An Aston for Sebastian: Can Vettel's team switch cause a career resurgence?
Can Sebastian Vettel bounce back with Aston Martin?
When the news broke out in May of last year that Ferrari would not retain Sebastian Vettel for another season in 2021, there was concern about where the much-loved German champion might end up. Rumours of Mercedes and McLaren were soon put to bed by the two teams in question, while Racing Point was becoming a bigger option, despite the fact that Sergio Perez already had a multi-year contract with the team. Even rumours of a possible retirement or sabbatical were in the air for a while.
However, Vettel would eventually be confirmed at Racing Point at the expense of Perez who, at the end of the day, landed pretty well on his feet and took up a surprise signing at Red Bull. Vettel will now be a fundamental part of the team as it begins it's first year as Aston Martin, the legendary car manufacturer making it's long-awaited return to F1 this season.
What convinced Lawrence Stroll and his club at Aston Martin to take on the four-time champion though? Recent years at Ferrari would suggest to someone on the outside that Vettel had now become a shadow of his former self, a driver who could be considered to be well past his prime. We all know though, including Stroll and Aston Martin, that this is simply not true.
During his last two seasons with Ferrari, Seb was often bested by new teammate Charles Leclerc. (FIA
It became plain to see who Ferrari were starting to favour throughout 2019, when Charles Leclerc joined the team alongside Vettel. He soon found himself in a team that had no problem rallying around the other car, in a team where people he was close to like Maurizio Arrivabene and Sergio Marchionne were no longer there, and a team where the car was continuously evolving into something he was not comfortable with and something that the team didn't seem too phased about helping him with. He essentially was in a team that fell out of love with him, what a shame for a partnership so promising.
If you look past all the mistakes and poor performances in the last two seasons, you could see that Sebastian Vettel was still very much the driver he always has been. Quick, smart and confident, races such as Singapore in 2019 and Turkey last season showed brief glimpses of what he could still achieve on the track, and it is something I am very confident we could see more of this season when he gets comfortable around his new surroundings.
In the end, I am very happy for Sebastian, to be able to get out of that sort of environment that Ferrari had evolved into, to come to such a fresh and exciting new project as Aston Martin. I've never been a fan of the Stroll's, Lance or Lawrence for that matter, but Stroll senior is very excited about his new signing and is sure that having a teammate like Vettel partner his son can only be a good thing. Credit where credit is due though, Lance Stroll did show some improved form and some really impressive performances in 2020, so that will be something he will hope to carry on into this season.
With Aston Martin forced to carry much of Racing Point's 2020 car into 2021 as all teams are regulated to do, the team already have a fantastic base to build on this season. I know, it was in essence a 'pink Mercedes' but it was quite the car, and a car I'm sure Sebastian will get to grips with quickly. Sure, maybe the same also for Perez at Red Bull, it could take him a couple of races to get into the swing of things in the new and unfamiliar cockpit, but as a whole, I'm expecting a Vettel with a newly-lit fire in his stomach this season.
Seb's only picture so far in green. (Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team.)
Now part of a team where it's members are extremely excited to have you there, a car that was a proper podium challenger throughout last season, and an all-new project to work on within the sport, I do believe that Sebastian has all the tools at his disposal in 2021 to finally silence the critics who accused him of being washed out. Sebastian Vettel is definitely not washed out, and I am very confident he'll come bouncing back and become, once again, a proper tour de force on the F1 circuit.
Maybe another world championship is a bit of a far stretch, but with such different regulations in 2022 as well as Aston Martin currently developing an all-new factory at it's current ground at Silverstone, literally anything could happen. One thing is for sure, Sebastian has been able to surround himself with a team that is quite happy to work alongside him and if he is to make one more shot at the big time in F1, it's got to be now. Again, like Perez at Red Bull, it is a partnership that I am bursting with excitement to see in 2021.