Mentors play a pivotal role in the development of all drivers. For some, they are all the more important. Sebastian Vettel’s psychological problems at Ferrari have been spoken about, especially in his last couple of years at the team.
However, one of the key figures who has helped him through his career is Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko.
Vettel has previously revealed that he called Marko a few times following his axing at Ferrari.
Marko revealed at the time that he asked Vettel to take a year off in order to come back to top form. Vettel, however, did not pay heed to this advice. His start at Aston Martin Martin has prompted Marko to speak out.
“I was of the opinion […] he should take a year off, sort things out, ask himself what he wants. I believe that a lot is possible within Formula 1 next year,” he said.
“He didn’t do it. Now he is sitting in the Aston Martin, which of course suffers, similar to the Mercedes. They are very similar cars. And this race was by far not what could have brought a break.”
When Vettel signed for Aston Martin, it was seen as a downgrade for him. It was almost an open admission on his part that he was no longer good enough to challenge for top honours.
The purists who have followed Vettel from his early days will undoubtedly be shaking their heads at just how sharp his fall has been.
Early indications, however, were positive at Aston Martin. Not only did owner Lawrence Stroll speak about investing a sizeable amount in the project, the team also managed to end the season with a win in Sakhir.
The problem began in pre-season, when it became apparent that the Mercedes engine was not performing as expected. Aston Martin, from being contenders up in the higher echelons of midfield, were now seen as low rankers.
The opening race in Bahrain was further proof to this. Vettel struggled all through qualifying and following a penalty, was forced to start the race in last position. He eventually failed to win any points in his debut race and teammate Stroll bagged 1.
Marko himself had claimed that the low-rake design would mean that Mercedes and Aston Martin would struggle.
Vettel saw a repetition of his struggled from last year’s Ferrari, where he often lost control of the car, this year with Aston Martin too.
It only makes you wonder whether Marko was right in his assessment. Should Vettel have taken a year off? What should he now hope to achieve this season? Let us know in the comments section below!