Sebastian Vettel has voiced doubts that the Aston Martin Formula 1 team and incoming driver Fernando Alonso will be able to achieve their ambitions to challenge for championships. Vettel, who is retiring from F1 at the end of the season, will be replaced at the Silverstone-based team by old rival Alonso, who will partner incumbent Lance Stroll on a multi-year deal. Stroll's father Lawrence is keen to get the team challenging for regular race wins and embarking on championship challenges, with the squad building a new factory to upgrade on their facilities. However, Vettel – who took Aston's first-ever podium in F1 in 2021 – believes the disadvantage the team have faced in 2022 will be a hindrance over the coming years.
Vettel has Aston doubts
Despite the new ground effect technical regulations in 2022, Aston Martin have fallen to the back of the field and have made only occasional Q3 appearances. As of the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix, the team are seventh in the Constructors' Championship, having jumped up from ninth in the past two races. Across Singapore and Japan, the outfit hauled 20 point, with a pair of sixth place finishes and an eighth, but have failed to latch onto Alpine and McLaren at the front of the midfield runners. Vettel believes that the new regulations presented an opportunity, but Aston missed it and that the ramifications will be felt long-term. "The people are in place, the new factory is being built, so it's all coming together – but it will take time," the 53-time Grand Prix winner explained in an interview with Aston Martin. "There was a huge chance with the regulation changes this year, but we fell into the same trap as many others did. "Some teams maybe got a little lucky, designing a car around a ride height that would work. "Now we have these regulations until 2026, so the teams that had a good start will have a headstart over the teams that had a bad start. "And the budget cap means you can't just throw money and resources at the problem to catch up."
Vettel advice for Alonso
Vettel replaced Alonso at Ferrari for 2015, with his fellow World Champion now doing similar at Aston in 2023, having grown frustrated with Alpine's refusal to offer him a long-term deal. With nearly 650 Grands Prix between them, Vettel believes Alonso does not need any advice as he is set to join the fifth team (in various guises) of his long career. "Fernando doesn't need any advice. I'm not sure he's taking any advice, but he doesn't need it anyway," Vettel explained. "He's been around for so long and seen so much – he'll be fine."