Aston Martin convinced Vettel can lead them to future F1 titles

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Aston Martin bosses have once again backed Sebastian Vettel to help make the team future Formula 1 championship contenders.

Last year, the Silverstone-based outfit, then known as Racing Point, was undoubtedly the most improved team on the grid as their controversial 'Pink Mercedes' was often the third-best car, although the consistency of McLaren saw them finish fourth.

Now the team looks to continue that progression under the Aston Martin brand and with Vettel, who replaces new Red Bull driver Sergio Perez in 2021.

But after a difficult final few seasons at Ferrari, some are wondering if the German is past his best.

“Sebastian had a very challenging year last year,” owner Lawrence Stroll told the BBC earlier this month.

“All of us would find it challenging that you lose your job before the season starts, that’s mentally very difficult, and you know how mental a game F1 is for drivers.

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“He had a car he found tricky to drive that didn’t suit his driving style. We’ve seen that before in his last year at Red Bull.

“But he’s a four-time World Champion. I don’t think he forgot how to drive in one year," the Canadian continued. "He has a work ethic that is known as second to none in the paddock in terms of how hard he works.

“One of the ways we are going to become World Champions is to get my guys to think and act like World Champions. And how you do that is to bring a four-time World Champion into the team.

“He will take the team in a direction of leading us to where ultimately we want to be.

“I’m not concerned. I know Sebastian well and I have 100% confidence and belief he will do a fantastic job with us. He is more motivated than he has ever been.”

Team boss Otmar Szafnauer echoed Stroll's sentiment, claiming Aston Martin's line-up has the right mix of youth and experience.

“It’s hugely exciting for everyone in the team," he said. "In Sebastian, we have a proven four-time world champion with experience of helping teams become race-winning and championship-contending outfits.

"That’s why he is such an important signing for us, he brings a winning mentality and we will all undoubtedly learn a lot from him on this journey.

"In Lance, we have a young and talented, hard-working driver who enjoyed his best campaign to date last year and really made strides in all areas of his racing.

"We know if we give him the tools, he’s more than capable of helping the team reach its goals.

"We also think Sebastian will bring out the best in Lance, with Lance pushing Sebastian hard in return, so we’re delighted with our 2021 line-up. It’s the ideal blend of experience, race-winning knowhow, and raw talent.”

After jumping up the midfield order last year, the Aston chief then laid out his ambitions for the upcoming year.

"We believe we have all the ingredients in place to compete for even more podiums and hopefully victories too," he said.

"It’s the start of a new journey and I can sense an extra energy in the team, with a determination to push performance further than ever before.

"We have every reason to be excited about the future."