World champion Sebastian Vettel says his three F1 titles won’t help give him the upper hand as he seek to make it four in a row this season.
The Red Bull Racing star starts his title defence on Sunday at the Australian Grand Prix.
But despite dominating the F1 scene since 2010, Vettel doesn’t believe it will give him a head-start over his competitors this year.
“I think the secret is not to think about what happened in the last three years,” Vettel said. “The first title was very, very special. After that you don’t have that pressure any more, you’ve proved to yourself more than anyone else that you can do so.
“After that obviously we had two fantastic years again - very different to each other - but as I said we don’t really think about what happened last year or the last three years.
“We are here; we have zero points on our side at the moment, same as everyone else so everyone has the same opportunities.
“The cars didn’t really change, last year we saw it was really close so I don’t really expect it to be any different to last year, if anything even a little bit tighter so it will be crucial to make the most out of every single race.”
Pre-season testing failed to give any impression as to who would be leading the way in Melbourne, but Vettel down-played the importance of the season’s opener, saying it’s a long campaign.
He said: “I don’t think it makes a difference, every year we start from zero, everyone has the same chances.
“Testing obviously this year was probably not as conclusive as previous years so we arrive here not knowing what is going to happen but I think it’s very exciting, so as every year I’m excited to start.
“I think it’s going to be a long year, obviously we’re looking forward to this weekend - this is the first of many - but I think we’ve seen the last couple of years, last year in particular, that it’s a long season and every race is very important.
“This is the place we start but then there is many other places coming.”
First free practice starts at 1.30am (UK time) on Friday morning.