Sebastian Vettel will be back at the wheel of an Aston Martin when making his 2022 debut at the Australian Grand Prix next weekend. The German, a four-time world champion, has been forced to sit out the opening races of the season after testing positive for Covid-19.
Countryman Nico Hulkenberg took his race seat in both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia Grand Prix. In a car that is clearly a long way off the pace, Hulkenberg finished 17th and last in Bahrain and 12th of the 13 finishers at Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
Vettel’s Record Makes an Uncompetitive Drive Tough to Swallow
In 2021, Vettel took seven points finishes – including a second-place finish in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. It was his first season with Aston Martin and followed six years at Ferrari.
Vettel entered Formula 1 in 2007 driving for Toro Rosso after they dispensed with the services of American Scott Speed. In 2010 he won his first of four consecutive world titles for Red Bull. Vettel had joined the team at the start of 2009.
Given Vettel’s long list of successes – 53 race wins and 122 podium finishes – many observers had speculated the 34-year-old would choose to forfeit his place on the 2022 grid rather than endure the prospect of racing in an uncompetitive car.
Aston Has Big Ambition
Team Aston Martin finished seventh in last year’s World Constructors’ Championship. The team, based in Silverstone, was previously known as Racing Point. In 2020 it finished fourth in the championship. 2019 yielded another seventh place.
Towards the end of 2021 Aston Martin’s Formula 1 team began work on a new headquarters. This will be the first all-new F1 factory in the UK since the McLaren Technology Centre opened in 2004.
The project will span 400,000 square-feet across multiple buildings, including a factory and a wind tunnel. Aston’s existing premises will be redeveloped and repurposed to act as a central hub with staff amenities and a logistics centre.
TEAM UPDATE: We are pleased to confirm that Sebastian Vettel is now fit to race and will therefore line up alongside @lance_stroll in Melbourne to kick off his 2022 @F1 season at the @ausgrandprix. ?#F1 #AusGP pic.twitter.com/LrFqaHyQ8W— Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) March 31, 2022