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motorsport-news.co.uk DECEMBER 14/21 2011 3
Vettel promises team will hit the ground running in 2012
RED BULL CONTINUES TO CHARGE
ByRob Ladbrook Sebastian Vettel believes that Red Bull Racing will have to push its new car to the limit in an effort to maintain its advantage over McLaren and Ferrari next season. Vettel enjoyed a dominant season this year, taking 11 victories from the 19 races to become the youngest ever driver to defend the world title. Speaking at Red Bull’s HomeRunevent in Milton Keynes last weekend, Vettel said his team couldn’t afford to take its foot off the gas in development.
“We had a fantastic year and it takes some time to realise quite how special it was,” said the 24-year-old German. “It’s been a season that wewill always look back onwith great pride, but the guys are already working hard towards next year and we need to move on quickly.
“People will catch up, and it will be very tight as it was at times this year, but surely the competition will be higher. Everything at Red Bull is built to the limit and we’re pushing in every area ahead of next year.”
The RB8 Development of the RB8 began in earnest back in October, whenNewey opted to skip the Korean GP in favour of returning to base to ramp up development of the 2012 challenger. The changes in exhaust regulations,
which have been introduced by the FIA to effectively ban blown rear diffusers, will force teams into amajor rethink of their aerodynamics. Vettel added that he expected a new challenge from the forthcoming machine.
“Next year the car will be different. It won’t be a revolution but the rules have changed so we have to adapt and at the momentwe are pushing hard to finalise the design of the car. At the start of next year wewill put it together, put it on track and see how it works.
“Hopefully it will be quite reliable from the start but the most important thing is that it’s fast. It’s easier to make a fast car reliable than make a reliable car fast. I don’t think anybody at the team is lacking in motivation so we don’t have to ask ourselves what we’re doing because we’ve already achieved so much.”
The first pre-season group test is scheduled to take place at Jerez in Spain on February 7, and the FIA now requires all cars to have passed crash testing before they can run. Newey said that made deadlines tight: “I’d be disappointed not to make the first test because that’s our plan but getting cars through crash testing in time will be a concern.
“If something unexpected happens with the car and it’s too severe you could miss the first running and the problems could snowball onto the second and third. It puts the pressure on.”
Red Bull’s streak Vettel puts the key to his dominant 2011 season down to the team’s impeccable reliability record this year, and says that it will be vital the team maintains its strong run of form in 2012.
Both Vettel and team-mate Mark Webber each finished 18 of the 19 races this year. The results are a stark contrast to the team’s 2010 campaign, where a string of engine failures and clashes cost the team victories in Turkey and Korea.
The team spent much of last winter working closely with Renault to extract more reliability from its engines, while technical chief Adrian Newey opted to gear the aerodynamics on the RB7 more towards corner speed than straight-line grunt. That approach helped the team limit wear on both its engines and gearboxes. Vettel said: “You have to say this year has been pretty faultless because we had no issues with reliability, except for Brazil whenmygearbox developed a problem, but even then I still finished in second place. The only retirements we had were Mark’s crash at Monza and mypuncture in AbuDhabi, but car and engine-wise wewere far better than expected.
“At only 24 I’d hate to say that this year was the best of my life and that things are only downhill from here. I expect there will be a lot more to come from myself and Red Bull.”
Red Bull will begin the 2012 season as the team to beat
Red Bull dr ew cr ow ds to MK
Horner thanks Milton Keynes for huge local support Red Bull team chief Christian Horner hailed the people of Milton Keynes for turning out in their droves to its Red Bull Home Run celebration demo on Saturday.
The team estimated that 60,000 fans turned out to see Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber demonstrate the RB7 on Midsummer Boulevard, five miles north of its base in the south of the Buckinghamshire town. When the drinks firm started its own F1 project in 2005, it retained the Milton Keynes factory set up by Sir Jackie Stewart in 1997 for his own team, which would later become Jaguar and then Red Bull Racing. Horner said: “Without the fans there is no F1, there is no Red Bull and it’s great to give something back and to celebrate a double world championship like this at home with so many members of the public, and so many members of the team and their family and friends here. We have to say thank you to the council for closing the middle of Milton Keynes down, in the middle of one of their busiest shopping days of the year, to put on this event.”
READ SIMON ARRON’S DRIVER RATINGS FOR THE 2011 SEASON ON PAGE 26