Sebastian Vettel says F1's pecking order is currently impossible to guess
World Champion makes tentative start on Day One at Jerez
By Pete Gill at Jerez. Last Updated: 28/01/14 4:33pm
World Champion Sebastian Vettel says it is "impossible" to even guess what the pecking order will be at the start of the 2014 season after enduring a day of frustration in Jerez, as the start of F1's turbo era was marked by the conspicuous sound of silence on Tuesday.
According to Vettel, the winner of the Drivers' World Championship for four consecutive years, the regulations have been ripped up to such dramatic effect that as many as three or four races could be run this year before the full effect of the shake-up is revealed.
Unfortunately for Vettel, one indication of the dramatic upheaval was his own inactivity on Day One at Jerez, with the German forced to idle in the Red Bull garage after an "overnight mistake" meant the team couldn't field their new RB10 until the closing minutes.
"Obviously I can only judge from what I did in the simulator, but it felt very different. There are a lot of new things and the simulator gives you a rough idea but ultimately I am waiting to get back on track to really feel the real car," said Vettel, who only completed three laps in total.
Vettel only took to the track in the closing minutes of the session
"There has been very little running so far because everyone is struggling."
As demonstrated by the general lack of track action on Day One at Jerez, with just a handful of timed laps set, reliability rather than pace is likely to be the major performance differential in 2014 and Vettel says Red Bull are currently preoccupied with their state of readiness rather than any concerns with their new car's speed.
Vettel and new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo unveil the RB10
"The team is very motivated, but at the moment there isn't a single member of the team focused on results, we are flat-out trying to get the car ready and get on top of the rule changes - just like everyone else," he added.
"It's way too early to talk about the potential outcome. We need to see where we are in the first few races and then, after three or four races you might be in a better place to judge how good you are or how bad you are compared to the others and set your targets accordingly.
"To have any sort of expectation is impossible because there are too many new things. At the moment, it's all guessing."