Skip to main content

Lauda: Vettel success will continue

By Sarah Holt, for CNN
November 28, 2012 -- Updated 1224 GMT (2024 HKT)
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel has become the youngest triple world champion in Formula One history.
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel has become the youngest triple world champion in Formula One history.
  • Niki Lauda tips Sebastian Vettel to continue his title-winning success
  • Austrian driver says the German will leave Red Bull in future
  • Vettel's contract with the constructor is set to expire at the end of 2014
  • Williams confirm Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas as drivers for 2013

(CNN) -- Germany's triple world champion Sebastian Vettel will continue to win titles even if he moves on from Red Bull, three-time world champion Niki Lauda has told CNN.

On Sunday, the 25-year-old became the youngest triple world champion in the history of the sport becoming only the third driver to win three consecutive titles, following in the footsteps of racing legends Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio.

After winning this year's title when finishing sixth in Brazil's Interlagos to beat Ferrari's Fernando Alonso by three points, the German said he was 'extremely committed' to a team he is contracted to until the end of 2014.

Nonetheless, Lauda says Vettel's quality is such that he will continue to beat the world's best when the inevitable happens and he moves on from Red Bull.

CNN Greatest F1 Driver: Day Two
F1's spiritual home in the U.S.
Vettel on Bahrain F1 uncertainty
CNN Greatest F1 Driver: Day One
CNN Greatest F1 Driver: Day Two

"He will eventually move somewhere else," said Lauda, who won his titles with both Ferrari (1975 and 1977) and McLaren (1984).

"It's normal. Any skier changes his skis every year -- so you have to change your cars at least once in your history.

"I changed my racing cars three or four times in my career and still kept on winning. He will do something like this for sure as well."

Vettel has been strongly linked with a move to Ferrari in recent months, although representatives at both Maranello and the Red Bull driver have tried to dampen the speculation.

Since Lauda's last title, only three other drivers have won world championships with different manufacturers -- razil's Nelson Piquet (Brabham and Williams), Frenchman Alain Prost (McLaren and Williams) and Schumacher (Benetton and Ferrari).

Lauda, who joined Mercedes as a non-executive chairman in September, believes that the Red Bull car's dominance has been key to Vettel's success.

"Vettel is the top guy, [Lewis] Hamilton is the top guy, Alonso is the top guy, Schumacher is a top guy too," Lauda.

"You need a car, and you need a driver. Vettel is for sure as good as Alonso is - but you need a better car."

Vettel's latest triumph was greeted with delight in Germany, with Chancellor Angela Merkel among those leading the plaudits -- praising the driver's 'fabulous strength of character'.

Prior to the German's success on Sunday, the previous youngest driver to win three titles was the late Ayrton Senna -- who achieved the feat at the age of 31.

Meanwhile, Williams have confirmed Venezuela's Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas of Finland as their driver pairing for the 2013 season.

Bottas replaces Brazil's Bruno Senna, the nephew of the late three-time world champion Ayrton Senna.

'It has always been my life-long dream to compete in the Formula One world championship," the 23-year-old Bottas, a test driver for Williams in 2012, said in an official statement.

"To do so with one of the most legendary teams in the sport is incredibly special. I've really enjoyed my three years with Williams so far and feel very at home here so my goal was always to stay for 2013 and progress to a race seat.

"I'm looking forward to getting my Formula One career started and enjoying a lot of success with Williams."

Maldonado enjoyed a successful second season in the sport, picking up the first race win of his fledgling career at this year's Spanish Grand Prix.

Part of complete coverage on
Track the buzz of the 2014 Formula One season, race by race, with all the latest social reaction from motorsport experts.
November 7, 2014 -- Updated 1714 GMT (0114 HKT)
Glitz... check, glamor... check. Teams going bust... er, check. F1 generates billion-dollar revenues, so why can't some of its teams stay afloat?
November 7, 2014 -- Updated 1814 GMT (0214 HKT)
With the sport currently facing up to a financial crisis, motorsport journalist Ed Foster explores the history of F1 sponsorship.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0958 GMT (1758 HKT)
He's paid millions to drive one of the world's fastest cars, and he's one of F1's most colorful characters, but Kimi Raikkonen loves normality.
October 12, 2014 -- Updated 1745 GMT (0145 HKT)
It took a little longer than expected but MotoGP's young star Marc Marquez wraps up his second world title in Japan.
October 9, 2014 -- Updated 1039 GMT (1839 HKT)
Rising star Daniil Kvyat made history as the home hero at F1's first Russian Grand Prix, ahead of next season's move to Red Bull.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT)
Take the fittest driver in Formula One and test him against two of the world's leading triathletes in a high-performance laboratory.
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 1604 GMT (0004 HKT)
Mercedes has the fastest two cars in Formula One this season but there is just one problem -- there can only be one world champion.
He's the best of the rest -- Daniel Ricciardo has been Formula One's surprise package in the first half of the 2014 season.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
Formula One is not likely to go hungry in Hungary as master chefs cater in volume for drivers, teams and VIP guests.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
It's the elephant in the room of Formula One. What's the prognosis legendary driver Michael Schumacher?
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 2310 GMT (0710 HKT)
It stimulates all five senses, creating an unparalleled experience for drivers and fans alike. Take a tour of Monaco with Mark Webber.