Aston Martin Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer affirms that Sebastian Vettel is “not over the hill” in his Formula 1 career ahead of his maiden season with the Silverstone-based team.
Vettel’s final years at Ferrari were marred by a series of on-track mishaps, with the German leaving the marque at the end of 2020 season without the world championship he set out to achieve when he joined the Italian squad in 2015.
Vettel last triumphed in a championship battle in 2013, in what was his penultimate year with Red Bull, but has since come up short in his quest for a fifth title.
As he prepares to begin a new chapter of his career with Aston Martin, Szafnauer says Vettel is “hungry” to perform well at the team.
“The way I look at it is at 33 years old you don’t forget how to drive a Formula 1 racing car fast,” Szafnauer told Sky Sports F1.
“He definitely hasn’t forgotten how to do that, and the work ethic is still there. He’s really, really hungry to perform. I think his attitude coming into here, he wants to continue racing if it can be fun.
“Fun for him means being competitive, means working really hard and extracting every bit of performance out of a car and achieving what the team can achieve and being a big part of it.
“He’s highly motivated, he and Lance will be a great partnership. Seb is very experienced but not over the hill by any means at the age of 33.”
Szafnauer also believes Aston Martin’s line-up of Vettel and Lance Stroll, who are at different stages of their F1 careers, will benefit the team.
“Lance is much younger and on the learning curve but naturally very fast,” Szafnauer said. “So, I think that combination will suit us very well.
“The other thing is we’ve had a history of drivers working very closely together to extract the most we can out of the team and the car.
“Even in the days when Esteban [Ocon] and Sergio [Perez] would occasionally come together on track, behind the scenes they shared all their data, they worked together and they worked tirelessly to make sure that we got the best out of the car over a weekend.
“I can see that will continue with Sebastian and Lance. I look forward to that. Lance can learn from Seb. Seb can learn from Lance as well because Lance is now the veteran here.
“He’s the one who has driven last year’s car, he knows the characteristics of it more so than Seb does. So I look forward to that pairing.”