Aston Martin’s Performance Director Tom McCullough has expressed disappointment the team couldn’t provide Sebastian Vettel with a competitive enough car to maintain his stay in Formula 1.
Vettel joined the Silverstone-based outfit in 2021 and, despite the side’s struggles from the previous campaign, excelled at points during his first year to achieve Aston Martin’s maiden F1 podium in Azerbaijan.
However, Aston Martin failed to capitalise on the new regulations introduced for 2022, enabling the German driver to only manage to collect 37 points across the 20 races he competed in, having missed the opening two rounds due to a positive test for COVID-19.
Following Vettel’s retirement from the sport at the end of last year, McCullough has commended the four-time world champion for the way he was able to deliver results for the team in trying times.
“With Sebastian, whenever we gave him a car capable of a strong result, you had that confidence he was going go out there and deliver, which he did for us,” McCullough said.
“We didn’t always quite give him a good enough car; it’s a shame that he won’t be here to reap the reward of some of his hard work over the last two years.”
Aston Martin team principal, Mike Krack, had already previously suggested he hopes the ex-Red Bull star will eventually regret leaving behind the project he had signed up for.
The 53-time race winner’s departure enabled Fernando Alonso to swoop in to fill the void left by his old rival, and McCullough has been immediately impressed by the hunger shown from Aston Martin’s latest multiple-world champion recruit.
“We’re still really getting to know Fernando, but the hunger that I see in [him] just amazes me at this stage in his career, and it is a driving force for all of us.
“As engineers, we’re all very driven, very hungry, very data-driven, [and we] have a driver who smashes that into you as well,” he added.
Since the Silverstone outfit morphed into Aston Martin at the beginning of 2021 consecutive seventh-place finishes in the Constructors’ championship have marked a disappointing return on the vast investment pumped into the team by its billionaire owner, Lawrence Stroll.
Despite their stagnant form, hopes are high within the British team that it will take a substantial step forward this season, as it aims to start making strides forward on its target of contesting F1 World Championships in the distant future.
Aston Martin launched its challenger for 2023, the AMR23, earlier this week, featuring several striking changes, amid claims from the team that its latest car has only retained a few small parts from the package it used at the end of last year.
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