Q&A with Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel 19 May 2011
Red Bull technical chief Adrian Newey recently said Sebastian Vettel is on a high, at the top of his game. Few would disagree, but things can change very fast in Formula One. The world champion has definitely been on a lucky streak since the start of the season - a streak he wants to continue in Spain this weekend. More importantly, team and driver are ready to make it happen
Q: What indicators are there that your good run will continue here in Barcelona?
Sebastian Vettel: The Germans always like to talk about the weather, so this could be a good argument here, as it is good weather. Also the first four races have been very good for us. Regardless of the characteristics of the different tracks, we have been amongst the front of the field. Also here I expect the same. Barcelona is always a race where teams bring updates for their package, and this is what we expect from most our competitors. We have also brought some updates, and if they work out we will see tomorrow. As well we will see if the updates of any other team can cause a shift of power amongst the field. The regulations this year dont allow a big scope where you can make big changes, so they are mostly details that differ. Even I sometimes have to look very closely to see the difference in the parts. Then again the effect could be quite big in the end, even though a particular part has only slightly changed.
Q: Fernando Alonso has extended his contract with Ferrari until 2016. This means that you would be almost 30 before you could race a Ferrari for the first time
SV: First of all congratulations to Fernando for his extension. And yes, this would be quite some time until then. But then again it is quite some time until then, and many things can happen in the meantime. From his point of view I would say that it was the exact right thing to do. Obviously he is feeling at home at Ferrari, and he had the opportunity to extend, so it makes sense. Most probably at the age of 30 it would not be my time to race there, and I am feeling more than happy where I am now, plus I have extended my own contract just at the beginning of this year.
Q: How do you think that the Red Bull will perform this year at the Circuit de Catalunya?
SV: Since we have tested here during the winter quite often, we know the track very well. Of course the conditions have been different as the ambient temperature was far lower, and now the sun is shining, so we have to wait and see what is possible. This track has the advantage that you can see how strong a team and its car actually is.
Q: After Istanbul there was the discussion about Michael Schumacher and whether he is too old and should think about retiring. What is your opinion on the whole discussion?
SV: Michael has not had the best GP in his career at the last race, this is for sure. But lets assume he won the Spanish GP, then we would not have any of these questions at the next race in Monaco. I am very sure that he has way better races still ahead. Of course for him it is not easy to see that the public and media is trying to write him off. Then again Michael has the biggest experience of all drivers in the paddock, so I am very sure that he can deal with this situation.
Q: Given that you have been extremely successful so far this season, please tell us how you and the team have approached the race weekends?
SV: We have always approached the races as its own, and always tried to get the maximum out of us and the car. Even though the results might have looked very good, it wasnt always easy to get there. Sometimes everything runs very smoothly, and some other times you struggle. There will be races where it will be hard to be in the front or even to have a podium finish, but these races will be very important as well for the final (championship) result. We cannot take winning for granted. We are still hungry and have to be aggressive in the fight for the title. Sooner or later we will find out if we are in a position to fight for the title.
Q: How much of the success is coming from yourself, since Mark Webber is in the same car and is not winning races like you are?
SV: I am very sure that from the outside it is hard to judge what is going on in a team. The both of us are trying as hard as we can, and you try to do the best around yourself.
Q: In terms of race strategy, at the moment are you at a point where you can have a reactive strategy and just wait what to see what everyone else is doing? Or do you actively push to have a race-winning strategy in place prior to the event?
SV: This years racing is very different. Overtaking in some ways is much easier if you are on a fresher set of tyres, plus you have got the moveable rear wing. Sure, if you are in a position where you lead, you can react and do not need to think so much about strategies.
Q: What do you think of the idea of having Kamui Kobayashi as a team mate for next season?
SV: I did race with him in Formula Three, and we have been team mates back then. Sometimes we looked at him and we could not figure out how he managed to take some corners that fast. Luckily he also had corners where he was slower, so we were always matching each other. Still, this is so far away, as we are only at race number five. On top of that is that I am not signing any drivers. I like Kamui a lot, and that could be a good basis.
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