Pre-Valencia analysis - Red Bull drivers unfazed by changes 24 Jun 2011
Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber go into todays first practice sessions in Valencia confident that the FIAs revised rules on engine mapping are not going to emasculate their Red Bull RB7s or take away any of the advantage they have enjoyed thus far in 2011 in qualifying. The German has been on pole six times this year out of the seven races, and on the one occasion he was beaten, the last time out in Spain in Barcelona, it was by the Australian.
"I think it's something that everyone was playing around with, especially this year," the world champion said of the engine mapping situation. "It makes a difference to everyone, but I don't think it makes a bigger difference to us than others. It's the same for all of us, all the teams.
"I don't think the team are hiding something from me, so there's no secrets. We had some phases last year where people thought we had some lever in the car - turns out we didn't. From what I know, I can assure you there is nothing special going on from Saturday to Sunday.
"I can only judge what we do and sometimes we had good Saturdays but on Sundays struggled. We've had some straightforward races where we had very good race pace, and other races where we've said straight after that our race pace was not according to what we expect ourselves, so in hindsight we underperformed.
"I think you need to see every race on its own. Canada was largely determined by the weather conditions. Going to Monaco, in my case I think we had a very good race pace initially and then a very different strategy which makes it difficult to read the true pace.
"Looking back we've had a very competitive car in qualifying and race conditions everywhere so far, and that makes us reasonably confident here. Canada should not really have suited us but we had a very good day and put the car on pole, so we will see what we can do here."
Webber, who described his spectacular loop-the-loop here last year as a nasty one, said: I dont think they will make the car any faster, but I think it is the same for everybody. We have got to adapt again, get used to it, but it is nothing new for our team to adapt to a change in regulations. All the teams have to adapt and see what they can do to do the best out of it. I dont think it is going to turn the field upside down. I think everyone will still be in reasonable shape. McLaren and Ferrari are fast, we know that. We are quick but the changes, whether they will turn the championship around, I think it is unlikely.
He does think, however, that Valencia is a very sensitive track to both DRS and KERS. Yeah, probably the most that we have been to. Yes, you need to have both working and it is a track where there are two DRS zones here. We need to see how the first one goes, but it should be pretty straightforward in terms of how they work in the race.
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