The German is not willing to write off his chances of a fifth consecutive drivers’ championship and believes “anything can happen” this season. The Red Bull RB10, which Vettel has called ‘Suzie’, proved to be unreliable in pre-season testing due to overheating and packaging issues.
He feels history shows that there is plenty of time for the Milton Keynes-based outfit to recover and return to the front, even if the first few races prove to be difficult.
“I don’t think that’s fair to say,” he said when asked if he is pessimistic about his title chances. “It’s a long year. Our pre-season testing, our preparation, hasn’t been ideal and, yeah, we’re probably not in the best position for this race but I think it’s a different story when we think about the championship. There’s a long way to go.”
He added: “Two years back Fernando was on the grid with 1.5 seconds to pole position but he was very close to beating us to the title at the very last race. Anything can happen. That’s why this race is important, just as any other one. But there are a lot of races this year.
He admitted that the car used at the first round of the season in Australia will be very different to the car he drove in the final winter test.
“I think it will be a very different car,” said the four-time champion. “Obviously, for us, we had a lot of problems during the test so we didn’t get to test a lot of stuff and we hope we do some more running here and obviously put the parts to the car that we think are better for overall performance. Yeah, it will be a bit different but I think it’s the same for all of us.”
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