, YOKOHAMA, Japan
Global Media Center Interview with Formula 1 Champion Sebastian Vettel
Q1. You are the youngest to win an F1 title in consecutive years. Comparing them, you have said this one was a little harder. Why so?
A1. Well it’s different. The first title will always be something special, always deep in your memory. This year has been a completely different year, whereas last year we allowed a lot of mistakes to happen, this year, even if sometimes let’s say the boat started shaking a bit, we kept it on course, we didn’t allow those mistakes to really affect us. Meaning, we still took a lot of points out of those races, finished on those podiums, so we had a fantastic season, no doubt. That’s why before the end of the season we were able to secure the title, which is incredible, but really down to the team as a whole. Every single one has worked incredibly hard, so it’s really something special.
Q2. Red Bull’s Mark Webber has also performed very well, the team is in line, but it has not yet secured the Constructor’s Cup. What’s your expectation?
A2. As you said, it’s still open, so we obviously still have to get that one, and it’s looking pretty good at the moment. We are leading the point table, but I don’t think we can allow ourselves to get too excited, we still have to get the job done. We are looking forward to the next four races, we have a great car under our belt and a great team. We should be in a good pace and good shape, so we’ll see what we can do.
Q3. At 24, your consecutive win achievement is the youngest ever at that age. You have been told how it compares to the eight others that have done this. Looking at your future in this sport, is there any new achievement that you see possible, say for example, (eclipsing) Michael Schumacher’s overall title record?
A3. I think speaking of Michael, you always need to back off a little bit because it is something very, very special, what he has achieved. So it’s hard to aim for that, but really I think the secret this year for me has been to go step by step, and that’s what we have to focus on in the future as well. So, first of all, make sure we use our chances for the Constructor’s championship, finish those four races, and then make sure we prepare next season to come back even stronger. We are not allowed to become lazy, to list, because the competition is very, very high in Formula 1. Other teams are desperate for two years now to get in our spot, so we need to keep working very hard to stay where we are.
Q4. You are a historian of this sport, and Suzuka, has often been a key decider. Yesterday in particular you had a (Japanese character) symbol on top of your helmet, Kizuna. Can you tell us a bit about that and your feeling of achievement in Japan?
A4. Last year, I had a special helmet designed for the Japanese Grand Prix, just to say thanks to the fans because it is a race that we really enjoy. Looking back at the beginning of this year, we found ourselves testing in Barcelona in March when the (Japanese) earthquake happened, and then the tsunami came on the east coast of Japan, and it was dreadful to see it. Knowing that we will go there at the end of the year, we were looking forward to – for a country that had such a big hit – to be able to give something back, and there was not a single doubt to come up with something special and Kizuna is a sign for friendship; it’s a strong bond for people to stick together in difficult times and I thought it was a good sign to put on my helmet so that everyone can see it. The people here are very passionate about racing. They enjoy racing, so it was a sign to show them in a small matter, as much as we can do, to help them, to show them we are there and we care for them. So it was a special year to come back to Suzuka and we enjoyed it more than ever. Obviously, to decide the championship made it truly special.
Q5. In addition to your helmet, you also wear a hat as Infiniti Ambassador. The sport has expanded its global footprint to some degree and so has Infiniti over recent years. What are your expectations in terms of where Formula 1 is going and ultimately the kind of audience or fan base it can assume?
A5. Formula 1 has a lot of tradition, a lot of history – nice history, something we can be proud of, you can be proud of, if you are part of Formula 1. We shouldn’t forget the roots, but always Formula 1 has been known for developing, going different and new routes, so we have to stick to that. The level of competition is very high. We always try to find something different, find something new, and the partnership we have with Infiniti, I think helps us for the future. It’s not a short-term partnership. It’s a long-term partnership, helps us for the future to explore different routes, as I mentioned, to in the end – to keep it simple – make the car go quicker.