Brought to you by Adam Macdonald
We will all be able to relate to the either being, or knowing the naughty kid at school. The child who constantly pushed the limits of what was allowed, knowing fully well that what they did was beyond the boundary of acceptability, but they carried on anyway. Each time they broke a rule they learnt more of what they could get away with; over time building up a reputation which would allow them wiggle room for the future.
It’s this reputation that Sebastian Vettel had before the Sepang GP earlier in the season. People have said that Vettel is no longer the kid that he made himself out to be, and that he had shown his ruthless side. There were some who branded it the ‘dark side’ of Sebastian Vettel; one mainstream publication, F1 Racing magazine May edition, helping to bring this view to light (no pun intended).
Social media went into overdrive, with everybody deciding to add their 10 pence worth into the debate. Scottish racing driver, and younger brother of Dario, Marino Franchitti chipped in with this tweet below.
Let’s not forget this isn’t the first time the Red Bull Racing setup has had a Star Wars association. At the 2005 Monaco GP, to coincide with the new film, the cars were themed for the weekend. This was also the first year that the RB Energy Station pulled into the Monaco harbour – and they wondered why people thought they were just a party team at first! And are those Michelin tyres on that car?
Back to Sebastian
However, if we analyse his actions, then it becomes immediately obvious that the man from Heppenheim is actually following the schoolboy mentality. Not only does he continually push the boundaries on the circuit, as we witnessed in Montreal little over a week ago; but he also does so whilst not behind the wheel of his Red Bull.
On the basis of the Canadian GP, he is still a kid who just wants to drive as fast as he can all the time. Of course there was the incident in the Malaysian GP, where those in the senior Red Bull management team failed to control or even properly sanction him. It’s only human nature to keep pushing and get away with what you can, so how culpable is Christian Horner?
It certainly is not a fun place that Horner finds himself in, between a rock and a hard place. If Vettel was in full knowledge of what he was doing then he would be showing how deceptively competent he really is. Some would call it an arrogance, but at the very least extreme confidence that he was and still is untouchable.
Horner even seemed to encourage Vettel in the video below – although obviously it’s a much less serious situation.
Vettel still being the schoolboy as first thought is a good thing for the sport. Someone with personality will attract new fans to the sport and show us that they (the racing drivers) are human as well.
Until somebody hones Vettel in he will do as he likes, and whilst he is still winning GPs can anybody really argue with him? Is Vettel in fact very devious and a lot more computing of his actions than it would first seem? The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is similar in the way he seems to be blithering in his speeches and movements, but in truth is extremely intelligent and more calculating than would first seem.
There is then the question of whether changing a winning philosophy will be positive. If he had moved to Ferrari after the mid-season rumours last year, or to a team like McLaren, he would have been turned into a media robot where his freedom of expression would be so much less, it would be of a much lesser entertainment value.
Personally, I feel that Vettel is actually a very wily man, who knows just how to get people on the right side for him, and can use them for what he likes. One day, when chasing that final lap fastest lap Sebastian will cost himself – whether it be position or points – but until then it is hard to criticise him.
Whatever your opinion of the man, he is a triple WDC, so it would seem that what he is doing right now, is working well. As the popular saying goes: if it’s not broken, don’t fix it! An example of the Vettel charisma and cheek is below, at the 2011 Autosport awards.