Interview with Sebastian Vettel
|By Peter Mills||Monday, May 7th 2007, 10:35 GMT|
Sebastian Vettel had been set to finish off his preparations for a potential step up to Formula One in 2008 with plenty of Friday action this year as BMW Sauber's third driver.
But just three races into the campaign, his bosses have decided to rest him for a while because they feel it more important to give his Friday mileage to their race drivers Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica.
The decision was motivated by the way that Fridays have been turned into a lengthy practice session, and the reluctance of any of BMW Sauber's main rivals to run a test driver in the session.
Autosport.com caught up with Vettel to find out his reaction to the BMW Sauber news, and what impact the current testing restrictions are having on young drivers.
Q: Are you disappointed to no longer be driving for BMW on Fridays, or are you looking on the positives in that you can now concentrate on the World Series by Renault?
Sebastian Vettel: "Of course I am disappointed. I am losing track time."
Q: Is there any possibility you can make another appearance, perhaps they could wheel you out for the Nurburgring in front of your home crowd?
Vettel: "I don't know, it's not my decision. It's out of my hands. For sure I am disappointed about it, but the criticism lies with the testing regulations. You can ask the others (young test drivers), like Nelsinho (Piquet), who are in the same position - they will feel the same.
T"he one car test rule also doesn't help. On Friday's in theory it's a test day, but in reality it works out as another practice session. The argument that is used (as to why I have stopped) is that it's an advantage to have the race drivers familiarise themselves with the track.
"However, the tracks are sometimes so dirty from lack of use on Friday mornings that the cars slide around all over the place, so it's not that useful because it's not comparable to race conditions."
Q: Is there anything the FIA or teams could do to help young drivers more?
Vettel: "For this year I don't think so, for the future I hope so. Last year wasn't bad for mileage. Maybe they can perhaps have each team run three cars, but I don't know how feasible that it is with 34 cars on the track together.
"But hey, why not? I don't make the rules, they have experts for that. For the young drivers it's a really bad situation. Everybody wants the race drivers to get mileage, but some drivers have been in F1 for several years and still go testing in Valencia or Barcelona a week before a race."
Q: As you are still the test and reserve driver, will this hurt your preparations for entering F1 next year?
Vettel: "I don't know if it makes a difference. Internally nothing has been discussed about next year. So I am not sure if there has been any decision, but there's a lot of speculation in the media.
"In F1 people judge very quickly if you are good or not. We have three-day tests where we are allowed to use one car. If a driver has just one day in the car, popping in after a month of doing nothing, or in my case doing World Series, it's very difficult to adjust.
"If you are a reserve or test driver you can do training at home, but there is no way you can practice driving the car. If on one of those tests you have a technical problem, then it's even worse.
Q: Your decision to do World Series looking very smart now, because if you hadn't taken it on, and then stopped driving on Fridays, you would not be doing anything...
Vettel: "Exactly. I would be doing nothing for four weeks now. In short, it's terrible."