Earlier today, the Aston Martin team unveiled their challenger for the 2021 Formula 1 season. In addition to unveiling the car of a complete British “emerald” racing Green, Lawrence Stroll, team CEO, Aston’s technical director, Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer and the two drivers, Lawrence Stroll and Sebastian Vettel were also presented.
During a virtual press conference just after the official launch, Szafnauer was questioned about his new acquisition to the team, the 33-year-old German former Ferrari driver and the team principal only had words of recognition and support for him, as reported by Autosport.
“I've always said, and will continue to say so, at 33 years old you don’t forget how to drive a Formula 1 car fast, so, it’s got to be other things. And we will work tirelessly to make sure that we don't introduce those things, and actually alleviate them.”
“An arm around the shoulder means that everybody’s listening to his wants and his needs. And we’ll work hard to make sure the car is to his liking and the setup is like he wants it.” said Szafnauer on a conference with selected media.”
During the crazy silly-season that was live during the 2020 year in Formula 1, beginning with the shock of Vettel’s-Ferrari not renewed contract, the paddock was full of speculation and rumors about the future of the German driver. Most of it, before the movement was made official, the hype around the topic escalated when Vettel was seen going out in a drive with Szafnauer and when asked, he said funnily that the encounter meant no more than a drive to the gas station. About this, the Team Principal cleared things out.
“We drove to the gas station because of the car I was driving, and he had a similar one. He doesn't have a similar one anymore! Because he sold them all.”
“But, yeah, that was the reason for the drive. And I think he was going off to do, if I remember right, some mountain biking in Wales and his direction was the same direction that I was going in. And we were both stopping at the fuel station. So he said, ‘Well, I’ll jump in with you.”
“And I've known Seb, gosh, for 20-plus years now, before he was in Formula 1, when he was still a BMW driver. So he’s been a friend for a long time. And I’ve known his parents for a while as well. So, it wasn’t anything different than what he said.”
Additionally, Szafnauer was questioned on the status of their two drivers to compete against each other on priorities to define if one of them will be number one for the team, however, the team principal stated that the team now rebranded as Aston Martin has had a good score in former years of managing two drivers, treating them with the same level of importance.
“We’ve got two drivers to look after. And if we treat them equally, which in the past we've been really good at doing and I anticipate we'll do that in the future as well, I think that's all it takes with Seb. And then if he doesn't overdrive the car, drives like he can, and we will definitely get the best out of him.”
“To beat Sebastian Vettel, you’re gonna have to work hard. Does Lance have the wherewithal to do it? Absolutely. But, like I said, it's going to take a lot of hard work. And I would imagine Sebastian is going to also try to beat his team-mate.”
“Sebastian's got a great work ethic. And we're working really hard to make sure that Sebastian feels comfortable at our team, and we get him back up to his best. So it’ll be very interesting.