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BMW to keep an eye on Vettel

September 18, 2008 12:51 IST

BMW-Sauber say they will keep a close eye on the progress of Formula One's youngest race winner Sebastian Vettel after losing him to Toro Rosso last season.

"I would like to have every winner in my car," team boss Mario Theissen told reporters after the 21-year-old German drove a faultless race through rain and spray on Sunday to win the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

"It's been the perfect move for Sebastian to come here for a few years in order to develop without too much pressure," he added, standing outside the Toro Rosso motorhome where Vettel was being mobbed by his team mates.

"I think he will do very well in the future.

"A year ago it wasn't possible to put him in our car, he was very inexperienced and you cannot gamble," continued Theissen, whose current drivers are Poland's Robert Kubica [Images] and Germany's [Images] Nick Heidfeld [Images].

"It was much more important to give him the chance to develop in a team like this and he will do that for a few years and then we will see.

"He is so young, he can do a lot."

Vettel, the first German to win a Grand Prix since seven times champion Michael Schumacher [Images] retired in 2006, made his race debut with BMW-Sauber at last season's US Grand Prix.

The youngster, then the BMW-Sauber test and reserve driver, was called in to replace Kubica after the Pole crashed heavily in the previous race in Canada [Images].

Vettel finished eighth on his debut, becoming the youngest driver ever to score a point, and was signed by Toro Rosso later in the season after that Ferrari-powered team parted company with American Scott Speed.

Vettel's best result before Sunday was fourth in China last October.


Theissen said Sunday's stunning result, with a small non-manufacturer team using a 'customer' engine to beat the sport's biggest guns, is great news for Formula One.

"Definitely the team has exceeded expectations by far. It's not long ago that Minardi [Toro Rosso's predecessors] were the last team in the pecking order on the grid," he said.

"What we have seen shows that anything is possible in Formula One.

"It's not just good for Toro Rosso, it's fantastic for them, but its also good for the sport. We need independent teams and we need competitive independent teams."

Vettel said on Sunday afternoon that he is keeping his feet on the ground for the next race, the first night Grand Prix in Singapore.

"I won't go to Singapore and feel like a hero and the superstar and expect another race win just like that," he said. "It's not going to be like that.

"I am down to earth enough to realise what happened today and to understand the approach for the next races."

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