Vettel: Small failure had a big consequence

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Sebastian Vettel has lamented a small failure on his Red Bull car during first practice that forced him to sit out of the second session on Friday in Spain.

The defending Formula 1 world champion completed just four laps during practice today after an electrical problem on his new chassis curtailed his running. The Red Bull team opted not to run his car during the second session so they could focus on fixing the problem.

For Vettel, the most frustrating part of the situation was that such a small problem had severe consequences.

“We had a simple failure in one of the looms this morning, which caused a short and meant the car stopped,” he explained. “We had to change the chassis loom, which is a big job so I wasn’t able to go out this afternoon.

“It’s a small failure, but a big consequence. There was nothing new on that part of the car, it was something new that happened in that area.”

Despite this setback, Vettel chose to look on the bright side, given that the problem could have occurred during qualifying or the race.

“Luckily it happened today, but unfortunately we lost the chance to prepare for Sunday with two cars, so I have to rely on what Daniel [Ricciardo] did today and get into the rhythm straight away tomorrow.”

With just four laps under his belt heading into the rest of the weekend, Vettel certainly faces an uphill struggle to reach the podium in Spain. However, Red Bull’s remarkable rate of development over the last few years suggests that the team is by no means out of the title race just yet.

Vettel should be ready to take part in the final practice session tomorrow morning ahead of qualifying in the afternoon.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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