A brief biography of Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, including his career history and Formula One statistics
By the time that an eight-year-old Sebastian Vettel headed out on a local kart track near his home in Germany, he already had several years of amateur karting under his belt and so it was little wonder that he quickly scooped up several regional championships and the region’s junior kart title, together with victories at prestigious annual events in Monaco and Paris-Bercy. By the time he was 11 he had already attracted interest from Red Bull, who signed Vettel to their junior team in 1998.
He switched to open-wheel racing in 2003 and won the German Formula BMW Championship the following year with 18 victories from 20 races. He switched to Formula 3 Euro Series in 2005 and lined up Formula One tests with Williams and Sauber, eventually securing the official test driver role at Sauber for 2006. He was retained in the role in 2007 while also competing in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series.
Then everything changed: aged just 19 years and 349 days, Vettel made his Formula One début when regular driver Robert Kubica was forced to sit out the 2007 US Grand Prix after a heavy crash in Canada. Vettel finished in seventh place and the secret was out: Toro Rosso quickly promoted the Red Bull prospect and he became a full-time driver starting in Hungary. Just over a year later and Vettel was celebrating his first Grand Prix win, at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
Red Bull snapped him up to race for them in 2009, and a remarkable run of success followed: he finished in second place in that year's championship with four wins, and then claimed the first of four consecutive titles in 2010. He won a staggering 11 races in the 2011 season, and then exceeded that with 13 victories in 2013.
The dream ended abruptly: he failed to win a single race in 2014 and that prompted him to decide to leave the Red Bull fold and join Ferrari, where he picked up three Grand Prix victories and finished third in the 2015 championship despite the dominance of the Mercedes marque in the sport, proving that Vettel very much still has what it takes to add to his already impressive trophy and title haul in the future.
2016 was less fruitful, seven podiums and 4th in the driver's standings were all Vettel could manage in a season that was once again dominated by the Mercedes cars.