Red Bull team boss Christian Horner claims Aston Martin “wouldn’t be where they are this season” without the contribution Sebastian Vettel made in the previous two years.

The German, who won four consecutive Formula 1 titles with Red Bull between 2010-13, retired from the sport at the end of last season after two years with Aston Martin.

Vettel’s stint with the British marque was spent predominantly in the midfield, with only one further podium finish added to the 121 he had amassed with Toro Rosso, Red Bull and Ferrari previously.

However, Aston Martin has taken a huge leap forward this season into a front-running force, recording six podium finishes in eight races with Fernando Alonso at the wheel.

Although he’s not been able to enjoy the fruits of his work, Horner believes Vettel should be credited for playing a huge role in the turnaround Aston Martin has made.

“It must be frustrating for Sebastian to see how Aston Martin is doing this year,” Horner told Sport BILD. “He didn’t have a very easy stage there.

“The truth is that without him, they wouldn’t be where they are this season. He has shared much of his successful experience and now that he is not in Formula 1 he will be enjoying time with his family.”

While Aston Martin’s improvement over the winter has been drastic, the Silverstone squad has yet to notch its first F1 victory due to the dominance of Red Bull.

Having comfortably secured both titles last year, the Austrian outfit has won all eight races to take place so far this season.

Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB19 leads at the start of the race. 18.06.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, Race Day.

Max Verstappen’s sixth victory of 2023 at the Canadian Grand Prix represented Red Bull’s 100th in F1 – becoming only the fifth team in the sport’s history to do so.

“Already having finished 100 races in Formula 1 is a great achievement, but having won 27% of those we have participated in is something we should be very proud of,” Horner added.

“It has been an incredible journey in a fairly short period of time and this is thanks to our people and the team spirit,” he said.

“We are still in the middle of the World Cup and there are still many races to go before the end. Our attention is on the home race in Austria in two weeks. Now, we can think a little about the great work we have done in Canada and celebrate our 100th victory.”

Red Bull currently upholds a commanding 154-point lead over second-placed Mercedes and Horner hinted on Sunday that the team’s focus was already on next year’s car.

Behind the reigning champions, Mercedes and Aston Martin are locked in a tight battle for second place in the Constructors’ Championship.

The Brackley-based side has the upper hand at present by a margin of 13 points, but both teams are set to introduce substantial upgrade packages before the summer break.

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