Date: 3rd March 2014 at 1:16pm
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Sebastian Vettel has confessed that he and his Red Bull Racing team are concerned with the lack of pace shown by the current F1 title holders.

German Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull have won both the drivers and constructors championship for four years in succession.

Vettel has become the youngest ever quadruple Formula One World Champion, with his fourth title surpassing greats such as Ayrton Senna and Jackie Stewart.

A fifth title would leave him level with Juan Manuel Fangio and only two shy of German compatriot Michael Schumacher.

But following the teams performance during winter testing, Red Bull have some catching up to do.

The unofficial aggregate test times from second Bahrain test published on formula1.com placed Vettel 18th, whilst new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was 10th.

Over 77 laps, all of which came on the final day of the second Bahrain test, Vettel’s aggregate time was 1minute 37.468seconds.

Ricciardo’s time was two seconds quicker at 1minute 35.743seconds over 105 laps, but even that was still two-and-a-half seconds slower than that of Felipe Massa for Williams [202 laps] and the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton [159] and Nico Rosberg [192].

‘We are. It’s not a secret. Vettel told Sky Sports.

‘For sure we cannot do the times that the guys at the top of are doing for a couple of reasons but at the moment we have bigger problems to solve than just the pace.’

The bigger problems Vettel refers too are of course the lack of running that Red Bull have achieved in comparison to their main rivals.

Red Bull Racing completed 1,705.764 km of testing throughout 12 days of running in Spain and Bahrain.

Compare that to title contenders Mercedes (4,972.644 km), Ferrari (4,488.516 km) and McLaren (4,153.464 km) and the deficit is clear.

This is down to a whole host of issues, from both Renault and Red Bull Racing’s sides.

Renault have had a huge job on their hands to develop a new hybrid v6 turbo engine, to supply not only Red Bull Racing, but also Lotus, Toro Rosso and Caterham.

In total Renault completed 8,743.332 km a total that was almost 1,500 km shorter than the three Ferrari powered teams of Ferrari, Sauber and Marussia and over 9,250 km short of the Mercedes total set by Mercedes, McLaren, Williams and Force India.

So there is a clear shortfall on the side of Renault.

However Caterham and Toro Rosso both completed more track time than Red Bull, whilst Lotus were only 417 km short despite missing the first four days of testing in Jerez.

Which also shows that some of Red Bull’s issues are also a lot closer to home, with some suggesting that Adrian Newey’s design has been far too aggressive. Which in turn has meant that the packaging around the power-train has been too tight hence the over heating issues which some have speculated.

Add in the physical amount of time it takes to fix the cars once an issue has been highlighted, the problems of lack of running are only compounded once more problems crop up.

‘It’s quite a difficult time because it’s a difficult car to work on and you can see as well for the other teams, if you have downtime depending on where the damage is, where the problem is it’s a big job to repair and fix it. That’s why it takes a long time.

‘[Saturday’s] two issues were bad enough to basically stop us from running the whole day. [Sunday] we had some problems but were running for the whole day, so it just shows how different every day can be. But I’m happy we did a lot of laps.’