Sebastian Vettel believes the 2022 season will be a “true test” of Aston Martin’s status in F1 following the “hiccup” of a management reshuffle.
Aston Martin are among the most fluid teams in that they are undergoing major changes in their quest to reach the sport’s pinnacle, the biggest of which was their rebrand from Racing Point for the 2021 campaign.
Through team owner Lawrence Stroll, they are putting huge investment into their efforts by way of building a new factory in Silverstone and also the recruitment of some of the sport’s leading operators to bolster their knowhow behind the scenes.
Vettel and Lance Stroll remain the drivers for a second consecutive season, but team principal Otmar Szafnauer has departed, replaced by Mike Krack, reporting to Martin Whitmarsh, the CEO who arrived towards the end of last year.
Combined, all of those figures will contribute to the bid to lift Aston Martin back up the order in the forthcoming campaign after a 2021 season in which they dropped from 2020’s fourth place to an extremely disappointing seventh.
Having been unsuited by the tweaks to the technical regulations for 2021, the big rules reset for this term offers a major opportunity for Aston Martin to get firmly back on track – as Vettel recognises.
“The truth is the team is growing,” the four-time former World Champion told reporters, including PlanetF1, at the launch of the AMR22 car. “Obviously, having a shuffle in management is always a bit of a hiccup, or shake-up, and it will take time to overcome.
“But hopefully we manage to pull together and despite growing in size, becoming leaner or more efficient in our processes.
“I think this year will be a true test for us and we will see how good we are. Last year, we didn’t show anything because we didn’t focus on bringing any updates.
“Whereas this year, it’s all about this set of regulations, this generation of cars and we will be able to show what we can produce, and we should be measured based on that.”
Szafnauer had been credited as a key factor in Vettel’s decision to join Aston Martin, but the 34-year-old German also has prior experience of working with Krack during his time as a test driver at BMW-Sauber in 2007.
“I’ve always liked Otmar and got along with Otmar – I think it was difficult not to get along with him,” said Vettel. “He definitely had a very central role in the team, a lot of guys knew him because he had been there for so long.
“For sure it’s a big reshuffle but looking forward, I think Mike is great and I’m very much looking forward to working with him again. [He’s] highly rated by everyone who’s shared the way with him.
“It’s been some years [since working together] but I think he’s a great guy and has a great spirit, so hopefully it’s a strong addition to the team.”