The stark challenges Vettel’s new start now faces
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The stark challenges Vettel’s new start now faces

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A poor final season at Ferrari and a troubled Bahrain test don’t bode well for the four-time Formula 1 world champion, who has some catching up to do in his new surroundings at Aston Martin

“It could be worse,” says Sebastian Vettel, just as 2021 Formula 1 pre-season testing ends. He’s right, of course, but the start of Aston Martin’s second F1 era got off to a pretty inauspicious start. It’s currently impossible to say exactly where the team sits in the latest pecking order because it completed so little running over the Bahrain test, but this was the team that had the third-fastest car in 2020. And, thanks to the carryover requirements of the new campaign, much of that package remains in action in 2021.  

But a second impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was the 50% reduction in pre-season testing time. That had already made Vettel’s task of getting up to speed with a new team difficult, even before Aston lost almost nearly a third of the three-day test to a gearbox problem on day two, and then a turbo-boost-pressure issue as the final hours approached, both dramas occurring during Vettel’s allocated running.  

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