Q: Sebastian, you’ve named your new car ‘Eva’, which is a rather unusual name for you after all the ‘kinky’ and ‘dirty’ attributes of former machines. Can you explain the choice?
Sebastian Vettel: Well, I guess the biblical associations are pretty obvious - and it’s my first year with Ferrari. But the funny dimension is that my race engineer’s surname is Adami - so that spoke even more for choosing Eva and dismissing all other names that where on the list! We had a pretty good laugh at the meeting where we decided the name! (laughs)
Q: So what’s your guess about what you can achieve with Eva on your first race weekend together?
SV: A bit difficult to say on a Thursday, but to find out is why we are here. I think we had a good winter, and my gut feeling agrees with that. Of course there is still work ahead and we clearly are not the favourites here - but that is clearly on our agenda. To dream up a result - no thanks; I don’t want to get involved in that kind of speculation. Just one thing is crystal clear: the more towards the front, the better!
Q: At the last test in Barcelona you spoke about a feel good factor that has already been reached in the team - has that increased since?
SV: Yes, it has. Of course it helped that from the very first day the team has welcomed me with wide-open arms - that everybody is happy and that the atmosphere is fantastic. Now we just can hope that the weekend will catch us on the right foot and so on and so forth.
Q: You frequently said that racing for Ferrari is a childhood dream, and this weekend it comes true. Is this weekend a special one in your career?
SV: I hope so. A bit will also depend on the result as this is racing and not a feel-good contest. Somehow it’s a big step for me, yes, and I am happy that the season is finally starting.
Q: Is this weekend all about ‘catching up’ or about outperforming?
SV: It’s about catching up. That already is an ambitious goal. Mercedes was the absolute benchmark last season - and you don’t lose that over a winter, not even when those behind put in a huge effort. (laughs) My guess is that they’ve even made a step forward. Of course others did make their steps as well - so it will be interesting to see what kind of pecking order we will see on Sunday. At least partially, the real order will probably become visible once we start the European campaign. Overall, we are happy with what we’ve achieved so far as it was a turbulent winter with a lot of changes in the team.
Q: You’ve now done your first autograph session in your new red overalls. Are the fans reacting differently now that you’re wearing such an iconic uniform?
SV: The fans in Australia are fantastic - and have always been fantastic - no matter what colour the overalls are. You will hardly find more enthusiastic fans than here - that is one of the reasons why we all love to be here. So let’s put on a great show on Sunday, for all the fans at the track and all the millions watching the race on TV.