Sebastian Vettel and his second job
It's been a rocky start to 2014 for the F1 champ. Luckily he's got another job to fall back on. Paul Horrell reports
Posted: 23 Feb 2014
Which sounds like PR cobblers. Racing drivers do a lot of messaging for their sponsors. Vettel could never credibly express what brand of shoes, jeans or wee-coloured energy drink he preferred, because his shirt is a billboard for the corporations who bankroll his sporting endeavours. So it's pointless to ask whether he thinks Infiniti's cars are worth driving. But quite aside from all that, sorting a semi-luxury compact saloon is surely poles apart from sorting a racecar. And anyway, how can he find the time for a more than symbolic stab at it?
Even though this is supposed to be a quiet day for him, there are seven or eight TV crews following his every move. To escape, we jump in the Q50 V6 for the interview. It's got five video cameras suckered to the glass, recording his every move and word. Even so, two PRs - his own and one from Infiniti - install themselves in the back seat, each of them also recording the conversation. Such is life when you're him. "There are too many people in the car," he grins. It'll mess up the car's weight distribution. "See, I've got my excuses lined up already."
OK, but why be defensive of the Q50? How much did he really do? "You have to understand I didn't have hundreds of days developing the car and giving feedback. But I drove the car once in Japan, getting to know it, and there were some things I didn't like. I told the engineers, and they weren't too happy about it. But they changed it afterwards." The changes were confirmed by Infiniti Red Bull F1 reserve driver Sébastien Buemi. "He was working on the Nordschleife. The final product is in my opinion better than what I drove in Japan."