Aston Martin have credited Sebastian Vettel’s input during 2022 into this year’s car for contributing to their climb up the order in Formula 1.
Aston Martin scored five times as many points in 2023 as they did last year, making the podium eight times courtesy of Vettel’s replacement Fernando Alonso.
Mike Krack, Aston Martin’s team principal, said Vettel “brought a lot” to to the Silverstone-based squad and “it was not only the input in the car but also the input in working methods, in the way we do things”. Tom McCullough, the team’s performance director, pointed to how Vettel tried to make his experience of racing for Red Bull and Ferrari applicable to Aston Martin to help them improve.
“When he joined us, he’d come from two championship-winning teams. At that time he brought a lot of small details,” said McCullough.
“He is a relentless worker as well. We often say the driver’s the best sensor in the car, and a lot of the development, you’ve got a wind tunnel, you’ve got simulators, offline simulations, CFD, [but] a driver whose backside’s connected to the car well can say ‘this is the phase of these kind of corners that I know we’re struggling maybe more than others’. And then that allows you to go dig into the data.
“For sure, we didn’t give him a good enough car over the two years he was here. By the end of his second year, we were making progress. But I felt for him that he’s not really got any of the benefit of this year’s car. Over the years that often happens. I’ve been involved with that process myself in the past.”
McCullough worked at Williams and Sauber before joining Force India, which later became Aston Martin. He left Williams at the end of 2012.
That season Williams claimed their first win in over seven years with Pastor Maldonado at the Spanish Grand Prix. However Maldonado’s team mate of the previous season, Rubens Barrichello, had been dropped following a two-year stint in which his experience helped push the team forward.
McCullough likened his situation to Vettel’s. “At Williams, when we had Rubens Barrichello driving for us, he put so much work in during the 2010 and ’11 seasons, as far as to say ‘this is what you need to do, this what you should be doing’ on so many areas of the car.
“The 2012 car, which unfortunately he didn’t end up driving, was the result of a lot of the hard work he’d done. So that is very much the case.”
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