Aston Martin Formula 1 team boss Otmar Szafnauer is confident Sebastian Vettel and team-mate Lance Stroll will have the opportunity in 2021 to win races on more than one occasion.
The team, under the Racing Point name, took pole position in Turkey last year with Stroll and then claimed their maiden victory at the Sakhir Grand Prix with Sergio Perez, proving the competitiveness of their car.
However the team fell short of finishing ‘best of the rest’ behind Mercedes and Red Bull, as chief rival McLaren claimed that honour. However had Racing Point not been deducted 15 points as a result of the ‘copygate’ saga, they would have been eight points clear of McLaren.
Szafnauer insists the team’s aim for 2021 has to be finishing third and to do that they must score more consistently and if things go their way, he sees no reason why fighting for race wins shouldn’t become a more regular achievement.
“We want to start the season like we left off the last. We had the third fastest car for a long time but we only finished fourth, behind McLaren. We were unlucky. We need more consistency in scoring and if we can do that, we can finish third. That has to be our realistic goal,” Szafnauer told Auto Motor und Sport.
“I think we should get out of the starting blocks quickly and fight for podium places. If things go in our direction, like in Bahrain or Turkey, we should be able to put the car on pole position and have the chance of a few race wins.”
Szafnauer believes the team can deliver an environment in which Vettel can thrive, following a tough few seasons at Ferrari for the four-time F1 World Champion which saw him struggle to compete alongside youngest Charles Leclerc.
“We can offer him an environment in which racing is fun again. In which it is a pleasure to be in Formula 1. That’s exactly why most of us do this job. He’ll get the best out of us and we get the best out of him.”
However it will be a steep learning curve for the German, who unlike some of his rivals, won’t get the chance to test an old car prior to the start of the season and will therefore have to rely on simulator time to familiarise himself with the car and team.
“We are not a big team,” added Szafnauer. “For example, we lease our engines and transmissions. They don’t belong to us. We have to return them after the season. So we don’t have an old, drivable car that we can give him [Vettel].”