Sebastian Vettel does not believe moving Formula 1 teams would silence his detractors and boost his credentials as one of the sport’s all-time greats.
Three-time F1 world champion Sir Jackie Stewart said at the beginning of the season that Vettel had to leave Red Bull and establish himself at another team, a view Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko said he “can’t take seriously.”
Vettel, who joined an elite club of four-time world champions earlier this season, said that being satisfied with his own achievements and his own standing in the motorsport world were his only concerns.
“I think that even if I go to another team I will still have my doubters,” Vettel said when asked if a move would sway his critics. “I don’t think it will change people’s opinions.
“At the end of the day, you have to be happy with yourself, and right now, I am happy where I am given what we have achieved.”
Asked whether he ever felt tempted to line up alongside his main rivals, as Ayrton Senna did against Alain Prost at McLaren, Vettel added: “As a driver you always try to be with the best team. If you look back in F1 history, you will see that the best drivers have nearly always won races and championships with the best teams.
“I’m very happy where I am and it’s about you, and whether you are happy with who you are and if you can look at yourself in the mirror. I’m not thinking about anywhere else, or racing with anyone else.”
Vettel believes the perception of him dominating races and championships is unfair, and has contributed to the lack of fanfare surrounding his fourth world crown.
“Some people like to call it ‘domination’ but I don’t like that, because it makes it sound like it’s easy winning,” he added. “If we look back to every single race, it was hard work and we had to put everything in it.
“We’ve had great results in circumstances where perhaps we shouldn’t have. Perhaps the races have lacked excitement, but when you know yourself what you have done, with all the effort that’s gone on at the factory, it’s a great feeling.”