Q: Sebastian, 14 laps today - is that a reason for hope on the horizon?
Sebastian Vettel: Always! Probably not what we’ve expected - but there is hope, yes! The gut feeling is positive, even if it might not look that way right now. The fact is that we started quite late today, but were able to run these laps in times in the window of most of the others - before we were running into troubles that culminated in the fire on the track. It was nothing serious - but of course it shouldn’t have happened. Having said that it demonstrates that there is room for improvement. (laughs) It is still hard to understand why things do happen. It is a very complex matter. So what we need is time and it doesn’t help that if you have to change something on the car it seems to take forever. That adds to all the difficulties.
Q: Can you tell what caused that fire?
SV: There was an issue with the brakes that caused a lock of the back tyres. That created quite a lot of heat - and suddenly it was too hot under the cover. That was when I had to help the marshal with the extinguisher…
Q: How convinced are you that Red Bull and Renault will sort out the problems in the seven test days that are left before flying out to Melbourne?
SV: We are working flat out to get on top of the issues. Our guy are getting very little sleep right now - only one to maximum three hours - but it also seems to be clear that there is no such thing as a quick fix. We’ve fixed the problems from Jerez with the temperature - at least for a couple of laps - but we are in a phase where you fix one problem and another pops up. So yes, there are things to solve from Red Bull’s side in terms of reliability and stuff from the Renault side - and it wouldn’t be fair to separate these two. We are a team - a very successful one in the last couple of years - so now when we’re facing a start to the new season that is more troubled than those in the past, we will together drive through it - and work it out.
Q: Is panic setting in?
SV: We are only at the second test with a long year ahead of us, so why should there be panic? Yes, it is not the start of the RB10 that we had hoped for - but we’re working on it! We know pretty well what the issues are and we will step-by-step eliminate them.
Q: Compared to some of your competitors, time seems to be running out for you…
SV: Sure, we do miss the track time that others have had, but that’s why we have tests - to get things sorted out. I would definitely say that we have made a step forward compared to the Jerez test. But it also seems true that if we fix one problem another appears. I don’t know what the situation is at other teams - but yes, they at least are doing mileage, and that’s what we are missing right now.
Q: When looking at your current situation, is it a blessing that there will be a double points allocation at the last race of the season?
SV: Gee, that is pretty harsh. It is February and there is a long way to go. Whatever the situation will be I am not a fan of the double points, as I don’t understand the reason behind it. And to be honest, until then I hope that we will have lots of good races and results.
Q: Is there something that you know but we don’t? Because many times when things don’t go your way you show a rather grim face - but today you are all relaxed and are showing a ‘sunny disposition’…
SV: Unfortunately not, but there is also no reason to bury our heads in the sand. We are all motivated to get on top of the mountain of work, even if it right now it looks pretty steep.