Four-time defending World Champion Sebastian Vettel, fell World Champions Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, new Red Bull recruit Daniel Ricciardo, new Williams signing Felipe Massa and McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen participated in Thursday’s press conference.
The full transcript can be found here, via the official Formula One website.
Vettel, whose Red Bull team has had a rough time of it in preseason testing, admitted as such during the press conference without mincing any words.
“It’s obviously a tough step for all the teams, all the drivers, a lot of new things to get used to,” Vettel said. “We know that obviously we’re not in the best shape yet. There are a lot of things we need to solve.”
Hamilton said the new cars aren’t as fun to drive – yet – but they’re just coming into their own.
“Now we’re in a new phase and it’s just something that just takes some time to get used to,” said the Mercedes driver. “The sound, for example, is not as impressive as what we had in the past but once you get all the cars on the track, on the grid, I’m pretty sure it will be impressive for the fans still.”
Alonso admits the same.
“The car itself and the technology that Formula One brought this year are a little bit complex to everyone. We are learning and we are developing the car every day that we work on it,” said the two-time World Champion.
Massa and Ricciardo still look forward to driving with their new teams.
“So many new people arriving – including me. But, I’m pretty motivated,” Massa said. “For sure we can be there. I don’t know how competitive we’re going to be compared to the other teams.”
Adds Ricciardo of his Red Bull shot, “I think for now just focus on what I’ve done the last few years and keep doing what I’ve been doing to get to this point – and then assess it from there and see how it’s going.”
Rookie Magnussen doesn’t underestimate the challenge as he prepares for his first Grand Prix.
“It’s a big job, a big challenge but I think I’m pretty much as ready as you can be these days,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of work over the winter but I’m not underestimating the challenge that I’m facing. It’s a big challenge but I’m looking forward to it.”