Aston Martin keen to retain Vettel beyond 2022 F1 season
By Mat Coch
Tuesday 26th April, 2022 - 9:35am
Aston Martin is keen to retain four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel beyond the end of the 2022 Formula 1 season.
The German joined the squad last year on a two-year deal and has nothing yet in place beyond the current campaign.
Vettel joined what was Racing Point as the team began a rebuilding phase following fresh investment from a consortium led by billionaire Lawrence Stroll.
That has seen the operation rebranded Aston Martin, while off-track new facilities are currently under construction.
On-track, results have been difficult to come by and after finishing fourth in the 2020 constructors’ championship, with a race win to its name, the squad fell to seventh last year with a tally less than half that it scored the year prior.
Things in 2022 have not been much better; it currently sits ninth in the constructors’ championship with just five points from the opening four races.
As one of the elder statesmen on the grid, the lack of results has led to suggestions Vettel could walk away from the sport rather than hang around in hope.
“It’s a no brainer, my contract ends at the end of the season,” Vettel admitted.
“Obviously it’s not the year that everyone in the team hoped for, at least the start of the season, but I think it would be bad to write it off already.
“There’s so many things we are currently struggling with when it comes to performance with our car, extracting the performance. I think others have the same or similar problems.
“So lots of things that we can still understand and learn, and the next weeks and months will be very, very important to set the direction for this year but also for learning and knowing what to do in the next three, four years.”
Vettel hasn’t won a grand prix since Singapore in 2019, while his last world title came in 2013, though he reasoned that having had success affords him a different perspective.
“In all honesty, I had an amazing 15 years or so, looking back,” he reflected.
“I was in a position to win championships, win a lot of races, fight for positions, get a lot of podiums, and obviously the taste was great.
“It’s not a secret, if you’re not in a position to be there that it’s a different taste, you need to find a different sort of motivation.
“Ultimately, I’m willing to be tasting the same again, that’s I think the nature of the sport.
“For some of the guys in the room it’s a little bit different because they’re still very early in their careers, and they didn’t have a team or a car yet where they were able to show what they can do.
“So it’s clearly a different position, but that is I think one of the big deciders.
“The team is growing, there’s a lot of things, it looks very promising. The answer is, time will tell,” he added on whether he’d hang around to see those benefits.
“But those will be the key things that I will be looking at, to see how promising it is looking in the future and how soon…
“I think I would have physically a lot of years left, it’s not a problem at all, but I think that’s ultimately the goal; to win, and fight for podiums and victories, which currently, we’re far away.”
In response, team principal Mike Krack confessed his team is keen to keep the German onboard.
“I’m not going to speak about contracts here, but 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,” he said.
“But I 100 percent understand his comments. He wants to see progress, he wants to see the car moving forward, because he’s not the driver that wants to fight for P18 or P19, or whatever.”
Krack went on to add that stability and consistency among its driving ranks is also important while highlighting Vettel’s high work ethic.
“I think that continuity is always something very important,” the team boss explained.
“And then also, the work ethic, the speed, the experience. If you have someone like him in the team, it is of great added value.
“He has a lot of ideas, he’s pushing us, at the same time he is realistic about what we can do at the moment.
“So all in all, I think it’s very good because you have other drivers that have driven on a higher level which become very impatient and become very difficult to manage.
“That is not the case for Sebastian, and this is super helpful for us and that is also why we want to stay with him apart from that he’s super fast.”