Red Bull drivers confident of new car’s potential

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RED Bull are exactly where they want to be after completing their first pre-season test with the new RB8.

Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel shared responsibilities at the Jerez test last week, taking two days each to acclimatise themselves to their new challenger before the first race of the season next month.

World champion Vettel, who took part in the final two days of testing, was forced to sit out the morning of day four with an electrical problem, but he said that these things are normal when bedding in a new car.

“I’m happy with the progress we’ve made, I think we managed to get a lot done,” he said. “Of course, the morning was a bit of a setback but these things happen.

“Something like this is simply part of testing, this is the reason why we are here. Of course we would like to get more laps done, but that can’t be changed now.”

“So we go back to the factory, look at everything we have learned from this week and prepare for the next test in Barcelona, where I’m looking forward to putting some more miles on the car.”

Despite them putting in nearly 300 laps between them, the Red Bull duo didn’t top the timing sheets as everyone has become accustomed to seeing in 2011.

But Webber, who put in a fastest time of 1m 19.184s on Wednesday, is keen to put some more mileage into the RB8 before making any predictions for the season ahead.

“I think we’re making good progress,” Webber said. “Although, as I keep saying, it’s still very early days in the concept of the car and we have a lot to get through before we race it. But it’s the same for all the teams.“

The teams must now prepare for the second pre-season test, again in Spain, but this time at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona – a circuit they will be racing at later in the year. The second test gets under way on Tuesday, February 21.

Mercedes, Marussia and HRT are the only teams yet to launch their 2012 contenders, but all eyes are already on the Red Bulls and McLarens as favourites for the F1 title, with Vettel and Webber set to do battle with Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button for the Drivers’ Championship.