Red Bull’s motorsport chief, Dr. Helmut Marko, who oversaw the development of Sebastian Vettel has blasted legend, Sir Jackie Stewart, for claiming that the German is past his prime and cannot launch another title bid next year.
To claim that he is past his zenith at the age of 30 is just nonsense,” Marko told Auto Bild. “A four time world champion doesn’t forget how to drive. Seb will come back for sure. It’s like Max Verstappen, who was criticised early this season and came back stronger than ever.”
Marko has mentored Vettel through his time in junior formulae and made him his blue-eyed boy (something Mark Webber would testify to) in the course of his six years with the Red Bull outfit. He went on to say that his situation this season was just a case of bad luck.
“Vettel’s mistakes were not about mental weakness. It was bad lack. In all of those duels, the other driver could easily have been the one who spun,” the Austrian said. He clearly could not stand his one-time protege being slandered, that too by one of the legends of the sport.
There may be a hint of truth to Marko’s words though. In most of the incidents involving Vettel this season, he came out the loser more often than not (except with Valtteri Bottas at Hungary). He easily could have been the benefactor of any of those incidents.
But again the doubts in the mind of people were not about whether Vettel was weak or not. It was about his impatience, the not wanting to bide his time before making his move, which led to a 50-50 situation in the first place.
Vettel was not alone at fault though. The Ferrari team themselves made a few strategic blunders though former driver, Felipe Massa, does not think so. The combination of the two led to the driver’s loss but they could yet salvage it by winning the constructors’ championship in the final two races at Brazil and Abu Dhabi.