Cover Image for How Sebastian Vettel could have been $900 Million man’s teammate at Mercedes instead of Nico Rosberg

How Sebastian Vettel could have been $900 Million man’s teammate at Mercedes instead of Nico Rosberg

Tanish Chachra
|Tue Aug 09 2022

Sebastian Vettel could have been Michael Schumacher’s teammate at Mercedes instead of the other compatriot Nico Rosberg.

Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel had a great bond as both hailed from the same country. The four-time world champion claims that Schumacher was like a mentor to him.

Both have also shared some heartwarming moments together. The two never got to race in the same team, even though their career paralleled when Vettel was in Red Bull and Schumacher returned from retirement with Mercedes.

However, there was one possibility of the duo being together. In 2007, Honda had the chance to sign Vettel. Otmar Szafnauer, the then director of strategy and business planning at Honda, reveals that the German approached him about a two-week window earlier.

“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,” Szafnauer recalled.

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

“So I went to Gil and said, ‘we have a 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.”

Also read: Former Aston Martin driver explains 2-time world champion’s decision

This move could have made the Michael Schumacher-Sebastian Vettel lineup at Mercedes

If Honda had signed only Vettel in 2009, he would have been competing in Brawn. After leaving F1, Honda gave away the chassis to the 2009 champions, and in the following year, that team became Mercedes.

Michael Schumacher was hired by the Silver Arrows and paired with another German, Nico Rosberg. Had Vettel already been there, Rosberg might have been out of the equation.

Thus, forming a legendary lineup for Mercedes. Moreover, this also could have formed the possibility of Lewis Hamilton and Vettel being teammates in a few years.

The F1 history might have been drastically different. But surely, it could have given some exciting times only if Honda had made a move in those two weeks.

Nevertheless, Vettel had an incredibly successful career in F1. He won four F1 titles with Red Bull and won over 53 races in his 15-years career span. After this season, the German will retire from a legendary F1 career.

Also read: Michael Schumacher undergoes $139,000 a week secret treatment to return to normal life

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