London — Aston Martin have no doubts about Sebastian Vettel’s will to win as the four-times Formula One world champion prepares for a fresh start after some tough and error-strewn seasons at Ferrari.
Team principal Otmar Szafnauer says the 33-year-old German, who won his titles with Red Bull from 2010-13, has already made a strong impression at the factory.
“He’s working incredibly hard,” said the American. “I can attest to the fact that he’s really motivated. But I don’t think the motivation is to prove the naysayers wrong. I think it’s just how he is. I think he’s just driven to do the best he can.”
The German has replaced Mexican Sergio Perez alongside Canadian Lance Stroll — son of the team’s billionaire owner Lawrence and 11 years his junior.
Szafnauer said the team, whose new car will be unveiled on Wednesday, would learn from Vettel.
“The partners, the employees, all of us are going to be lifted by the fact he’s won four times and he knows what it takes,” he said, adding that Vettel also remained refreshingly down to earth.
He related how the German brought a home-baked loaf of bread as a gift when he came to stay.
“He can easily go buy a box of chocolates or a bunch of flowers but that’s not him. He’ll come with ‘I baked this loaf of bread’,” he said. “And he really likes British humour. It’s not to find a common thread, it’s just who he is. So far he’s fitted in well here.”
The team, who started as Jordan in 1991, finished fourth as Racing Point last year and have been renamed Aston Martin in the sports car marque's return as a constructor for the first time since 1960.
Perez triumphed in Bahrain last December and Szafnauer said Vettel could also be a winner this year.
“It’s hard to win a race if you are the third fastest car but not impossible, as we proved last year,” he said. “Can Seb do it? For sure.”
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