Exclusive Sebastian Vettel Q&A: I cant wait for my turn 11 Feb 2010
Sitting on the sidelines and watching his Red Bull team mate Mark Webber take the new RB6 out for its maiden run was no easy feat for Sebastian Vettel. While he patiently undertook hours of media work in the Jerez paddock, the glint in Vettels eyes gave away just how eager he is to step into the cockpit and sample his new challenger for 2010. Hell finally have his chance on Friday, but until then all he can do is wait and wonder
Q: Sebastian, how did you feel about the team sitting out the first test last week?
Sebastian Vettel: Well, obviously after that test there was just one more week to go until our outing and that was bearable, but for sure you sit in front of the computer, you talk on the phone all day to find what is going on, and you look at their lap times to see how they are doing. Its good now to be here and to hear the cars, even if it means another tough couple of days for me to wait. But on Friday it is my turn!
Q: How closely did you watch the Valencia test? Did you use video footage to gauge how the cars behaved on track?
SB: No video material. We had some very good high resolution pictures to spot the details of the other cars, which was very interesting and we talked about it. I talked about it with my race engineer, and as I was at the factory during the Valencia test, I also spoke to other technical staff and to Adrian (Newey) and guys from his design department to find out their thoughts about the cars. It was good to see that many of the other teams integrated some of our ideas from the RB5 into their new cars. Apart from that we just followed the lap times, saw how many laps they were doing and tried to figure out the thinking behind their programmes.
Q: Red Bull Racing decided to use the wind tunnel rather than testing at Valencia. Did you agree with that decision?
SV: For sure it was no big issue, as we committed to that procedure very early on. By the end of last year we already knew that we would miss the first test. It was not like one week before I had a phone call and someone told me the first test is called off and I lazed around for another week. Of course, missing four days running is not an advantage, but on the other hand, I would say the disadvantage to us is minimal. We know what to focus on and what is important, so theres no big issue. Now the car is running, there are no major problems - and thats a good sign.
Q: Has your team mate Mark already provided you with some feedback about the car?
SB: I had a brief chat with him but things like that you have to experience for yourself. Hearsay will not do. The conditions are not ideal - sometimes its pouring, sometimes it dribbles, and the track is wet all the time - but we saw last year that you also have to race in such conditions sometimes so its worth doing runs. It looks like I will also have a taste of the wet on Friday - you never know what it is good for!
Q: Everybody keeps on saying that test times dont mean a thing, but did the times of your rivals at Valencia cause any worries?
SV: Its true, everybody tells you that you dont know what fuel everybody is running on, but on the other hand lap times are your only reference, and Valencia was pretty interesting for me, as you clearly could see when guys ran on lower fuel and then when they went back to a higher fuel load. After Valencia you could clearly say that Ferrari and McLaren looked very competitive. Mercedes was so-so. But then Valencia is a very special circuit. Its quite unique, quite Mickey Mouse at some stages. If any, then Ferrari and McLaren looked very competitive.
Q: Are 12 test days enough?
SV: Compared to last year the changes are not that big, but for sure no refuelling and a much larger fuel tank that needs to be fitted somewhere in the car is not easy. Nobody has approached me yet to lose some weight, even though I might still have some kilos too many as a Christmas leftover. From what Ive seen, the 2010 cars are more of an evolution. I have not seen anything that resembles a dramatic change anywhere. It is all about details and hidden things that will make the difference.
Q: The RB5 was a real beauty, what do you make of the RB6?
SV: For me, it is even more beautiful, and under the skin there has been lot of work done. You know men are always looking for character and inner values, and not so much for outer beauty!
Q: Last year you were the only German driver to win races, but now Mercedes Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg could be tough competition. How will you like sharing the limelight?
SV: There are four teams that look very strong. That makes eight drivers, and there are only three spots on the podium; only one can win and one of the eight drivers will finish eighth. What I like is winning, and if you win the limelight is on you anyway.
Q: Have you been surprised by Schumachers quick performances?
SV: I dont think that was a big surprise to anybody. He once was the personification of the sport, so I was sure he would adapt very fast. How well he will do in the races, we will see. A lot will depend on the car. He has a strong team mate and Nico will push him. It will be interesting to see.
Q: The German media are already commenting on a brewing psychological battle between Michael and Nico
SV: I would not mind if those two have trouble between themselves, and we go faster and win races.
Q: Last year you were a rising star, what are you aims for 2010 and beyond?
SV: If I was a man on his way up in 2009, I am sure that the media will find another label this year. My target is clear - I want to win the world championship and then its easy to find me another label!