Red Bull teaser of 2012 F1 car

2012-02-07 12:04

Jerez, Spain - Sebastian Vettel set out to disappoint Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone as Red Bull offered a tantalising glimpse of the cars it hopes will take it and current the champion to a third successive title.

Ecclestone, who is very close to Vettel but always wants a battle down to the wire to maximise TV viewing figures, said recently he hoped Vettel would not dominate the season as he did in 2011.

Vettel responded: "I hope he's wrong."


Vettel expects a tougher fight this year and was as confident as he could be before the car had even completed a lap. "At the beginning of 2011 we didn't really expect whatever happened last year so I think it's the same thing again. It would be wrong to go into this season and expect 2011 to happen again, as in getting into the lead early and having a very big gap to other competitors in the championship.

"I think it will be very, very tight - anything else would be a surprise."

The car shown in a brief clip on the team's website has the stepped nose adopted so far by all teams except McLaren in response to new aerodynamic regulations. Designer Adrian Newey said: "We've kept more or less the same chassis shape but had to drop the nose just in front of the front bulkhead. In common with many other teams, this has led us to... a slightly ugly nose.

"We've tried to style it as best we can, but it's not a feature you would choose to put in were it not for the regulations."


Newey, who has designed championship-winning cars for three teams, said in 2011 the chassis was designed around an exhaust position that is no longer allowed.

"Whether that will affect us more than other people is difficult to know," he saiad. "It may be that we've lost more than others through that. Only time will tell... it will be good to get out to do some testing and to see where we get to.

"The (2011) exhaust allowed us to run a high rear ride height. It's much more difficult without that to sustain a high rear height so we have to redevelop the car around that lower ride height."

Team principal Christian Horner said it would be hard for Vettel to do better than 2011, when he was absent from the podium in only two races, but would not rule it out. "As a driver, he's still evolving and he's still getting stronger. We saw that in 2011 and I think we're only going to see that again in 2012.


"You forget he's only 24 and it's such a young age to have achieved so much. As he gains experience and gains knowledge and maturity, he's getting stronger and stronger."

Horner felt Mark Webber, who won only once in 2011 after challenging for the title in 2010, would also be back as a contender. "I think the best tonic for Mark was finishing the year strongly. He'll go into the season having won the Brazilian GP. I think he's had a very strong off-season.

"He's recharged his batteries, he's trained hard, he's come back looking fitter and leaner than ever. He's in strong shape for the season ahead."