This time I will be brief. Barcelona is approaching and instead of the battle for technical developments I would like to talk about an issue that is almost closer to my heart. When I think of the Circuit de Catalunya, noodles come to mind. It was a full-bodied dish, seasoned with a fairly imaginative ragout, and shaking them menacingly was outrageous. Sebastian Vettel. “I’m not going there now”, he told me, pointing to the prefabricated one where a crowd of reporters, TV and photographers were waiting for him. It was a day in February, during the 2016 tests, and the reason for his indignation – it seems to me – was the fact that the FIA had approved a new qualifying criterion (which in the test of the facts of the criterion had very little) without consult the pilots. Unfortunately, Seb did not want to attend the press conference, but I finally managed to convince him, not exactly with good luck. I was impressed, however, by this rebellious attitude, so unorthodox of the rules of today’s F1, towards what he considered an injustice and indignation for his professional class. A feature I found later in other cases.
Years have passed and Seb is no longer at Ferrari (neither am I, but that does not matter). I can say that where it is now, that is, at Aston Martin, the pressure is lower and so are the expectations. The green team protocol seems even less rigid to me and allows it to externalize a bit on all current issues. from the invasion of Ukraine, to which he dedicated the colors of his helmet, to the defense of the environment, to the defense of LGBTQ + rights (if I lose a letter you will forgive me) and so on. The impression one has is that one pays more and more attention to the world around one, as if it were hunting for alternatives. And that led, on the one hand, a Formula E team to offer him a test drive with one of its cars: and, on the other hand, a former driver and permanent commentator, Marc Surer, to take his retirement for granted. this season.
On the verge of 60 I still want to deceive myself and I am determined to believe that Sebastian Vettel, a man without intelligence, has the energy and ability to combine his social struggles with the work that gives him ζην. He has always been a hobbyist, from collecting Beatles vinyl to restoring old motorcycles (in the first I do not know, in the second I am told that passion is much less and skills are much less). He also always liked good gestures: only once, as soon as he won a world championship, he helped the engineers dismantle the garage and now he goes to clean the stands after the race (he did not win). Today, however, not a day goes by without me reading a statement on a subject of his choice, as if it were a virologist from the television. And at the cost of being unpleasant and unpopular – which, given my age, I can not care less about now – I have to say I’m a restless fool. Because I have already seen in other pilots these behaviors, these differences of interest. and I wonder how compatible they are with a profession that today is all-encompassing and totalitarian. I also think of the Ferrari Vettel, his obsession with detail, his announcements that lasted six times as many as those of Raikkonen. and I wonder if he has found the formula to take twenty-nine hours a day or if he is just about to unplug.
I know: it would be nice if celebrities, actors, rock stars, athletes, really had a way of engaging in full-time social work. Of course there are those who do: but if for a Bono Vox (mentioned for example) this can be a driving force for a career, for a Sebastian Vettel it risks becoming a brake. And do not tell me “but also Hamilton“ because it is not the same. In the sense that Lewis always voiced his interests and managed them in an organized way, without neglecting the media coverage, during the years he won the world championships: while Sebastian cultivated his warlike and divisive perception especially since he stopped . wins and is at the heart of the driver market. Too bad to say, I know: but it’s not the same thing.
And then I still delude myself and I hope, I really believe, that on the track where five years ago took his foot off the accelerator to not show Ferrari potential in tests, Sebastian Vettel finds himself running and running as he knew and maybe still knows how to do. It does not matter if it is a first or an eighth place.