Windsor, who was also a former F1 team and sponsorship manager, believes four-time world champion Vettel became an “ordinary racing driver” when he no longer had a car that suited his driving style. 

The exhaust-blown diffuser concept was key to much of Red Bull’s success following a regulation overhaul in 2009, leading Vettel to claim four successive world titles between 2010 and 2013. But when new hybrid regulations came into force in 2014, Vettel’s form nosedived, resulting in him being beaten by teammate Daniel Ricciardo

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Vettel left for Ferrari in 2015 but was never able to reach the heights of his Red Bull glory days and was unable to win another world championship. The German called time on his illustrious career at the end of 2022, following two disappointing seasons with Aston Martin. 

“I always thought Vettel was a very reflexy, very fast, very well-balanced driver who, even in his testing for Sauber days, was nothing other than the ultimate exponent of turning the corner into a V shape,” Windsor said on his Twitch channel. 

“And when he couldn’t do that because of the geography of the corner, he was about the same as the average [driver], but when he could do it on a particular type of corner, he was brilliant and had that ability to do it.

“And he had that at Red Bull, when he had that amazing grip at the rear, blown diffuser and everything else.

“When that went away in the regulations in his last year at Red Bull, he became just an ordinary racing driver and actually struggled against Daniel Ricciardo. It was obvious then that that’s how he was exposed.

“He didn’t say at the end of that year, or during that year, ‘wow, I’m in trouble here. When I don’t have a great back end, I need to start to be able to play with it a bit more and do more with the front, get the front to work.’

“[There were] all sorts of things he could have done but he didn’t do any of that.

“He just signed off and went to Ferrari and arrived as the four-time World Champion who was greeted with a lot of money and a lot of fan adulation.

“And he never got any better, he was still the same driver. That’s the Sebastian Vettel story.”

And Windsor reckons both seven-time world champion Hamilton - who beat Vettel in head-to-head title fights in 2017 and 2018 - and Fernando Alonso were always clear of Vettel in terms of raw talent. 

“The only thing you only can add is that he’s also the guy, behind the Safety Car, who drove into Lewis Hamilton at Baku [in 2017] because he was annoyed with Lewis for driving slowly,” he added. 

“He got away with that. He got away with that with a very, very small fine whereas Dan Ticktum lost his licence for a year for doing virtually the same thing. So that was disproportionate. He was very lucky, I think, to get away with that.

“I never would have put him in the same class as Lewis. Maybe, if he’s got a really good back end on the car, I’d put him up there with Fernando [Alonso] – but if he’s got a wayward back end and not a lot of grip [he’s in trouble].

“Overall, throw a bit of crosswind at Seb, throw a bit of crosswind at Fernando, throw a bit of oil on the track, throw a bit of tyres going off – Fernando’s always going to do a better job [than Vettel] with all the variables up in the air.

“Seb is very locked into what he does well.”