2013 FoRmula 1 WoRld champIoNshIp
took the concept way further than anyone
else – and a major reason why was Vettel.
“Seb drives the car very much like a
motocross or speedway rider on corner
entry,” says Red Bull Racing team boss
Christian Horner. “He is totally relaxed to
have the car moving around beneath him
as he turns in – and not many drivers are.
I would say he’s developed that feeling
and sensitivity over the years, because
what is so impressive about his technique
now is its repeatability. We’ve seen
fantastic things from him before,
moments of brilliance, but this season
what has been so outstanding is how he’s
able to switch it on on demand. He’s
driving to a fantastically high level all the
has increased the demands upon the
intelligence and dynamism of the driver’s
right foot. He has to turn in with the
cylinder cut enhancing the turn in, then
he has to get hard on the gas to boost
the exhaust flow over the downforce-
inducing devices at the back, halting the
rear-end slide. But then he often has to
revert back to part-throttle to prevent the
rear wheels breaking traction. This
fantastically intricate dance requires a
supple mind combined with sublime feel for
a car that is sliding around beneath him.
This is Sebastian Vettel’s area of magic
– but only because this is the area where
the advantage is to be found. Next year, a
different blend will be required, and Vettel
will doubtless ace that, too. He is so much
more than a good driver in the best car.
He’s an intrinsic part of why it’s the best
car simply because he’s able to operate
it in a way denied to most.
Incredible as sebastian Vettel’s feat is in
equaling Juan manuel Fangio’s four
consecutive F1 titles, the Red Bull driver did it
with one team and all the continuity that
comes with it. same goes for michael
schumacher and his “five-peat” with Ferrari.
Fangio, on the other hand, swapped
teams three times during his title streak. In
1954, “El Chueco” began the season with
maserati, winning twice in its new 250F,
before joining mercedes on its F1 return
and winning four more races. The following
year, he took four wins for mercedes, but
switched to Ferrari for ’ 56 when the
Three-pointed star pulled out of racing.
That marriage of convenience bore three
wins. For ’ 57, he was back in a 250F,
winning four times, including his legendary
fightback victory at the Nurburgring.
FaNGIo’s VaRIETY sho W
SChUEy IN hIS SIgh TS
time. It’s really on an elevated plane, I feel.
I would put him against anyone in these
cars, and I think he’d come out on top.”
It’s been Vettel’s adaptation to that
generically unstable generation of car that’s
allowed Red Bull’s aerodynamicists and
vehicle dynamicists to push further along
the path than others – and the further they
go, the faster the car has become. This year,
engine mapping techniques have evolved
to vary the emphasis on cutting cylinders,
bank to bank, according to which direction
the corner is. In this way, cylinder cutting
can be used to aid direction change. This
Sebastian Vettel will match Michael
Schumacher’s five-straight F1 Drivers’
Championships if he wins the 2014
title. If not, it seems implausible – but
not impossible – that Vettel could build
another five-title streak from scratch.
More do-able would be the 26-year-old
matching Schuey’s seven career F1 titles
– a near certainty at Seb’s current rate.
JUAN MANUEL FANgIO
steel lattice of the yas
Marina’s Viceroy hotel
frames Vettel’s Red
Bull RB9 during
practice for the Abu
Dhabi grand Prix.
focus in the office.
“seb’s driving is really on
an elevated plane. against
anyone in these cars, i think
he’d come out on top”