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Sebastian Vettel

Ex-Formula 1 star offers explanation for Vettel's struggles

Former Formula 1 driver Steffan Johansson offers an interesting opinion on why Sebastian Vettel has struggled in the V6 turbo-hybrid era.

Article
To news overview © Aston Martin

Swedish driver Stefan Johansson who raced in Formula 1 between 1980 and 1991, in two separate stints, shares his take on the recent struggles faced by Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel.

Four-time world champion Vettel has failed to add to the four championships he won between 2010 and 2013. The German had a largely disappointing stint at Ferrari and has since moved to the newly re-branded Aston Martin team. Johansson believes Vettel's struggles could be down to the current era of cars.

"It seems to me that (Sebastian) Vettel has never been as quick in the current turbo-hybrid cars as he was in the previous V8 cars when he won four world championships," Johansson said on his blog.

"Those were drastically different cars. I think they’re so different to drive. Don’t forget, the new cars weigh 50 percent more than they used to. They’re at 780 kilograms now. You’re dragging a slug around the track with all of the batteries aboard and everything.

"There’s also the long wheelbase and it must be completely weird to drive these cars compared to what you had been used to before - ultra-light, super nimble F1 cars with different aero and engine characteristics.

"Some drivers are just better in certain generations of car than others. Lewis seems to have been able to adapt but obviously Mercedes has also had the best car all the time with the current specifications. (Fernando) Alonso is also having some difficulty just like Vettel but I’m sure it’s still difficult to get your head around these cars.

"You have to change your technique from that thing that really clicked for you with another style of car. Once you figure what works in the new car things get much easier for you. But it’s very tricky to adapt, and the problem with these cars, I don’t think you go any faster by pushing harder, it’s more of a balance of keeping the car in the window where it will allow you to extract the maximum grip the tires will allow you.

"The new generation of guys like (Max) Verstappen, Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc, Esteban Ocon and George Russell – they’re all seriously good drivers and they’ve had the advantage of spending years in simulators as well as the newer cars."

Vettel's issues have been compounded by the uncompetitiveness of the Aston Martin. The German has so far failed to score a point this season and is currently in 16th place in the driver standings.

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