Formula 1

Christian Horner reveals Sebastian Vettel's 2014 problems

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has revealed the issues behind Sebastian Vettel's under performing 2014 Formula One campaign.

The German has failed to live up to the expectations which he has set over the past four seasons where he has dominated the field achieving four straight world championships.

It is an accomplishment of the highest order and Horner believes that those exertions may be having a slight hangover on his current performance.

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Speaking to Auto Bild Motorsport, the 40-year-old said: "It is a combination of several things (the under performance).

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.

"The way Sebastian brought out those extra tenths of a second from the car in recent years was quite unique."

Horner went on to explain that Vettel has not adapted to the new regulations as well as he might have done.

"He is very sensitive to the behaviour of the car, especially when braking. With the new electronic brake (brake-by-wire) there is less feedback than before. This is why Sebastian has lost part of his feeling for the car."

Horner explained how Vettel used to be "like a ballerina, dancing on the throttle and the brakes.

"These were his special little tricks that made him faster than everyone else, but he cannot use them today."

Return to form

But Horner is confident that Vettel is finding his way back and adapting to the car finally and could therefore be far more competitive when the season restarts later this month. 

"His pace in Hungary showed that he is getting the feeling for the car back again." 

Vettel has also experienced three retirements this season and Horner feels this disruption has impacted on his consistency.

"We cannot forget that Sebastian has suffered many mechanical problems. Often little things have stopped him and these have disrupted his flow. So he has had no chance to adapt his driving style."

With 11 races completed in the 2014 season,  Vettel finds himself sixth in the drivers' standings with a total of 88-points. The 27-year-old's highest placed finish is third which he has achieved on two occasions.

For the most part, Vettel has been restricted to battling further down in the top ten which, after having won all of the last nine races of the 2013 season, must be a tough situation to be in.

No excuses

Vettel's struggles could have been put down to the weaker than usual pace of the Red Bull car, but his lack of speed and quality this year has been highlighted massively by the fact that his new team mate, Daniel Ricciardo, has driven with such adventure and class. Much like Vettel did on his arrival to the elite formula back in 2007.

The 25-year-old Australian is making the most of the Red Bull and has delivered two race victories, putting himself third in the drivers' championship on 131-points. He also beats Vettel 6-5 in qualifying results.

The pair's combined efforts have left the Infiniti Red Bull squad in second place overall in the constructors' championship hunt. But runaway leaders Mercedes are ahead by 174-points meaning it would take some swing of results for Horner's men to make it five titles on the bounce.

Restoring credibility 

The main aim in the remaining eight races of the season is to get as close as they can and become totally competitive with Mercedes to restore as much credibility to their season as is possible.

For Vettel, he will be eager to prove those critics who say he can only perform in the fastest car wrong and he will firstly have to up his game to reinstate himself as the strongest driver in the team.

I would not like to bet against a four-time world champion to come back and deliver when the drivers return to the track, starting with the historic Spa-Francorchamps circuit in just over a week's time.

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