Sebastian Vettel had certainly imagined his debut for his new team, Aston Martin, to be different. The German disappointed in his first two races across the board and must now somehow find his way out of this “hole”. Team boss Otmar Szafnauer knows that too.
The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in particular was a disaster for the four-time world champion. Not only did he finish the race behind his teammate Lance Stroll again, but he also had problems with the car.
Before the start, both Aston Martin drivers had a problem with the car, Vettel was even pushed into the pit lanes to repair the car. If that wasn’t enough, he also got a penalty because his team didn’t put the tires on the AMR21 in time and continued to work without it. But the worst happened to the German a few laps before the end when he had to park his car with a gearbox problem.
However, Otmar Szafnauer, team principal of the Aston Martin Racing said that Vettel was not yet 100% confident in the car and that there was no cause for concern yet:
“I think he’s fine. I think he has very high expectations. I know he has very high expectations of himself. And he will work tirelessly to get better and move up that learning curve. But he’s not beating himself up, so to speak. He’ll just take that bit of frustration, and he’ll be even more determined to get up to speed quickly.”
“I mean, not his fault at all that we unfortunately burned his rear brake ducts and cake tins, and then it was so close to actually replacing them on the grid without having to start from the pitlane, and then the penalty. After that, he had no chance really, and that wasn’t his fault.”
However, Szafnauer believes that Sebastian Vettel still needs time to get used to the car and that nothing should be rushed. He would also see this with other drivers who have changed teams:
“Well, if the car philosophies are completely different than it does take time.”
“And having talked to Checo [Perez] too, he’s gone to a Red Bull, which has a different philosophy to ours. And he says the same, that it’s just going to take seat time to be able to get to those fine, fine margins of getting the most out of the car. And it’s just that simple. The more seat time the better.”
“Seb, because he had the penalty, he was never really in contention. But after he put the dry tires on, he was doing some really quick lap times. So I think he’s getting on top of the car, and it’ll just get better.”