Sebastian Vettel’s move to Aston Martin in 2021 was helped by the intervention of Bernie Ecclestone, says the former F1 supremo.
Without a drive for next season after Ferrari decided not to renew his contract, Vettel looked like he might be forced to take a sabbatical or leave F1 for good, before Lawrence Stroll’s Aston Martin jettisoned incumbent driver Sergio Perez to make room for him.
A good friend of Vettel’s, Ecclestone said he lobbied Stroll on the four-time champion’s behalf to make the move a reality.
“We talk on the phone a lot,” he told Sport1. “I listen to him and then give him my assessment of things. I also helped him get the deal with Aston Martin right.
“I really put pressure on team owner Lawrence Stroll to take Sebastian. I told him how good Sebastian is still and that in the end it will be a win for everyone if the deal goes through. I think my arguments helped convince him.
Deemed surplus-to-requirements at the Scuderia with the emergence of Charles Leclerc, Vettel has struggled significantly compared to the Monegasque in 2020, but Ecclestone insists he still has plenty to offer another F1 team – given the proper support.
“Leclerc is definitely a huge talent, but so was Sebastian Vettel, and he it still is. And he has more experience. So actually he should be in front.
“But since he is not, there must be other reasons. Ferrari has always been a somewhat unclear team where domestic politics have always played a big role. It was actually only at the time of Michael Schumacher that everyone was pulling in the same direction.
“Fortunately, Sebastian Vettel has a new challenge at Aston Martin next year. Then he will give the answer to the doubters who no longer believe in his abilities this year.”