Sebastian Vettel gave a long interview to Motorsport.com before the Australian GP was canceled. Here is what Seb’s approach was to the uncertainties related to Coronavirus and his thirteenth full season in Formula 1.
In your opinion, what is the role of sport in moments like this?
“This sport is my life, consequently Formula 1 is very important, but obviously I understand that for the general public, Formula 1 is a two-hour race that takes place every two weeks. In the end what we do entertains so many people, and although in this situation it is impossible to understand what awaits us and make predictions about what will happen, we try to keep as things as normal as possible. I believe that when people find themselves forced to change their daily habits, it can be nice to offer something that people are used to, hoping that it will offer some positive emotions”.
And how do do you live the current situation?
“You go on, taking precautions as far as possible, but under certain circumstances you put yourself in other people’s hands. We all took a plane to come here to Australia, I don’t think anyone came here swimming or on a boat. So we relied on those who work and manage air transport, and it was our choice, nobody forced us to board on a flight to Melbourne, nobody forced us to board on the plane and in the end coming here is a choice that each one of us has freely made. We are here to do what we love, which is to race, but obviously we can’t but be aware of what is happening and we must adapt to what is happening like everyone else”.
A Formula 1 driver is constantly living with the dream of becoming a world champion. In a situation like the current one, what changes, if it changes, in your head?
“When you are 15 years old and racing karts, the prospects are very different than when you are 30 years old or older. The path of life teaches us a lot, in some cases it makes us grow up early, in others maybe a little later, I think it is a very important process for the formation of an individual. I can say that as far as I’m concerned, it would be a mistake to think that Formula 1 is the center of the universe and that the world revolves around it. Today I have three children and I’m old enough to understand that this is not the case. Formula 1 is definitely my passion and a huge part of my life, but it is not the center of everything”.
These days we have seen the difference in the vision between the younger drivers and those who are older and have already established a sporting path. You, Kimi and Lewis have expressed a different vision compared to the young people of Formula 1. Same passion but wider views: is that correct?
“Yes, but it is normal that it is like this, as I said before, life teaches you many things. When I was 10 or 15, only racing existed for me, nothing but racing. Everything revolved around that, while today things have changed a little. This does not mean that my passion has weakened, indeed, but surely I am able to see beyond the world of motorsport. The horizons are broadening and you get aware of many more things. Thanks to this job, I had the opportunity to travel a lot, see a big part of the world, and this allowed me to think, to see other cultures and to get in touch with events distant from me. I think it is an opportunity that helps a lot in the process of maturing.
You are entering your 13th season in F1. How do you feel compared to your first Australian GP in 2008?
“I was Sebastian Bourdais’ teammate, he finished the race in the points and I found myself turning at the first corner and… if I remember well against the barriers. It was a race where many other drivers retired, so if I had finished the race normally, I would probably have taken home some points. It was a dark day for me, but for Toro Rosso it turned out to be a positive weekend thanks to the points scored by my teammate”.
Are the feelings on the eve of the race that opens the season still the same like twelve years ago or has everything changed today?
“Some aspects are still similar, but in general the feeling is different. I remember when I first got here I was a lot more nervous, I didn’t know what would happen and I didn’t know the track … so there were a lot of question marks. Today these doubts are gone and in general I know that no matter how unforeseen a race can be, there will be nothing I have not done previously, an aspect that helps in being safer. But when qualifying and the race arrive, the adrenaline goes up and it’s always exciting, especially when you are on the eve of the first race of the championship. Let’s say that over time you learn to follow your own routine, you are generally more relaxed, but you are not indifferent when you feel the countdown and you know that qualifying or the race is starting, and it’s nice that it is like that, for me it is always like this and I like it”.