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Aston Martin 'honesty' over season struggle sparked "brilliant" Vettel reaction

Aston Martin 'honesty' over season struggle sparked "brilliant" Vettel reaction

Aston Martin 'honesty' over season struggle sparked "brilliant" Vettel reaction

Aston Martin 'honesty' over season struggle sparked "brilliant" Vettel reaction

Otmar Szafnauer has declared Sebastian Vettel "brilliant" after the four-time F1 champion was informed last winter he would be in for a difficult first year with Aston Martin.

Vettel's signing following his release from Ferrari was part of a major revamp for the team as it brought in the German as a replacement for Sergio Perez and rebranded itself from its former Racing Point guise into Aston Martin.

But as the team geared up for the new season it was hit with the bombshell news of a regulation change that drastically affected low-rake cars.

Given the introduction of the budget cap and focus on the new-for-2022 aerodynamic rules, the team was unable to make a fix, leaving Vettel and team-mate Lance Stroll struggling in the midfield, culminating in a lowly seventh-place constructors' title finish.

Speaking to GPFans in an interview at the end of the season, team boss Szafnauer made clear neither Vettel nor anyone in the team was aware of the rule change to come when the German was initially recruited.

"At that time, the aero changes weren't implemented yet," said Szafnauer.

"Because the car architecture was frozen and there wasn't much that you could do, we were really buoyant as we thought we'd have the third quickest car again.”

Asked whether the aero changes led to a serious conversation with Vettel, Szafnauer added: “Well, we're honest with the drivers and Seb, he's brilliant. He just said 'Look, let's do the best we can'."

Vettel went on to finish 12th in the drivers' standings with just 43 points to his name, although did score a high of runner-up in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Another runner-up spot was taken away from him in Hungary for a fuel irregularity with the car, a decision that still rankles with Szafnauer.

Reflecting on the season overall, Szafnauer has no complaints about how his drivers fared with the cars at their disposal.

"They did a good job," assessed Szafnauer. "Seb, it took him three, four races to settle in and then once he got settled in, he had a couple of podiums.

"I know one was taken away from him but in my books, that was still a podium.

"As for Lance, he continued to improve. He learned some things from Seb. he's confident in the car, he qualifies well, he had some good races.

"It's a good combination.”

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