Sebastian Vettel is dead. He isn’t physically dead he is metaphorically dead. Vettel had a glittering career in junior motorsports and got his first taste of F1 when he was selected to become a test driver for the BMW Sauber team in 2006. He made a one-off race debut at the 2007 United States Grand Prix, following Robert Kubica’s massive crash at the Canadian Grand Prix. Vettel finished eighth, to become the then-youngest driver to score a point in Formula One. He then moved to Red Bull’s junior team, Torro Rosso as it was then known, from the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards. By 2008 Vettel had notched up the first of his 51 Grand Prix wins. At age 21 years and 74 days he became the youngest driver in F1 history to win a race when he won the 2008 Italian Grand Prix.
The meteoric rise led to 4 world championships by 2014. And when Red Bull lost form Vettel switched to Ferrari believing he could emulate his childhood hero Michael Schumacher by ushering in a new dominant period. It didn’t go as planned. Vettel was in prime position to win at least 2 championship trophies. He had the best car in 2017 and 2018. But mistakes and Lewis Hamilton put an end to the anticipated celebrations.
By 2019 Ferrari had lost their performance advantage and Vettel couldn’t plug the hole. Mistakes and the arrival of Charles Leclerc were the beginning of the end of Vettel’s Ferrari tenure. Vettel was not only out-performed by Leclerc throughout 2020 he made too many mistakes for a driver with multiple wins and championships to his name. Ferrari lost faith and squeezed Vettel out of the door.
So he opts to join the newly minted Aston Martin team for 2021, which is a Mercedes W11 in all but name. But he is out-qualified and out-raced by Lance Stroll in the opening race. The harsh truth is, his race debut for Aston Martin wasn’t entirely convincing. The old Sebastian is still there, it just needs to be awoken.
In many ways, Vettel is the Obi Wan Kenobi of Formula One, A vanquished Jedi Master wandering the open desert plains of Tattoine waiting for one last adventure. Vettel started his F1 career at a young age, had stellar success at a young age, and might call it quits… at a relatively young age.
Is Sebastian Vettel Dead? Vettel, the driver we once knew probably died in 2015.