The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix brought the 2022 F1 season to a close this weekend and with that, a goodbye to a few of the drivers on the grid. Daniel Ricciardo, Mick Schumacher, and Nicholas Latifi have not managed to get extended contracts for next year, however, tributes have been flooding in all weekend for Sebastian Vettel as he now heads into retirement from the sport.
Vettel began his career in F1 as a test driver for BMW Sauber in 2006 and made his F1 debut in 2007. He was part of the Red Bull Junior Team so started with Toro Rosso, now AlphaTauri, and went on to Red Bull in 2009. During his time at Red Bull, Vettel won four consecutive world championships. Vettel then made the move to Ferrari in 2015, replacing Fernando Alonso, and then moved again to Aston Martin in 2021. Throughout the majority of Vettel’s career, there has been one fundamental woman by his side who has been a huge part of his F1 journey, Britta Roeske.
Females in Motorsport wrote on Twitter:
“While fans across the globe dread Vettel’s retirement from racing, we cannot fail to bid farewell to Britta Roeske.
“During her incredible career, Britta has shaped the history of women in motorsport, becoming an integral part of it.”
Will Buxton, Formula 1 journalist, shared the post and agreed with the sentiment. He wrote:
“Agree 100%. Britta has been by Seb’s side for almost his entire F1 career. She’s been such a huge part of his journey in F1 and has shaped her own unique path alongside his.
“We had a big hug on the grid today and I hope it won’t be our last. A lovely person and exquisite pro.”
Agree 100%. Britta has been by Seb’s side for almost his entire F1 career. She’s been such a huge part of his journey in F1 and has shaped her own unique path alongside his. We had a big hug on the grid today and I hope it won’t be our last. A lovely person and exquisite pro. https://t.co/XYATlu7PPi
— Will Buxton (@wbuxtonofficial) November 20, 2022
Roeske is Vettel’s Press Relations Manager and has been branded by the media as the “PR Queen”. Roeske joined Red Bull Racing in 2005 and started working with Vettel close to the start of his career in 2010. Roeske was in charge of managing Vettel’s public appearances during the F1 weekends which included checking over all of the questions asked by journalists. Roeske very quickly became an integral part of the paddock for commentators and sponsors.
Throughout Vettel’s career, Roeske has moved from team to team with him, being the only PR Manager who is employed directly by the driver rather than the team.
As is the case with many of the drivers, there have been many controversial moments surrounding the F1 icon. For example, Multi-21-Gate in 2015 with his teammate Mark Webber. It was the Malaysian Grand Prix, Vettel started on pole position but Webber ended up taking the lead and the two Red Bull’s were running in 1-2. Vettel was very clearly told over the team radio to preserve his tyres and not overtake his teammate, however, Vettel had other ideas. The German driver battled with his teammate and eventually overtook him and went on to win the Grand Prix.
Although Red Bull got the 1-2 finish, Vettel had a lot of explaining to do and Roeske was ready to manage the situation and disperse as much of the drama as possible.
When Vettel made the move to Ferrari in 2015, questions were raised over whether his partnership with Roeske would continue, but he obviously couldn’t leave her behind and she made the move with him.
Over the years, Roeske has taken on more roles than just Vettel’s PR Manager, she oversaw all of his commitments and managed his brand image completely. As Roeske had made the move to Ferrari with Vettel, it was not a surprise that she moved once again with him when he went to Aston Martin in 2020. Vettel said at the time “If I continue, she continues”, showing how much of an integral part of his team she is to him.
Now that Vettel has decided to retire from the sport, many are wondering what lies ahead for Roeske. In Sky Sports Martin Brundle’s grid walk at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend, he spoke with her to ask what she plans to do next. She said that she is going to stay on for a few months to see what Vettel does and then take a break.
Roeske has inspired many other women in the sport with others following in her footsteps and learning from her incredible organisational and communication skills. She has been able to create Vettel’s image of a much loved driver who will be sorely missed from the sport and was even able to do this away from social media which is arguably the easiest way to reach fans these days.
Many fans and Vettel’s long time rival and close friend Lewis Hamilton, think that he might make a return to the sport, so if he does we don’t think he would do it without Roeske.