Sebastian Vettel goes into the 2012 Formula One season starting on Sunday in Melbourne as defending champion and favourite to win a third successive title.
Red Bull driver Vettel, 24, told dpa in an interview that it doesn’t matter who his opponents are — he’s there to compete for the title.
What’s to say you can’t get the hat—trick after Juan Manuel Fangio in the 1950s and Michael Schumacher?
Vettel: That I do not know, but we are still a very strong team and will of course fight for the title. That’s what we’re here for.However, it is no easy task.
How realistic is this year’s headline before the last race: Showdown between friends — Vettel and Schumacher duel for title?
I think it’s all ifs and buts. That’s a long way off. At the moment, we are concentrating totally on the preparations and the last race is something we are not talking about. Also, isn’t Mercedes driving with two cars (referring to Nico Rosberg)? If we have the opportunity to fight for the championship in the last race, then we’re happy enough. It doesn’t matter who we are up against.
McLaren has bucked the trend by deciding against the stepped—nose design. Ferrari’s version is particularly pronounced. Is being radical the only way to beat you?
I think that in the end everyone does what they think is right. When talking about the aesthetics, the McLaren nose, the way it is now, is certainly more beautiful than ours. But you can’t really say whether it’s better or worse because behind every car is a concept and not only a crooked or straight nose.
Or, is (team—mate) Mark Webber the main rival this time?
I always believe that the competition is biggest in your own team. In the end, we must not only beat the others, but also our team—mates, or vice versa, to win.
What do you admire about past drivers?
You cannot compare the past with the present, especially with regard to the cars. What I admire, if you look at it from today’s perspective, is the daring of past drivers which they had almost as a prerequisite.
Today, is it more difficult to be successful for long?
I think that today that time is more short—lived than earlier. Things are changing fast. The rules are constantly changing and the challenges shift, which gives you the opportunity to improve, but also to keep pace with others.
Do you feel that when success sometimes comes too soon you can really savour it?
If I didn’t have to answer any questions then yes! Joking aside, you’re always travelling. The important thing is that when you’re on the (starting) lights at the next race you are fully focused on that race and not on incidents in the last race, but that you are alert to what’s coming in the race ahead. So, when you have time for a breather, especially in winter, you can naturally enjoy it a little bit more.
Keywords: Sebastian Vettel