Aston Martin shouldn’t consider writing off its 2021 season to focus on next year’s regulations as it would be a “wasted opportunity”, according to Sebastian Vettel.
Vettel is three races in to his debut season for Aston Martin since joining from Ferrari, but it has proved a difficult start to the year for the Silverstone-based outfit.
Following the drastic cuts in downforce under this year’s new aero rules, Aston Martin has lost a lot of performance leaving it a lowly seventh in the standings.
Four-time world champion Vettel had high expectations, along with the team, that it could build on its strong 2020 campaign where they finished fourth overall and scored a surprise victory at the Sakhir Grand Prix.
While Vettel concedes there is plenty of work to do to get on top of its present issues, he doesn’t see its struggles as a sign it should abandon development and shift focus to 2022.
“I don’t think, not just now, but generally in life, that shortcuts will help you a big deal,” Vettel said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“There are so many things that we can still learn, and we can still have a better understanding [of] as a team. So I think it would be a wasted opportunity.
“Now, the question is obviously how you measure the opportunity, whether you measure in podiums and points, and wins or in a different currency.
“I think for us, as a team, we can still improve on a lot of small things. But in the end, it’s always the small things that make a difference and lead to perfection.
“Even if you know we’re not racing in the positions we would love to, I think it’s still time well spent.”
Vettel has endured his worst start to a Formula 1 season since 2008 having failed to register a top-10 finish at any of the first three rounds.
Aston Martin boss Otmar Szafnauer has spoken of how the AMR21’s instability on the rear-end has proved a major hurdle for Vettel, who is known to prefer a car that is stable on the rear.
After team-mate Lance Stroll ran the team’s upgrade package in Portugal, Vettel will get his first taste of the updates at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, which he hopes delivers more grip.
“The ultimate update is to have more grip,” Vettel said.
“If you look at the cars that go faster, they have more grip, not just in low speeds. So we obviously tried to cure that as much as we can with driving, then working on the set-up in the car, [and] the last one being updates, which obviously you can’t bring or you just don’t have as many as you would like.
“I think it’s a normal process. I think even the fastest cars have weaknesses, and you try to work on those. But obviously, from where we are, we don’t probably have the amount of grip that we would like and then it’s normal to have struggles.
“So I think the last venue for all of us was quite difficult with the wind as well throwing the car off. So I’m curious to see how it feels here. Probably a little bit different.”