Otmar Szafnauer reflected upon the day when Sebastian Vettel approached him at Honda to sign the latter at the age of 19. The Alpine team principal revealed some interesting anecdotes about the four-time world champion at the 2022 F1 Hungarian GP after he announced his retirement.
Speaking to Sportskeeda and the onsite media about the time he almost hired the German champion, Szafnauer said:
“Well, I’ve known him since he was 18 or 19 years old. I was at Honda Racing and we just had, he was our sporting director Gil de Ferran, he was there for a little bit. Oath Seb [Vettel] came up to me and said I’ve got a two-week window and where I am out of contract at both Red Bull and BMW, so are you interested in signing me? And he was a known quantity at that time and I was like yeah this kid’s good. Two-week window and I went to Gil and said we got a two-week window to sign Seb Vettel and 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.”
Reflecting upon the 19-year-old German driver who approached him for a drive, Otmar Szafnauer revealed his initial interaction with Sebastian Vettel in his days at Honda Racing. The German was about to run out of contract with both Red Bull Racing and BMW Williams, which forced him to approach the Romanian-American for a potential drive. Although the German was not hired and was signed by Toro Rosso, the Alpine team principal reflected upon the moment as a fond memory.
Sebastian Vettel bakes delicious homemade bread, according to Otmar Szafnauer
Revealing another Sebastian Vettel anecdote, Otmar Szfanauer shared his experience with the German while the latter stayed at his house in England during the pandemic. The Alpine team principal revealed that Vettel brought a batch of his homemade bread for his family and children every time he visited.
Sharing the experience of the German driver’s baking skills, Szafnauer said:
“Another good Vettel story which is a positive one is when he came during COVID. He felt more comfortable not going to a hotel where he thought he could pick up COVID than spending time at our house whenever he came to England. Because everyone tested every day so everyone knew we were COVID-free. And whenever he would come over he would bring with him homemade bread, that he made in Switzerland in this little satchel that he had. He brought it with him.
Further shedding light on the experience with Sebastian Vettel baking bread for his family, Szfanauer revealed:
“I remember the first time thinking, the kids are all looking, but they absolutely loved Seb’s homemade bread. So every time he came he had to bring his homemade bread. I mean brilliant, who else does that… White bread, it looked like a weave, and it’s delicious.”
The German champion has often been known to go out of his way to make kind gestures towards his team and mechanics. As the 35-year-old announced his retirement at the 2022 F1 Hungarian GP weekend, several drivers and team personnel paid tribute to Sebastian Vettel as an individual and a competitor. As the person responsible for recruiting the four-time world champion to the Aston Martin team when he was team principal, Otmar Szafnauer also had stories to share.