Vettel, after a disappointing 2020 and a difficult stint at Scuderia Ferrari made the decision to move to Aston Martin last year, after being let go by the Italian team in not-so-nice circumstances that fired the F1 world for weeks.
During his last season there, he finished 13th in the championship, after scoring one-third of the points his teammate, Charles Leclerc, was able to score, which led to many people asking questions if the German still had the motivation and means to compete on the highest level. The new Aston Martin driver made clear after the launch of AMR21 that he is only interested in his own performance with the new team, instead of worrying about what people might think or what his own legacy will be in the future.
As he said: “I’m not interested in what people think. It’s more about making a point to the team, to myself, rather than the people. Our world is moving very fast, and the world has to move on fast and quickly, which is healthy and good," the German said to selected media last week.
He continued: “Otherwise you will always be stuck in the past and you will still say Juan Manuel Fangio is the lord and saviour of all racing drivers. No doubt he was very, very special. But if you ask a 15-year-old now who is Juan Manuel Fangio, I don't think they know. That's good. Time will move on. And especially nowadays, probably Fangio had a longer legacy than any one of us will ever have, independent of the amount of wins and so on. And that's good. It's good to move forward and to move on. So I'm pretty sure that when I say goodbye to Formula 1, I will be forgotten very quickly, and that's OK. I think that's healthy.”
He added: “So that's why I'm also not too bothered about proving a point to people, and really just focusing on my own bit, which is right in front of me is myself.”
Ahead of the season and after the change from Racing Point to Aston Martin, the team principal Otmar Szafnauer has set a three-to-five year timeframe for the team to be able to compete for the highest positions on the grid and become true contenders in the sport. Aston Martin has expressed his belief in Vettel being able to reach again his best form, and is impressed with how well he was able to find himself in the new surroundings.
When asked if he believes he’ll be able to win another championship, Vettel replied: “I think I have, obviously I’m not too old. There’s now older drivers joining the grid, rather than younger drivers. I don’t think it’s an age thing, I think it’s a question of do you have the car and the team around you?”
He added: “I think it’s in me. It’s been in me and was probably a big relief, winning the world championship, knowing that you can do it. Since then, I don’t really see why that’s not there any more. Age-wise, I think I still have a long time in me, but in all honesty, it depends a little bit on the circumstances of how things are going in the near future."