Sebastien Vettel says he is confident that Toro Rosso will be able to build on its solid end to the 2007 Formula 1 season when the start of the 2008 campaign comes around.

The Red Bull 'junior' team made major steps forward towards the end of the campaign, which was highlighted by a double points finish in China - with Vettel in a stunning fourth place.

That result came after the youngster - who picked up a point at Indianapolis on his debut as substitute for Robert Kubica in the BMW line-up - had qualified eighth in Japan and was running in a podium position before his well publicised coming together with Mark Webber behind the Safety Car.

"It takes a bit of time to find yourself and to get the perfect understanding with the engineer and the entire team but after two or three races I think we made a good step forward," Vettel reflected to Crash.net. "Obviously in Formula 1, everyone is developing and developing and you get new parts every one or two races and I think we had a good package for the final three races and made a good step forward.

"We have highlights like the wet races in Japan and China but you also have to look at the results in qualifying in dry conditions like in Brazil, where we able to go easily into second qualifying which wasn't the case all over the season. It was a good end of the season and we are highly motivated as the team works to make it better for us for the coming season."

How strong Toro Rosso will be when the season kicks off remains to be seen, with rumours suggesting that Vettel and Sebastian Bourdais will be forced to use the 2007 STR-02 for the opening four rounds of the 2008 season.

However, Vettel insisted that the team was well aware of its plan for the off-season and remained confident of making further progress when the new season comes around in March.

"There are a lot of rumours and people are saying 'oh they are delayed and so on' but we know exactly what we have to do and know our plan," he said. "I think we will have a good year although how good we will have to wait and see as in the winter every team is saying that their cars will be stronger and their drivers will be quicker.

"If you believe everything you read and hear then you'll get points up to 22nd place, so you need to keep your feet on the ground and see what happens. Obviously we are focused on ourselves but I have a good feeling."

 

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