Formula 1 | Rahal invites Vettel to IndyCar and reveals their crossed destinies

At the Miami Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel lamented that Formula 1 did not choose an iconic circuit like Road America for its second race in the United States. Former IndyCar driver-turned-team principal Bobby Rahal had invited the Aston Martin F1 driver to a test.

His son Graham, who drives for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, encouraged the German to accept the offer. But after the announcement of Vettel’s retirement, the American returned to the post, saying it was possible he could try a Honda-powered Dallara IR18 when he wanted and that the championship would appeal to him.

“He’s open whenever he wants to try and maybe he wants to come and run, I’m sure we can find a way to do it” Rahal said. “How [Romain] Grosjean, I think Seb would find IndyCar a much more relaxed environment, but also more competitive, that’s for sure.”

“And for a guy like him, who’s a competitor, I’m sure finishing 10th and at the back of the field is no fun, especially after winning world championships and all the other things he’s accomplished.”

Graham Rahal reveals in passing that his father’s team could enter a fourth single-seater in the future, while Christian Lundgaard and Jack Harvey are already in charge, in addition to the main interested party.

“So if he wants to try, I’m sure there’s a place, a home for him. In many ways we’re getting ready to look at a fourth car in the future. So I’m not saying he wants to do it full-time, but if he wants to come and try he can.”

Destinies crossed in their youth

Rahal reveals he has a connection with Vettel, as the pair crossed paths early in their career when Rahal wanted to come to Europe: “We never met, but our paths crossed.”

At the time, Red Bull was looking for an American driver and Colin Fleming was a contract Formula Renault 3.5 driver. In 2006, Fleming was unceremoniously dropped from the program due to a results issue, and his wheel was reclaimed by one Sebastian Vettel.

The German immediately prevailed, allowing him to convince Helmut Marko and Red Bull to bring him to F1. Rahal revealed he was in talks for a chance to spend a weekend at Fleming’s place, but the timings didn’t work out.

During this period, he had completed several tests in GP2 and was driving in Formula Atlantic, and was unable to break free of his limitations to drive in FR3.5. The rest is Rahal explaining and remembering what happened next.

“The guy who ended up taking that spot, and who won that weekend, was Vettel. So it’s interesting. And that’s what shot him into the BMW contract at Indianapolis. and everything else.”

Rahal has “always admired” Vettel

However, we can think that Graham Rahal would not have had Vettel’s race, even if he had replaced Fleming that weekend. Indeed, Vettel had excelled with three wins in three races, and Rahal admits he has always been impressed with what the four-time F1 world champion has done since then.

“The guy’s incredibly talented and I’ve always admired what he’s been able to do. But I’ve also admired the class and character with which he’s done it, in a world that doesn’t come around very often… It’s very political there. And I think he always he managed to get through it with his humor and all that.”

Rahal also praises Vettel’s very open and genuine personality: “Everybody thinks [Daniel] Ricciardo, but I think Vettel was the first to do it. And I have always admired that. I think it’s good to be yourself and show off, and that’s what he did, so I’d definitely like to give him a chance [en IndyCar].”

So the American continues to believe that IndyCar could represent a perfect late-career option for the purist that is Vettel: “I also think he would appreciate the purity of IndyCar racing.”

“It’s not very technical, it’s brutal, it’s powerful, you have to move the machine. And I think he’d probably like it. It would probably take him back to his early racing days. So I think it would probably be refreshing.”

“I remember the great Justin Wilson saying to me once that if you get a chance in Formula 1 you have to try it, but you won’t necessarily like it. In Vettel’s position, I imagine, he might enjoy coming and try- ho. .”

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