Mar 13, 2014

    Vettel plans to go on the offensive


    FOUR-TIME Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel has said he plans to go on the attack in Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix, despite problems with his Red Bull car.

    "We have been very successful in the last few years, but now things are a bit more difficult. We will start the season at a bit of a disadvantage," the German told broadcaster Servus TV. "That means we have to fight, charge forward and take everything we can get."

    He endured a frustrating four days of testing in Bahrain 10 days ago due to electrical issues and problems with the car's new Renault engine.

    He said the problems were caused partly by the car's new drivetrain, the components which supply power to the wheels.

    "It's down to the changes in the regulations. We have a completely new drivetrain that has given us a lot of worry," he said.

    "It's very complex and we are having difficulties even to understand everything.

    "When a small part doesn't fit properly, then the car just won't go."

    Vettel predicted the introduction of new turbo engines would have a major impact on all teams, making the cars more unreliable and prone to breaking down, when the season starts in Melbourne.

    The 26-year-old is bidding for a fifth consecutive world title, but fumed that "just getting to the finish would be a success" in the wake of the Bahrain testing.

    Meanwhile, his Australian teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, said yesterday that he has no fear of any animosity poisoning his working relationship with the German this season.

    Ricciardo, 24, replaced retired compatriot Mark Webber on the team this year.

    Vettel and Webber clashed several times, stemming from a number of high-profile incidents on the track, notably during the 2011 title battle and when Vettel disobeyed orders so he could snatch victory from his teammate at last year's Malaysian Grand Prix.

    Ricciardo said: "I still have a bit on my plate. I don't fear any animosity (with Vettel).

    "They're asking me how I'm going to go against Seb and obviously, I have faith and confidence that I will go well against him.

    "But until I do it on an even playing field, I don't really know - not much can be answered yet."