– Where is my Castle invitation? I am almost a Finnish man.
Sebastian Vettel’s a completely unhinged throw to MTV Urheilu in the aftermath of the final race of the 2010 F1 season once aroused great interest in Finland. At the time, the 23-year-old German had become the series’ youngest ever world champion. Vettel had let the Finns laugh in other races of the season as well.
Finland has indeed played a big role in the story of one of the most successful F1 drivers of all time. Fitness trainers Tommi Pärmäkoski (2008–2011), Heikki Huovinen (2012–2013) and Antti Kontsas (2014–2022) have prepared the German driver to withstand the stresses of a long season.
Pärmäkoski says that Finnish from him and From Aki Hintsa Vettel, who learned a long time ago, getting upset about Linna’s party reflects Vettel’s intelligence and interest in things.
– Sebastian is very insightful. He picked up something and asked what its background was. It remained in the subconscious. It shows how he cares about other people’s culture.
Vettel, who has won four world championships in Formula One, started his career in the royal class in 2007 and will end this weekend in Abu Dhabi. Pärmäkoski and Kontsas open up about what kind of person Vettel was at the beginning of his career and how he has changed.
First meeting in Finland
The training run by young Pärmäkoski in 2008 for the local high school team at Kuortanene Urheiluopisto made an impression on doctor Aki Hintsa, who gained fame with formula pits. He tipped Pärmäkoski about Vettel in his twenties.
It didn’t take long when Vettel came to Finland and Pärmäkoski trained the young German. Both convinced each other.
In Vettel, Pärmäkoske made an immediate impression on how he meets a person.
– I remember the first time he held out his hand and looked into my eyes. He was polite, but always with a little smile.
– There is a certain playfulness, sense of humor and good humanity, but also a great need for achievement. At that time, nothing else was more important to him than the fact that one day he would become world champion.
Vettel was the ideal driver for the F1 engineers because of his attitude. He has spent several hours to get even better at the grain of his car.
When Pärmäkoski was Vettel’s fitness coach, Vettel was a young driver who just wanted to move forward in his career.
– I had an easy job because Sebastian was young and always wanted to move forward. All the energy went into the fact that he wanted to be better than anyone else in formula one. I just needed to make things more casual once in a while.
Kontsaks, on the other hand, became Vettel’s fitness coach in Vettel’s last Red Bull season in 2014. Before Vettel, he had worked in the 2011 season By Sebastien Buemi (2011) and Jean-Eric Vergne (2012–2013) as a fitness coach. When Kontsas started as Vettel’s coach, he was already an experienced driver and a four-time world champion.
– After all, the personality was very similar to what it is now. He remembers stories from five years ago and what people were interested in then and knows how to make jokes out of them. The unconditional side has also been seen. Sebastian never wonders if he can do this. It just depends on how he does it.
According to Kontsaksen, one of Vettel’s strongest qualities is his ability to adapt. He knows how to switch to leisure and forget his main job for a while.
– It is extraordinary to be able to switch between extremes so quickly. Often people are strongly stuck in their mode. Sebastian is very impressive in that, says Kontsas.
Vettel announced his retirement in an Instagram video in July. In it, he opened up about the importance of family and his values.
– It showed a clear picture of his life. He does not define himself as an F1 driver. He defines himself as a normal guy who likes normal things. One of my interests just happens to be racing.
An interesting world
In recent years, the sports world has gotten to know Sebastian Vettel, who has a vision for more than just Formula 1. He has emerged as a kind of opinion influencer in the series, who has taken a stand on climate change and the rights of minorities, among other things. The opinions have also been seen in the F1 pit, when he has taken a stand for sexual minorities and against racism with his shirts.
Although the social impact of the F1 legend has only been seen in recent years, according to Pärmäkoski, Vettel’s curiosity about life was already noticed from a young age.
– I admired how he seized the moment, Pärmäkoski praises.
Kontsas also says that Vettel has always been very interested in what is happening around him.
– Sebastian has always been a very private person. In recent years, he has shown what kind of person he is outside of the games. It gives the impression that the change would have been bigger. However, those thoughts have been there already nine years ago.
Kontsas himself grew up in Africa when he was younger. The two talk to each other a lot about society and the world.
– I have seen all kinds of cultures and backgrounds since I was a child. Sebastian has also been to Europe since he was young and has seen all kinds of things. He investigates to the end what it is about, what details it has and what logic it has.
– The projects are entirely Vettel’s own initiative. He has wanted to use his position to his advantage. If he has something to say, he wants to say it.
Kontsas gives examples of how ecology can be seen in Vettel’s life. Vettel is trying to avoid flying to the races. He often uses the train or car. He goes to the pit by bike.
– All logistics choices depend very much on what is environmentally friendly. Sebastian has driven to most of the games in the summer by car.
– Sometimes you could see on TV that Sebastian is picking up some trash from the ground. He does the same on every run. It’s a shame that he takes it with him and trashes it. It shows unconditionality. If he believes in something, he will see it through to the end.
First world championship
For Pärmäkoski, Vettel’s first world championship in the 2010 season has been remembered as an absolute highlight. The setting for the final race in Abu Dhabi was exceptional, as four drivers had a chance to win the world championship.
Vettel started the final race from behind. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso led the World Series, teammate Mark Webber was second, Vettel third and McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton fourth.
Vettel drove to victory in a tough pressure cooker. At the same time, his fiercest opponent Alonso stuck the Renault Vitaly Petrovin behind.
– I was impressed how he was able to focus on that matter in that moment. That’s what Pärmäkoski remembers about the pole position and winning the competition.
Even though it’s been 11 years since the end of the joint fight, the connection between Vettel and Pärmäkoski has remained. Something about the level of friendship says that Vettel informed Pärmäkoski of his decision to quit before the information became public. Of course, he also did the same for Kontsaks.
– In a way, the relationship has improved, because it’s just friendship anymore. When the other person calls, they talk about the family or what has happened in the world, says Pärmäkoski.
History is full of legendary F1 drivers. Many have left their mark with their achievements. Kontsaks has a clear answer about Vettel’s legacy.
– Humanity is a special thing for which he will be remembered. In F1, it often takes a week or two when someone is forgotten. I believe that Sebastian will be remembered. He has had time for so many.
According to Kontsaksen, Vettel’s future plans are still completely open. However, the Finn’s own future is clear. Traveling to the F1 races from year to year is a very exhausting task.
– I will not continue with any driver. I have a full 12 years. I feel that this is the right time for me and Sebastian to change jobs. I will remain in motorsport to some extent, but I will no longer be involved in this role.
Speaking of traveling, Kontsas wants to add one more example of Vettel as a person. Kontakse became a father this year. He has traveled only half of the games. He has been beaten in other competitions Kimi Räikkönen Fitness coach during F1 career Mark Arnall.
– He knows what it’s like to be a father. When Sebastian found out I was having a baby, he offered me options.
– Antti, I ask that you do fewer competitions next year. “Be at home because it’s so important to see your child grow up,” Vettel said.