Should Sebastian Vettel Be Worried by Hamilton’s Alarming Mercedes F1 Verdict?

Published 03/15/2021, 8:30 AM EDT
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari prepares to drive on the grid before the F1 Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)


“The rear doesn’t feel particularly great with this new regulation change, and we’re trying to find the sweet spot.” – These were the words of Lewis Hamilton after day 2 of pre-season testing in Bahrain. This doesn’t just concern him, but also Sebastian Vettel.

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To give you some brief before we dive into the detail, we must tell you that the AMR21 adopts a lot of features from W12. It is because most of the chassis from last season’s cars are carried over into this season. And Aston Martin’s previous iteration, Racing Point, infamously, was pink copy of Mercedes.

Formula One F1 – Pre-Season Testing – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 12, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during testing REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Now, coming to this year’s regulation. Although the FIA froze most of the chassis, they did make a few tweaks in regulations to reduce downforce.

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They introduced tighter regulations for floor and diffuser designs. So, Mercedes may have made key changes to their car, especially the floor to get an edge. However, that may have ended up giving their car a more nervous rear as Lewis found out when he spun in the entry to corner 13.

And it is something that his teammate, Valtteri Bottas, also recently shed light on. “I would say one of the big issues with the car is the rear end. It’s quite snappy, and it’s quite unforgiving.”

So, could this cause more trouble for Sebastian Vettel? His struggles last season were attributed to the unstable rear that the SF1000 had. If his Aston Martin challenger also incurs those issues, it won’t bode well for the German.

Sebastian Vettel recently dismissed the ‘nervous rear’ theory

It became the center of his woeful 2020 F1 season. However, Vettel himself does not have a problem with a car that has such characteristics.

“All this talk about the stern has degenerated a bit. If you look at the cars that I drove at Red Bull or at the beginning at Ferrari, then there were always times when the rear was more nervous, and that’s okay,” said Vettel.

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Formula One F1 – Pre-Season Testing – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel arrives ahead of testing REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

“There are some driving techniques when it comes to understeer, but your hands are a little more tied or you are a little more restricted. So actually I prefer it when the car is a little more nervous, it really helps you turn in.”

Let’s hope that the AMR21 is developed in a much different way than Mercedes’ W12. Team principal, Otmar Szafnauer, has previously emphasized on providing him with a stable rear. We’ll soon find out the extent of work they have put in to make to German comfortable inside the car.

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Bharat Aggarwal

695 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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