Milton Keynes, England – Sebastian Vettel is a�?worn outa�? after winning four consecutive world driversa�� titles to enable Red Bull to reign supreme in Formula One, according to his team chief Christian Horner.
Briton Horner said that exhaustion was a part of the explanation for the 27-year-old Germana��s loss of form in a season dominated by Mercedes and in which his new Red Bull team-mate Australian Daniel Ricciardo has out-performed him.
The rest, he said, was down to the sporta��s radical new package of regulations this year which included a return of turbocharged engines and electronic braking systems.
Ricciardo, 25, has won twice to climb to third with 131 points after 11 of the yeara��s 19 races, trailing only the Mercedes duo Nico Rosberg of Germany (202) and Briton Lewis Hamilton (191). Vettel, without a win, is sixth on 88.
A graduate, like Vettel, of Red Bulla��s a�?juniora�? team, Toro Rosso, Ricciardo has out-performed his team mate 6-5 in qualifying and 9-2 in race results.
a�?It is a combination of several things,a�? Horner told Germanya��s Auto Bild Motorsport. a�?First, when you have fought for the title for five years, it does wear you out a little bit, but that is not the fundamental problem.
a�?The way Sebastian brought out those extra tenths from the car in recent years was quite unique. He is very sensitive to the behaviour of the car, especially when braking.a�?
Horner suggested that Vettel was struggling with the mandatory a�?brake-by-wirea�? braking this year, saying he had a�?lost part of his feeling for the car.a�?
a�?The driveability was really bad, so Seb could not look after the tyres in the way that he always has done,a�? he added.
He used to drive a bit a�?like a ballerina, dancing on the throttle and the brakes,a�? said Horner, a style that was impossible at the start of this season, but was gradually moving back within reach as the team improved the car.
a�?His pace in Hungary showed he is getting the feeling for the car back again,a�? said Horner.
a�?And we cana��t forget how many mechanical problems Sebastian has had – many of them just little things that have disrupted his flow. So he has had less time to adapt his driving style.a�?
Horner said he was optimistic that Red Bull were reducing Mercedesa��s power and performance advantage and had a�?over-achieveda�? this season.
a�?Compared to the theoretical handicap we have (due to a 65 bhp disadvantage with their Renault engine), what we have actually achieved in the first half of the year is remarkable,a�? he explained.
a�?To have won two races, had front row starts, podiums, is a remarkable achievement, all things considered.
Obviously, it’s not where we are used to being, but the team has shown real character to dig in and fight back.a�?A� – Reuters