Sebastian Vettel has blamed excessive oversteer for his early season struggles
World Champion to use an old chassis this weekend in Barcelona
By William Esler
Last Updated: 08/05/14 5:22pm
The reigning World Champion has been out-qualified at three of the opening four races by new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo and, to rub further salt into the wounds, the German was ordered to let the Australian past at both the Bahrain and Chinese GPs.
Whilst the RB10 is not as dominant as its RB9 predecessor, it is clear that Vettel has been extracting less from the car than Ricciardo as he struggles with stability at the rear - suggesting the ban on exhaust blown diffusers could be a key factor in his travails.
"I think generally we have our own style and how we like to drive and set up the car," Vettel said in the FIA Press Conference at Barcelona on Thursday.
"I think in general I don't mind when the rear is moving and having oversteer in the car, but when it becomes too much it starts to bother you. When the car slides to much you have to correct rather than pushing and getting the maximum out of the car and it slides you down and I think that has been part of the problem so far.
"There are lots of reasons behind it so it would be nice to just have one issue to fix, but obviously it is a lot more complex this year and there are a lot more factors than just car set up. We have already made a lot of improvements, but there is still oversteer and a lot to do. You never change the way you like to drive the car, your style doesn't change."
Vettel will switch to a chassis used during winter testing at the Spanish GP as the team look to cross off one potential cause of the German's struggles.
"I think we concluded after China - where we were quite a bit behind - to change the chassis," he added.
"It is not a new chassis, it is an old one that we used for testing during the winter and we have some experience with it so it is more just to check rather than a problem with the other chassis.
"So we will try everything we can and just basically reset and start again. Obviously there is still a lot of work ahead of us, as I mentioned after the first couple of races maybe I am not as happy as I want to be, but it is a long process, a lot of things have changed and we need to be patient.
"It is not unusual to change chassis, normally when you change chassis you change to a new one, but we have decided to go to an old one just to make sure nothing is wrong. We are just changing the things that we can to have a reset and try again. We don't think there was anything wrong with the old chassis, but nevertheless we have decided to change."
The German admits picking up his second Spanish GP victory is unlikely this weekend telling Sky Sports News that "it will be a massive surprise for us to close the gap in one race", he wants his team to ensure they eek every last ounce of performance from the car.
"We are here to win, I am not coming here to finish second or fifth, but we need to be realistic," Vettel added.
"They aim is always to get the maximum out of the car and the package that we have and you can get a lot of satisfaction if you achieve that. It means if a podium is in reach, or if fifth is the best you can do you finish fifth - if you come seventh then it is not satisfying. But ultimately we are here to win so that is the target, but there are a lot of things that have to come together. Mercedes are in a very strong position and are difficult to beat, but it is never impossible."
Vettel currently sits a distant fifth in the Drivers' Championship, 46 points behind leader Nico Rosberg.