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F1 | “Can I still drive at all?”: Vettel admits having to deal with self-doubt and seeking professional help

Sebastian Vettel opened up about having to deal with self-criticism and self-doubt. During Thursday's media session, ahead of the Dutch GP, the German also covered his role in supporting his team in developing the car for next season, albeit he won't be racing anymore.

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F1 | “Can I still drive at all?”: Vettel admits having to deal with self-doubt and seeking professional help
Fuente imagen: formula1.com

Sebastian Vettel announced at the Hungarian GP that he will leave Formula One at the end of the 2022 season. Soon after his decision, Aston Martin moved quickly to find his substitute: the Spaniard Fernando Alonso.

Albeit he won’t earn any benefit, the German is still willing to help the team progress and successfully develop their car after a difficult season with the AMR22.

“I am still doing my job. I have always been open and honest and straightforward so I am happy to help the team if I can,” commented Vettel during Thursday’s media session.

Even Aston Martin’s team boss Mike Krack praised the four-time world champion for his professional behaviour. Asked after the Belgian GP, Krack said: “And that is there where you see also how professional he is and how committed he still is. Actually, in the debrief he said something today, ‘For next year's car, please, think about that.’ So he's fully on it.”

During the media session, Vettel was asked about a recent interview with German newspaper “Die Zeit”, where he openly talked about having to deal with self-doubt.

“When you are self-critical, you always have doubts,” he commented, “I have not forgotten how to drive, but rather analyse why I was not able to use my skills 100%.

“Of course, sometimes you get in your own way. There are sure to be things I did wrong. Sometimes the access, sometimes the way you talk to people, sometimes the things you see as a priority. As frustrating as it may be at the moment, I think that’s all part of life.”

Vettel made his Formula 1 debut in 2007 and went on to win four world championships in a row with Red Bull. After a delusional experience at Ferrari, the champion joined Aston Martin but, yet again, so significant result was ever achieved. Albeit it wasn’t all Vettel’s fault.

“I became aware of that two years ago. When things weren’t going well here at Aston Martin, I asked myself: Can I still do my job at all?

“As a professional, you don’t talk about that, somehow it seems to be frowned upon,” he said, “personal weakness and thoughts about it are part of the performance and also of success. At least for this realization, the last two years were worth their weight in gold for me.”

Vettel also stated he has sought for professional support to help him navigate his new awareness: “Yes, I think there is nothing to be ashamed of in reaching out for help”.

“This is the same when you break a leg, you go to the doctor and ask him to fix it. Unfortunately, we do not seem to apply the same thought to mental health.

“The way I see it, is that in our society, it is seen as a sign of weakness if you talk about your feelings or emotions”, then he added, “I think there is a lot of room for improvement in this sense”.

A driver that might be dealing with the same self-doubt is the Australian 32-year-old Daniel Ricciardo, who is parting ways with McLaren at the end of the year. Ricciardo seems to have failed to find his spot within the team, despite being a race winner for the Papaya-colored team.

Vettel didn’t hide his surprise in finding out about Ricciardo’s losing his seat: “I think he’s still one of the best drivers I raced against," Vettel stated. "I had the pleasure of racing against him and the not-so-pleasurable side of getting beaten by him years ago, and I think he still has very much [a lot] to offer."

"I think in this regard, I don’t know the details, but I guess McLaren failed to extract the potential that he has. It’s sad to see that he’s been put in a difficult position, but I wish him all the best, and I’m sure that the talent he has and the qualities he has will shine through."

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