Sebastian Vettel says missing the season’s first testing session will not damage Red Bull’s Formula One championship chances.

Red Bull will miss Valencia and try out its new car at Jerez from February 10-13.

Vettel says it’s “disappointing” but the ensuing 12 days of testing is “plenty of time.” The Austrian team will operate in the wind tunnel until then.

The 22-year-old Vettel has his eye on the world championship after finishing runner-up to champion Jenson Button.

Although surprised by Michael Schumacher’s return, Vettel added that “it’s very difficult to predict anything before testing has even started” about a preseason favourite, but “after the first race in Bahrain we will know more.” The season starts on March 14.

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