Vettel feels RB9 is ‘a step up’

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Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel believes that his new car, the RB9,  is “a step up” from its predecessor that took him to a third title last season.

“What is important is that the car is relaible and works well and the speed seems to be there too. We have a little more grip in the fast corners, this was striking right form the outset. I think it’s a step up form the RB8.”

In an interview with in-house publication The Red Bulletin, Vettel also spoke about the new Pirelli tires for 2013, although he did admit that little would be confirmed until the first practice session in Melbourne.

“We had certain expectations [of the tires], also partly based on the data we have been receiving from Pirelli. These expectations appear to be confirmed, but we won’t know until Melbourne.

“I think that the quicker lap times at the tests can be attributed to the new car as well as the Pirelli tires.”

Vettel was also asked about his driving style, as throughout his career he is yet to suffer a major accident.

“You should always have respect. That has never changed.”

Red Bull struggled to perform in winter testing, finishing as the seventh quickest team at the final test in Barcelona. Harking back to last season, the team will know that a slow start could lead to a highly-impressive tail end of the season, but Vettel will still be hoping to take the win in Australia.

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
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INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.

Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.

It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.

Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)