Sebastian Vettel preparing for this weekend's race at Australia. (Photo: Andrew Hone/Getty Images)

preparing for this weekend’s race at Australia. (Photo: Andrew Hone/Getty Images)

Sebastian Vettel insists that he hasn’t given up hope of challenging for a fifth world championship this year – and believes that Red Bull still has enough time to catch up after its bad start in testing.

“It’s a long year,” he said today. “Our pre-season testing, our preparation, hasn’t been ideal and, yeah, we’re probably not in the best position for this race, but I think it’s a different story when we think about the championship. There’s a long way to go. Two years back Fernando was on the grid with 1.5 seconds to pole position but he was very close to beating us to the title at the very last race. Anything can happen. That’s why this race is important, just as any other one. But there are a lot of races this year.

“It’s obviously a tough step for all the teams, all the drivers, a lot of new things to get used to. We know that obviously we’re not in the best shape yet. There are a lot of things we need to solve. Unfortunately, you can’t solve them overnight. We’d love to but we can’t. So you really have to go step by step, together with Daniel, I think just trying to be as precise as we can, trying to give the engineers the best feedback possible about the whole power unit so that we move forward on that and also talking about the car because at this stage it’s a bit unknown where we are.

“It’s not a secret – you need very, very strong reliability to be a title contender, so we’ll see…I’m looking forward to tomorrow and especially Sunday to get a feel for the new regulations and see where we are.”

Vettel says that the team has already changed a lot on the RB10 since the last test in Bahrain.

“I think it will be a very different car. Obviously, for us, we had a lot of problems during the test so we didn’t get to test a lot of stuff and we hope we do some more running here and obviously put the parts to the car that we think are better for overall performance. It will be a bit different but I think it’s the same for all of us.

“The target, for sure, is to finish and the target, for sure, is to finish in the best possible position, so that’s the mind-set, fairly straightforward and for the rest of the year. I think we’re a strong team, we have a lot of good people on board, we have strong resources so I’m confident we should progress as the season goes on.”

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