While calling himself “a big Sebastian Vettel fan,” Sir Jackie Stewart says people shouldn’t be crowing the two-time Formula 1 champ as an all-time great just yet.
“If you’ve got a superior car, it’s relatively easy to win the championship,” he told the BBC.
“To really show you’re one of the greatest, you have to deliver when you haven’t got the best machinery.”
And he added this caveat: “I have the highest respect for Sebastian, but he could not have achieved what he has without the [Red Bull design chief] Adrian Newey factor.”
Agree? Disagree? I wonder if your perspective has anything to do with how highly you rate Mark Webber, whom Vettel has out-classed on his way to those two titles.
Speaking of Mark, the BBC has posted his latest column, and he’s all measured:
“The three races in Asia – Singapore, Japan and Korea – have been good for my Red Bull team. No-one’s getting carried away but we are starting to find some form at the right point of the championship,” Webber writes.
“We put some performance on the car in Singapore, and that has started to unravel a few little paths for us in terms of upping our confidence level with what the car needed.
“It has been an up-and-down year for everyone.”
I think the following is the most interesting bit — racewise:
We, like the other teams, know where we were last year. That was a lot faster car because the regulations were looser.
Now the regulations are a lot tighter you want to get back to where you were, but the goalposts are different.
It’s like getting to the top of a tree and certain branches have been taken out. You’re trying to work out how to get to the next branch. When you do, that opens up another area, and so on.
This year’s RB8 might look similar to last year’s RB7 but it’s a very different racing car and things that work on this car would not have worked on last year’s car and vice versa.
It’s not just addressing the absence of the blown diffuser at the back of the car.
There have been areas of the floor, details of front wing, a little bit of the DRS overtaking aid. There are so many areas where you have to make small improvements, and that’s what the team have done.
I call that the most interesting racewise because Mark also gives us this:
Before going to Korea from Japan, I did a promotional event with Usain Bolt which involved me driving him from Tokyo airport into the city.
The event was based around Nissan’s GT-R sportscar, which Usain is a big fan of.
He was going: “I’m going to get one of these. What modifications should I get done to it?”
So I gave him a few facts about what’s important in a really, really quick road car.
I said: “Look, make it as light as possible. F1 drivers, we love cars to stop and accelerate and turn. It’s not just always about horsepower.”
Now he wants to make his GT-R even lighter than it already is, which will improve the brakes even more.
Webber also has his say about the Red Bull skydiving thing… you might have heard about it.
Back to Stewart. He thinks Vettel has the inside line on this year’s driver’s title, and he had a few things to say about Vettel’s rumored move to Ferrari:
“I think that’s premature. He would be mad to leave Red Bull at the present time.
“I know there would be a difference in their basic salary, but he’s in a position where he’s winning grands prix.
“He’s won 25 races and is going to knock me off my perch before the end of the season – but he’s only 25 and still has time to move.”