- Red Bull
'Sensitive' Vettel struggling for feeling with RB10 - Horner
Sebastian Vettel's struggles this year are rooted in a lack of feeling from his car which is limiting his ability to look after his tyres, according to team boss Christian Horner.
The reigning four-time world champion has been out-raced at the last two grands prix by team-mate Daniel Ricciardo and finished 20 seconds adrift of the Australian in China. Horner says Vettel is still struggling to find a set-up that suits his driving style and allows him to look after the car's tyres.
"Sebastian is having a tough time at the moment because he hasn't got that feeling from the car that he is looking for," Horner said. "He's tremendously sensitive to certain aspects of the set-up and he's not getting the feedback from the car that he wants.
"The compound effect of that is that he's damaging the tyre more, which is very unusual for Seb, as we've seen since the Pirellis were introduced. It's highly unusual for him to be going through the tyre life quicker than the average. That's just the culmination of the issues that he's currently got and as soon as we've worked those out he will be back with a bang."
Horner confirmed that the gap in China was purely down to Vettel's issues and not a problem with his car.
"No, I think that he's just going through the tyre quicker and the tyre's opening up more for him because he's not found that sweetspot that he requires. Daniel, as we saw on Friday [in practice], had extremely good tyre degradation and he had it again in the race."
Vettel initially ignored a team order to let Ricciardo pass in China, before giving way when he realised the two cars were on different strategies. Horner believes the team order has given Vettel greater impetus to resolve his issues at the upcoming races.
"For any driver, they don't like that call, but he's absolutely abided by it. He's a team player at the end of the day and the one thing you can be assured of is that he will be looking extremely hard at this weekend and this race to understand where the differences are, what he's struggling with and where we can improve. There will be no driver working harder in the three-week gap to bounce back in Barcelona."