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Vettel, Red Bull launch bid for five-in-a-row

  • Published at 03:56 pm January 28th, 2014
Vettel, Red Bull launch bid for five-in-a-row

Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel said he and his Red Bull team will be stepping into the unknown as they target a fifth consecutive world drivers' and constructors' title in 2014.

A series of technical regulation changes have resulted in an overhaul of the car that Vettel rode to a record equalling nine straight race wins to end last season.

The Austrian team unveiled their new RB10 model ahead of the season's first collective test in Jerez, southern Spain, on Tuesday.

And the German driver is unsure of what to expect in the upcoming season given the comprehensive overhaul of the rules.

"The team is very motivated, but I don't think anyone is thinking of the results at the moment because we are just trying to get the car out and get on top of the rule changes.

"It is way too early to judge potential outcome. After three or four races we will be in a better position to judge where we are. Right now to have any sorts of expectations is impossible."

With fuel efficiency having been one of the key elements prioritised by the change in regulations, race strategy is likely to play an even greater role once the season gets up and running in Australia on March 16.

However, Vettel is unsure if not being able to go flat out for the full race will benefit his driving style.

"In previous years we have come to Jerez to launch the car, but it was the same toys under the cover and there was just one or two adjustments. This year there is a lot of new things.

"At the moment it is all guessing. We haven't tested the car in all sorts of situations.

"There are a lot of things that will potentially change, but we don't know how big that change will be yet. Whether those changes benefit myself or others I don't know.

"If you drive the same way as last year you won't see the chequered flag."

Vettel also has a new teammate this year as Australian Daniel Ricciardo replaces compatriot Mark Webber, who retired at the end of last season.

The 24-year-old Ricciardo has moved from sister team Toro Rosso after two seasons in Formula One and is hoping to both learn and compete with Vettel as the season progresses.

"I approach it with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement. It is a huge opportunity and privilege to work alongside a four-time world champion in Sebastian.

"That I am really looking forward to. I will take each race as it comes, but I would love to be as competitive as soon as possible."

The complexity of dealing with the rules changes were well on show on Tuesday morning as the new RB10 failed to make it out of the garage due to a slight technical setback.

Having swept the board with the competition last year, chief technical officer Adrian Newey admitted he would have been happy to seen a lees hectic off season and insisted there was no clear favourite to take both world titles this season.

"With the performance we had at the end of last year we would have been quite happy without changes, but it is an equal opportunity for all of us and a fresh start," he said.

"I can't see there are any favourites for this year. It is so new and so open, all bets are off."

Meanwhile, team principal Christian Horner believes reliability, especially early on in the season, could be the key to a fifth consecutive year on top.

"Reliability will be very important. The races will be very different due to strategy as fuel economy will be critical.

"It is difficult because Melbourne is always one of the most demanding races on fuel economy and that is where we start so it will be fascinating to see tactics used by the teams."