Sebastian Vettel He is 35 years old and at the end of the Formula 1 season, on November 20 in Abu Dhabi, he will take off his helmet for the last time and say goodbye to a race in which he won four world titles – at the beginning of Red Bull– and won 53 Grands Prix. His childhood was not designed to be an F1 champion, nor to be a racing driver.
Although his father was a fan of motorsports, he never pressured him. Even, the german was about to study for a university degree but two weeks after finishing high school he got a call from BMW.
His early years in the category were devastating: for a long time he was the youngest driver to win a Grand Prix, that of Italy in 2008, with 21 years, 2 months and 11 days. And with his 2011 title he equaled Michael Schumacher’s record of being the second driver to secure the championship four races before the deadline, something Max Verstappen could achieve this weekend in Japan.
The Dutchman sneaked into the interview that Vettel gave to journalist Mike Guy in the 13th issue of the magazine Road and Track, albeit unintentionally for both pilots. How come? The German referred to his education as well compared it to that of other pilots who have been abused by their parents. She immediately turned to the specialized press Joseph Verstappenwhose violent methods marked the beginnings of the young man who is now 25 years old.
Vettel was born in a middle-class German suburb whose name isn’t registered unless you’re from there. His father, Norbert, was a carpenter and a fan of go-kart racing, although he never pushed Vettel to be anything but himself. “At the time I didn’t understand how lucky I was”Vettel recalled during the interview.
And he explained: “I mean, andCompared to many other riders, I am an exception. I had a normal childhood. I ran and left every weekend, but when I didn’t start I was at home. I went to school, I finished school, I finished high school. I used to go karting and I think I was the most professional a child can be. But when I got off the kart, I was in the earth, I was in the woods “.
He was an advisor (and scout) of Red Bull, Helmut Marko, the first to publicly compare Vettel’s upbringing with Verstappen’s as a study of contrasts leading to similar results. Max’s father, a former F1 driver, was notoriously cruel to him as a child, forcing him to run in conditions that a 10-year-old child shouldn’t endure.
“What do you think makes someone more resilient? I haven’t been beaten, but if you are beaten for life, does it work? Or does it work that they love you and explain how the world works? If you compare the two, who is more resilient? Resilience is that if someone hits you, do you react or is it the strength when it comes to figuring out what just happened, reflecting and taking things from there? “He asked.
“Being a father myself,” continued the father of three, “of course I have these challenges every day. And if you say, okay, my kids can answer, well, then you also have to face the fact that they” retort and be irreverent, so I think it’s fascinating because it depends a lot on who we will be next and how we handle situations, and I’m not talking about how many races we could win. Our childhood is fundamental. Many things can be done well and many can be done wrong.“.
The activist Vettel
In those early years as a multi-champion Formula 1 driver, Vettel was dedicated only to racing. Even when he was called up by Ferrari and, while not winning a championship, he fulfilled his dream of being a racing driver. squad. However, it was only in the last few seasons at Aston Martin that he became an environmental activist and he took advantage of his privileged position in F1 to talk about the problems that plague the planet such as the boycott of Russia, the plight of disadvantaged children, the burdens imposed on the global South and the struggles of minorities for their rights.
In the chat, then, the name of Greta Thunberg. “Is Greta an activist or is she just a very worried citizen of our planet? Greta has Asperger’s syndrome. For her, what is so confusing, and also so sad, is that I think she is very honest about how she feels. To her, our inaction on the climate crisis simply doesn’t make sense, because it doesn’t make sense, and while everyone else is a little numb to it, we have lives, we have things to do, we have other interests and all, it’s just logical. “Why do I need an education when the world is uninhabitable?”“he noted.
“I think I’ve always seen things. I remember in Malaysia, where the year before, when we were running there, there was the forest, and the next year, we passed and it was all palm trees…. I certainly look back at some things now and wonder: Why didn’t I add one plus one before? Or why did I do certain things like flying around the world, like using private jets?“he said with concern.
A concern he does not have for the future from 2023 without the race weekends. “I have three children and a wife whom I love very much. I will be very busy. Anything you think you can do or want to do, I don’t know if it will be satisfactory. Because I don’t know anything other than this. But I think there are more important things. Eventually I’ll find my way to those things“, pointed out that he has the same number of titles as Alain Prost and is only surpassed by Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton (both with 7) and Juan Manuel Fangio.
Max Verstappen’s education
The reigning champion of the Formula 1 championship had just four years when his father started pushing his development in motorsport. “He gave up his career to help me. How many fathers do it? You can see a lot of fathers who enjoy their careers so much that they don’t have too much time for their kids and to get involved. But my dad did, and he does. very grateful because without him I wouldn’t be here, that’s for sure “.observed the Dutch.
It is that Jos Verstappen was a Formula 1 driver between 1994 and 2003. And even if he did not have the success that Max enjoys, he raced a not inconsiderable number of 106 Grands Prix. His best performances come in the year of his debut, which took place on 27 March 1994 at the Brazilian GP due to the injury of JJ Lehto, adding two podiums (3rd in Hungary and Belgium) to Benetton, a team with which Michael Schumacher is was champion the following year.
The knowledge gained in almost a decade in Formula 1 was passed on to his son, the youngest winner of the category at 18 years and 227 days. Although his methods were not pedagogical. As revealed in CarNext, Max would have been 8 or 9 when on a winter Wednesday he took him out of school, took him to the local circuit and let him try despite the pain caused by the cold..
“It was freezing. So I turned on the heater in the truck so it could warm up. We drove a dozen times and he complained about the cold and I told him. ‘ok, go get warm’. Three minutes passed and he did not return. ‘I’m still cold’he told me. ‘I don’t care, drive’I answered. He couldn’t move his fingers but I didn’t careI wanted to test things because I was building engines, making chassis changes and things like that, and I wanted to see the results, because I wanted to move on, ”Jos said in an interview with David Coulthard.