Nobert Vettel has been a common face in the paddock since Sebastian Vettel’s Formula 1 debut in 2007. But he’s never been one to take credit for his son’s career or take the spotlight. Behind the scenes, he developed strong ties with the engineers, mechanics and crew at Red Bull, Ferrari, Toro Rosso and Aston Martin and others over the years. Most importantly, Nobert Vettel was a passionate about motorsport and a even more proud father.
First starts for Sebastian Vettel
In an interview with F1 Lorenzo BarretoNobert provided insight into how a passion for motorsport was instilled in his son.
In fact, it was an electric truck his parents gave him on Christmas morning that sparked Sebastian’s interest in racing. He was fascinated by everything related to the truck: speed, mechanics, etc. These interests only became more concrete for Sebastian as he watched his father compete in climbing events. Soon enough, Nobert found himself driving 300 km to find a second-hand kart to let Sebastian take his rightful place – behind a wheel.
A nervous but proud father watches
Nobert recalls how watching Sebastian put on his racing suit was a nervous moment for him as a father. In fact, in every race since then, he’s been nervous. If he’s not physically in the paddock, he’s following each session, watching TV, listening to the radio or following Sebastian’s live lap times. Noberto exclaimed:I’m always nervous about him.” But now that his son has retired from Formula 1, Nobert joked that next year he won’t be nervous when Sebastian finally says goodbye to Formula 1 after 300 races.
Then Sebastian Vettel took gold in 2010, where the Red Bull driver overtook Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso to win the World Championship in the final race. Noberto affirms: “This was a good moment, I was so proud of him.” “Every father, every mother, you do everything for the children. So to see him go from karting to world champion was incredible..”
The journey to the first victory
Sebastian Vettel would become the youngest Grand Prix winner when he struggled in wet conditions and won at Monza for Toro Rosso. Nobert would not have been too surprised when he states: “seb was every time good in the rain. He felt the car very well, the tires in those conditions.”
When Sebastian had just gotten into karting, Nobert would stand to the side of the track, before the hairpin bend to mark where Sebastian needed to brake. He loved to drive in the wet and it showed exemplary control like a child in these conditions. It would be persistent to stay off the track. To the point that Sebastian wouldn’t come over for lunch and would let his sister drive the go-kart in the meantime. “I just wanted to keep trying, keep learning. he he he was fascinatedadded Nobert. If any teenager was going to win on a wet Monza track, it had to be Sebastian Vettel.
Farewell to Formula 1
Before Sebastian’s last Formula 1 race, Nobert gave Sebastian his first race suit Y helmet from his karting days. A tribute to how it all began decades ago on a small race track in Germany.
Nobert Vettel feels that his son will miss Formula 1, his home. But that’s his feeling. “Seb’s feeling, I don’t know. When you’ve been on this hamster wheel for so many years, racing since she was eight, it’s hard to know how she’ll feel now that she’s off the wheel.”, says Noberto. It will be a big change in the life of the father-son duo. But he has a final message for Sebastian Vettel: “I say to Seb: thank you for all this nice time. To a good time.”
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