Sebastian Vettel does not believe there has been a "changing of the guard" in Formula One, saying older drivers would thrive with "the right tools" 

Max Verstappen won his first F1 world title last season, dethroning Lewis Hamilton in the most dramatic fashion in the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.

Red Bull's Verstappen leads Charles Leclerc by nine points in the battle for the 2022 title, with the 37-year-old Hamilton sixth.

Vettel, 34, has picked up only five points for Aston Martin, while the 40-year-old Fernando Alonso having 10 points to his name

Verstappen, Leclerc and George Russell – all aged 24 – have emerged as a new generation of drivers with long careers ahead of them.

Four-time F1 champion Vettel says they are fortunate to have cars that enable them to challenge for victories. 

Asked about the young drivers coming through, the German told Stats Perform: "I think it very much depends how competitive your environment is.

"Obviously, usually you're saying that there's a changing of the guard, Lewis has been arguably fighting for the title until the very last lap last year, so it's not too long ago.

"I think it depends always on the situation you're in for sure. There's drivers that are a little bit older like Fernando and Lewis then myself, but I'm sure that you give us the right tools, we still can do the right work."

Vettel hopes Ferrari can give Leclerc every chance of winning his first F1 title.

He said: "Obviously, Charles is one of them and in a good car he deserves to be up there. Hopefully the car will be good enough for him to fight for the title this year until the end.

"We will see, throughout the field you have more that one or two drivers that will be able to battle for victories.

"But usually the right drivers get the right package at the right time, so I'm very happy for him and hopefully he has the car to do it until the end."

 

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Sebastian Vettel has questioned how much Lewis Hamilton is enjoying racing amid his struggles in the 2022 Formula One season.

Hamilton, a seven-time world champion, and Mercedes have battled issues with the new design of their car during the early throes of the campaign.

The 37-year-old has just 50 points to his name in the drivers' standings, and sits 75 behind leader and defending champion Max Verstappen heading into the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Hamilton has just one podium finish this campaign, a third-place finish at the Bahrain Grand Prix opener, from seven races as Mercedes have failed to keep the pace with Red Bull and Ferrari.

Aston Martin driver Vettel pondered whether Hamilton is still getting the same joy he previously did.

"He had a package where he was able to win," four-time world champion Vettel said. "Obviously, it's been a little different for myself the last few years, but that's how it goes sometimes.

"You still try to make the most of it, but for sure, in terms of how much you enjoy it, when you get used to winning there is no feeling that can replace that.

"But having said that you have to work together as a team to try and get back up."

Mercedes have repeatedly struggled with 'porpoising' – bouncing at high speed – and not racing at the optimum height with their W13 car.

That has left them in the wake of a dominant season so far for Red Bull and Ferrari, and Vettel acknowledged the difficulties as he suggested Aston Martin are having problems of their own.

"I don't think Mercedes pulled back voluntarily; I think they are obviously having difficulties extracting the most from their car just like many other people have," he added.

"But others that have got it together more so the balance has shifted a little bit. But for us that’s not what is most important, the most important is about looking at ourselves where we are.

"And as I said at the moment, we are not happy with where we are, we would like to be further up but there’s a lot of work going into the project and hopefully we will see some better results soon."

Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0%, partners of the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team, are bringing F1 fans the passion from inside the garage via a new multi-sensory experience 'IL PITSTOP' which is travelling around Europe this summer. 'IL PITSTOP' will immerse fans in the sights, sounds and smells of an F1 garage, whilst providing an opportunity to trial the crisp and refreshing taste of Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0%.

Sebastian Vettel is confident Aston Martin can improve their results after a disappointing start to 2022 amid doubts over his future in Formula One.

The four-time world champion is nearing the end of his contract with Aston Martin and it remains to be seen whether he will continue in the sport beyond this season.

Aston Martin's form has done little to quieten talk of retirement.

Vettel was 12th in the drivers' championship with 43 points in 2021. After missing the first two races of this season with COVID-19, he has claimed only five points from five grands prix.

However, as F1 returns to Baku, the scene of a second-placed finish for Vettel last season, he is hopeful changes to the car - which provoked controversy and questions from Red Bull due to the similarities the two cars now share - can spark an upturn in fortunes.

He told Stats Perform: "Obviously we are not aiming to be where we are now. But yeah let's see, we still have some races ahead of us and the team is pushing hard to improve the car.

"With the new set of regulations, there's always a risk you might get it wrong and I think that we have changed our path with a different car that we have adopted now and we believe that it is a better option for the races in the future.

"At the moment, we are not happy with where we are, we would like to be further up but there's a lot of work going into the project and hopefully we will see some better results soon."

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Sebastien Vettel says Formula 1's contribution towards climate change has made him consider his future in the sport.

Aston Martin driver Vettel is known for his environmental and political activism, having previously worn the pride flag at last year's Hungarian Grand Prix and organised an all-women karting event on the weekend of the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Ahead of the inaugural Miami Grand Prix last week, Vettel wore a t-shirt featuring the slogan: "Miami 2060: First Grand Prix under water, act now or swim later" in an attempt to draw attention to the issue of global warming.

Speaking on BBC debate show Question Time on Thursday, the four-time drivers' champion said the environmental impact of travelling the world to race had made him think about his participation in the sport.

Asked whether his involvement in the sport made him a hypocrite, the 34-year-old replied: "It does, it does, and you're right when you laugh.

"There are questions I ask myself every day, and I'm not a saint.

"Certain things are in my control and certain things are not. It's my passion to drive a car, I love it and every time I step in the car, I love it.

"There's things that I do because I feel I can do them better. Do I need to take a plane every time? No, not when I can take the car.

"When I get out of the car, of course I'm thinking as well 'Is this something that we should do, travel the world, wasting resources?'"

Vettel sits 14th in the drivers' championship standings after being classified 17th when failing to finish in Miami, having missed the first two races of the 2022 season after testing positive for COVID-19, and will be out of contract at the end of the campaign. 

Sebastian Vettel has been declared "fit to race" after missing the first two grands prix of the season due to COVID-19, Aston Martin said on Thursday.

It means the four-time champion can head to Melbourne for next week's Australian Grand Prix and look to put points on the board for the struggling team.

Aston Martin have failed to score in the opening races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, with Nico Hulkenberg stepping in as Vettel's replacement.

Hulkenberg will step aside to allow Vettel to partner Lance Stroll for the April 8-10 race weekend.

Aston Martin said on Twitter: "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 Australian Grand Prix."

The team are eager to get off the mark after their slow start, and Stroll said after the Saudi disappointment, where he finished 13th and Hulkenberg took 12th place: "There is still a long season ahead of us, so we will keep working hard to find more performance in the car for the coming races."

Vettel, 34, won his world titles consecutively from 2010 to 2013, and he joined Aston Martin ahead of the 2021 season.

Sebastian Vettel will miss this weekend's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as he continues his COVID-19 recovery.

The Aston Martin team announced on Friday that Vettel would be replaced for a second successive race by Nico Hulkenberg.

He missed the team's deadline to show he was race fit, after it was disclosed on Thursday that Vettel had yet to test negative for the coronavirus.

Four-time world champion Vettel had been hoping for a significant upturn in his recent fortunes this season, but it has begun in disappointing fashion for the German.

He had to sit out last weekend's opener in Bahrain after testing positive, and now he will have to watch from afar again as racing goes ahead in Jeddah.

Reserve driver Hulkenberg finished 17th in Bahrain, with Lance Stroll 12th, as the Aston Martin team failed to finish in the points.

Aston Martin said in a Twitter statement on Friday: "@HulkHulkenberg will practice, qualify and race alongside @lance_stroll. Despite lack of mileage in the #AMR22, Nico coped well in Bahrain and we are sure he will do likewise in Jeddah. We expect Sebastian Vettel to be fit for the #AustralianGP."

Vettel, 34, won his world titles consecutively from 2010 to 2013, and he joined Aston Martin ahead of the 2021 season.

The Australian Grand Prix weekend runs from April 8-10 in Melbourne.

Sebastian Vettel could be forced to sit out a second race after Aston Martin said he remained positive for COVID-19 and had not yet travelled to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The four-time world champion had been hoping for a significant upturn in his recent fortunes this season, but it has begun in disappointing fashion for the German.

He had to sit out last weekend's opener in Bahrain after testing positive for the coronavirus, and stand-in Nico Hulkenberg could be pressed into action again in Jeddah.

Vettel, 34, won his world titles consecutively from 2010 to 2013, and he joined Aston Martin ahead of the 2021 season.

Aston Martin said Vettel would be given until Friday to return a negative test, otherwise the team will plan without him for this weekend's racing.

The team said on Twitter: "Sebastian Vettel has not yet returned the required negative COVID test to fly to the #SaudiArabiaGP. Nico Hulkenberg will be in Jeddah to deputise for Seb if necessary. We will delay our final decision until Friday to provide Seb every opportunity to race."

Hulkenberg finished 17th in Bahrain, with Lance Stroll 12th, as Aston Martin failed to finish in the points.

Sergio Perez believes "it makes sense to have a discussion" around the idea of Formula One drivers being allowed to race with coronavirus.

The 2022 season will be the third affected by COVID-19, already impacting the grid for Sunday's opener at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel has contracted the virus, meaning he will be absent for Aston Martin, while Daniel Ricciardo missed the end of pre-season testing but has recovered to take up his McLaren seat.

Red Bull's Perez missed two races in 2020 due to COVID-19 and suggests drivers – already isolated within their cars during races – should not be ruled out if they are otherwise fit and healthy.

"Going forward, we should discuss whether we allow the drivers to race if the symptoms are mild," the Mexican said.

"The drivers can obviously be the judge, but I think it makes sense to have a discussion.

"There is only so much you can do. I think it's just luck-dependent. It is difficult to not do anything. I'm just very sorry for Seb and for Daniel, but it can happen to anyone."

Nico Hulkenberg, Aston Martin's reserve driver, has replaced four-time world champion Vettel this week.

Sebastian Vettel will miss the opening race of the 2022 Formula One World Championship after the Aston Martin driver was ruled out of the Bahrain Grand Prix following a positive test for COVID-19.

The four-time world champion will be replaced by Nico Hulkenberg for the first event of the season, marking his first F1 race since 2020 and coincidentally taking place at the same venue where he made his debut with Williams in 2010.

Vettel, who headed up Aston Martin's return to F1 last year, secured a second-place podium finish at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in his maiden season with the team.

But the former Red Bull driver, who dominated the drivers' championship across a four-year stretch between 2010 and 2013, struggled to maintain that form across the rest of the campaign.

Hulkenberg will race alongside Lance Stroll this weekend and will take control of the car from FP1 on Friday.

Elsewhere, McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo will be fit to feature after missing the last week of testing through coronavirus.

The Australian, however, has since returned a negative test and will feature for the team this weekend at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir.

Sebastian Vettel claims he has already decided not to participate in September's Russian Grand Prix after Russia launched an attack on neighbouring Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to attack Ukraine comes just days after Moscow elected to recognise the independence of two breakaway regions in the east of the country, and has led to Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy severing diplomatic ties with Russia and declaring martial law in the country.

The attack has drawn widespread international condemnation, and has already impacted the sporting world, with UEFA likely to strip St Petersburg of May's Champions League final and the Ukrainian Premier League being suspended.

Now Vettel claims he has already made up his mind on whether he would participate in the Russian Grand Prix, currently scheduled for late September in Sochi.

"I woke up after this morning's news, [and was] shocked," the four-time Drivers' champion said.

"For myself, my opinion is I should not go, I will not go.

"I think it's wrong to race in the country. 

"I'm sorry for the innocent people that are losing their lives, that are getting killed for stupid reasons and [because of] a very, very strange and mad [Russian] leadership.

"I'm sure it's something we will talk about, but as the GPDA [Grand Prix Driver's Association, the trade union representing Formula One drivers], we haven't come together yet."

Aston Martin driver Vettel, who won four consecutive world championships between 2010 and 2013, has been a director of the GPDA since 2010, and has previously spoken out on several other issues, being reprimanded for donning a pride flag at last year's Hungarian Grand Prix, before hosting an all-women's karting race prior to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix later that year.

Two-time champion Fernando Alonso also called on Formula One to "do the best thing", while reigning world champion Max Verstappen echoed Vettel's sentiments. 

"When a country is at war it is not right to race there," Verstappen said on day two of pre-season testing in Barcelona.

Formula One had earlier refused to comment on the potential for the race to be relocated, issuing a statement which claimed it "was closely watching the very fluid developments, and at this time has no further comment on the race," and added that it will "continue to monitor the situation very closely."

Max Verstappen fumed at "stupid idiot" Lewis Hamilton and aimed a middle-finger salute at his title rival in a heated United States Grand Prix session.

The fight for the Formula One title intensified when the pair came close to making contact during FP2 at the Circuit of The Americas on Friday.

Championship leader Verstappen snapped over the team radio after going wheel-to-wheel with Hamilton, saying: "Ha! Stupid idiot!" and making his feelings clear with a gesture to the Mercedes driver.

A Red Bull engineer told Verstappen to "ignore it" as the Dutchman endured a frustrating day, having been caught in traffic at the start of the mid-session short runs.

He could only finish down in eighth in the second session as Sergio Perez set the pace, with Hamilton third behind Lando Norris.

Valtteri Bottas topped the timesheets in the first session, but will take a five-place grid penalty in Austin after having a sixth engine of the season – with three being the limit – fitted and a sixth exhaust.

Silver Arrows team principal Toto Wolff says there is a risk that Hamilton, who trails Verstappen by only six points, could take another grid penalty this season

He added: "I can't say whether we will be taking one and what the percentage is, but obviously the risk is still there.

"What is difficult to evaluate is do you want to pre-empt the situation and take another penalty and take the hit or do you want to really run it and possibly risk a DNF, and that is a discussion that is happening as we speak, and we haven’t come to the right answers yet."

Williams driver George Russell, Bottas' replacement at Mercedes for 2022, and Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel will start on the back row after they had multiple new engine parts fitted.

Valtteri Bottas, George Russell and Sebastian Vettel have taken grid penalties for the United States Grand Prix this weekend.

Bottas won in Turkey last time out, but a repeat would appear unlikely at the Circuit of The Americas on Sunday after the Mercedes driver had a sixth engine of the season – with three being the limit – fitted and a sixth exhaust.

The Finn, who sits third in the driver standings and was fastest in the first practice session on Friday, will take a five-place penalty for the race in Austin.

Silver Arrows team principal Toto Wolff said: "I think you see that we are suffering with reliability this year, we're going onto the sixth engine for Valtteri, and it is not something we choose to do, but on the contrary; we are trying to really get on top of the problems, and we haven't understood fully [what they are]."

Wolff says there is a risk that Lewis Hamilton could take another grid penalty this season as he battles for the title with Max Verstappen.

He added: "I can't say whether we will be taking one and what the percentage is, but obviously the risk is still there.

"What is difficult to evaluate is do you want to pre-empt the situation and take another penalty and take the hit or do you want to really run it and possibly risk a DNF, and that is a discussion that is happening as we speak, and we haven’t come to the right answers yet."

Williams driver Russell, Bottas' replacement at Mercedes for 2022, and Aston Martin's Vettel will start on the back row after they had multiple new engine parts fitted.

Hamilton was 0.045 seconds slower than his team-mate Bottas in FP1, with his championship rival Verstappen third-quickest – almost a second slower than Bottas.

Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll will remain with Aston Martin for the 2022 Formula One season, the team have announced.

Four-time world champion Vettel joined Aston Martin after leaving Ferrari at the end of last year.

The German has picked up 35 points in his first season with the team to sit 12th in the driver standings.

Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer had rubbished reports that Vettel's future was in doubt following talks and it was confirmed on Thursday that the 34-year-old is going nowhere.

Vettel said: "I am really looking forward to racing the new generation of Formula One cars.

"Their look is very different and the new technical regulations should give us cars that can race much more closely than recently.

"More exciting racing will be great for the drivers as well as for the fans. The changes are so big that every team will be starting from a new beginning, so it will be a great opportunity for us."

He added: "I believe in the strength of our new growing team, so I am already looking forward to 2022."

Stroll, who has secured 24 points this season, will also keep his seat as F1 moves into a new era of regulations next year.

The Canadian said: "We have not achieved what we set out to do this year, but that has only amplified our hunger and drive for success next season."

Sebastian Vettel has lost his second-place finish at the Hungarian Grand Prix off the four-time world champion, who was also reprimanded for wearing an LGBTQ+ T-shirt during the national anthem.

Esteban Ocon was the shock winner of a thrilling race on Sunday, with Vettel coming in second ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who fought back from last place to take third and leapfrog Max Verstappen at the top of the championship standings.

A dramatic grand prix started with a crash on Turn One, caused in wet conditions by Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas who, along with Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), Sergio Perez (Red Bull) and Lando Norris (McLaren) was forced to retire from the race.

Hamilton, initially on pole, then dropped back to 14th after he chose not to change his tyres after the formation lap, with the track having dried off while the race had been suspended.

Though Hamilton hit back, overcoming Fernando Alonso in an epic 10-lap tussle before nipping ahead of Carlos Sainz, the seven-time world champion could not get close enough to Vettel.

However, the Briton now takes second place after all, with Vettel, who parked his car on the cool-down lap before heading back to the podium, retrospectively disqualified.

F1's technical regulations state that competitors must ensure a 1.0 litre sample of fuel can be taken from the car at any time.

However, FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer had to refer Vettel to the stewards after technicians only managed to retrieve a 0.3l sample.

"After the race it was checked on car number 05 whether a 1.0 litre sample of fuel could be taken from the car," read Bauer's statement. "It was possible to take only a 0.3 litre sample following the procedures laid out in Article 6.6.4 of the 2021 Formula One Technical Regulations.

"Therefore I am referring this matter to the stewards for their consideration, as this is not in compliance with Article 6.6.2 of the 2021 Formula One Technical Regulations."

Vettel's disqualification also means Sainz takes third place, while Hamilton gains a further two points in the championship standings, with Verstappen rising one place to ninth.

Before the race, Vettel wore a rainbow T-shirt bearing the slogan "same love" during the Hungarian national anthem.

Vettel showed support for the LGBTQ+ community throughout the weekend. The Hungarian government recently introduced fiercely criticised legislation, which has included banning gay people or items seen as promoting homosexuality from featuring in school educational materials or TV shows for under-18s. Last year, the country's government passed laws that prevent same-sex couples from adopting children and ended legal recognition for gender changes.

Vettel, along with Sainz, Bottas and Stroll, who were wearing "We Race As One" T-shirts, were all reprimanded for keeping the clothing on during the Hungarian national anthem.

FIA guidelines say drivers must "remove their T-shirts and move to their name card position for the national anthem, wearing their race suits".

All four drivers faced the stewards, with a statement confirming: "[Each] driver explained that he forgot to take off the WRAO t-shirt in time during the national anthem because of the onset of rain."

"I'm happy if they disqualify me. They can do whatever they want to me, I don't care," Vettel told Sky Sports prior to the FIA statement.

Lewis Hamilton believes even a "step up" on Sunday would see him merely competing for second after ruling out victory at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Seven-time Formula One champion Hamilton qualified in fourth behind Sergio Perez, surprise 2021 star Lando Norris and championship leader Max Verstappen, who has pole.

Verstappen, who is 18 points clear, won at the Red Bull Ring last week and is the only F1 driver with three victories at his team's home circuit.

Fourth place (Verstappen in 2018) is the furthest back a race winner has triumphed from since Spielberg returned to the calendar in 2014, but Hamilton does not believe such a recovery is possible.

On the weekend he committed to Mercedes until 2023, the Briton believes he is set to tie his longest winless run over a single season (five races – also twice in 2016).

"I don't," Hamilton replied when asked if he thought he could steal a strategic win. "We definitely can't take it to the Red Bulls, obviously. They're just too fast.

"But maybe we can step up, I guess my race now is with the two guys ahead of me – trying to get past them."

He added: "On pure pace, [winning] is definitely out of the question.

"Those guys have got two cars to get through in front, and they've got three-tenths on us. I think they've improved their car again for this weekend.

"So, I would say that's an easy cruise win for Max. I think for us it's to try to see if we can get ahead of Perez and try to limit the damage this weekend."

 

Hamilton at least fared better than two of his former title rivals, with Sebastian Vettel handed a grid penalty for impeding Fernando Alonso in Q2.

Vettel will start from 11th, having qualified in eighth, while Alonso is back in 14th.

"I guess the weekend is over now for us, but nothing we can do," Alonso said.

Ahead of Vettel's expected punishment, which was later confirmed, the Spaniard added: "It will change something for them, but for us it will change everything on the weekend.

"I don't think that Seb could do much more because, inside the car, we are just relying on our engineers, so I guess it was more the team than Seb himself."

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