3 February 2013
Vettel 'starts from zero' in bid for fourth title
"The focus is pretty much the same as every year, he insisted. "To start the season the right way, have a good first race in Melbourne and make sure that in testing we prepare the car as much as we can.
Vettel was in top form at the RB9 launch event at Milton Keynes on Sunday, looking relaxed and making jokes, although he admitted that it was important for him to simply unwind. Asked how he'd chilled out following the thrilling end of the 2012 season at Interlagos last November, Vettel raised chuckles from the crowd by listing DIY, "fixing things," "being in my own bed," and "making breakfast" as his thrilling off-season activities.
"It was important for me to enjoy being home," he explained. “We had a very strong finish last season, but it was hard as the season was so long."
But he could only bear so much downtime, and he admitted he was raring to get back to work now. "Pretty soon though I started training again, preparing for the new season!" he said.
Sure enough, he really did look as eager as any of the assembled journalists to get the covers off the new RB9, and once the new car was out in the open for all to see Vettel was as curious to prod and poke it as anybody in the room.
The new car might look very pretty, but at this point, Vettel actually has very little practical idea whether the car will be up to the job of delivering him his fourth world championship in 2013.
"Hopefully we are there [competing for the title], even though there is no guarantee for that," he said. "We know we doing pretty good in the last couple of years and as the regulations haven't changed that much it's probably the same teams as last year.
"I'm very excited because this is the first time I've seen the car in one piece," he revealed. "I've seen little bits, but it looks very nice, so now we'll get to see if it works as expected."
Known for giving his cars light-hearted names to match their personalities (starting with 'Julie' in 2008 and followed by Kate and Kate's Dirty Sister in 2009, Luscious Liz and Randy Mandy in 2010, then the famous Kinky Kylie in 2011 followed by Abbey last year) Vettel said it was far too early to think of one for the RB9.
"I haven't named it yet - we need to get to know each other first!" he pointed out, perfectly reasonably.
He'll start the process of getting to know the car more intimately on Tuesday, when Red Bull joins the other F1 teams for the first of four days of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Jerez in Spain. Vettel will be there - unlike his main rival Alonso.
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