Sebastian Vettel has insisted that he has no qualms about having elected to switch from Scuderia Toro Rosso to Red Bull Racing in Formula 1 in 2009 – despite the 'junior' Red Bull concern now regularly and substantially outperforming its parent outfit.
Vettel became the sport's youngest-ever winner when he triumphed from pole position in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza a fortnight ago – leading consummately from lights to chequered flag behind the wheel of his STR3 – but though the RBR of future team-mate Mark Webber qualified right behind him on the starting grid, the Aussie faded away to eighth spot at the close, as the Milton Keynes-based squad's race pace once again failed to match that which it had displayed on Saturday afternoon.
Whilst STR has notched up 20 points in the last five outings, RBR has tallied just two, prompting former triple F1 World Champion Niki Lauda to surmise that Vettel may not be Red Bull-bound next year after all [see separate story – click here
]. Not so, the man from Heppenheim stresses.
“No, not at all,” he replied, when asked by the official F1 website whether he regretted his decision to switch teams. “I am still convinced that it is the right way to go for next year. Obviously there is a lot to do, but I believe it would be unfair to say that they are worse than Toro Rosso at the moment.
“The Toro Rosso situation I can judge very well. We have been working very hard so we deserved the Monza result, and I think that Red Bull in the last couple of races did not always use their package 100 per cent.
“This year Formula 1 in the midfield is very tight, so if you give away two or three tenths here, and another two or three tenths there, then quicker than you think you lose half a second – and that makes a huge difference on the starting grid. You have to get it right – but of course that is easier said than done.
“Obviously the car is pretty similar, so I think the main difference is the crew, the people. That was also the reason for me testing the RB4 [at Jerez last week] – to get my first taste of working with the people there, with the engineers, and to get a feeling for the team, because in the end that is much more important than really driving the car. I am very confident for next year, and I don't believe that it is a step back.”
Vettel switched back to STR for his final day of testing around the southern Spanish circuit, so as to re-acclimatise himself and prepare in the best possible way for the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix this weekend. As a man clearly fond of making history – having become F1's youngest-ever points-scorer, pole position-sitter and grand prix winner, the latter by almost a full year – a second consecutive success in what will be the top flight's first-ever night race would be a stunning result for the 21-year-old, albeit one he admits he is hardly anticipating.
“I wanted the last test day with Toro Rosso in order to get used to my car and my team again,” he explained. “It was important that I didn't arrive in Singapore – a track that no one knows, that no one has ever driven before – in completely new circumstances and, on top of that, face it in a car that I had not driven for a while. I wanted to make sure that there was nothing that could possibly affect my performance here.