Sebastian Vettel remains uncertain whether Red Bull can close the gap to their rivals Mercedes before the start of next season.
Red Bull went into 2014 as defending champions, but the team has struggled for reliability and straight-line performance following the switch from V8 engines to V6 1.6 litre power units at the turn of the year, with partner Renault encountering numerous headaches in the first months of Formula One’s new turbocharged era.
Questioned on whether he believes that Red Bull can catch Mercedes ahead of the 2015 season, Vettel said: “It’s difficult to say, right now. The gap is very big and we didn’t really close the gap since race one.
“We have tried lots of things to improve but they do the same thing. We need bigger steps of development to close the gap even more.
‘I think at the end of the season we can judge a little better what we need to do during the winter.”
FRIC – front/rear interconnected – suspension systems are seemingly set to be banned ahead of the German Grand Prix, but Vettel remains unsure how they will affect the field, with rivals Mercedes reportedly possessing the most advanced form of the system on their 2014 car.
“We know what we are running but we don’t know what they are running,” he added. “It’s pretty clear what the FIA has said and probably some teams will be more affected than other teams.”
The German has finished on the podium just twice all season, in Malaysia and Canada, but is hopeful that with a trouble free race he can make it onto the rostrum at home at Hockenheim next time out.
“It has been a little bit up and down this year,” noted the four-time champion. “We hope for a smooth weekend without any problems.
“I will try and get the best out of myself and the car. It would be very special to finish on the podium there [Hockenheim].”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic