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Vettel: starting '08 with '07 car has advantages 28 Jan 2008

Sebastian Vettel (GER) BMW Sauber F1 Test Driver. Formula One Testing, Day Three, Valencia, Spain, Wednesday 23 January 2008. World © Hartley/Sutton Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR02. Formula One Testing, Day Three, Jerez, Spain, Wednesday 16 January 2008. World © Hartley/Sutton

Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Vettel believes the late arrival of the team’s new car will not hamstring his 2008 campaign. With the STR3 unlikely to make its race debut before April, both Vettel and team mate Sebastien Bourdais will start the season in an updated version of last year’s STR2.

Last week, Vettel covered over 250 laps during the three-day Valencia test and, together with Bourdais, the young German was pleased with progress as Toro Rosso evaluated several new additions to the STR2B. Vettel was in the top ten on all three days, finishing eighth fastest on two occasions.

“At the moment it looks and feels really good,” Vettel told Formula1.com. “We will get the new car after the first three or four races so we will start the season with an evolution of the 2007 car, the STR2B.

“I see it as a benefit to start the season with a car I know and that has overcome reliability issues in the last quarter of the ’07 season. Let’s wait and see if we are not doing better with proven material than many others in their brand new machines having to overcome teething problems.”

The STR2 enjoyed a strong finish to 2007, with Vettel challenging for a podium during the rainy Japanese event and then clinching a career-best fourth in China, Toro Rosso’s best result to date. The 20 year-old, however, is determined that improvements to the older car must not overshadow the development of its successor.

“We have to push the STR2B forward,” Vettel explained. “We also have to see that the development of the STR3 goes in the right direction so we have a competitive car right away, as by that time all the other teams will have solved many of their teething problems.”

Vettel will be back in action at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya for another three-day test from February 1-3.