Vettel cautious despite Red Bull topping the times

2011 F1 testing

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Barcelona, 2011

Sebastian Vettel played down Red Bull’s performance heading into the first race of the season despite going fastest in testing today.

The world champion said: “I think it looks quite promising so far but it’s hard to know where you really are as lap times are all over the place. It’s difficult to read what the others are doing.

“We haven’t had any big problems with reliability which is quite good, as far as we are able to judge so far.”

“I’m smart enough to know we all start the year with zero points.

Obviously I know what we achieved last year but in a way that doesn’t really help us this year. It’s a new challenge.

“Since February when we started testing we have had a lot to work on and problems to solve, there are a lot of new things on the car, new tyres and that will keep us busy enough.”

He added the team might not really understand how competitive they are compared to their rivals until the second race: “The season hasn’t started so that’s why it’s difficult to read especially with the tyres. You don’t know how quick you are or how good your speed is.

“I think in general it looks quite good and the car is reliable so far. The speed seems to be OK compared to the rest of the field. We should be there or thereabouts.

“I think it’s difficult and we need to wait one race to see exactly where we are. Melbourne is not a real racetrack so it could be in Malaysia or later we see what’s actually going on, with the tyres and with having more than two stops for sure. It could be different kind of racing but we’ll find out in Australia.”

Vettel still expects to see more than two pit stops for each driver during the races: “It depends how many tyres you have. I think at least three or four stops.”

The drivers are meeting with the FIA this evening to discuss the safety implications of some of the new rules this year, including the Drag Reduction System.

Vettel said: “It’s not only about the wings but the wing works similar to the F-duct last year.

“In the race it’s different as you can only use it in the dedicated place. In qualifying and practice you can use it whenever you want.

“I think the F-duct was banned for certain reasons. We have a similar system except you don’t have to use your elbow, leg, knee or arm. You only have to press a button but it still uses the same energy.”

After an occasionally fraught 2010 he expects his relationship with team mate Mark Webber to be “back to normal”:

“I think it’s the same as last year. He tries to beat me and I’m sure if you ask him that he will say the same and I try to beat him too. All back to normal I would say.

“Obviously there were occasions last year where we had different opinions. We are not brothers, we don’t have the same parents. I feel we are not the same type of people but even brothers can be very different.”

Quotes and additional reporting by Leandra Graves

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    55 comments on “Vettel cautious despite Red Bull topping the times”

    1. “We are not brothers, we don’t have the same parents. I feel we are not the same type of people but even brothers can be very different.”

      Really do not know what to make of Seb’s statements sometime.

      1. He says they aren’t brothers menaing brothers are similar then he says brothers aren’t necessarily similar.

        1. Maybe he’s saying that although they obviously aren’t actual brothers, they could be-despite their differences. Very weird thing to say though.

    2. Judging from today and yesterday’s performance, I think he doesn’t have much to be worried about.

      1. today, yesterday and all previous tests…

    3. What does he mean by

      Melbourne is not a real racetrack


      Why would he suggest this?

      1. I think he means it’s atypical – it’s a bit like Monza (though not as extreme) in that there aren’t many other tracks on the calendar that are similar to it.

        Melbourne is very stop/start, it’s a temporary road course, it’s unusual.

        Whereas Sepang has a lot more in common with the other tracks – it’s got a typical mix of long straights, slow corners and a couple of quick bends.

        1. I suppose he is right. Just hope Malaysia won’t be as wet as it was last year then, although with the race planned right on the monsoon time, not very likely.

          1. Why not? It made for an exciting race after McLaren and Ferrari both screwed up qualifying as badly as they did… I’d be fine watching something similar this year.

        2. Thanks – makes sense.

        3. i wouldn’t say Melbourne is stop start, it has a nice flow to it. a stop start track would be abu dhabi or bahrain or singapore

          1. Melbourne is very dull, very stop start, one sort of fast corner but aside from that, stop, start, turn, repeat, all the straights are too short also. Of course as an Aussie I will say Yay we have a Grands Prix but Melbourne track is well……boring….as far as tracks go.

            1. O.o What?

              You can’t be serious, Melbourne has to be one of the most exciting races on the calendar…

              It has an absolutely beautiful flow to it, in my mind, its up there with tracks like Brazil and Suzuka.

            2. Melbourne and Montreal are great examples of how street circuits should be.

              I personally think Melbourne is a great circuit.

        4. I love Melbourne. Its actually an individual race track like canada. where someone hasnt just Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V from other circuits.

          If only there were more individual circuits.

      2. well, not only is the course a-typical, but also the surface is a road surface so the tyres will react differently to a racetrack surface…

        1. Typical or Tilkepical? two of the best races last season were australia and canada and I am not even a mclaren fan!

          1. Tilkepical. That is great.

            As the for surfaces being different, they are all asphalt surfaces. Asphalt being stones, and a binder, usually being bitumen. So yeah there are small differences in Asphalt surfaces around the place, but not significant enough for the average Joe to tell the difference. I dare say temperature has more of an effect on the tyres, than the surface composition anyhow. As for Melbourne the road that forms the circuit essentially exists for the grand prix, and I would not be surprised if the asphalt surface mix on the road was selected to primarily suit racing.

            1. “Tilkepical”? Well, in my opinion “Tilke” and “epic” should never be part of the same sentence, much less a single word, unless there is “failure” nearby to accompany them.

      3. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
        9th March 2011, 19:05

        I believe what he means it is unlike, Bahrain, Sepang, etc… Those are “proper” race tracks whereas Melbourne and SIngapore are road circuts and there fore aren’t proper racetracks. I.e. the car will behave differently on the road then on a custom built racetrack.

        1. Well he didn’t mean it in the wrong way but still he phrased it really wrong. He should have said: “Melbourne is not a usual racetrack” instead.

          1. Well, although his English is very good he’s still German, so he may sometimes not notice that.

      4. I suspect cause it is a street track. Its a temporary track like monaco isnt it? So in that way it isnt solely used for racing, so also has traffic on it through the year.

    4. No need for Sebastian to be cautious. He is the fastest man on the grid in the fastest car on the grid. All Seb needs is 11 poles and another WDC/WCC how can he feel any pressure?

      1. Younger Hamilton
        9th March 2011, 17:41

        Really? Wanna Say that to Lewis and Fernando.

          1. I think he is referring to 2007, also it remains to be proven that the mclaren was the fastest car then.

            1. Why does anyone need to prove it?

          2. I think he’s referring to the fact that they are both faster (not to mention better drivers as a whole) than Vettel.

            1. I think that most would agree, that as near as damn it, there is very little between all of the drivers in the top few teams.

              Unless we all have very short memories, that is.

            2. Wobblebottom
              9th March 2011, 22:46

              I disagree. I think Vettel is faster than both Alonso and Hamilton. But I believe Alonso and Hamilton are better drivers on the whole than Vettel.

              Kinda like Raikkonen, he was faster than anyone on earth but he let himself down in other areas.

              The perfect driver would be:
              as fast as Raikkonen
              as aggressive as Hamilton
              as consistent as Alonso.

              That driver would be unbeatable……unless he was in a HRT ;-)

            3. Unless we all have very short memories, that is.

              Which most of us do. Typically back to the previous race or so.

        1. What about Liuzzi and Narain ;-)

    5. Still reckons upto 4 stops? Fair point about the tarmac at Melbourne…didn’t think of that!

      1. That’s the neat thing about the new tyres. Some will be thinking 3 stops and some will be thinking 4 stops. But it won’t be until you get racing that you’ll ever know for sure.

        The first few races should be quite…entertaining for us…and perhaps not so much for others.

    6. Nice soundbites and quotes from Vettel Leandra, great job.

    7. I read somewhere that it takes time to get to know and understand your car.. hence why ferrari and red bull dont appear to have changed much since last season, because they know how their cars work and have pretty much just tweaked them here and there to comply with the new rules..

      Where as McLaren, they have come with a pretty much all new car this season and have yet to ‘learn’ it. some say foolish, some say brave.. give it a few races and i think we’ll see.

      i might be kidding myself but i think that once they get to grips with the 26 they’ll be the team to catch.

      ..well i hope so anyway

      1. McLaren had to change their car, last year’s was a scrapper.

        1. Yeah! Only won five races!

          1. i think last years car bent the rules so much chassis wise and so on i think they had no choice but to start from scratch.. :\

            1. Indeed. Everyone had to scrap there 2010 cars. But it does sEem like some kept the best bits while other threw theirs away.

            2. Exactly which rules was it bending? I assume not the same bending that Red Bull and Ferraris wings were doing?

      2. This doesn’t sound like a man with a car that just needs a bit of fine tuning.

        1. Speaking to reporters after today’s test at Barcelona, Hamilton said:
          “Do I believe I have a car to win the world championship at the moment? I don’t. No. But that doesn’t mean it won’t become a world championship-winning car.”

          F1 is all about development and progress and hopefully the car will develop and the team will progress..

          1. Agreed. It’s just that the others won’t stand still for them while they try to catch up.

            1. yea yea i totally understand that :) I just think it’s silly seeing people write them off for the whole season before its even started.. :)

          2. I think what he is hinting on is that the car has a lot of potential to become the fastest car once it is complete. He is pretty much saying “watch this space”, and dont count them out if they are not there right at the beginning. I’m not Lewis or Mclaren fan, but thats what I got from the linked article.

            1. I’m hoping you’re right steve. I can see the logic, and I hope its true.

              As its such a departure from last years design it will take time to bed in, but time they dont have.

        2. It seems to me from what I have read that they have a pretty fast car but the reliability is very poor (especially the exhausts). Hamilton has mentioned that he does not think there will be a problem in qualifying but he is worried that the car will not finish the races.

          If it is indeed just reliability problems then I am sure the resources they have at Maclaren will sort out the problems pretty quickly.

          1. The car is slow (but not the slowest) as well as being unreliable.

    8. for the whole season

      For eternity and beyond

      1. You mean to Infiniti and beyond

    9. ” The drivers are meeting with the FIA this evening”

      Any news on what is the result of that meeting?

      1. Interestingly Heidfeld said yesterday that he thinks that Red Bull are sandbagging & there is still more to come from the team.

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