Aston Martin's Performance Director Tom McCullough says the team regrets not having given Sebastian Vettel a car with which he could fight at the front.
The German retired at the end of 2022 following a glittering career that saw him win 53 Grands Prix and four consecutive Drivers' Championships from 2010 to 2013.
After having been dropped by Ferrari at the end of 2020, Vettel was signed by Aston Martin, newly renamed from Racing Point after having been taken over by Lawrence Stroll.
However, despite considerable investment in facilities and recruitment, the last two seasons proved disappointing for the Silverstone outfit, who failed to win a race and managed only a brace of seventh places in the Constructors' Championship.
Nonetheless, Vettel took full advantage of unusual circumstances to cross the line in second place at the 2021 Azerbaijan and Hungarian Grands Prix, and McCullough paid tribute to his former driver's ability to extract the maximum from limited machinery.
"With Sebastian, whenever we gave him a car capable of a strong result, you had that confidence he was going go out there and deliver, which he did for us," McCullough said at the launch of Aston Martin's 2023 car, the AMR23.
"We didn't always quite give him a good enough car, [and] it's a shame that he won't be here to reap the reward of some of his hard work over the last two years."
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Replacing Vettel at Aston Martin for 2023 is two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso, and McCullough paid tribute to the veteran Spaniard's desire to succeed even as he approaches 42 years old.
"We're still really getting to know Fernando, but the hunger that I see in [him] just amazes me at this stage in his career, and it is a driving force for all of us," said McCullough.
"As engineers, we're all very driven, very hungry, very data-driven, [and we] have a driver who smashes that into you as well."
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