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The departing Team Principal of AlphaTauri has recently revealed an interesting fact about the 2008 Formula 1 season. In an exclusive conversation on the ‘F1: Beyond The Grid’ podcast, the Red Bull insider sheds light on a crucial moment in the 2008 season that catapulted a young Sebastian Vettel to stardom. The revelation centers around a strategic mistake made by Red Bull’s renowned aerodynamicist Adrian Newey.

One of the highlights of the 2008 Formula 1 season was the remarkable ascent of Toro Rosso, the sister team of Red Bull Racing. Toro Rosso’s consistent improvement saw them not only catch up with Red Bull. But eventually, they overtook the senior team in the Constructors championship. At the heart of this success was the meteoric rise of Sebastian Vettel. A driver who would go on to become the youngest-ever Formula 1 champion.

Franz Tost uncovers how Adrian Newey helped Sebastian Vettel’s rise to glory

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Sebastian Vettel, even in his early days, showcased the hallmarks of greatness. Franz Tost, reflecting on the German driver’s impact since joining Toro Rosso in the middle of the 2007 season, noted his ability to extract every ounce of performance from the car.

However, to understand the sequence of events that led to Toro Rosso’s triumph. We need to go back to Red Bull’s earlier years. Up until 2006, Red Bull ran on Ferrari engines, a powerhouse in terms of raw power. However, Red Bull’s chassis struggled to unlock the full potential of the engine. In a strategic move, Red Bull transferred the Ferrari engine contract to Toro Rosso.

Crucially, both Red Bull and Toro Rosso shared Adrian Newey’s expertise in developing championship-winning chassis. Before Toro Rosso began work on their car, they inherited a robust foundation from Red Bull. It was all thanks to Newey’s technological prowess. The transition was smooth for the sister team, with minor adjustments made to accommodate the Ferrari engine.

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Fast forward to what Tost revealed on the podcast, and the spotlight was firmly on Adrian Newey. When asked how they were able to beat Red Bull in 2008, Tost explained, “It was an Adrian Newey car. And as you know, it was another engine than Red Bull Racing because when Newey came to the team, he didn’t want to have a Ferrari engine. And therefore Adrian caught me and said, you get now the Ferrari engine. It’s okay, it’s fantastic, this is very good news, yeah. Because Red Bull decided to go with the Renault engine.”

The critical race at Monza highlighted the consequences of this choice. “In Monza, we had a fantastic package together. First of all, the Ferrari engine in those days was for sure a bit better than the Renault engine. For a second, Adrian’s car was working as always, fantastic, and Sebastian Vettel did a really good job with the team and with the setup,” Tost added.

Speaking on the team’s first win in Monza, Tost said, “Everything went well. The team did a fantastic job with the pit stops. And Sebastian drove the race without any mistakes, therefore we won.”

Having retired at the end of the 2022 season, the four-time world champion recently hinted at a possible return to the grid.

Sebastian Vettel unable to refuse a comeback to Formula 1

In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports F1, Sebastian Vettel acknowledged the uncertainty of his future. At 36, Vettel remains significantly younger than the oldest driver on the current grid, leaving the door open for a potential comeback.

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When asked about the possibility of returning similar to the likes of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, Vettel responded, “I can’t say no, because that you don’t know. I think it’s something that if you asked all of them, probably some of them would have said ‘no’. And some of them I don’t know. But in the end, all of them came back, so I can’t exclude it.”

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The German driver’s decision to step away from the sport at the end of 2022 was influenced by the lack of competitiveness in his final years. He emphasized that only the right “challenge” could entice him back into the cockpit.

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WATCH THIS STORY | Lewis Hamilton Expresses Gratitude to Sebastian Vettel for Saving Him in “Brave” Fashion From Horrific Reality of F1

What are your thoughts on Sebastian Vettel’s return to F1? Let us know in the comments below.

Written by

Veerendra Vikram Singh

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I come from a family that lives and breathes football, but I never quite fit that mold. Ever since I was a kid, something about motorsport drew me in and helped me develop a lifelong love for racing. The sight of stock cars zipping past close to 200 miles an hour bumper to bumper just makes you appreciate the sport in a different way.
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Edited by

Aishwary Gaonkar