The timing screens on the final day of Formula 1 pre-season testing will show that Sebastian Vettel, at the wheel of the Red Bull RB10 was way off the pace, however the world champion revealed that pace is not high on their list of problems to solve ahead of the season opening Australian Grand Prix.
Speaking at the end of his final stint in Bahrain, Vettel told members of the media, “For sure we cannot do the times that the guys at the top are doing, for a couple of reasons, but at the moment we have bigger problems to solve than just the pace.”
“It’s quite a difficult time because it’s a difficult car to work on and you can see as well for the other teams, if you have downtime depending on where the damage is, where the problem is that it’s a big job to repair and fix it. That’s why it takes a long time.
Some insiders predict that Red Bull will struggle to get out of the initial Q1 segment in Melbourne later this month.
The world champion did not disagree, “The speed is not there compared to some other teams so we have to wait and see when we get there.”
Vettel is happy that Red Bull remained committed to the final pre-season test amid reports that the world champion team considered skipping the final test and decided to stay in Bahrain only to help engine supplier Renault more generally get up to speed.
“I think it was absolutely the right decision to come here,” he said before leaving Bahrain. “It is down to us that we have not done enough.”
The Austrian team, their boss Christian Horner and now the German himself have denied reports that Vettel recently threw a tantrum when he realised the scale of Red Bull’s crisis.
“I’m annoyed of course that I cannot drive,” he admitted. “I think it’s worse for the mechanics, crawling around all day on the floor putting the car together for the umpteenth time.
“But I don’t see anybody getting upset, even if it is a hard time at the moment of course,” insisted Vettel.
And at the end of the day, it might not be all bad for Red Bull – insiders at Mercedes claim that GPS data has proved that when the Adrian Newey-penned car is running properly, it is fast in the corners.
“Of the few laps we have had, the feeling was pretty good,” Vettel confirmed. “But I can’t tell you more.” (GMM)
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