W Who are the two big contenders for the World Cup. Lewis Hamilton is the extrovert with a gold chain around his neck and tattoos on his body. The reigning Formula 1 champion loves social networks, even if there was a clear cut on his profiles over the winter. Hamilton deleted all entries from one day to the next. Sebastian Vettel, on the other hand, speaks at the race track, retires privately and wants to keep his family out of the public eye. Tattoos are as alien to him as social networks. These opposites reinforce the charm of this duel as well as the battle between silver and red.
While Hamilton is negotiating a contract with Mercedes, a working paper binds Vettel to Ferrari until 2020. The winter program also differed. Hamilton roared through the United States and Japan. And staged himself with photos of his tricks on the snowboard. Vettel, on the other hand, attended the famous Hahnenkamm race in Kitzbühel and went skiing himself. “From a driver's point of view, the winter break is boring. On the other hand, there is a lot of time for important things, ”says Vettel. What is meant is the family.
The driver is heavily involved, especially at the start of development
In between, the four-time world champion traveled to Maranello to find out about the progress in building the new SF71H and to check out the simulator to rise. “Especially in December and February I was in the factory for a day or two. For a week in a row I would get on the boys' nerves too much, 'jokes Vettel. 'Of course you always call and ask about the development status and the numbers.'
The 30-year-old saw the SF71H assembled for the first time on the evening before the presentation. What is the first impression like? “The car looks very tidy. Everything seems to make sense. The figures are good, but we have to confirm them in practice. We are confident. ”Vettel can do that too. The SF70H was a good base. The SF71H is a consistent further development of this. How was Ferrari's great hope involved in the development of the new car? “As a driver, you play a crucial role, especially in the early stages. You tell the engineers what was good about last year's car and what you disliked. That influences the direction of development. The interpretation of the vehicle design is then the job of the specialists. ”
How much do you learn inBarcelona?
Ferrari's goal is similar to that of Mercedes. The car should be competitive on all tracks and fight for victories. The tasks were different. While Mercedes has to improve its car for slow distances, the fast courses are on the agenda at Ferrari. The wheelbase has been lengthened for this. The test drives in Barcelona give a first foretaste of whether the objectives can be met. Vettel restricts: “It should be cold. I don't know if you can learn that much there. ”The second race of the season in Bahrain promises to be a heat race. The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is anything but an optimal reference track.
Ferrari worked on the weak points of the previous season in winter. 'We were still missing a bit on Mercedes,' says the World Cup runner-up. “It was still a good year. Some went well, others didn't. The bottom line is that we have to catch up a bit everywhere. At the car. With the engine. We need more performance and more efficiency. The guys paid great attention to the smallest details. You can see that in the car. The car can never be light enough. With the Halo and the longer wheelbase, this task is not that easy. And the regulations with only three engines for the year are a big challenge. ”When the vehicle was presented, it was not yet clear whether the SF71H already fulfills the minimum weight of 733 kilograms or is even lighter so that it can be balanced with ballast weights hear.
Vettel is relaxed and relaxed. There are no big announcements. Vettel knows that nothing else is expected in Maranello than the World Cup. Just like Real Madrid, for example, is expected to win the Champions League every year. “We are only at the beginning. The end of the 2017 season is closer than the end of 2018. The next few weeks will be very important. I can't make any promises. ”True to the motto: Don't make promises that you can't keep with certainty.
The Formula 1 world longs for a three-way battle between Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull. How do they think Ferrari driver? “Of course it would be cool if things got tight. But the ideal scenario is of course that we drive away from the front. ”This is also underlined by Kimi Raikkonen. 'If we could choose it, we would finish every race half a lap ahead of the competition.'