Fire, punishment, lousy like only in 2009: Vettel reminds of the sad Ferrari end

Fire, punishment, lousy like only in 2009
Vettel reminds of the sad Ferrari end

Sebastian Vettel experiences his next Formula 1 disaster in the chaotic race in Imola. The list of shortcomings is long, the first appearances with Aston Martin are strikingly reminiscent of the last few months at Ferrari. In the background, sponsor Lawrence Stroll snorts.

Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin team boss Otmar Szafnauer also robbed his tormented star driver of a late snack of hope for a quick way out of the Formula 1 misery. Vettel’s boss announced with a bite in his mouth after the German’s next debacle that major upgrades to the car, which has already been dubbed a James Bond runabout, will not be available until after the upcoming Grand Prix in Portugal.

In front of Vettel, the problems have been piling up since his move to the English works team this season. At least in this point the four-time world champion experienced a certain form of continuity – in the final phase at Ferrari it was somehow the same for the Hessian. “The feeling has gotten a bit better. But at the moment there are still very few laps that run without problems for us. We still make too many mistakes, including me,” said Vettel with crossed arms after the Imola chaos.

For reasons that are still inexplicable, the brakes on the starting grid overheated, causing the casing to burn through. Since his car was not ready in time, Vettel was also given a time penalty – before a gearbox damage on the last lap caused him to enter the garage prematurely.

“Not as reliable as we wanted to be”

“The worm was there from front to back,” summed up Vettel after Max Verstappen’s gala drive in the Red Bull in front of Mercedes catcher Lewis Hamilton. “Verstappen beats the unsinkable Hamilton,” was the headline of “Marca” in Spain about the duel that was fought kilometers away from Vettel.

15th place at the start of the season in Bahrain, 15th place in the continuation in Italy – Vettel was last without points in the first two Grand Prix in 2009. At that time, he was still racing in second place in the World Cup. Repetition is illusory. “At the moment we are more in the back of the midfield, but that can change quickly if small steps are taken and a bit of calm returns,” said Vettel, encouraging himself.

Man and machine are not yet on the same wavelength. “If the philosophies of the cars are so different, then it takes time,” said Szafnauer, referring to Vettel’s switch from Ferrari to the Aston Martin, which is powered by a Mercedes engine. “We weren’t as reliable as we wanted to be in winter. Otherwise Seb would be at a completely different point in his learning curve.”

Depressing realization from the rule change

Aston Martin has drawn a depressing lesson from the new aerodynamics rules: The AMR21 with its deep rear is significantly disadvantaged by the rule change. A competitor like Red Bull with a higher angle of attack on his car does not groan under the amendment, which was introduced by the World Motorsport Federation for safety reasons.

Behind the scenes in Imola, Aston Martin tried to exert its influence and persuade the rule keepers to take a turn. Red Bull team boss Christian Horner smugly described this project as “a bit naive”. Means: Aston Martin probably has no chance.

Team co-owner Lawrence Stroll is angry about the disaster start, after all, he’s about his investment. Before the start of the season, the Canadian billionaire with Vettel as the figurehead and his son Lance in the second cockpit had put third place in the constructors’ championship as a goal. Without Formula 1 success, the hoped-for advertising effect, which is also intended to boost sales of Aston Martin’s street sports cars, is missing.

Vettel hopes to be able to “take a step forward” with upgrades in the next races. And Szafnauer promised that they would “work incessantly” to get out of the crisis. For Stroll, that’s the least. He wants results.