Formula One Features
World champion Vettel is ready to roll in new F1 season (News Feature)
By Elmar Dreher Jan 28, 2011, 13:23 GMT
Stuttgart - World champion Sebastian Vettel can't wait for the start of the 2011 Formula One season in which he expects the same title rivals as last year.
'I can't wait to get back in the car,' the Red Bull driver Vettel said in an interview with German Press Agency dpa ahead of next week's start of pre-season testing in Spain.
'Of course it will be a very tough season but you had enough time to prepare for it.'
Vettel, 23, became the youngest world champion in the sport in 2010 when he stole the trophy from Fernando Alonso in the final race due a wrong pit stop strategy from Alonso's Ferrari team.
Vettel said he expects the two-time champion Alonso to challenge again, along with McLaren and its former champs Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. He also warned of Marcedes, boasting record champion Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg.
'I believe it will be very tight and there will be several candidates ... Fernando will certainly be strong again, but you should not forget McLaren and Mercedes ... And you should not forget that an outsider may make a big step forwards and surprise us,' Vettel told dpa.
Vettel said he didn't mind being the man to beat this time around and shrugged off a recent surprise prediction from Alonso who named Schumacher his most dangerous rival, and not Vettel.
'There is always a lot of talk ahead of a season so its good that we are starting soon. You can't really say anything until the tests and first races have taken place,' he said.
'The role of being the man to beat is very special for me. I enjoy it a lot but I know it will be tough to keep it. But I will fight from the outset which also means attacking. But one thing is clear: it starts from zero.'
Vettel said he kept a healthy balance between the growing commitments of a champion and rest periods during the off-season and would not be upset if team-mate Mark Webber got the first laps in the new car next week.
The Australian Webber was also in the title race until the last race in 2010 in a sometimes turbulent relationship with Vettel.
'The team decides (who goes out first). You should not make too much out of who drives the first laps. Both drivers will have enough mileage until the first race in Bahrain to start the season equally prepared,' said Vettel.
Vettel also said he and the team have learnt from some mistakes last year and that he - at least for now - had no reason to join a more famed team such as Ferrari.
'Ferrari is a myth, just like Mercedes, and every driver wants to race for a myth once in his career. But I am very happy at Red Bull because Red Bull give me the fastest car and I fell very good at the team,' Vettel told dpa.
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