The rain may have been falling in Milton Keynes this week, but it wasn’t raining on Red Bull’s title parade back at the UK factory. Now four-time champion Sebastian Vettel flew in by helicopter – and braved the fog to do so – to give thanks to everyone involved in the team’s phenomenal success.
Even the German himself is still wrestling with the success he’s achieved over the past four seasons. Speaking at a specially arranged press conference, Vettel cut a calm and confident figure on the stage.
“I’m not completely aware of what it means, the achievements over the last couple of years. I’m happy not to be aware,”
“To be that successful, of course it makes me proud, but every race and season is a new challenge. I am not lacking motivation.”
Pressed further about what his ultimate overall ambitions in Formula One were, Seb seemed to be looking short term with Red Bull, rather than the long.
“The next race – that was my point. I am not trying to look too far ahead; I am not trying to look back.”
“One of the secrets, and for the whole team, is to be in the moment. We love motor racing and we enjoy racing, so we don’t need any [extra] motivation.
“You have to plan the future a little bit but as long as you manage to focus on right now you will have a better future as well.”
“We had many special moments. I believe the biggest moment in my life is yet to come, otherwise it would be quite sad at the age of 26 to look back and say I have nothing to look forward to.”
Vettel used the last race at Abu Dhabi, his seventh consecutive success in 2013, as a case study of just how hard he’s worked throughout the season. Even though the word “domination” has been the tagline to his season, he doesn’t share that way of thinking.
“I don’t like the word domination because it makes it sound easy, and if we look back at every single race it was very hard work and we put everything into it.”
“I know how hard it is to get everything right,” he said. “Abu Dhabi is a good example. I was second in qualifying after I tried a bit too hard and Mark [Webber, his team-mate] did a better job than me [and took pole position].
“I’m ambitious and I want to win, and if there is a chance to win I want to take it.”
Many of the champion’s critics have taken aim at the fact that Vettel has only raced in one team, and would only be considered a true great if another championship was won elsewhere. When asked this, he answered in an assured manner that it didn’t really matter.
‘Even if I go to another team I will still have people who doubt me or don’t like who I am or what I do. You have to be happy with yourself, and right now I can assure you I am very happy with where I am, and what I do.’
Comparisons with other multiple champions is inevitable in that regard. Ayrton Senna moved to McLaren in the late ’80s to prove himself against reigning champion Alain Prost.
‘Maybe I have not done enough research or I am not aware of the past, but ultimately Senna wanted to go to McLaren to be in the best car.
“You always target to be with the best team. There have always been the best drivers with winning with the best teams.”
“I am very happy where I am. It is about whether you are happy with who you are, and currently I am for sure.”