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World champion Sebastian Vettel is determined to try and claim a fifth successive drivers’ crown in 2014 despite a frustrating winter for Red Bull and their new RB10 car.
The German has been left disappointed by the car’s speed and reliability issues throughout three pre-season tests in Jerez and Bahrain respectively as the countdown continues to Sunday’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
Vettel’s Red Bull chief Christian Horner admitted that rivals Mercedes seem to be the team to catch going into the new campaign as the Brackley-based outfit’s W05 car has impressed and they seem to have mastered the requirements of the sport’s new era of turbo engines and energy recovery systems.
However, despite a top-10 finish at Albert Park being Vettel’s realistic hope on the evidence of the winter, he still believes that Red Bull will eventually turn things around and give him a car capable of fighting it out for the title.
He said at a press conference on Thursday: “Our preparation hasn’t been ideal, and we are not in the best position for this race, but in the championship there is a long way to go.
“Two years back [in Australia], Fernando [Alonso] was on the grid 1.5 seconds to pole position and he was very close to beating us to the title in the final race. Anything can happen.”
He added: “It will be a very different car. We had a lot of problems during the test so we didn’t get to test a lot of stuff and we’ll hopefully do more running here and put the parts on the car that we think are better for overall performance.”
Vettel is 4.00 to win the World Drivers’ Championship this year and is quoted 11.00 to win the Australian Grand Prix.