Former F1 driver Mark Webber is “nervous” about his former teammate Sebastian Vettel, believing the four-time champion may be past his prime.
Vettel and Webber were teammates at Red Bull, during the time when the Red Bull team continued its dominance by winning four drivers’ and constructors’ championships in a row between 2010-13.
All four of those drivers’ titles went to Vettel as his relationship with Webber was pushed past the breaking point, although in the intervening years the pair have moved on from those problems.
And speaking of moving on from a troubled past, Vettel is now looking to make his dismal last season with Ferrari a distant memory at the Aston Martin team that has returned to Formula 1 for 2021.
But while he is sure Vettel will appreciate the culture of Aston Martin, Webber fears the German driver may not have many bullets left to revive his career.
“I’m a bit nervous, I have to say. How many bullets does he have left in his magazine? I don’t know,” Webber said on the On The Marbles podcast.
“I think he’ll enjoy the environment, there’s no doubt about that. He’ll enjoy not being in Maranello and being in the British atmosphere and culture, he’s always enjoyed that, I know that for a fact.
“What it doesn’t translate into and I don’t think it will be properly, is the automatic performance. I think he’s going to have more fun, I don’t know how it’s going to go on the clock and the clock is what F1 is about.
“So if he’s underperforming, and let’s be honest, he’s not at the start of his career, if you’re mid-pack – I don’t care what colour the car is, whether you’ve changed teams or whatever – mid-pack is still mid-pack, and he’s not a mid-pack guy.
“So I’m still a little bit worried about how this season will go for him.
“And the team are not series winners yet, they don’t have the intensity about them, they are on a journey. Yes, he’s on it, he’s going to figure it out, but how’s it going to go for his juice in terms of motivation and momentum? I’m really nervous. ”
David Coulthard, also a former Red Bull driver, has the same concerns as Webber, but thinks Vettel may have been brought to Aston Martin to build the brand and ‘bring the car home’, rather than deliver fantastic results.
Or perhaps it is a plan to promote Lance Stroll, allowing him to beat a four-time World Champion and silence the critics?
“I just don’t see how he’s going to rediscover that mojo,” explained Coulthard.
“I think it’s an asset to the team in terms of experience, a safe pair of hands to bring the car home, but I think once you lose a bit of speed …
“I wonder if that’s part of the brand building, not just for Aston Martin but for Lance Stroll, because if he can beat a four-time world champion, that will justify why he is a champion in waiting.
“If he does to Seb what Charles [Leclerc] does to Seb, then I just don’t see how he [Vettel] can finish the season.