Reduced pre-season track time no concern to Vettel
Sebastian Vettel has said he is not concerned by the minimal track time on offer in pre-season testing following his move from Ferrari to Aston Martin.
After the Australian Grand Prix was postponed from March to November, pre-season testing was moved from Spain to Bahrain. As well as hosting the three-day test, reduced from six days in previous years as a cost-saving measure, the Bahrain International Circuit will be used for the season-opening March 28.
The reduction of pre-season testing means each driver will have just one-and-a-half days in the car before the start of free practice one, something that could hamper the three rookie drivers on the grid, the four drivers changing teams and the returning Fernando Alonso.
Vettel, however, believes the focus simply switches to the preparation work at the factory.
“[Am I] concerned? No," said the German. "It is what it is so I think, over the years you get used to very little track time and making the most of the track time.
“So even if one-and-a-half days doesn’t sound like a lot, still you can get some decent running so I think it is the same for all of us and actually you can do a lot of stuff beforehand nowadays so I guess that the key will be the preparation leading into the test and then leading into the first race.”
Last year Formula 1 completed a heavily revised 17 race calendar based for the most part around Europe.
The calendar began with a trio of triple-headers and finished with a fourth in the Middle East. This year the calendar again features three consecutive triple-headers immediately following the summer shutdown.
Vettel, however, praised the efforts of Formula 1 Management [FOM] and the FIA in creating a safe environment in which the sport could continue last year.
“I think, given the struggle the world was in and still is in, it certainly wasn’t easy," he explained.
"I don’t think there was a lot of time spent to come up with something because it was very quickly, come June, we had the certainty that we would go racing again.
“But certainly, I guess, it wasn’t easy to put everything together. I think, so far, the system seems to work. We seem to be able to track people who get infected and take the right precautions to ensure the virus doesn’t spread.
“Obviously it is a shame that we are not having the sort of racing and atmosphere that we are used to compared to previous years but, as I said, given the circumstances, I think FOM and the FIA have done a tremendous job to get us going and get us literally on the track.
“We were one of the first international working sports, global working sports back on track after the break.”
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