After exhaust experiments in China, Sebastian Vettel will run the specification used in Shanghai by team-mate Mark Webber when he races in Bahrain this weekend.
In Shanghai, Vettel claimed the package dating from early pre-season felt better balanced than the system introduced at the final test and opted to use it qualifying and the race in China. However, after qualifying in 11th on the grid and battling through a tough race to a fifth-place finish, the defending champion has chosen to return to the later spec at the Sakhir circuit this weekend.
“It’s something we decided together, we believe it’s the best solution and that’s why it’s on the car [here]. This is the better direction to go in,” explained Vettel.
“It was good for us to do a back-to-back [test of the exhausts],” he added. “When we introduced it in testing we didn’t have the best two days at the end of testing, so I think this was a fair test.”
The champion warned, however, that the switch back to the layout raced to fourth by Webber in China would not yield instant results. “I felt a bit happier in China, so for here, well, we only have one weekend in between and it’s a bit change for myself so we’ll see how we get on,” he said. “We can’t expect miracles with only a week between races. Hopefully we’ll do a step forward in qualifying, which seems to be a little bit our weakness. In terms of race pace I think we’re not that far off.
“We seem to be better in the race than in qualifying,” he added. “But it’s not as if we need to find the right qualifying set up and then happy days. We need to improve the car as a whole. So we’ll see where we are this weekend. We have a bit of time after that again, with the test in Mugello, and we can try different stuff there, so I think the next weeks will be crucial in determining which way we are going.
"But as I have said many times I believe the potential is there, the car is quick, and once we start putting everything together I think we will feel a bit more comfortable. Then, we should be in a much better position in qualifying and in the race."