Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel cruised to victory in the 2011 Drivers’ world championship, with a massive 392 points, but he insists that his domination wasn’t as complete as it seems, and that he will not be complacent about the 2012 season. He finished the season leading his closest rival Jensen Button by 122 points, won 11 of the 19 races and picked up a record 15 pole positions. However at the Autosport Awards, where he collected the award for International Racing Driver of the Year, he was modest in saying that his rivals were growing stronger towards the end of the season. Speaking of the 2012 season he predicted “surely the competition will be higher.”
The double drivers’ world championship winner started the 2011 season in incredible form and was only slightly less imperious in the second half, finishing off the podium only twice. “We had a phenomenal start,” Vettel said, “But then I think the racing has been very close, and I don’t think our car was that dominant this year.” Instead the German driver believes Red Bull’s fantastic season was primarily due to “maximising every single opportunity” that the car provided, rather than performing quite well with a far superior car, as Vettel thinks was the case in 2010.
Sebastian pointed out the increasingly good form of the two McLaren drivers and believes that next year it is those two and the Ferrari drivers who will again provide Red Bull with a tough challenge. “We have seen particularly McLaren at the end of the year being very strong with Jenson and Lewis,” said Vettel, “so it will not be a walk in the park, but I don’t think it has been this year.” The changes in regulations over the winter break will also play their part in 2012. However the biggest change will concern using exhaust gasses to create downforce – and Adrian Newey, the fantastic Red Bull designer, specialises in aerodynamics so you wouldn’t bet against the team using the change to increase their car’s dominance!