• Red Bull

Write us off at your peril - Vettel

ESPN Staff
March 13, 2014 « Force India should be confident - Hulkenberg | No regrets about leaving Williams - Maldonado »
Vettel and Ricciardo on the RB10

Sebastian Vettel is not willing to write off his chances of a fifth consecutive title, especially as he believes Red Bull is more than capable of making it back to the front of the pack this year.

Vettel comes into the season unfancied after a frustrating winter for Red Bull. But Vettel is not getting caught up with the team's well-documented early problems and is convinced that history proves there is more than enough time for Red Bull to make up the necessary ground.

"No, that's not fair to say," Vettel said when asked if he is pessimistic about his title chances. "It's a long year. I think our pre-season testing and preparation hasn't been ideal, and we are not in an ideal position going into this race. It's a different story when you talk about the championship. There's a long way to go. Two years back Fernando was 1.5s back on pole position [in Australia] and yet he was still very close to beating us to the title at the last race. Anything can happen, that's why this race is important just like any other race. There's a lot of races this year to come."

Vettel admits the RB10 is a very different beast to the one which left the final test in Bahrain.

"I think it will be a very different car. Obviously we had a lot of different problems during the test so we didn't get to test a lot of stuff we wanted. Hopefully we can get some more running here and put the parts to the car that we think are better for overall performance. It will be a bit different but I think that is the same for everyone."

Though he may not be able to challenge for wins right away, Vettel insists his desire to go racing from the outset in Melbourne has not diminished.

"I'm going out [in Australia] not trying to just make it round. I want to push it to the maximum and then see where we are from there. I want to do the best I can. The target for sure is to finish, and to finish in the best possible position.

"I think generally at this stage for all of us it is difficult to know or expect what the racing will look like, how it will feel inside the car, how many cars will cross the line. We had a lot of problems, others had a lot of problems. It's difficult for any of us to have too many expectations I think but we said at the beginning it's going to be a long season.

"As for mindset, it's fairly straight forward for the rest of the year. We have a strong team on board and strong resources so I'm confident we should progress as the season goes on."