Sebastian Vettel has hit out at claims that reliability could be Red Bull Racing's Achilles heel this season, insisting that the team was simply unlucky to lose victory at the opening round in Bahrain.
The German had qualified on pole in Sakhir and, in a race where passing opportunities were severely limited, looked set to convert that into victory when his engine lapsed onto seven cylinders, the result of a faulty spark plug. The drop in power was enough to see Vettel drop to fourth by the end of the race, while team-mate Mark Webber managed only eighth after admittedly qualifying poorly.
Vettel managed to repeat his pole performance second time out in Australia and, while admitting that the team's main aim was to finish the 58-lap race around Melbourne's Albert Park, insisted that there was no reason to claim that the RB6 was unreliable..
"It's not fair to say that we are struggling with reliability," he stressed, "In Bahrain, we were obviously a bit unlucky with the failure that we had - a spark plug failure doesn't really happen too often, but it happened in that case. The main thing is that we carried on and we still finished fourth.
"I think we have nothing to fear. We have good and strong people on board. If there's any indication that we might have a weakness here or there, which, to be frank with you, in testing is natural, because the car is new because you always have some problems here and there to solve. We solved them and, so far, we've had no issues. In that regard, I'm quite confident."
Vettel has a poor record in Australia, having not reached the end of the race in either of his two previous visits, and admits that completing all 58 laps would be vital as he attempts to keep tabs on early points leader Fernando Alonso.
"I think the main thing is to finish, to see the chequered flag this time," he confirmed, "Last year, we were close, only a couple of laps [from home]. But today was qualifying and, similar to Bahrain, Saturday is completely different to Sunday.
"Now we have a rough idea what is happening on Sunday, meaning that everyone of us will jump into the car with a lot of fuel in the car and it will be totally different. I think it will be even more bumpy [here] and more difficult to control. It is a very long race, and you need to focus on your own race, keeping the car on the track and, at the same time managing your tyres - plus trying to keep the car always on the limit.
"On top of that, Albert Park is well known for any kind of happenings. I remember two years back only seven cars finished, so [with] a safety car, accidents, it could be quite messy, and the main thing is to have a tidy race and bring the car home. Starting first, that's where you want to finish as well."