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Vettel predicts 'debacle' for Oz F1-opener

2014-03-05 08:10

NO LIGHT AHEAD, YET: Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel predicts a huge failure with the season opener at Melbourne later in March if the team's RB10's don't improve. Image: AFP

BERLIN, Germany - Four-times Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel is predicting a debacle for Red Bull unless the team's car improves before the first race of the 2014 season in Melbourne, Australia, on March 16.

The German told broadcaster Servus TV: "Just getting to the finish would be a success. If half the drivers fail to finish, maybe we could take a few points."

The 26-year-old will be bidding for a fifth consecutive title but had a frustrating four days of testing, which concluded on Sunday (March 3) in the new Red Bull car in Arabia. His mentor and Red Bull's adviser Helmut Marko echoed his concern.

DOUBTFUL

Marko said after the second test session of the (northern) winter: "We are not where we want to be. The start of the season has come at least two months too early for us. It will be difficult to catch up... we don't know when, or if, that will be possible."

Vettel failed to complete even one lap in testing on Saturday (March 2) because of electrical issues and problems with the car's Renault 'power unit'.

Williams' Felipe Massa posted the fastest time in Bahrain (1min33.258) and close to the 2013 qualifying time) closely followed by Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton who was 0.06sec slower while Vettel came in 18th-fastest overall with team mate Daniel Ricciardo 10th.

Vettel finished Sunday's final session ninth fastest, 4.190sec slower than Hamilton's best. Brake failure caused a spin but he still managed 77 laps, his most in a single day through all the test sessions.

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 F1 season – fresh reports every day.
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