Vettel calling it a day? Hulkenberg confirms he will be ready for Aston Martin in Jeddah

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel
Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images
  • Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel might not race in Saudi Arabia this weekend.
  • The team boss says the former Reb Bull Racing superstar is still feeling the impact of Covid-19.
  • Nico Hulkenberg says he's ready to race, but will only know if he's in the driver's seat later this week.
  • For motoring news, go to Wheels24

Reports from Saudi Arabia suggest that Sebastian Vettel may not return to Aston Martin's disaster F1 team. It is not yet clear if Vettel will be returning to his cockpit this weekend in Jeddah. Nico Hulkenberg, who replaced the quadruple world champion on short notice in the Bahrain season opener, says he will "definitely" be in Jeddah.

"I won't know until Thursday or Friday if Seb is driving or me," said the German. Team boss Mike Krack revealed that Vettel still has a "hoarse" throat as he recovers from Covid-19, and it will depend upon the 34-year-old testing negative.

"Honestly, I'm not 100% sure of the rules in Saudi Arabia but let's hope," he said.

aston martin, f1 drivers, vettel, stroll
Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Lance Stroll of Canada and Aston Martin F1 Team.

No incentive to return to track?

One unflattering take on the situation may be that Vettel is not overly incentivised to return to full health this weekend to race the uncompetitive 2022 Aston Martin.

"The team has lost the thread," former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher told Sport1.

"You can't just take a lot of people and a lot of money, put them in a pot, stir them briefly and then hope something good comes out of it in Formula One.

Read: 5 things we learned as F1's new era made an action-packed start at the Bahrain GP

f1,formula 1,formula one,aston martin
The Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant team's 2022 F1 car, the AMR22

The team owner is considered the problem

"The team wanted to use the bulldozer method, which didn't work at Toyota either," he insisted.

Ralf says he has heard Aston Martin team members refer to the new green car as a "disaster" - and thinks the problem may be the billionaire owner Lawrence Stroll.

"I hear that the team owner is sitting in on all the meetings and saying how things should be. If that's the case, then it will get really, really difficult," he said.

Schumacher is also scathing of the performance in Bahrain of Lawrence's son Lance.

"He needs to ask himself whether he should find a different hobby. That was really embarrassing," he said, referring to being out-qualified by the reserve Hulkenberg.

Read: Janine Van der Post | Accusing Hamilton of virtue signalling for honouring his mom is a cheap shot

Another big loser of the new 2022 season so far is McLaren

"All that experience, knowledge and skill in car design," 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve told the Dutch publication Formule 1. "It's unbelievable that they screwed up like this.

"I had fewer expectations of Aston Martin, who copied Mercedes for so many years that maybe they forgot how to design their own car," the Canadian added.

"Competing at the top takes more than ambition and money," Villeneuve insisted. "Formula 1 is a special sport. It's not just marketing and branding."

KEEP UP TO DATE with the latest motoring news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter, 'LET'S DRIVE'.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Brought to you by
Voting Booth
Petrol prices are almost at R30 per litre. What are you doing to help deal with monthly fuel bills?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
I've downgraded my vehicle.
10% - 87 votes
I've joined a lift club.
4% - 34 votes
Nothing I can do. I am struggling with costs.
62% - 543 votes
Working from home is a saving grace.
24% - 213 votes