RBR still unsure of true advantage

Red Bull Racing says it still does not have an idea how far ahead of the opposition it is - despite Sebastian Vettel's victories in the first two races of the season

RBR still unsure of true advantage

The reigning world champion has won both the Australian and Malaysian Grands Prix from pole position - but it has been hard to read what kind of edge he has had in the races with many of his rivals hitting trouble.

And although McLaren came close to knocking Vettel off the pole spot at Sepang, after being totally outclassed in Melbourne, Red Bull Racing's technical chief Adrian Newey thinks his team does not yet have a clear picture of what sort of shape it is in.

"I think it is the usual thing with F1. Things change and evolve," he said, when asked if he could evaluate the advantage his team held over main rival McLaren at the moment.

"McLaren were much closer in qualifying here than they were in Melbourne. How much of that is the nature of the circuit, and how much is that because they have improved their car in the intervening two weeks, I don't know - because I don't know enough about their car."

Newey thinks that the competitive picture is being clouded by the tyre situation - with certain cars and drivers finding top form at different times of a race weekend, and at various stages of the grand prix itself.

When asked if he felt that the competitive picture was being complicated by certain car/tyre/track characteristics suddenly pulling the advantage to one team, Newey said: "It is entirely possible. We have seen that before.

"If you go back to a few years ago, you saw when Ferrari and McLaren were battling for the championship you could see that they used their tyres differently. That played into one team's hands at one race, and another's at another. There will almost certainly be an element of that this year.

"The tyres are a huge learning curve for all of us, and nobody has a full understanding at the moment. I wouldn't say there was a particular set-to-set difference, but quite small changes in balance can create quite large differences in degradation."

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