World Champion Sebastian Vettel has been told to ‘raise his game’ by Red Bull Racing team bosses after a difficult start to the season.
The four-time champion has suffered a problematic beginning to the 2014, falling victim to technical gremlins, while driving a car clearly second best to the dominant Mercedes.
Vettel’s season couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start - after a torrid pre-season of reliability failures, Vettel’s Australian Grand Prix lasted a mere five laps before he was forced into retirement.
After a third place in Malaysia, more struggles came in China, Bahrain and Spain before another retirement in Monaco while he was running third.
And after team-mate Daniel Ricciardo won the Canadian Grand Prix, Red Bull’s first win of the season, Vettel , who finished fourth in Montreal, was told by the team’s advisor Helmut Marko to get his head down and improve his racecraft.
“I told him: ‘There are 50 engineers working on this engine and they can’t sort it out.
‘You’re a top driver, it’s up to you. You have to do it,’” Marko said.
“If he can’t sort out the car, the easiest thing is the driver. He has to raise his game.”
“His main problem was the downshift was always destabilising the rear and he couldn’t understand that we couldn’t solve it.
“With all of these problems, maybe he wasn’t as committed as he should have been, but that has changed.
“Already in Spain we saw a different approach from this guy.”
“Sebastian was a little bit surprised, like we all were, with Ricciardo,” Marko added.
“Don’t forget we didn’t test. We had some outings – one lap or two laps if it was a good day – but no-one could see his potential.”