Red Bull Racing's German driver Sebastian Vettel sits in the pits during the third practice session at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi on November 2, 2013 ahead of the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix. )AFP PHOTO / MARWAN NAAMANI)
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If the tough get going when the going gets tough, then the Formula One season starting in Australia Sunday should offer Sebastian Vettel ample opportunity to roll up his sleeves and play the paddock hard man. On the evidence of preseason testing, the quadruple champion and his Red Bull team are up against it as the sport braces for an unpredictable new hybrid turbo era in Melbourne. In this brave new world, Red Bull's preparations have been little short of shocking with neither Vettel – who won the last nine races of 2013 and has not been beaten since July – nor his new and ever-smiling Australian teammate Daniel Ricciardo completing a race simulation.All the Renault-powered teams have struggled to log as much mileage as their Mercedes and Ferrari rivals – Cosworth having now disappeared as an engine supplier – after experiencing problems bedding in the new power unit. Lewis Hamilton, whose Mercedes team are already the early favorites, expects Red Bull to be firing on all cylinders sooner than might be expected.Frenchman Eric Boullier has switched from Lotus to McLaren, where he will effectively run the team at races.Whether Vettel will be in a position to win it remains to be seen.
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