Nürburg (dpa) – Wrapped thickly in an anorak and with a woolen hat on his head, Sebastian Vettel strolled over the Nürburgring one last time as a Ferrari driver.
Accompanied by his racing engineer Riccardo Adami, the four-time Formula 1 World Champion refreshed his impressions of the traditional course on the so-called Track Walk seven years after the last Grand Prix in the Eifel in uncomfortable weather. “It’s not called German Siberia for nothing,” said Vettel, amused before the apparently wintery 41st appearance of the motorsport premier class at the foot of the Nürburg. The climate will certainly be a challenge.
Vettel is still looking forward to returning to the Vulkaneifel with its extensive forests. After the mythical and highly dangerous Nordschleife of 20,832 kilometers was once driven, Formula 1 is satisfied with 5,148 kilometers on this Sunday (2.10 p.m. / RTL and Sky). “It was a surprise that Germany was back on the calendar this year and a happy surprise that the Nürburgring was back on the calendar,” Vettel said at the official press conference. It’s nice to be back. “The last time I was here I won, so I’m the defending champion.”
A lot has changed at Vettel since 2013. The dream of a world championship with Ferrari has not come true for the Heppenheimer. At the end of the year, he has to leave Scuderia after six seasons together. “It is true that I failed because I had set myself the goal of winning the world championship with Ferrari,” Vettel admitted self-critically in the Formula 1 podcast “Beyond the Grid”.
The 33-year-old would have liked to usher in a title era like his idol Michael Schumacher once did with the Scuderia, eventually his stats will show second World Cup places in 2017 and 2018. “There are things I should have done better, things I might have seen before, fights I might not have picked up,” Vettel said without specifying these locations. ‘In the end you grow up like that and you learn. I think it’s important that I don’t have any regrets. ‘
The years without a title with Ferrari gnawed at Vettel. He didn’t put it away that easily, after all, Vettel is extremely ambitious. But now he likes to go further. From 2021, the Hessian will take over the cockpit from Mexican Sergio Perez at Racing Point, who will operate as the Aston Martin factory team in the future. “He will take the team to another level,” said team principal Otmar Szafnauer, “and I am sure he will help us improve 1000 little things so we can reach a new level.” Vettel will bring the attitude of a world champion.
There are four world championships that the former Red Bull Dominator has in his portfolio and is up for a new Formula 1 adventure. Canadian billionaire and team co-owner Lawrence Stroll eventually convinced him, Vettel said. The attitude and will to “do something very good” were decisive. “It sounds like a project that will be fun,” Vettel assured before the eleventh race of the season. “There will be a lot of things happening there for the first time and I think it’s an incredibly challenging journey for the whole team.”
Vettel experiences a complicated final Eifel race as a Ferrari driver. He knew that long before the route inspection in gray skies and rain. After all, Ferrari is only a midfield racing team this season due to its weak engine. “It will be the same car as here, so it will not be an easy weekend,” Vettel said in Sochi two weeks ago. It will be difficult for Vettel, but he should not regret it either.