Spanish Grand Prix: Sebastian Vettel tries new Red Bull chassis in attempt to catch Mercedes

The world champion described the decision as 'a sanity check' after a poor start to the new season

barcelona

Struggling champions Red Bull have reacted to their disappointing start to the new season by changing the chassis on Sebastian Vettel's car ahead of practice for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.

The drivers' world champion described the decision to install an old chassis he used during pre-season testing as "more a sanity check rather than a real problem with the other chassis. It's just to try everything we can, and basically reset and start again."

Vettel enters Sunday's race in fifth place in the driver standings with 33 points, far behind Mercedes' Nico Rosberg in the lead on 79 and his team-mate Lewis Hamilton on 75.

The overhaul of the regulations and the switch to V6 turbo hybrid engines for this season appears to have caught out Red Bull and dislodged Vettel as the perennial favourite.

He has only one podium finish in four races, marking his worst start since joining Red Bull. His troubles are such that the team have ordered Vettel to let new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo pass him in the last two races.

Meanwhile, Jenson Button sees no end to Mercedes' dominance before the summer break. Rosberg and fellow Briton Hamilton – the first British driver since Button in 2009 to triumph in three consecutive races – have so far claimed all four poles and victories, as well as leading every lap.

"Mercedes don't have any competition," warned Button. "They are so far in front of the field. In Monaco [in a fortnight] you might see Red Bull be strong and give them a run for their money, but apart from that it's going to be very tricky for anyone to challenge them over the next six or seven races.

"Mercedes will also keep developing throughout the year, and whilst we [McLaren] – and every other team – is trying to catch up, they're not going to stand still. They're going to upgrade the car."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions