Ahead of the launch in Spain of the Red Bull Racing’s latest challenger, the new RB7, 2010 Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel spoke to us about what he’s been doing and how he feels about 2011’s title defence.
You’re just back from holiday. What did you do?
Actually, it was pretty quiet. I went skiing, which is a perfect way to relax and stay in shape at the same time. But, apart from that, I’ve just been at home spending some quality time with my family and my couch, enjoying some peace and quiet after a very exciting season. Of course, I haven't been completely lazy – I’ve started to train for next season and the upcoming tests.
Are you training less, now you’re the world champion?
Well, it would be hard to train any more than we normally do, because our schedule is pretty full. But, of course, we always try to do more to push ourselves to improve. You can't allow yourself to become complacent. Standing still would mean that all my rivals would overtake me – quite literally. But I made sure I took a good break after last year and did things that didn't revolve around F1. But I’ve been getting more and more excited about the start of the new season. After all, we start again from scratch and last year's victories don't count any more. So, I want to be in the very best shape to attack from the very start.
How does it feel to be world champion? Have you already seen the big number ‘1’ on the car?
No, I haven't seen it yet, but being world champion feels amazing. I really enjoyed the time I’ve had to myself. I’ve loved waking up and knowing what’s happened in the last few months. It brings a smile to my face every time I think about it. It sinks in a little more every day. And when I finally brought my championship trophy home and saw my name engraved on it, it felt very real. It makes you proud, but as an athlete you have to change your focus on what's ahead of you pretty fast. That's the most important thing right now.
'I don't really like crossing the finish line second or worse'
What's your motto for 2011?
I’m not even sure I had one for 2010…
What about ‘Never give up’?
Why not? Maybe to focus on finishing the first races better than last year and not drop so many early points. That would help me have less stress towards the end. We will continue to work hard and fulfil all our goals once again. I'm really looking to progress, but I won't put any pressure on myself. We’ll take things one step at a time, although I think everyone knows by now that I don't really like crossing the finish line second or worse.
You now have one world championship in your trophy cabinet, have you ever thought about how many you’d like to win in your career?
As soon as I got the trophy, I was told I had to bring it back next year. So the only way to keep it is if I become world champion again. I'm pretty sure that Michael [Schumacher] has an unfaded mark in the place where his trophy stood because he was able to keep it so long. I really want to have that it my home too! Joking apart… I really don't want to give this trophy away, so I will give my best in the next season. As usual.
What do you think about the new car? You must know a few details…
Well, it hasn't really changed much from the outside, so it won't be as big a change like we had from the 2009 car, but all in all there are a lot of changes. I know our numbers and I just hope they are good enough. Now we need to wait and see what the other teams have done with their cars. But I think we’ll see where we are after the first practice sessions and the race in Bahrain.
How long do you plan to stay with Red Bull?
Even if the cars are standing still, the newspapers still need to fill their column inches – and sometimes you read things that are just completely made up. As I’ve said many times before, I really feel comfortable here and everything's perfectly fine, from my contract to how I feel – and I feel great with the team.
- Get inside information from Red Bull's F1 Spy on Twitter
- Get ready for Formula One in 2011 at our Bahrain GP event page
- Interviews with Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari and Sébastien Buemi