Z For two days, Mark Webber was able to put the teething troubles out of the new Red Bull RB8 . Then the champion took over the helm. The 2012 season began for the Heppenheimer 18 seconds after the green light came on at the pit lights.
However, caution was called for on the first kilometer in Jerez. 'This morning it was extremely cold and extremely slippery,' said Vettel about the start at zero degrees in Andalusia. 'But it's already fun to sit in the car again. You feel right at home again.'
Vettel loses grip
The 24-year-old spooled 96 laps at the test debut. In between he changed the helmet. In the end, the third-best time was behind Nico Rosberg in last year's Mercedes and Lotus driver Romain Grosjean. Vettel could not and did not want to give an exact assessment of the performance. 'On the first day it's always difficult to say how good you are. The first feeling fits.'
However, suddenly his Red Bull no longer did what he was used to from last season. 'Everyone lost a lot over the winter because the rules changed. You can feel that everywhere. You simply have less grip.'
Red Bull seems particularly affected by the ban on blown diffusers. 'We had designed the car around the exhaust. That is completely eliminated,' complains Vettel. 'We still have an exhaust, but it has almost no function. Everyone gets to feel it. When braking, turning, accelerating, traction - only on the straight is no difference, but there is also no need for downforce.'
Red Bull in the timetable
In general, however, the impression was positive. There were no nasty surprises: 'The balance is right and the car makes a very good impression. We are where we expected it to be. We are on our schedule quite well.'
On Thursday, the team owner also made himself /herself Dietrich Mateschitz a picture of how well his racing team is getting off the ground. The billionaire may not have liked anything. There were still minor problems with reliability in particular. The lever for adjusting the brake balance in the cockpit fell off in the morning. 'It's only stuck on because we still have to find out the final position,' explained Vettel.
In the afternoon there were always phases in which the Red Bull was in the garage. 'There are so few spare parts in the test that it is better to be on the safe side. There is no reason to startlike a bull. '
Vettel praise to Lotus
Vettel did not want to overestimate the times. The third-best time is still not very meaningful.' If you go out at the right time of day and refuel a bit, then things really move forward ', Vettel warned of wrong interpretations.
The view of the classification was not entirely unimportant either.' The teams that drive a lot of laps here and are in good shape too Good prerequisites to be up front at the start of the season. 'The black and gold car of Romain Grosjean, which was eight tenths faster on Thursday, made a special impression.' You can say that Lotus is doing quite well. They were now more often fast and constant. '
Vettel did not want to make a statement about the competition from last year:' With McLaren and Ferrari there are - just like with us - a few question marks. 'If the Red Bull-Pilot had to decide between speed and reliability, he would prefer to take a fast car. 'You can make a fast car reliable. But making a reliable car quickly is not that easy. '
Incidentally, the double world champion has not yet chosen a name for his new chassis.' Last year we didn't make that decision until the Wednesday before the race. It will be a little earlier this year. '