what he was seeing off-track already.

“The car is not quick, not quick enough, we know that, in comparison to the opposition,” Vettel said on Friday morning.

“There’s still a lot of work to do. When it comes to the team and the effort that is going in, I would say the spirit is unbroken.

“It doesn’t feel great when you come out of the session and you’re not where you think you could have been or where you wanted to be.

“But we know that a lot of stuff is coming and we will see in the next few weeks and months whether it’s going in the right direction.

“The atmosphere is good. We take it on the chin and try to move forward.”

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