Sebastian Vettel deserves recognition for his role in Aston Martin’s resurgent season, believes the team’s Performance Director Tom McCullough.
Vettel opted to leave Ferrari following six seasons with the Italian squad and link up with Aston Martin for the 2021 campaign.
Aston Martin largely competed in the midfield during Vettel’s tenure with the squad, however he managed to claim a podium at the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
In his final season with the Silverstone-based team before his retirement, Aston Martin ended the Constructors’ Championship in seventh place.
Vettel’s departure paved the way for two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso to join for this past campaign.
Aston Martin enjoyed a strong leap forward in the pecking order at the start of the season as Alonso secured six podiums in the opening eight races.
Aston Martin hail Vettel impact
Although Aston Martin’s pace trickled off as the season wore on, it ended the campaign fifth in the standings as it took another two podiums in the second half of the year.
Speaking to media including RacingNews365.com, McCullough highlighted the impact that Vettel had on the squad.
“When he joined us he came from two championship-winning teams,” he said. “At that time, he brought a lot of small details. He was a relentless worker as well.
“We often say the drivers are the best sensor in the car [when] a lot of the development you’ve got [include] wind tunnels, simulators, offline simulation, CFD.
“A driver whose backside is connected to the car can say ‘this is the phase of these kinds of corners that I know we’re struggling maybe more than others’.
“That allows you to go dig into the data. We didn’t give him a good enough car over the two years he was here. By the end of his second year, we were making progress.”
© Aston Martin
McCullough stated that while he has sympathy for Vettel who didn’t get to drive the more competitive AMR23, he highlighted that it is a common theme throughout F1 history.
“I felt for him that he’s not really got any of the benefits of this year’s car,” McCullough said. “Over the years that often happens. I’ve been involved with that process myself in the past.
“At Williams when we had Rubens Barrichello driving for us, he put so much work during the 2010 and 2011 seasons as far as to say ‘this is what you need to do, this what you should be doing now on so many areas of the car’.
“The 2012 car [that won the Spanish Grand Prix at the hands of Pastor Maldonado], which unfortunately he didn’t end up driving, was the result of a lot of the hard work that he had done.”