Vettel: “Surprised we’re slower than last year”

2011 F1 testing

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 2011

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 2011

Sebastian Vettel says he’s surprised by how much the new F1 rules have slowed this year’s cars down.

The combination of reduced downforce due to the double-diffuser ban, increased weight and switch to Pirelli tyres has increased lap times.

Vettel said: “I think if anyone in the pit lane has a better car than we did at the end of last season, then for sure we have a problem.

“Generally just looking at the cars you can’t really compare them to last year. I was surprised that we were slower than last year but weren’t terribly slower.

“The car feels good, feels similar as it felt last year.”

Vettel was quickest in today’s test by over a second but only did 37 laps in the RB7 after a technical problem.

He said: “Unfortunately, not many laps today. We had a longer break than expected.

“Nothing actually broke, at a test if you think there may be a problem, it’s better to take the car apart, rather than continue.

“The boys were flat out and did their best. But overall we got some good runs in., not as many as we would like but we have tomorrow.”

Quotes and additional reporting by Leandra Graves

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28 comments on Vettel: “Surprised we’re slower than last year”

  1. Double diffusers have gone and the tyres have changed to a new manufacturer, what did he expect?

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 18th February 2011, 17:30

      I was surprised that we were slower than last year but weren’t terribly slower.

      This might as well read “I was surprised that we weren’t that much slower than last year.” – a testament to Red Bull’s ability to work around the rule changes to produce a car that isn’t much slower.

  2. Maybe it in response to Mclarens target of getting all last years downforce back… I don’t think they have… but as we all know they like to talk themselves up.

    Anyway, more smoke and mirrors, Mclaren think they are close to last years DF levels, I think RBR have achieved them, hence the comment.

    • Lemon (@lemon) said on 18th February 2011, 18:05

      Hmmm well not really mate, have you seen the difference in lap time from last year. Last year they were four seconds quicker than the RB7, although I do understand that Vettels lap was on a damp track.

      • Forget the time, don’t you think Vettels comment is a little odd.

        • Lemon (@lemon) said on 18th February 2011, 20:43

          Yes I do se what you mean looking back at it, but maybe he means it feels the same with regard to the balance of the car rather than overall downforce?

          • Well the track conditions were far from idea, I’m not sure they meant to go a second faster than anyone else (at this stage at least). You could easily read it one of two ways.
            I do think they could all do 1:23.5 on a dry, good track.

  3. kowalsky said on 18th February 2011, 18:31

    the feeling i got at valencia was that the cars are quite slow. But that’s the same feeling i got in 2009. I have to go back to 2007 to get the feeling of speed.
    The fia is reducing performance all the time, and the engineers are unable to keep up. In my opinion it is nonesense. But i must be the only one outthere. so…

    • SeattleChris said on 18th February 2011, 19:08

      I feel the same way… If only they would reduce the wings size and open up the law on all other areas for a few years. If they want passing, then smaller wings and more mechanical grip and clever aero elements are the way to proceed… Not moveable wings!

      • I recommend waiting until at least the first few races before passing judgement..

        We have no idea what it’s going to be like. Last year Bahrain was a procession.. and we all bemoaned a boring season ahead. Then it all changed when the teams became less cautious and the moved on to a different circuit.

        • kowalsky said on 18th February 2011, 19:56

          i am not talking about lack of overtaking or anything like that. I am talking about the cars feeling slow when alone in the track. At the first corner at valencia, vettel going for it, me being close to the car and not getting any big impression from it. I don’t think it’s what f1 should be. And that corner is fast.

    • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 18th February 2011, 23:16

      The 2010 cars where the fastest since 2004 and these cars are barely slower. Maybe your “feeling of speed” is out of whack.

      “In my opinion it is nonesense.”

      So yeah … I’d say that’s what that was.

      • kowalsky said on 19th February 2011, 9:49

        since 2004!!! 2005 was the last year of the v10’s, so i think you must be wrong there.
        We are not talking about the lap times. We are talking about the speed sensation wich includes the sound, the brutality of the power, how the car handles that power.
        Let’s se if you understand. Last year rally cars were faster that the group b cars of the 80’s, but wich cars felt more spectacular?
        I understand you are too young to be watching motorsports in the 80’s, but you can understand it if you look at videos on youtube.

        • 2004 Was the last year with the combinations of the tyre war and the v10s (if I recall correcly), hence many of the lap records were set then.

          • kowalsky said on 19th February 2011, 14:07

            renault was on michelins in 2005, and bridgestone was on several teams. So the so called tyre war was still on. The v8’s came in 2006. Am i wrong here?

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 19th February 2011, 14:40

            The cars were slowed down by the harder rubber in 2005 (required to last a whole race distance), I think.

          • Sorry yeah, the one set of tyres having to last an entire race was what slowed them from the record setting pace of 2004, not all of them going to Bridgestone.

  4. MinusTwo said on 18th February 2011, 18:47

    I dont know if you are the only one. I understand the reasons why the FIA keeps wanting to clawback performance, but something about it just goes against my F1 DNA. I cant bare the thought that the cars could be faster, but arent allowed to be.

    • And if they went purely for speed, they would consider going fully electric. I bet your F1 DNA would really love that.

  5. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 18th February 2011, 20:22

    Losing downforce isn’t ideal..but the added weight of KERS might go some way towards bringing in a little extra grip?

  6. Tobitron said on 18th February 2011, 22:59

    The reduction of downforce, added weight and pirelli tyres increase laptimes? Is that right, Keith?

  7. usukpam said on 18th February 2011, 23:22

    where are the mclarens?

  8. Actually his car at the end of last year would still be slower because of the different tyres. So if they ain’t much slower than last year then it means there car is probably as fast as it was at the end of last year.

  9. Vettel the sandbagger.

    • Todfod said on 19th February 2011, 6:40

      Yeah he is playing down people’s expectations. I would be shocked if RB aren’t the team to beat. Surprisingly, we haven’t heard a lot of comments from the Ferrari and Mclaren drivers about the potential of their cars. Ferrari, Mclaren and RBR are either playing it safe on their predictions, or, are hiding something.

  10. DavidS (@davids) said on 19th February 2011, 5:39

    No driver with a car that could possibly win the championship is going to publicly state how good it is.

    Keith did an excellent interview of Hakkinen a while back where he says he wanted to tell everyone about how good his car was, but couldn’t.

    Vettel’s being smart and not giving much away.

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