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Sebastian Vettel Q&A: Renault criticism exaggerated

03 Jul 2014

After the disappointment of retirement at Red Bull’s home race in Austria two weeks ago, Sebastian Vettel at least had something to celebrate in the Silverstone paddock on Thursday - his birthday (team mate Daniel Ricciardo’s was two days ago). But will the party continue throughout the British Grand Prix weekend?

Q: First of all, happy birthday. Is this day any different to your other working days?

Sebastian Vettel: Thank you very much; this is very much appreciated. There are, of course, a few little things that make this day even nicer than usual. Both Daniel and I have received a wonderful homemade cake, which we and the team are enjoying a lot - so no dieting for me today! (laughs)

Q: There has been quite a bit of criticism from your side and the team towards Renault. How involved are you at the end of the day?

SV: Of course I am involved, as it is me that is sitting in the car at the end of the day. Personally I think that the criticism has been exaggerated. From our side we have basically just stated what we have perceived, which is that we are lagging behind and that the package that Renault has put together is not as strong as what Mercedes came up with this season. Also I think that Ferrari can sing the same blues. For sure it is not easy, but looking at where we are now, and where we began this season, I think that we have made quite good progress. We are very aware that it will not be one huge step, rather many small ones that will hopefully get us onto the same level as Mercedes.

Of course the time will be rather tight, and therefore we need to make these many small steps sooner rather than later.

Q: What is your prediction regarding the fight at the front between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg?

SV: Generally I don’t really care about this, as I am rather looking at our team. But I think that both of them are clever and experienced enough to know where the limits are in the fight for a race win. For sure in the heat of the battle there is a lot of room for mistakes, but this should rather be the exception, especially because they have raced against each other before.

Q: Is the Silverstone circuit a track that is good for Red Bull’s car?

SV: I would say that over the past years it has been more and more in our favour. But then there is the fact that there are a lot of straights here, for which one needs a powerful engine and in this regard we are still a little bit behind. But I hope that we have managed to get a little bit closer than we were in Austria. But realistically everyone will work on this fact, and for sure also Mercedes will improve all of their options as well as they can.

Q: What are your thoughts on the introduction of standing re-starts for the 2015 season?

SV: I personally don’t think that this is a great idea in itself, as for one it is not the easiest thing to keep a used set of tyres at temperature while driving behind the safety car, and for sure it will be much harder to get them up to temperature after putting the cars back on the starting grid. Secondly I don’t think it is fair towards the drivers who have fought their way up during the race, and who would then be at risk of having a starting collision once again. Overall there are too many aspects that have not been really thought through at the moment.

Q: How far along is your team with the development of next year’s car?

SV: For sure we are working on it, and we will integrate a lot of what we have learned from this year. But still our focus is committed to get this season’s car to be more competitive. We are still working a lot on learning how all the components could work better together to find a better set-up.

Q: Tomorrow is another special day, with the German football team playing against France. What is your prediction?

SV: Unfortunately I will miss the beginning of the match, as we are having an important briefing at 5pm, and for sure I will not try and make this as short as possible, as this is much more important for us. After the meeting I will find a TV screen somewhere here in the paddock to watch the rest of the game and cheer for our national team. My prediction is that the match itself will go into extra time and then Germany will win in the end.