4 November 2011
Team Vettel: The architects of genius
Article courtesy of the Red Bulletin. You can check out the November issue of the Red Bulletin in full at: www.redbulletin.com
Sebastien Vettel has just been crowned F1's youngest ever double world champion, and such has been his domination this year, he has made one of sport's toughest challenges look easy. But even a champion so talented has to learn and be nurtured. The Red Bulletin spoke to the architects of genius...
Helmut 'The Masterplanner' Marko
Red Bull motorsport adviser
It was at the Hockenheim circuit in 2004 that I nailed Sebastian down with a contract. Before that he was already with Red Bull, but not in a proper contract structure.
We put him into Mücke Motorsport and from then on we guided his career. In his first year in Formula BMW he won 18 out of 20 races. Then we took him into F3, also with Mücke. He had a difficult first half-season but the second half was good after quite heavy changes in the team at Sebastian's demand. This showed a lot about his attitude.
At that time we didn't have our own F1 team, but we knew that we wanted to take Sebastian in that direction. There was an approach from BMW who were already in F1 as an engine supplier and were forming their own team for 2006. To get Sebastian into F1, we let him go to BMW, but contractually we had the right to get him back.
This was important when we bought the old Minardi team to create Scuderia Toro Rosso. When a seat became available there we transferred him, after a single start for BMW.
He always knew that driving is only part of motor racing and that if you do not have the right knowledge, and the right support of other people, then you will not be a regular winner.
Sometimes I've had to slow him down a little bit because he wanted to do too much too soon. But it has always been a very good working relationship. Through his success we have helped Sebastian mature, also. He's not over-ambitious now, which he was in 2009. And his mental strength is unbelievable.
Guillaume 'The Caddy' Rocquelin
Red Bull Racing race engineer
My role for Seb centres on car preparation and running the car at weekends. At the track I'm the team's 'face' for him. Anything he needs to know about, anything technical with the car, anything that needs organising – at the track or maybe in the factory, such as time on the simulator, he will ask me.
During a race weekend, essentially I run the car, and make sure it's set up to his liking. This covers many aspects, such as tyre selection and management, fuel, when we come into the pits and discussing all the data that the car generates. There's also the human dimension. I help him with coaching, motivation and how to deal with the inevitable ups and downs.
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