Q&A with Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel 15 Mar 2012
Drivers always head to Australia hoping their new cars will race well on their debut, but safe in the knowledge that the unusual nature of Albert Park means its not a predictor of season-long form. Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel, however, seems oblivious. Bernie Ecclestone has already tipped him for the 2012 title, and his Red Bull RB8 - which he has named Abbey - looks to be ready for anything
Q: What is it that you like doing when coming to Australia?
Sebastian Vettel: Usually we come here very early compared to other races, as we want to get used to the time zone and the weather conditions, as it is a bit warmer than in Europe, which is nice. We all love coming here; it is a fantastic place to be. Melbourne is a great city and there are a few things that you might do again and again, but also there are a lot of new things that you want to explore.
Q: Being a two-time world champion, what does that give you? Confidence or peace of mind?
SV: The situation is a little bit like last year. Of course it means a lot to us, winning the championship. If you have done it once, it means that no one can take it away from you anymore, but that doesnt mean that we wouldnt want to do it again. The only reason for us being here is because we want to win. Besides the nice atmosphere and the nice people, we are here to race and ultimately to win. This year it is not so easy to tell what could happen, as it seems to be very close and hard to pinpoint which team looks strong. Personally I think that we have a good car. Although first we need to find out where we stand compared to the other teams, which is the same I guess for everyone else. During testing it was a little bit of up and down for everyone, if you look at the timesheets, which makes it a bit hard to predict.
Q: If it is harder to predict this year, would you say that it makes it more interesting for you then?
SV: I have to say that even last year, it was much closer than the results in the end may have shown. If you are ahead of Jenson (Button) by only nine-thousandths of a second, this is not a big gap. Still, this is only the beginning of the season. It is March now and we finish in November, so there are a lot of races to finish.
Q: There are now six world champions in the starting field. Do you rate your own chances as the best, or someone elses?
SV: Unpredictable. It might be all of them, or none, or even someone completely different. Mercedes is definitely closer this year, so Nico (Rosberg) and Michael (Schumacher). Michael has enough titles for both of them (laughs). It could be very interesting or it could be very boring. We dont know yet, luckily. As they say, when the flag drops the bullsh*t stops.
Q: What have you done off-season to be able to maintain the gap and stay ahead of the other drivers?
SV: If you rest and stop moving forward, you will end up going backwards. But this is not any different in other fields, as it is in Formula One. The winter break was good to get away from Formula One a little bit and recharge the batteries.
Q: Is there anything that you particularly like about the new car that you have experienced while testing?
SV: There are a lot of hidden features that you cannot see at first glance. The nose is something, though none of the teams is very happy about that, and probably well get used to it by the end of the season and then get rid of it for next year.
For tickets and travel to 2012 Formula One races, click here.
For Formula One and F1 team merchandise, click here.