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Vettel: “I’m the outsider”, Red Bull’s starts under the microscope
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Vettel: “I’m the outsider”, Red Bull’s starts under the microscope
Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Sep 2010   |  4:18 pm GMT  |  26 comments

Sebastian Vettel has admitted that he is the outsider going into the final five races of the season.

Placed fifth of the five contenders, with 24 points fewer than Mark Webber, Vettel is nevertheless still less than a win away from his team mate.


He’s never stood on the podium here in Singapore, even though he was competitive here last year, qualifying on the front row. This season he has been the most consistent of all the front runners in qualifying, with top three placings in all the first 12 races, only slipping back in the last two races. It’s his performance in races which has not been up to expectations. He knows that he has a chance to rectify that, however, if he can string a run of wins together.

But he accepts that he is the long shot for the title,

“If you look at the five, I’m the last one in the queue, so I’m the outsider. Some people have to get along with being the favourite. But it doesn’t change anything in my approach. I try to do my optimum. We will always try, We have a very good chance to win this championship still. But the last 14 races have been up and down.”

This position might suit him. He seems very calm this weekend, certainly more so than at some of the races in the summer. He’s come off worst in several bruising encounters, but his ability to qualify at or near the front will be very useful on this street circuit.

At this level you are only as strong as you main weakness and in Red Bull’s case lately this has been the starts. Red Bull boss Christian Horner sat down with a few of us this evening to put the problems with the starts under the spotlight,

“There are many factors from clutch settings to engine mapping, to preparation on a warm up lap to the grid, driver input,” he said. “There are a lot of variables to bring together.

“In Monza Sebastian’s start was average, he just came out of the tow a bit early. Mark’s start wasn’t fantastic, there was a bit of wheelspin in there, some short shifting as well. the characteristics with the clutch weren’t fantastic. In Spa the car went into anti stall and he reacted massively quickly to it.

“We’ve done a lot of homework, managed to tidy a few things up and hopefully both drivers will have a good start this weekend.”

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26 Comments
  1. tank says:

    Its tough not to like the lad, in spite of his screw-ups. I’m a neutral fan this season since Shu is sooo far out of it, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a red bull champion.

    Webber for what he’s put up with and that he’s in the twilight of his career, or Vettel to shake off that kind of pressure Button was feeling last year. New champ this year, I hope.

    1. gil dogon says:

      Vettel will get plenty more chances in the future, you can not compare his situations to Buttons last year, Actually I am all for Webber, as hes F1 career as three time longer than Vettels, also with the team. Its certainly his turn this year, Vettel can wait patiently for next year as far as I am concerned, and instead try and help Webber for the title bid (In my dreams …)

  2. Tom says:

    I think all of the top 5 drivers are trying to remove as much fan/team expectation and pressure from themselves as possible going into the last few races. It looks as though all but Button have ‘cracked’ under pressure this year, and out of the top 5 I think he has had the least pressure.

    I really can’t wait for the remaining races, 24 points apart, my heartbeat speeds up just thinking about it.

  3. Allan says:

    His has been a torrid season for Vettel, but I think he is learning a bit.

    1. RickeeBoy says:

      Torrid season !!!!!! Are you nuts – He’s been driving the fastest car with sublime handling and then making mistakes …. Most young Guys get 5 years of trying to improve a difficult car …. Get Real !!

  4. Jeb Hoge says:

    At least Seb grasps his position in the F1 firmament…I think it can’t hurt for him to try to reshape the narrative that’s swirling around him but it’ll take clean races and strong finishes for the rest of the year to resolve his career trajectory, in my opinion.

  5. Nick H says:

    Schumacher has again denied the rumours he is going to quit at the end of the season but this rumour keeps cropping up every race weekened – surely no smoke without fire

    1. tank says:

      unless the smoke comes from a ganja pipe.

    2. MattNZ says:

      There’s a lot of people that would like Schu to quit, not least, the tabloid media – but don’t mistake that with any sort of real discussions.

  6. Red5 says:

    I have to agree.

    Unfortunately for Vettel he is not looking like the strongest of the challengers. This will no doubt be frustrating especially if Mark finishes ahead this weekend.

    However, stranger things have happened in F1 and I’m sure he’ll fight until the math inevitably favors Webber.

  7. Gary Smith says:

    It would be great for the championship if Vettel did score heavily this coming Sunday, Button too.

    With heavy rain showers forecast all weekend we could be in for yet another treat (and hopefully some inspired tyre strategy from JB/McLaren!).

  8. James W says:

    Mind games from Vettel here. I wouldnt say he is an outsider yet, he’s less than a race win away from the top of the table. If he was more than 40 points behind, I would have said outsider then.

    If anything, Vettel has more pressure than the others, he’s got to do more to firstly catch up, then more again to keep ahead!

  9. Shane says:

    James, can you provide some information regarding what happens when a car enters anti-stall?

    I imagine the transmission disengages, going to neutral and that the engine enters some sort of “safe” state.

    The comment from Christian Horner about Mark Webber acting “massively quickly” to the car entering anti-stall is very interesting to me, but I don’t really know what it means.

    1. Igino says:

      Second this, James. I section on what factors go into a start would be extremely interesting. We hear a lot about tightening this and dialing in that, but it’s all Greek to me. I’d love to know more!

      Thanks as always!

  10. Robert Lujan says:

    I hope Mark and Seb do well this weekend. Preferably 1 and 2! But I have a question about the race itself. If it rains and the drivers feel that it is way to dangerous what happens? Lets say Charlie Whiting feels also that the rain and lights just don’t go well together. What can be done? Have the organizers made any alternative plans? I mean can the race be held on Monday? Has this ever happened in F1 history? Would love to hear anyones thoughts on this. Hope everyone enjoys the race! Wet or Dry.

  11. MOSSmusic says:

    I have a few questions concerning the race itself this weekend. What happens if the race has to be delayed because of rain Sunday? I mean if the rain really does interfere with the drivers ability to see in it with the floodlights. Obviously it can’t be held later as it will be far too late in the evening. Have they made plans if this should ever happen? Have the race organizers ever discussed this scenario? Will they hold the race Monday morning or midday? And has that ever happened that an F1 race took place a day later on a Monday? Thanks!

  12. TheGreatCornholio says:

    Haven’t been a fan of Seb this year after enjoying his interaction with the press and fans last year. Being the underdog will suit him as the pressure will be somewhat lifted and he seems to be able to deal with it much better. If he does beat the odds and win the championship this year he’ll maybe grow up and join the Hamilton’s and Alonso’s of the F1 world. P.s. Go JENSON:)

    1. Mikey says:

      It’s odd how after he abandoned the “Luscious Liz” chassis (and Webber turned it into a race-winner!), we haven’t heard any more about Vettel naming his cars after girls. His (carefully cultivated?) media-friendly ‘cheeky chappy’ persona seems to have lapsed altogether. Instead, he’s turned into just another dour German driver and a somewhat erratic one at that.

      For sheer speed, Vettel is a very gifted young man, but I think he needs better handling than Red Bull management seems capable of providing, if he’s to develop as an all-round talent.

  13. JR says:

    I have to say I’m biased, I love the kid and have ever since I first saw him hop in a car.

    He had so much bad luck early on in the year, and I think he really tried to overdrive the car a bit after that and started making mistakes that you wouldn’t normally associate with him.

    It’s been a tough year for him (for me as a fan as well – especially living in Webber fanatical heartland!), but in the long run, it’ll probably be good for him. He will have certainly learnt a lot.

    He’s not out of it this year, but it’s still very unlikely, so maybe this is the best position for him to be in……

  14. tharris19 says:

    I look forward to the day that he can really race with the likes of Alonso, Button and Hamilton. Right now, he is not in their class. He has a fast car that he drives very fast, but he is not a racer. When he become one formula 1 will really get interesting. To have four men with their skill levels with equally good cars would be epic!

  15. giorgio says:

    let the best win,

  16. El shish says:

    It’s not really about admitting or accepting a status as outsider – more an attempt to shift pressure away and on to the other contenders.

    There’s nothing to be gained at this point by saying he’s the favourite and everything to be gained by shifting the focus elsewhere. Unless the red bull has suddenly become a slow car, I can’t see the favourites list being anything other than this order
    Webber – fastest car, leading
    Vettel – fastest car
    Alonso – 2nd/3rd fastest car, support of whole team
    Hamilton – same as alonso but still has to deal with title-contending team mate
    Button – same as Hamilton but fewer points

  17. iceman says:

    “In Monza Sebastian’s start was average, he just came out of the two a bit early.” What does “came out of the two” mean? Is CH talking about shifting from 2nd to 3rd gear, or something else?

      1. iceman says:

        Ah, thanks. You had me confused there :)

  18. Paul says:

    Vettel and more significantly, Red Bull, should have had this season well and truly wrapped up by now. They have had the fastest car from day one, but lack of experience and in-house ‘issues’ have left the door wode open for the others. I would not want to be in the team de-brief at the end of the season if they walk away empty handed. You cannot deny the lad has talent, but he needs to harness it to get the best from himself and the car. Too many mistakes, not dissimilar to Hamilton in his rookie year. So close, yet so far.

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