Vettel has changed the way Aston Martin debrief, says Szafnauer
“Sebastian’s debriefs would take about two hours – we’d be half an hour in and he’s just completed the formation lap and tested his drinks bottle.” That was Red Bull boss Christian Horner’s memories of working with Sebastian Vettel when he spoke to F1 Unscripted with Heineken last year. And Aston Martin Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer has revealed a similar experience of working alongside the detail-oriented four-time champion this year.
Horner, speaking with F1 Unscripted with Heineken host David Coulthard, went on, regarding Vettel’s debriefs: “The detail he used to go into in recounting every stage of the race, every stage of the tyre, it was way too much information for us to be even able to digest… Mark [Webber] would take about 15 minutes to do the entire race.”
And asked about working with Vettel at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix – where the German took a stupendous P2, for Aston Martin’s first ever podium in Formula 1 – Szafnauer, like Horner, revealed how Vettel’s thoroughness had affected the team’s way of working.
“Sebastian has expanded the way we do things,” said Szafnauer, when asked how Vettel’s experience was shaping the dynamic between him and team mate Lance Stroll.
“Lance isn’t a rookie, he’s been with us for a while now and there’s a good dynamic between Lance and Sebastian. Sebastian does have more experience and the way we go about debriefs now has changed a bit… [and] not just Lance but the entire team have embraced that.”
Vettel failed to score at any of the first four races of 2021. But having finished fifth in Monaco, followed by second in Baku, it’s now Vettel – behind Azerbaijan Grand Prix winner Sergio Perez – who has scored the most points of any driver in the previous two races.
And Szafnauer said Vettel’s progress in recent races was simply a logical progression, as he gets more and more comfortable in his Aston Martin AMR21.
“He was getting better and better [before Monaco],” said Szafnauer. “I shouldn’t say better and better, but more and more comfortable in the car… [and] I think it’s a progression of little steps. It’s a logical incrementalism to get to the peak.
“We’ve all improved in our process a little bit, in the way we go about the weekend,” he added. “We’re all learning, Lance too, and we’ll lift the team together.”