End of an Era: Sebastian Vettel & Red Bull

Prior to the Mercedes domination of 2014, there was one partnership eclipsing the competition. That was, of course, Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing.

Over his six seasons driving for the team Vettel has 44 pole positions, 65 podium finishes and 38 wins, not forgetting the small matter of four world championships. Ever since making his race debut with Sauber at the 2007 US GP, the young German has demonstrated his considerable talent. Winning his first race at a wet Monza in 2008 set Vettel on an incredible journey.

Vettel made his Formula One debut with Sauber – the team that has given us Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen amongst other drivers – and it wasn’t long before he was breaking records. In fact, six seconds is the amount of time it took him. As he drove down the pit-lane in Turkey in his first ever Formula One session he broke the speed limit. He continued 2006 as a test driver for Sauber before making his first race appearance for them at the 2007 US GP, standing in for an injured Robert Kubica. Vettel went on to pick up a point – his first of many – before swapping to Toro Rosso for the remainder of the 2007 season. 2008 brought with it a solid first full season in Formula One as Vettel finished eighth in the standings and he was rewarded with a seat at Red Bull Racing for 2009.

Vettel wasted no time in getting involved in a championship battle as he finished runner up to Jenson Button in 2009. The gap was 11 points by the season’s end and Vettel racked up four wins on his way to second place. In 2010 he went one better and won his first world championship. Winning the Abu Dhabi GP saw him win the title in emphatic style, especially as he had not led the championship at any stage during the season, instead just being on top when it mattered most. 2011 was a stark contrast as Vettel led the championship start to finish with a pole position and victory at the season opener in Australia giving a sign of what was to come. He won 11 races and only failed to finish on the podium twice – a fourth place at his home race in Germany and a DNF in Abu Dhabi. He finished 122 points clear of his closest rival – Jenson Button. 2012 was another 2011-esque year as Vettel went head-to-head with Fernando Alonso and not with a clear advantage. He overcame a 44 point deficit to his rival to eventually win by three points. A nine race in a row victory streak at the end of 2013 saw him once again beating Alonso, this time wrapping up the championship by round 16 and over 150 points clear of second place.

While Vettel has been linked with Ferrari in the past it still came as somewhat of a shock when he confirmed that he would be leaving Red Bull. A lacklustre 2014 season which saw Vettel beat by new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo resulted in Vettel ending the year in fifth. His contract with Red Bull denied him the chance of driving for Ferrari at the post-season test in Abu Dhabi, but he was spotted in the back of the garage. He then made his on track debut with his new team at Ferrari test track Fiorano in the F2012. Ferrari had a disappointing year in 2014 but Vettel’s new team-mate Kimi Raikkonen suggested that next year’s car is moving in the right direction. It is the dawn of new era for the German driver who, at the age of 27, still has a lot to give in Formula One.

Vote for Ferrari’s car name

Ferrari have become the latest team to announce the launch of their 2014 car. The as yet un-named challenger will be launched on Saturday 25 January. Before the car is unveiled, however, Ferrari have offered fans a unique opportunity to be involved with the naming process.

By visiting http://2014f1car.ferrari.com/en/#countdown fans can vote five times for any of the following five options: F14 T, F14 Maranello, F14 Scuderia, F166 Turbo, F616. So far over 105,000 votes have been cast from all over the world with F14 T and F166 Turbo leading the way. 

Over the years Ferrari’s cars have been called F138, F60 and 412 T2 to name but a few. A number of cars have also carried the year in their names e.g. F2012, F2008, F2007 etc.

As well as being able to vote for the name, fans can submit questions for Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, and Stefano Domenicali. This can be done via the team’s Facebook page; by emailing askstefano@ferrari.com/askkimi@ferrari.com/askfernando@ferrari.com; or tweeting with the hashtag #askstefano/#askkimi/#askfernando.

The answers to the questions will be revealed after the launch of the car, with the name being revealed on Friday 24 January. Get voting and asking!