Although Sebastian Vettel is a four-time Formula 1 World Champion in the modern era, he longs for a time when there was less technology in the sport when drivers were challenged by manual gearboxes and “deadly” cars.
In an interview with Der Spiegel, Vettel revealed how he hankers for the past with reference to cars of the late eighties and nineties, If I had the power, I would highlight the driver more.”
“For example, I would go back to manual transmission. This would capture the imagination of fans. Years ago [in 2014] I drove a Ferrari built in 1988, the car of Gerhard Berger. Without power steering, it had three pedals and it was up to you to change. It was very simple, less perfect, a little slower but more fun.”
“I would have loved to drive those cars, there was no telemetry like today but the cars were technologically advanced. The aerodynamics produced a lot of downforce which allowed for high cornering speeds.”
“At the same time, however, they were deadly cars. To battle against Senna and Schumacher? It would have been exciting.”
Asked what reputations Germans had with the English and Italian teams he has raced for, Vettel said that his countrymen are perceived “to be fussy, never satisfied, always looking for the negative. We spend too complaining and too little time with compliments.”
As for his own legacy and success, Vettel said, “Too often, I do not have the time to pause, admire what’s been achieved, not just in Formula 1, the speed of our lives does not allow for reflection and admiration, it’s quickly forgotten, the next story is written immediately.”
It took five years for his mentor Michael Schumacher to rack up his first title at the Scuderia, which also kick-started the team’s golden era.
This year is Vettel’s fifth year at Maranello, to emulate his hero he would ideally win this season. But only four races into the season and the Reds are severely on the back foot as Mercedes have a quartet of one-twos so far this season.
Nevertheless, Vettel remains focussed, “The goal is to become F1 World Champion with Ferrari. When we’re at eye level, we can beat them, as we’ve already proven in phases.”
Heading to Round 5, the Spanish Grand Prix, this weekend Vettel lies third in the drivers’ standings after four of 21 races, 35 points behind championship leader Valtteri Bottas and 34 points behind Hamilton.