SILVERSTONE, England : Four-times Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel celebrated his 35th birthday on Sunday by driving Nigel Mansell’s 1992 title-winning Williams FW14B around Silverstone circuit.
The German, who now owns the V10-engined car, waved at the cheering fans as he lapped, with Mansell watching from the pit lane 30 years after his home win at the British Grand Prix track.
Twice British GP winner Vettel told reporters earlier in the week that the drive had been his idea and the car would run entirely on sustainable fuel.
Formula One is due to embrace 100 per cent sustainable fuels in 2026.
“I’m using carbon neutral fuels, to demonstrate that we can still hang on to our history and heritage and culture in motorsport, but do it in a more responsible way,” Vettel said on Thursday.
“It’s no different to how the car was 30 years ago, it will sound exactly the same, it will drive exactly the same way.
“I will go as fast as I feel comfortable with, bearing in mind it’s my car.”
Mansell raced with the red number five on his car in 1992, the same number Vettel has used since karting and still has on his Aston Martin F1 car.
“That means a bit more than just the car from 30 years ago,” said Vettel, who was born in 1987.
He said Mansell’s car and the early 90s provided some of his first memories of Formula One and he had wanted to mark the 30th anniversary.
Sunday’s race may well be less enjoyable for the German, with Vettel qualifying only 18th.