Ex-F1 engineer lifts the lid on Sebastian Vettel and her favourite driver

Bernie Collins worked for McLaren and Force India, later known as Racing Point and then Aston Martin, from 2014 until the end of last season

Sky Sports F1 analyst Bernie Collins has given fans of the sport an insight into working for a race team, as she revealed her experience at McLaren, Force India, Racing Point and Aston Martin.

Collins was with McLaren from the time she joined its graduate programme until she moved to Force India in 2014, eventually leaving the garage at the end of last season, when she quit the recently rebranded Aston Martin outfit.

Returning to the track this season as an analyst, Collins spoke to the Sky Sports F1 podcast about her career, answering questions from fans about the inner workings of the teams she’s supported.

“I can’t say Jenson,” she said, when asked who her favourite driver was.

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“The unfortunate thing with Jenson is that I only worked with him for the one year at McLaren, just 2014.

“I really enjoyed that, because I was learning so much and Jenson at that stage had loads of time to teach me stuff so it was a really interesting dynamic, but only the one year. 

“Obviously I’ll get a chance to work with him again soon hopefully with Sky, so I’m really looking forward to that!

“I think the drivers have all been really different characters for various reasons, I’ve enjoyed a lot of what they’ve brought. 

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“The person I was friendliest was maybe Sebastian [Vettel] last year. Again, I think that’s maybe the stage he was in his career, it was really nice to have that friendship.

“He was quite relaxed. The car wasn’t as good as we would’ve hoped through that time, so it was more of a learning process across us, what we could improve and the other aspects of it. 

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“It wasn’t necessarily the pressure of trying to get a podium every week because we weren’t in that position. 

“He’s been there, done that, so it felt like the pressure was off a little bit.”

Vettel left Formula 1 last season to pursue outside interests, having raced in the sport from 2007 to 2022, winning four world titles during his stint at Red Bull.