Tuesday, September 21, 2021
After the contract renewal
Schumacher praises Vettel and criticizes the team
For a long time it was unclear whether Sebastian Vettel would continue or end his Formula 1 career. Ralf Schumacher welcomes the fact that the four-time world champion is staying with Aston Martin. But he doesn’t think that Vettel’s efforts will be rewarded.
Ralf Schumacher is no longer just the former Formula 1 driver who was able to win a total of six races for BMW-Williams, but is now also in great demand because he is an opinionated and knowledgeable expert. As such, the 46-year-old welcomes Sebastian Vettel’s decision to compete for Aston Martin in the 2022 season – but also fears that the four-time world champion at the British racing team, contrary to what had been hoped, will no longer be able to build on the successes of earlier days .
“At this point in his career there are only two options,” says Schumacher at Eurosport: “Either I’ll stay with the family or I’ll keep going.” Recently there had been speculation that the father of three Vettel was thinking about leaving Formula 1 after 15 years. Ntv reporter Felix Görner also sees it this way: “The late point in time [der Verlängerung des Vertrages] shows that he didn’t make it easy for himself. “
The Aston Martin bolide is nowhere near as competitive as its predecessor from Racing Point, with which the team, renamed before this season, was at times the third strongest force behind Mercedes and Red Bull. After 14 of 22 planned races this season, Aston Martin is far worse in seventh place, while Alpine and AlphaTauri in fifth and sixth score points much more consistently and more frequently. Schumacher therefore says: “Until Aston Martin can drive for the title, I do not think that Vettel is still in Formula 1. Since I see just black.”
A bit like Michael Schumacher
Nevertheless, according to Schumacher, it is “good that he made this decision”. Certainly also because team owner Lawrence Stroll is investing heavily in the infrastructure, recently the plans for the new factory in England were presented. Aston Martin is set to become a title contender, and there are great hopes for the new regulations for 2022. Its profound changes, it is expected, could break Mercedes’ dominance and make Formula 1 more exciting because it is less predictable.
Vettel (“This is a great opportunity for us”), who had promised more than disappointing four points in 14 races after his ugly Ferrari farewell, also counts on this. “As a driver, you never like to drive around in the back,” said Schumacher, who himself knows the mostly futile struggle for something countable from his last Formula 1 years at Toyota: “Of course, he gets impatient.” This is probably one of the reasons why the agreement between Aston Martin and Vettel is again one that, according to Görner, “can be extended or terminated from year to year” – by both sides.
However, and that should not be neglected either, the now 34-year-old Vettel has long been more than “just” a driver in the premier class of motorsport. With his social commitment to diversity and acceptance, to climate protection and against discrimination, he is an uncomfortable driver in the necessary change in Formula 1. And at the same time also a mentor for Mick Schumacher, as his father Michael was once for the young Vettel. “He’s a great help to me, on and off the track,” said the 21-year-old newcomer recently: “I’m glad that I can rely on someone who has so much experience.”
And if Vettel himself does not return to the top at Aston Martin, then maybe at least with a similar late phase in his career as with his idol Michael Schumacher. He was unable to celebrate a victory at Mercedes himself, but made a significant contribution to the fact that the Silver Arrows with the new 2014 regulations were in a position to dominate Formula 1 for years. Although it would be enough for Aston Martin to even build a car capable of winning.