ROC whets Vettel's appetite for more off-road racing

Sebastian Vettel at the ROC Sweden - February 2022
© Twitter/ ROC

Four-time F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel was having fun playing in the snow at the weekend, taking part in this year's Race of Champions in Sweden.

The long-running competition pits top drivers from different disciplines against each other in a variety of cars, but this was the first time that it has been held in the ice and snow.

Vettel made it into the final of the individual championship, but lost out 3-1 to nine-time WRC champion Sebastian Loeb.

The previous day, father-and-son team Petter and Oliver Solberg clinched the Nations Cup for Team Norway. Vettel and his Team Germany partner Mick Schumacher lost out in the quarter finals to Team USA's Jimmie Johnson and Colton Herta.

But despite losing out on this year's titles, Vettel was clearly feeling energised by the whole unique experience on the ice.


"Obviously, you saw I’m still missing a little bit,” he told The Race on Sunday at Pite Havsbad on the frozen Baltic coast. “But I think I enjoy it a lot.

"I always enjoyed watching what they are doing. It is a different discipline - you’re still having fun with a car, but it’s just there are a lot of differences.

"Normally when the car steps out you correct it immediately and you’ve lost a bit of time. Here I think there’s much more grey. You are sideways, maybe the timing’s a little bit off, but you can correct it.

"You need to get into that really small window to be perfect, and you saw the difference! But it’s definitely something I enjoy.

"The sport progresses and there’s more to it than just driving, which is also a challenge," he explained. "For sure, it’s not easy to just jump into it and be very good at it.

"It’s fascinating," he added. "We have a chat also over lunch to understand a little bit more, it’s not just you’re in the car and you’re driving.

“Very much like Formula 1 or any category, there’s a lot of work behind the scenes. Doing your pace notes, getting all the information you can, the same with us preparing the [F1] race and the analysis after.

“You need the time and experience," he added. "But if someone is willing to give me a shot and a chance and has a lot of time, I’m happy to look at it!"

That could mean that the current Aston Martin f1 driver might turn his hand to Extreme E or even the Dakar Rally.

Traditionally, ROC has been staged on specially constructed stadium circuits. Vettel has previously won three of his eight individual and team victories in London, two in Dusseldorf, and the remainder in Beijing, Bangkok and Miami.


The event hasn't been held since 2019, in part due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic putting motorsport on hold around the globe, and Vettel was pleased to see it back.

“After missing the Race of Champions the last two years and having the pandemic around the world, it was great to be back," he said. "Great to have a sense of normality as well, as much as it was possible.

“It was a very, very great comeback, and I would really like to come back to a place like this on snow and ice.”

Vettel certainly threw himself into the freezing spirit last week, taking part in solo runs dressed in T-shirt and shorts despite sub-zero conditions, and even volunteering to swim in the sea when organisers cut a hole in the ice.

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