Sebastian Vettel does not need friends to thrive, according to Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko and Gerhard Berger.
Bild am Sonntag reports that, in the wake of the ‘Multi-21’ affair, Formula 1’s reigning triple world champion is now an isolated figure in the paddock. But Marko insists Vettel’s perceived lack of popularity is not a problem.
“Sebastian is not a politician who has to win an election,” he insisted in Bahrain. “In Formula 1 you don’t count up your friends; only your points.”
Gerhard Berger, who is arguably most famous for being the great Ayrton Senna’s McLaren teammate, said Vettel’s character is simply a reflection of his success, and vice versa.
“Drivers like Senna, Schumacher and Vettel are unable to follow these sorts of team orders,” the Austrian, making a visit to the Bahrain paddock this weekend, told El Pais.
He was asked about Vettel’s refusal to let his teammate Mark Webber win in Malaysia.
“Drivers like this want to win every race and every championship. You can’t talk to them and say, ‘Actually, this is what we are going to do’. They’ll make whatever reply they like but when the time comes, their brain cannot process it.”
Similarly, Berger dismissed Vettel’s inconsistent reaction to the affair; having so profusely apologised initially before verbally attacking Webber in China.
“A waste of time,” said Berger. “Sebastian had no need to justify himself, because everyone is aware of his position. He should focus on racing and winning, nothing else.”
Anyway, it is not true to say that Vettel has no friends in Formula 1, as he is actually close to the sport’s highest profile outsider, Kimi Raikkonen.
Asked if success has ‘changed’ Vettel, the Iceman told Marca replied: “We don’t spend much time together, but I think he’s a nice guy. If you compare him to four seasons ago, I think he’s older now and knows the sport better.”
Meanwhile, Raikkonen refused to say whether he would accept the very same ‘Multi-21’ team order, if he had been in Vettel’s shoes in Malaysia last month.
“There’s no point in thinking about it,” he insisted.
Pressed for an answer, Raikkonen added: “It changes nothing. I have no interest in wasting time talking about it, because it hasn’t happened. If it happens, we’ll see.” (GMM)