Sebastian Vettel (DE) has done it: At the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix the 23-year-old secured the drivers’ title in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship in a nail-biting season finale to become not only the sport’s youngest-ever world champion, but also the first Formula BMW graduate to win world motorsport’s premier title.
BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen says: “Our heartiest congratulations go to Sebastian Vettel upon his Formula 1 World Championship. Sebastian’s enormous talent was evident in 2004, when he won the German Formula BMW Championship after scoring 18 victories in 20 starts. From then onwards we kept our eye on him, bringing him into Formula 1 as Friday driver for the BMW Sauber F1 Team. Upon his Formula 1 racing debut in 2007 in Indianapolis he became the youngest-ever driver to score a point. That race marked the beginning of a stellar career, which has now reached its initial peak with a first world title. We wish Sebastian all the best for his future career. He provides the best proof of the success of our Formula BMW young driver development concept, which will continue in 2011 under the Formula BMW Talent Cup banner.”
In 2003 and 2004 Vettel raced in the German Formula BMW Championship, making his mark on this young driver development series like no other driver. In his first season as a single seater race driver he celebrated five victories and ended runner-up in the championship. The following year saw Vettel totally dominate the championship: he won 18 of 20 rounds, took 14 pole positions and set 13 fastest laps on his way to an emphatic title. He remains the most successful Formula BMW driver of all time.
After promotion to the Formula 3 Euro Series he finished the 2005 season as best rookie, having completed his first Formula 1 test for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team on 27th September 2005. He participated in the 2006 Turkish Grand Prix as Friday driver for the BMW Sauber F1 Team, going on to make his Formula 1 racing debut as substitute for Robert Kubica (PL) on 17th June 2007, immediately scoring a point by finishing eighth in a BMW Sauber F1.07. During that season BMW allowed Vettel the opportunity of joining Scuderia Toro Rosso, for whom he took a sensational victory from pole in the 2008 Italian Grand Prix. He has driven for Red Bull Racing since 2009, adding nine further race wins to his tally.
Vettel maintains close links with Formula BMW. Among other activities, Formula 1’s newest champion will attend the Formula BMW Talent Cup Shoot-Out in Cartagena (ES), where young drivers will prove their talent on 22nd and 23rd November, competing for free-of-charge participation in the new development programme promoted by BMW Motorsport.
In addition to Vettel, a further six Formula BMW graduates raced in Formula 1 during 2010: Sébastien Buemi (CH), Timo Glock (DE), Nico Hülkenberg (DE), Nico Rosberg (DE), Bruno Senna (BR) and Adrian Sutil (DE) all made their debuts in single seater motorsport in this successful young driver development series.