• Australian GP - Red Bull

Software glitch accounts for Vettel's pace

ESPN Staff
March 15, 2014 « Ferrari's deficiencies starting to emerge - Alonso | A podium won't be easy - Magnussen »
© Sutton Images

An engine software problem on Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull contributed to his disappointing qualifying performance at the Australian Grand Prix, but he was buoyed by team-mate Daniel Ricciardo's front-row grid position.

Vettel will start from 12th on the grid for Sunday's opening race of the season after being knocked out in the second session of qualifying. The team said the software problem "meant he was down on power with extremely poor drivability" leaving Vettel a long way shy of team-mate Ricciardo.

"There wasn't supposed to be a difference [compared with Ricciardo's car], but today we had problems on my side, so we need to understand," he said. "Fortunately it worked for him so at least we have one car where it belongs. It at least made it round, but I struggled a lot when going on power so driveability was down.

"We know generally we are not yet where we want to be, with yesterday a lot better than today, which is the thing we need to understand, why it was worse today even though we programmed it to be better. There was a different set up in the car, a different software out take. With modern F1 cars there is a lot of software programming. It's not that easy for the drivers any more to understand what is going on."

Vettel admitted it was still touch and go whether the Red Bull would be able to go the distance in Sunday's race.

"You don't have to be a genius [to see the situation]. We haven't done a race simulation, a race distance in one go. We have improved reliability compared to testing simply because we have been able to put parts on the car with similar mileage.

"There is still a long way to go, we know that, in terms of reliability. We're both on the line in terms of seeing the chequered flag, but we know the car is quick. We'll try to finish as high as possible, but priority number one is to finish the race."