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Vettel warns those writing off his title chances

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain signs autographs for fans ahead of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, March 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel has warned those writing off his chances of a fifth-consecutive Formula One title that the season is long and the team's current engine problems are only temporary.

Red Bull has experienced a troubled offseason in which engine supplier Renault had a series of difficulties with the sport's new six-cylinder turbo hybrid engines.

While Vettel acknowledged that Mercedes will be the team to beat in this weekend's season-opening race in Australia, and Red Bull will likely be off the pace in early races, he was adamant another title was within his reach.

Vettel said Thursday "we are not in the best position for this race but it's a different story when you talk about the championship."

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