Sebastian Vettel Q&A: New Red Bull a step forward 08 Feb 2013
Sebastian Vettel was looking super-relaxed as he arrived in Jerez for the first pre-season test of the year. The reigning world champion slipped into the cockpit of Red Bulls RB9 for the first time on Thursday following two productive days of running by team mate Mark Webber.
After completing 102 laps in his new car, Vettel spoke to the media about his first impressions of the machine with which hell begin his title defence on March 17 in Australia...
Q: Sebastian, youve had your first run in the RB9 - what is your gut feeling? Is it another special car?
Sebastian Vettel: Ah, first of all it was good to be back in the car and to shake off the rust! (laughs) I felt good in the car, but it is definitely too early to make any predictions. The good news is that everything worked super and is reliable. There havent been any issues and speed-wise it looks pretty solid. It definitely is a step forward from last year. Its been said a hundred times and Ill say it again: there hasnt been much of a regulation change so I would say that most cars pick up from where they left off in 2012.
Q: How do you know that it is already a step forward from the RB8?
SV: Well, thats not so easy to feel. Last time weve been here was exactly one year ago and the car back then was miles behind what we have now. Then we have new tyres and that gives more grip. You feel that in the fast corners.
Q: When you first got into the car did you have a feeling it would be good? After all Mark had two productive days to start the test
SV: It was clear that the car shows reliability and that is key. Visually the car hasnt changed much. The real changes are underneath and there it is paramount that everything works, so the two days that Mark did - and my running - are good news. Is the car a winner? You only know that at the end so Ill be damned if I would give a verdict!
Q: Was the lap time that Ferrari's Felipe Massa did frightening? He was the only driver to go under 1 minute 18 seconds
SV: Not at all. We havent been looking for speed today. We left the speed rush to the others. My guess is that some were running on low fuel. Our programme is what really matters and for me to get into the groove again. And guess what? It worked without any major hiccups. So lets see what my second day brings.
Q: What have you learned about the new Pirelli tyres?
SV: Well, I had some expectations and Pirelli gave us information about the differences before, and pretty much expectation and information were congruent. Thats all I can say right now. The Jerez track is very hard on tyres - one of the most difficult tracks for the life expectancy of tyres overall - so this is definitely not your usual tarmac.
Q: Do you expect faster lap times this season with the new tyres and evolution of the cars?
SV: No, and I think we will have some problems here and there as there have been some rule changes, especially in qualifying where you cannot use DRS whenever you feel it helpful. You can now only use it at clearly identified points and that will translate into slower lap times.
Q: Christian Horner has signed a new contract with Red Bull and in the past Jerez has always been a time for you to think about your future. You seem comfortable in the team, so will you be putting your signature on a new contract?
SV: Listen: this is as delicate as asking a woman her age! You never ask about contracts! (laughs)
Q: But you do feel comfortable, dont you?
SV: Isnt that something that everybody can see? It was a fun day to be in the car again and other than that there is no news.
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