For Aston Martin Cognizant Formula 1 Team driver and four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel, going out for a spin usually involves something absolutely spectacular. With 121 Formula 1 podiums, 53 wins and four championship titles to his name, it is safe to say he is well versed in the art of driving. Now in his 14th year at the very pinnacle of motorsport, Vettel is part way through his latest campaign, alongside teammate Lance Stroll, as Aston Martin rejoins the Formula 1 world after a 61-year hiatus. To mark the occasion and celebrate both Vettel’s and Aston Martin’s new beginning,
the seasoned champion headed far off the track and took the Aston Martin DBX for a dramatic drive in the Arctic Circle.
“I think it’s a beautiful car, so obviously, I enjoyed it,” says Vettel with a smile, sitting in the Aston Martin team headquarters at the Portimão Circuit in Portugal. “It was much more entertaining than other filming occasions or events that I’ve done in the past.” At the age of just 34, the German driver is not short of experience or achievements. Still, even for seasoned pros like Vettel, a move to a new team is as much of a challenge as it is an opportunity.
“There were a lot of new faces and, obviously, a new colour to get used to, but I think the team is great. Everyone has been very welcoming. The spirit is high and everybody is happy to be part of this new beginning, bringing Aston Martin back to Formula 1,” he says. After a difficult season, which saw him part ways with Ferrari after six years with the squad, Vettel was eager for a new focus and a fresh start. “The previous team I raced with was Italian, so language-wise it’s a bit easier — it’s less of a barrier,” he says smiling.
In the same vein as Vettel’s new beginning, the Aston Martin DBX marks a significant new chapter in the sports car maker’s long history. Since 1913, the marque has carved out its position as a premium and much-loved maker of sporting GT cars, with low and sleek two- and four-door cars peppering its past model line-up. Only recently, in its 107th year, has the marque ventured into SUV territory, with the DBX.
“The shoot with the DBX was pretty close to my dream road trip,” says Vettel. “It featured a lot of driving, which was fun, and beautiful scenery, so it was a great time to get to know the car.”
The shoot also took place in the Scottish Highlands, on a road made famous in the Bond movie Skyfall, with Daniel Craig at the wheel an iconic Aston Martin DB5. Vettel blasted his way through steep-sided valleys and past lakes, rivers and mountains during the filming of the teaser, before the main film sees him taking on the frozen tundra of the Arctic Circle. “The scenery we did the filming in was very new to me and different, so I want to head back out there when I can, especially when it’s a bit warmer.”
In the film, Vettel voices his thoughts on the challenge of bringing Aston Martin back to Formula 1 and on the path he’s taken in his career. “It’s really how you lead your life that sets the most impressive examples — there are no shortcuts. A change of surroundings, a change of environment; it’s always a new beginning. It’s writing a new chapter, obviously, in my life but I think in a lot of lives, and all the people that are involved in the team,” he comments.
Driving the all-wheel drive, V8-engined DBX through the icy landscape is far removed from his day job. The filming took place in the winter, ahead of his F1 debut for Aston Martin in March 2021, affording Vettel some much-needed time and space to think and reflect.
Vettel blasted his way through steep-sided valleys and past lakes, rivers and mountains during the filming of the teaser
“Ultimately, you need to enjoy what you do. If you have that joy, then it can be expressed in many ways — it can be absolute silence when you’re just focused, it can be being obsessed with preparation or trying to squeeze every single bit of information out of the engineers,” he says.
Now part way through the season with the new Silverstone-based squad, he and Lance Stroll have the enviable yet daunting task of ensuring Aston Martin’s Formula 1 comeback lives up to the high expectations of fans and followers. With one of the best driver pairings on the grid, the team is now in the points, thanks to Vettel’s hugely impressive second place at Baku in June. “The team has been great in helping me get up to speed and in explaining all the differences,” he explains. “I think there were things, especially in the beginning, that I could learn on my side and they could learn on their side. I’m sure we’ll soon see more results from that learning process.”
This story is an extract from an article featured in the AM48 issue of Aston Martin magazine, out now. If you're not already a subscriber, visit magazine.astonmartin.com/magazine-subscription so that you can read the full story.