- Red Bull
Several reasons behind Vettel's struggle - Horner
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says a number of factors have contributed to Sebastian Vettel's disappointing performances this year, including fatigue from five years of fighting for the title.
The defending four-time champion has scored 88 points this year, but has struggled to match the performances of his new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo who has scored 131. Horner said the energy exerted in the past five years - in which Vettel won four titles - has taken its toll on his driver, who has also struggled to adapt to the new regulations.
"It is a combination of several things," Auto Bild Motorsport and Reuters reported Horner as saying. "First, when you have fought for the title for five years, it does wear you out a little bit, but that is not the fundamental problem. The way Sebastian brought out those extra tenths from the car in recent years was quite unique. He is very sensitive to the behaviour of the car, especially when braking."
Horner believes Vettel has "lost part of his feeling for the car", adding that his star driver used to drive "like a ballerina, dancing on the throttle and the brakes".
"The driveability was really bad [at the start of this year], so Seb could not look after the tyres in the way that he always has done. His pace in Hungary showed he is getting the feeling for the car back again."
Red Bull and Renault struggled to get the RB10 running, let alone performing, during pre-season testing and the majority of reliability issues have afflicted Vettel's car. Horner believes the reduced track time is also a factor in Vettel's struggle.
"We can't forget how many mechanical problems Sebastian has had - many of them just little things that have disrupted his flow. So he has had less time to adapt his driving style."