Sebastian Vettel Q&A - Red Bull in better shape than last year 21 Feb 2013
They haven't topped the timesheets on any day of pre-season testing in Spain so far, but reigning world champions Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull have - once again - demonstrated impressive pace and reliability. After completing 84 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya in the new RB9 on Wednesday, the 25-year-old German spoke to the media about how he feels preparations for the new season are going
Q: Sebastian, after two days running here in Barcelona, what is your impression of the RB9?
Sebastian Vettel: Well, we still need a bit more time and the good news is there are still six test days left. So far everything is running smoothly here; no real issues aside from the hiccups with the software, but this is not only plaguing us - we are all in the same boat. In the mornings it is still too cold and as a result you see the tyres giving up quite fast, but that is also something that we all have in common.
Q: What happened in the afternoon? Your car stopped and had to be taken back to the pits on the back of a truck
SV: Obviously we wanted to run a bit longer and that didnt work. But better have issues here - after all this is a test - than later on in the season. What was the issue? Wed done several pit stops and obviously at the last one wheel wasnt fixed properly. That was the reason I couldnt go out again. But again, nothing really to worry about. I could see it start rocking.
Q: Barcelona is a very different track to Jerez - it has fast corners, less abrasive tarmac and its the track for the Spanish Grand Prix. Is the RB9 behaving as expected?
SV: Yes, it feels pretty good to me. And thats all that matters.
Q: Can you tell us what programmes youve been running over the past two days?
SV: It is not so easy to run programmes here. The tyres do not last that long. If you had enough new tyres at your disposal things would be significantly easier. As it is now, you have to very accurately manage your tyres over the course of the day. What we basically did was to do our homework - low-fuel runs and fast lap times weve left to the others for the moment! (laughs)
Q: Your biggest challenger for the 2012 title, Fernando Alonso, started his season on Tuesday having missed the first test in Jerez. Have you watched him? What is your impression of the new Ferrari?
SV: From what I saw in Jerez when Felipe (Massa) was driving, the car looked in a good state and I am sure it is not different here with Fernando in the cockpit. But to be honest, when you drive and you see another car on the track it is almost impossible to notice details, from whatever car. This is much easier when you look at photos. To be honest right now we are still in the phase where we are fully concentrating on ourselves, not looking left and right.
Q: When you think back to this time last year, would you say that you are in even better shape now than you were in 2012?
SV: Yes, I would say so. Although you can hardly compare the car that we have now to the one we had one year ago. What we have is more or less the same car that we had in Brazil - with some steps forward. But from a personal level I can say that I am much happier now than I was one year ago.
Q: After winning the championship three times in a row, how do you find the motivation to achieve more?
SV: Thank God I dont have to think about something like finding motivation! Sure it was nice what weve achieved in the last three years and it makes us all proud, but I would say that I am still in a phase of my life where I look forward, and thats the right direction to go.
Q: What do you expect to be the key factors for success this season?
SV: I dont think it will be much different from what was important last year - again it will be very close, so it will not be a case of two or three drivers fighting it out. In the first half of the season I expect a very similar situation to 2012 where we saw many different winners. Then, in the second half, some favourites will become visible. To be one of them you have to score points at every race and be consistent - that was what got us the title in 2012.
Q: What else have you learned from last year?
SV: I would say that we all grew as a team in the course of the 2012 season. We never lost faith in our abilities, even if we didnt look too good at some stages of the season. We were fighting all the way, and fighting was what got us back into the game and delivered both titles.
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