Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Yas Marina, 2022

Vettel has no regrets over retirement despite Aston Martin’s breakthrough

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In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel says he doesn’t regret his decision to leave Formula 1 at the end of last year – despite his former team Aston Martin becoming much more competitive since then.

In brief

Vettel told Bild “I don’t regret” retiring from F1. “Of course it would be easier if the car wasn’t quite as good now,” he added, “but the joy really outweighs that.”

A comeback to F1 in the future is “not planned,” said the four-times world champion.

“Right now I’m fine in my new situation and I’m looking forward to pursuing things that interest me and diving into different topics. I enjoy spending time with the children and family. I collect a lot of ideas and let myself drift before something more concrete comes out of it.”

Red Bull’s Lawson wins on Super Formula debut

Lawson won on his Japanese Super Formula debut for Team Mugen in Fuji

Red Bull junior team member Liam Lawson won on his debut in Japan’s Super Formula category at Fuji Speedway on Saturday.

He moved up to second place with a forceful pass on Toshiki Oyu at turn three, the pair running off-track while Oyu narrowly avoided crashing. Lawson made his pit stop before Nojiri and used his warmer tyres to pounce on his team mate for the lead at turn four.

The race ended under Safety Car conditions after Giuliano Alesi made contact with Nirei Fukuzumi while overtaking his rival on the main straight, sending both into the barriers.

GB3 season-opener stopped for rolling car

Joseph Loake won the opening race of the GB3 season at Oulton Park which ended under red flags after an abandoned car rolled into the field’s path yesterday. Costa Toparis vacated his Rodin Carlin machine after tangling with McKenzy Cresswell and Wing Lam Gerrard Xie, only for his car to roll onto the racing line.

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Comment of the day

Could Fernando Alonso win the world championship in an inferior car? He’s come close before, argues @RBAlonso:

He lost the majority of his points at Spa and Suzuka with start line incidents. You’ll do very well to convince me that his Spa retirement was due to ‘pressure’. Suzuka – it’s a first corner racing incident exacerbated by starting lower on the grid than he would have liked in seventh.

As for significantly inferior – it’s depends on who decides what constitutes significant. But for inferior there is no doubt – we have the stats over one lap. Using this metric Ferrari were the fourth fastest team in 2012. They have the outright fastest car once, in Britain. McLaren had the fastest nine times, Red Bull seven, Lotus two and Mercedes one. Red bull were faster 15 times versus Ferrari in 20 races including seven of the first eight and eight of the last 10. The five races in the middle Alonso won one, on the podium in two and included the Spa incident.

Whilst outright fastest lap over the weekend is not the purest metric we can use – it does illustrate that Alonso was racing for the podium not the win in most races. To my mind, it’s the greatest all round season from a driver not to win the title ever, and better than most championship winning seasons.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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22 comments on “Vettel has no regrets over retirement despite Aston Martin’s breakthrough”

  1. Agree 100% on COTD.

    Alonso 2013 was the single greatest championship campaign I’ve seen in over 30 years following the sport. He was a force of nature all season and those two incidents were the only reason he didn’t deliver Ferrari the championship. It was particularly unlucky as the Ferrari was actually more competitive during both of those two races (Spa, Suzuka) than the majority of races that year.

    1. 2012 (typo).

    2. @aussierod It was a 9/10 season. The only thing that brings down a point is his qualifying performances towards the end of the season, when Massa was outpacing him at times.

      1. Without wishing to come over all fanboy – Alonso was only beaten in quali by Massa 3 times all season. Italy where he was fastest of all on q1 and q2 and Ferrari messed up the tow (his q1 time would have put him 3rd on the grid). Austin – where Alonso had a poor quali but recovered to 3rd in the race and Brazil were Alonso was ahead of Massa in q1 and q2 but lost out in Q3. Everyone’s ratings are subjective, obviously, but I think deducting a point for that over the whole season in rather harsh @wsrgo.

      2. @wsrgo
        The development curve of the F1 2012 become flat after the latest upgrade package Ferrari introduced in the 2012 Hungarian GP. There were no more performance to extract from the car and the development was stopped. The only thing Ferrari engineers could do is to introduce modifications and upgrades that made the car more driveable hence suiting more Massa’s driving style. That’s why Massa came alive towards the end of the season and regained speed.

        Besides Massa was no joke when it comes to qualifying, he used to be a beast on a single lap and even after his accident he showed some flashes from time to time. Alonso 2012 season is one of the old times greats, the fact that he was able to lead the championship in the first half of the season and win races despite the fact that Ferrari engineers couldn’t understand how the airflow behaved on the car due to miscorrelation between wind tunnel and track.

        1. I don’t want to belittle Alonso’s capabilities to deliver but it’s just unfair not to mention fantastic reliability of that Ferrari car, at least one thing Italians did better than others, they deserve recognition. It was clearly a favorable factor why Alonso was able to collect so many points here and there while his rivals were throwing points and even victories away due to technical issues.

          1. Absolutely agree with this. You could go as far as to say Lewis was the fastest driver in 2012 – just look at how many wins he lost through no fault of his own. Abu Dhabi, Singapore, one could argue Spain with how quick he was. Then Brazil too.

            That isn’t to say Fernando wasn’t spectacular, either. In my opinion he was faultless all year aside from Suzuka.

  2. Perfect modern day vettel pic <3

  3. & he shouldn’t.

    Regarding yesterday’s Fuji race 1: Another series from which FIA should take note as likewise to IndyCar race control, Super Formula race control is also unafraid of neutralized finish.
    The lap-two T1 collision reminded me of VER-RIC in Baku.
    Another Super Formula race proving against Hamilton’s dangerous claim’s validity on tyre blanket ban.

    I first wondered why Gasly is/was in Madrid until I realized he’d probably gone there for the F1 Exhibition & coinciding with that, he went to the same karting place with Sainz where I went in December 2021 during my short Madrid trip.
    I also wonder whether only they were driving, i.e., track reserved for them or among randoms in a standard open session.

    Re COTD: Yes, but F2012 was closer to being the outright fastest team in its active season than AMR23 presently, so easier said than done.

    1. Another series from which FIA should take note as likewise to IndyCar race control, Super Formula race control is also unafraid of neutralized finish.

      JAF is an FIA affiliate, and therefore upholds FIA regulations and codes of conduct.
      The FIA/F1 Race Control aren’t afraid of ending under SC either – but they simply had no reason to in Melbourne. The track was strewn with cars and/or debris for all 3 events resulting in red flags. It was indisputably potentially unsafe to drive through those sections of track and then proceed to go racing again without consideration of tyre damage.
      And I’m still waiting for an answer from anybody as to who is entertained by a 30 minute wait to finish a GP under a single SC parade lap. Exactly which part of that red flag was strictly for entertainment? If they could have safely finished it sooner, they would have.

      1. They were afraid of finishing under SC after Magnussen’s crash, which would have been the easiest and quickest solution. The rest would have been irrelevant.

        1. Again – not afraid.
          It just wasn’t necessary to waste 3 laps of racing. The track was dirty with broken metal and carbon. As clearly evidenced by the fact that some debris found its way through the fencing and into the crowd.
          Surely you can understand the risks that poses in the modern racing environment?

    2. F1 has become Disney theme park level safety. Masi and now Wittich consider even the smallest incident worthy of a VSC or SC. Hell, now half the time it’s a red flag. Worse yet, many modern day fans now actively complain “where’s the safety car?!” So, we’re never going back to common sense.

      1. I think the SC for Strolls in Jeddah was the moment the race director lost me this year.

        1. Indeed. Off the track. Behind a barrier. The slowest corner on the track. It’s amazing how reluctant Sky is to criticize anything the director does. They called that SC only “probably unnecessary.”

  4. I always liked Seb, but I do not think he would be pushing the Aston anywhere near as hard as Fernando is.
    The fire seemed to go out in him some time back.
    Whereas I suspect Fernando is going to be fiercely competitive for some time to come …. if not forever!

    1. He wouldn’t. It’s a certainty.

    2. Have to agree there. Although he became much more likeable after he stopped waving his finger around, he still did not become a good racing driver. He never was. He just had a massive car advantage for four years.

  5. Sebastian Vettel quite possibly went from my least favorite driver, to my favorite driver…. then he retired….. but good on him for doing what makes him happy and what he has a passion for. He is one of the good ones.

  6. Re. COTD. Alonso has come close before, but it’s precisely why I’m not convinced he can actually win. He’s a seriously smart, talented and relentlessly consistent driver – for me he deserves a place in the all time great F1 drivers even with just 2 titles (so far). But. He’s not the fastest of the fast and – more tellingly I think – his undoubted smartness makes him just a bit more risk-averse. There were times when he was chasing Vettel for the title when I felt that Hamilton in the same position – or a future Verstappen in retrospect – would have gone for a pass to simply ‘make things happen’. Alonso is more cautious, though his ability to control a car in close racing is second to none.

    Anyhow, we’ll have to see over the next few races whether Aston Martin can make a serious impact at the front end of the championship or whether they’re doomed to fade back into 4th place over the season.

  7. Russell, Red Bull Ring: ‘just for the name, goes in the Meh column.’

  8. Vettel quit because he didn’t want to do it anymore. Alonso still wants to race and compete so he would be happy to be there even if Aston wasn’t as competitive.

    And people talk as if Alonso is contending for something more than just best of the rest. Would that be enough for Vettel to rethink his retirement? Very unlikely.

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