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Sebastian Vettel Q&A: Yes, it was a good first day

01 Feb 2015

His first official day testing for new team Ferrari saw four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel topping the timesheets in Spain. Vettel admitted it was ‘a good feeling’, but the German is under no illusion as to its relevance to the season ahead - after all, this time last year team mate Kimi Raikkonen led the way for the Scuderia, only for the Italian squad to end 2014 winless…

Q: Sebastian, your first day in the Ferrari - doing so many more laps than at the same time last year in the Red Bull - and clocking the fastest time: is the car the ‘red goddess’ Michael Schumacher always referred to?
Sebastian Vettel:
Yes, it was a good day. Of course we would have wanted to do more laps - you always do - but we opted for a thorough checking as we had some issues with the telemetry and it’s always better to eliminate any issues right away and not carry them with you into the next sessions. So yes, overall it was a good day.

Q: You look pretty different: the red overalls, the slightly sharper haircut, sitting down in a new car. And walking into a different garage and motorhome - how is that all?
SV:
Yep, a lot is new! It’s a big change. And it is getting better with every day. I have been in Maranello a couple of times over the winter and it impressed me every time I was there. The potential is huge. True, there is a lot to do until every piece falls into place but the motivation is high in everyone including me to come back as soon as possible.

Q: Ferrari always had the aura of being a ‘family’ Do you already feel part of that family?
SV:
It goes step by step in that direction. Every team has its own culture - that was so with Toro Rosso and Red Bull and it is also true with Ferrari. Probably Ferrari is more a bit like Toro Rosso - also an Italian based team. I had a great time at Red Bull, but to sum it up: Ferrari is something special. They’ve made it very easy for me to blend in - they’ve welcomed me with open arms.

Q: You have always given your cars a name. Will you keep up that habit - and do you already have a name for your SF15-T?
SV:
 I will keep that habit - and no, I don’t have a name yet. But today is only the first day of running and I always try to first figure out the character of the car and then discuss with my mechanics - and that is exactly the procedure I will keep.

Q: You’ve done the best lap time of the day. Was that of any significance to you?
SV:
Of course it’s nice, as the top spot of a time sheet is always nice, but lap times at tests - especially the first test - have very little significance. It’s more for the good feeling. We know that we still have a lot to do, as the reference is still Mercedes - and they did something over 150 laps today, which means that they start the season with a very reliable car. Hopefully they are not as quick as last year! (laughs)

Q: You mentioned that there are quite some differences to your car from last year. Was it good to handle?
SV:
As I said before, the steering wheel layout and the steering wheel itself are pretty different to what I was used to up until now - and I haven’t driven the 2014 Ferrari so I have no reference - but speaking of my experiences today: yes, it was a very positive day. I have made sure over the winter that I’ve taken in all the different buttons and switches. We didn’t run that much today, but the track time we had was a good starting point.

Q: Your team principal said that two wins this year would be very welcome…
SV:
…and more wins would be even more welcome! But we have to give it time.

Q: What is your goal for this season then?
SV:
To close the gap to the frontrunner. Mercedes did a great job last season that left all others looking a bit pale - so yes, the priority is to get close the gap.

Q: It took Michael Schumacher five years to win the title with Ferrari. Are you also thinking that long term?
SV:
It is a different situation. There are so many new things to come to terms with - and that includes me too. So it will take time. You take the current car and try to squeeze the maximum out of it, but the influence of the new people in the team will become visible with time. So the priority for this year: get the maximum out of the season and develop as a team.