Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has said that Aston Martin must create a more competitive car to increase the motivation of their driver Sebastian Vettel, amid the team’s struggles at the beginning of the 2022 season.
Aston Martin found themselves near the back of the grid in both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. They are yet to pick up a point – one of only two teams, alongside Williams – to fail to score.
Vettel, meanwhile, has not driven the car during a Grand Prix weekend. The German driver was ruled out of the season opener after testing positive for Covid-19. He then failed to record a negative test to enable him to compete in Saudi Arabia.
Nico Hulkenburg stepped up in his place. However, much like team-mate Lance Stroll, he struggled to extract any competitive pace out of the car. He finished ahead of the Canadian in Saudi Arabia, recording a 12th placed finish. Stroll was 13th.
Vettel’s return is a much-needed boost for Aston Martin
Sebastian Vettel will return to F1 this weekend for the Australian Grand Prix at the redeveloped Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne. It is the first time F1 has travelled to Australia since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, which forced the Grand Prix to be cancelled just hours before practice was due to get underway.
It is a circuit that Vettel knows very well indeed. He won twice there, in 2017 and 2018, during his time at Ferrari. He also secured victory in the 2011 season opener whilst with Red Bull.
In a race in which he has finished, Vettel has never recorded a result lower than fourth in Australia. But that statistic is almost certain to change this weekend, regardless of how well he drives.
Helmut Marko questions Aston Martin over Sebastian Vettel
Speaking in an interview with Formel1.de, Marko warned that Aston Martin will need to motivate Vettel with a competitive car.
When the German joined the team for 2021, he said he wanted to help them be in a position to challenge for world titles.
Marko explained: “First, Aston Martin has to build a more competitive car. Because if you drive outside the points, then the motivation is not the greatest.
“You saw [he could fight for the podium] in Baku [2021, when he finished second] and in Monte Carlo he was fast as well. But where Aston Martin is at the moment, I don’t think the motivation will be too great.”
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