Sebastian Vettel says he expects a “very tight” battle in 2012, unlike his dominant championship victory last year.
Speaking following the launch of the Red Bull RB8 he said: “It would be wrong to go into this season and expect 2011 to happen again. As in, getting into the lead early and having a big gap to the competitors in the championship.
“I think it will be very, very tight this year, and everything else will be a surprise to be honest.”
Vettel said the lack of room for innovation will level the playing field:
“Looking at the cars, there is not much room we have left to play for designers to find something extra. The last two years we had two big things taken away: the double-diffusers plus, for this year, the system around the blown exhaust.
“We’re missing that, so therefore I think it’s difficult to create a difference. We’ll see, obviously we hope that our car is better than all the others. But it will be difficult and I think the cars will be fairly similar, as in, I think the gaps will be even closer than they have been.”
Asked about Bernie Ecclestone’s remarks that it would be good if Vettel didn’t dominate in 2012, the world champion said: “I hope he’s wrong, obviously!
“It’s difficult to say, every season we start from zero again.
“Everyone has the same chance. We are all building our new cars and until we put them on the track to race each other we don’t really know, so we’ll see.
“I’m as confident as I can be at this point and hopefully we’ll have a good couple of days testing to prepare the season well.”
Vettel also said he hadn’t come up with a pet name for his new car yet: “To be honest last year we found a name for the car I think Wedneday before the first race. We might be a bit earlier this year but so far no names. We have a couple of candidates, top candidates, but nothing is decided yet.”
2012 F1 season
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