Aug 12, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT
It’s hard getting to the top. And it can be even harder to stay there.
Yet going into this current Formula One season, Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing had been able to stay the World Champions for four consecutive seasons.
That reign is likely to end this year. With F1’s new package of technical regulations, Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton are now fighting out this year’s championship in the most dominant cars on the grid.
To Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, part of that comes down to Vettel simply being a bit exhausted from constantly defending his crown.
“When you have fought for the title for five years, it does wear you out a little bit,” Horner told Germany’s Auto Bild Motorsport. “But that is not the fundamental problem.”
The biggest cause of Vettel’s decline in Horner’s eyes is coping with the brake-by-wire braking system, which Horner says has robbed the German of some of his feeling with the car.
It also didn’t help that the RB10 overall wasn’t necessarily great at the start of the season.
“The driveability was really bad, so Seb could not look after the tires in the way that he always has done,” he said of Vettel.
But as Red Bull and engine manufacturer Renault have made progress in improving the car, Horner thinks Vettel is finding his way once more.
“His pace in Hungary showed he is getting the feeling for the car back again,” Horner said. “And we can’t forget how many mechanical problems Sebastian has had – many of them just little things that have disrupted his flow. So he has had less time to adapt his driving style.”
Vettel’s been knocked out early in three races this season at Australia, Monaco, and Austria.
At the most recent race in Hungary, he started on the front row but finished a sub-par seventh after a mis-timed pit stop under a safety car period and then a spin on track.
Mar 27, 2015, 3:31 AM EDT
British driver responds to the pace shown by Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in FP1 by topping the second session on Friday.
Mar 27, 2015, 1:45 AM EDT
Catch all of the action from second practice live on NBCSN and Live Extra.
Mar 26, 2015, 11:31 PM EDT
Defending world champion forced to stop his car out on track early in practice, but Rosberg enjoys a more fruitful session.
Mar 26, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT
Malaysian GP FP1 about to launch.
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Finnish driver believes that the team has made a big step forward over the winter.
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“I find it quite funny and interesting that the opinion is coming from individuals who have had so much success.”
Mar 26, 2015, 2:40 PM EDT
He’s finally the champion, but Will Power enters 2015 still with more to prove.
Mar 26, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT
NBCSN’s Will Buxton brings you the latest insight and interviews ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Mar 26, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT
Spaniard rejects claim that he thought he was in 1995 following his accident in pre-season.
Mar 26, 2015, 12:09 PM EDT
Two-time NHRA Funny Car champion Cruz Pedregon and NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Joey Logano spent an afternoon in each other’s respective worlds — and cars — on Wednesday.
Mar 26, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT
Luke Smith and Tony DiZinno give their verdict on this weekend’s Malaysian GP as Fernando returns, Manor hopes to fire up, and Red Bull prepares to declare war on Renault.
Mar 26, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT
Formula 1 heads to Malaysia for the second round of the 2015 season, but will Lewis Hamilton be able to double up and maintain his winning streak?
Mar 26, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT
Coyne heads into the season with two lesser experienced drivers, but looks to play spoiler.
Mar 26, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT
IndyCar has a wave of younger talent in the series, who need to start winning sooner rather than later.
Mar 26, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT
Both drivers failed to race in Australia due to injury, but will return this weekend.
Mar 26, 2015, 6:38 AM EDT
Ex-Force India and Sauber man moves to Williams for 2015.
Mar 25, 2015, 5:40 PM EDT
Fernando Alonso will start his 2015 F1 season in the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Mar 25, 2015, 3:57 PM EDT
After both of its cars failed to finish a lap in the season opener, Lotus looks toward the Malaysian Grand Prix.
- Hamilton hits back by topping second practice in Malaysia 0
- Rosberg quickest in Malaysia FP1 as Hamilton hits trouble 1
- Now IndyCar’s champion, Will Power’s mindset hasn’t changed heading into 2015 0
- Alonso moves to clear up testing crash conspiracy theories 2
- NHRA Funny Car driver Cruz Pedregon trades seats for a day with NASCAR counterpart Joey Logano 2
- Can IndyCar’s next generation take it to the established veterans? 1
- Fernando Alonso talks return in Malaysian GP 3