Sebastian Vettel says that he has no regrets about his decision to leave Red Bull Racing and join Ferrari in 2015, fulfilling a childhood dream of following in the footsteps of Michael Schumacher by racing for Formula 1’s most iconic team.
“Ferrari has always been a dream of mine,” he told Sky Sports F1′ Martin Brundle in an exclusive interview.
“I think it is a fascinating brand, so for the right reasons I think I was attracted by that attractive red-haired women that showed interest!” he joked.
“I don’t want to say I was brainwashed, but [I was] obviously massively inspired by my childhood, by Michael in the red car.
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“I never wanted to step in Michael’s footsteps, like literally,” he said. “I wanted this to work for myself more than for Michael, if you see what I mean.
“But I was inspired by him and still am inspired by him, because I think he is the best there ever was.”
Vettel won four world championship titles with Red Bull and hoped to emulate that success at Maranello, but instead he’ll leave the team at the end of 2020 without having added to his tally.
Even though his time at Ferrari hasn’t included a title, he’s won 14 Grand Prix races with the team – more than any Ferrari driver before him.
Even so, the team has opted not to negotiate a contract extension beyond the end of the season, leaving Vettel casting about for a new job.
“Looking back, our mission – my mission, my target – was to win the championship. We didn’t do that, so in that regard we failed,” he admitted.
“I was hoping to take some championships away from Lewis [Hamilton] so that Michael’s record [of seven world titles] stands a bit longer.
“It is a shame it didn’t work out, but I’m also old enough and mature enough to know why and see the reasons and move on. That’s the truth.
“But still we had some really good years, and some highlights and good races, so I don’t regret it.”
The team’s dramatic slump in form in 2020 has arguably softened the blow of being shown the door. But Vettel says he’ll still be trying his best to put Ferrari back on top in the time he has left with the Scuderia.
“We are disappointed as a team we are not in a position to fight for wins and podiums what we pretty much expected,” he admitted.
“If you have those high expectations then it’s always going to be a disappointment if you don’t achieve those.
“But it is what it is now and we need to make sure we hang in there and make sure we do the best we can.
“Despite the fact that I’m leaving the team, I will try to do my job and try to help all those people who have given me so much and helped me so much in the recent years.”
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