What does the future hold for Seb?

On the eve of Ferrari’s 1000th Grand Prix celebrations at Mugello, Racing Point and Sebastian Vettel confirmed his move to Aston Martin for the 2021 season in a multi year contract. ‌The news, while not surprising (after Sergio Perez’s announcement that he would be leaving RP), was a pleasant surprise for all racing fans as the German’s future was in doubt after having been dropped from the Ferrari seat for 2021. Everyone from Lewis Hamilton to Toto Wolff expressed their pleasure on hearing the news, with Lewis saying that “It is exciting for F1” and that “formula 1 really needs to keep the great driver that he (Vettel) is”.

The question that now arises is what can we expect from the next season. Racing Point have had a fantastic season, in a best of the rest sense. The team currently placed fourth in the constructor’s championship, after 8 races, despite getting a 14 point deduction for allegedly copying the brake duct designs of Mercedes. The ‘allegedly’ might be too polite however, with even the commentators calling the team ‘Tracing Point’ in jest. But with there being no regulation changes, except for the price cap on spending from 2021, up until 2022 the team is in an upward trajectory. This is also furthered by the fact that RP are going to be taken over by the legendary car manufacturer Aston Martin, who will be making a return to the sport next year. This takeover helps RP massively on all fronts— who’ve faced some dark days having been placed in administration in 2018 after the then owner Vijay Mallya sold the team.

Here’s what team principal Otmar Szafnauer had to say about the takeover-“… with Aston Martin coming in, and a bit of financial backing behind the team, a new factory happening in Silverstone, improving the team, adding twenty per cent more personnel, we’ve got some infrastructure too, that we’re embarking on to make this go faster”. 

No doubt Vettel must have taken all of this into consideration before making his decision, for as he himself said, his ambition is to compete for the top positions. Why will anyone question a 4 time world drivers champion about his ambition to win you ask? Well he hasn’t had the best of seasons since last year. After having been upstaged by his young teammate Charles Leclerc, many raised questions on his capabilities. This season, the team’s performance itself has dropped to a laughable level with the team being forced to fight just to end up in points. 

“… with Aston Martin coming in, and a bit of financial backing behind the team, a new factory happening in Silverstone, improving the team, adding twenty per cent more personnel, we’ve got some infrastructure too, that we’re embarking on to make this go faster”. 

The news of Ferrari dropping Seb for Mclaren’s Carlos Sainz for next year, along with the above mentioned led everyone to hypothesise that he might retire all together, with even the 33 year old admitting that he was close to leaving the sport for good. His relationship with the team management has also been pretty messy, openly criticising the team and some of the strategic calls made during the races, not without reason of course. 

What Seb needs now is a team that can support him, believe in him, and he himself should be able to trust. Szafnauer echoed this in another presser where he said, “We all need a little love sometimes and to drive at your best and on the edge is a very mental exercise. If your mind isn’t quite in it then these things will happen. It will be our job to put our arms around him and show him what this team is about and I think he will flourish with us.”

So what does the future hold for Seb? Considering where he is right now, I can predict only good things. He’ll be moving to a team that has a large budget to blow, a faster car, and a team that really wants him. While he won’t be challenging for wins immediately, that Aston Martin car will definitely be in the points and hopefully fight for podiums. And with Fernando Alonso returning with Alpine, the midfield battles between him and Seb are going to be a treat for the fans. 

So while he might have grazzied his last ragazzi, be sure to expect a few “Thank you chaps, fantastic Automobile” in the next season.

Gandhar Joshi

SY BSc Eco (19-22)

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