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Sebastian Vettel Q&A: Sochi track nice, but not made for Red Bull

10 Oct 2014

Sebastian Vettel was the only man to arrive in Russia this weekend having already driven the Sochi Autodrom, albeit in a road car. Vettel doesn’t, however, think that will help him much for the Grand Prix. While he enjoyed the circuit in Friday’s practice sessions - much more so than in the simulator - the world champion concedes it is not a track well suited to Red Bull’s RB10 machine…

Q: Sebastian, there is so much talk about your future - and that it will supposedly be at Ferrari. So far you have said nothing about this - is that difficult?

Sebastian Vettel: It is what it is right now. Thank God I have so much to do that I don’t get bored and I don’t feel the need to be over-communicative. (laughs)

Q: When will the sadness set in regarding your leaving Red Bull? We remember Lewis Hamilton fleeing the nest at McLaren and it was a bit of a tearful situation…

SV: Not right now, but I am sure the last race will be very emotional. Right now it is about working on the fact that we are not so fast - that consumes all my attention.

Q: There are intense discussions going on about how an accident like the one in Suzuka could be prevented. One possible solution is to have a closed cockpit. What is your opinion on that?

SV: Of course after such an unfortunate accident many suggestions are made, and the closed cockpit is one of them. Right now I feel that we have to come to terms with the situation - even if that is very hard - and then to see what can to be changed. To make hasty decisions is not the right way to go.

Q: But the safety discussion in racing must never stand still…

SV: …and it never will. But just think, if somebody would have told the drivers back in the Fifties that a seat belt would prevent them from heavy injuries I am sure they would have immediately implemented it as well as using a helmet instead of a leather cap. We have already come a long way - but of course that doesn’t mean that we should ever forget to think about what we can do better. We do have a very high standard when it comes to safety, but sadly accidents as unexpected as this one can always happen.

Q: You were able to do some laps on this track prior to this weekend. Did that help you in any way?

SV: No not really. I think this track has similarities to Valencia and Korea, so everybody who has been racing at these tracks before knows what to expect. It not a street circuit - but also not a track in the classic sense. It is quite special to race through the Olympic Park with these incredible stadium buildings around. The layout is rather simple with its 90-degree corners and a lot of right-handers. Turn 3, the fast left corner around the Olympic square, is probably the highlight. Sure you have to find the right compromise between the corners and the straights.

Q: The pit-lane entrance seems to be very narrow - is that something of a worry for the race?

SV: Not really, but it is a bit funny that everything is so grand here so why make such a narrow pit-lane entrance? So being a bit careful when pitting is what you have to do.

Q: What’s the part of the circuit that you enjoy most?

SV: When I came here I basically knew what to expect and I have to say that it feels much better in reality than in the simulator. There is a lot of grip so the tyre choice from Pirelli is very good.

Q: Overall it doesn’t look like this track is a favourite for the Red Bull car. Is it a circuit where you will struggle?

SV: Unfortunately it looks that way. It is a nice track - but not necessarily made for us. We haven’t been as quick as we would have liked, but the long runs have been more promising so that should help us a bit in the race.

Q: So what can you do to enhance your chances?

SV: Work hard. That’s the only answer that I have. Work on the set-up and work from there. There isn’t any magic that you can apply, so it looks like it is going to be one of the tougher weekends for us. Having said that I think that qualifying will be very interesting tomorrow, as McLaren took on the position that Williams normally holds. So let’s wait and see if everything is for real - and if we will find a solution for us.