David Coulthard believes that Sebastian Vettel will only be accepted as a true grand prix great if he can find success with a team outside of the Red Bull fraternity.
Whilst admitting that the German has established a formidable record in his short time in the top flight, driver-turned-analyst Coulthard explained that he has yet to face a real challenge from within RBR and appears to the wider F1 audience to have been helped a lot by his situation, with comments last year suggesting that his success was tied to Adrian Newey's designs.
"Seb is a good driver, a world-class driver, but he hasn't overcome adversity yet in terms of being with another team or being up against a team-mate who was already world champion,” Coulthard told Britain's Guardian
newspaper in the build-up to this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, “Has he done an amazing job to be a multiple world champion? Yes, he has, but, if he goes somewhere else and continues his winning ways then, to the wider public, he will get a new-found respect. If it appears as a magic carpet ride, none of us like to see that - we like to see people overcome a bit of adversity."
Vettel has been repeatedly linked with Ferrari over the past few years, having commented that it would be every driver's dream to race for the iconic marque, but insists that he is happy to remain with Red Bull for the time being. With Fernando Alonso ensconced at Maranello, and neither driver likely to want to be paired with the other, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has also attempted to draw a line under the rumours by saying he would not want to deal with the repercussions of what others are terming a 'dream team'.
"I don't think Seb has to do anything but keep winning to satisfy his own desire to be a winning grand prix driver," Coulthard continued, “But, do I think he has to move to cement his legacy? Yes, I do.
"For whatever reason, whether it's just the way we are as humans, or to satisfy the purists who have followed the sport for many, many years, we like to see people not just do it once, but multiple times and over different scenarios. There is this thing about cementing a place in history and it does seem to mean winning championships with different teams. Do you need to move? I guess the answer is yes, ultimately, you need to move.”