FORMULA 1

Honda could have signed Sebastian Vettel

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Sebastian Vettel achieved success with the Red Bull Racing team but things could have been different as he could have ended up with Honda.

Alpine Team Boss, Otmar Szafnauer provided an insight on how Honda failed to sign Vettel. Szafnauer was Honda’s director of strategy and business planning in the late 2000s. He revealed that there was a two-week window where then German junior was available to sign.

Asked about Vettel in Hungary, Szafnauer revealed that he almost got his wish of signing Sebastian Vettel for Honda. Only for sporting director Gil de Ferran to play spoilsport.

Szafnauer told:

“Seb came up to me and he said, ‘I’ve got a two-week window,’ and he was a young, he was I don’t know, 19 years old or whatever,” .

“‘I’ve got a two week window where I’m out of contract at both Red Bull and I think BMW. So, are you interested in signing me?’

“He was unknown quantity back then. But I’m like, ‘yeah, this kid’s good!’ Two-week window!

“So I went to Gil, and I said, ‘we have two-week window to sign Seb Vettel.’ He said, ‘don’t worry, I got my eye on him.’ ‘What do you mean, you got your eye on him? We got two weeks!’

“Anyway, we didn’t sign him.”

Vettel went on to make his debut with BMW Sauber at the United States Grand Prix in 2007, filling in for an injured Robert Kubica. Later in the season, he got his full-time race seat with Scuderia Toro Rosso.

In 2008 on a rain-soaked day in Monza, Vettel put in a marvelous drive to win his and the team’s first race. He became the then youngest ever F1 winner.

Vettel also became the youngest world champion after winning the title with Red Bull in 2010. He then, went on to win the title four titles consecutively.

In 2020, Szafnauer got his wish of signing Vettel when the German signed for Aston Martin for 2021 onwards.

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