Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Circuito de Jerez, 2015

Vettel sees “massive step forward” at Ferrari

2015 F1 season preview

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Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Circuito de Jerez, 2015

The team

Fernando Alonso’s decision to call time on his Ferrari career with two years left on his contact was a damning verdict on the team’s lack of success since he joined them five years with them, and their prospects for the future.

As Alonso headed for the door, Ferrari hit the reset button. A host of top technical staff have left, and in Alonso’s place Sebastian Vettel brings his experience of winning four world championships at Red Bull with a goal to succeed where his predecessor couldn’t.

The brief reign of Marco Mattiacci as team principal has given way to the new leadership of Maurizio Arrivabene. The former Marlboro vice president has set a seemingly modest goal for Formula One’s most successful team: to win two races in 2015.

But realistically, even that may prove a tall order. Ferrari’s power unit failed to win a single race last year, and they badly needed the concession made towards in-season development by the FIA during the off-season.

It’s not just the team looking to recapture former glories: its two drivers are past champions who endured very difficult 2014 seasons.

The drivers

5. Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015There’s no denying Sebastian Vettel’s unhappiness last year owed at least as much to F1’s quieter, less visceral cars as it did his lack of success at the wheel. A change of scene, and finally succumbing to the romantic appeal of Ferrari, may be just what he needs.

The first days appears to have gone well: warm receptions at Maranello and encouraging signs during testing. Winning four world championships is one thing, but F1 immortality awaits Vettel if he can add a fifth at the wheel of a Ferrari.

7. Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015It’s hard to see how 2015 could fail to be an improvement on last year for Kimi Raikkonen, so completely was he overshadowed by Alonso. Happily the SF-15T appears to fit his needs far better than its predecessor – this is essential, as last year made it abundantly clear that adaptability and improvisation are not his greatest strengths.

But as always Raikkonen’s indifferent demeanour belies a fierce racing instinct. Vettel will be all too aware of his new team mate’s potential.

The car

The SF-15T is the first Ferrari to have been produced entirely under the guidance of technical director James Allison. A more neatly-packaged affair than its predecessor, the team appear quietly optimistic about the new chassis.

The Jerez test left them with high expectations to manage as the car headed the times sheets on three of the four days. That didn’t happen again after the teams relocated to the Circuit de Catalunya.

Nonetheless Vettel, who hasn’t driven last year’s Ferrari, said he believes the new car is a “massive step forward”. It had a few technical niggles in Barcelona, but for all Ferrari’s problems in recent years reliability has been a key strength.

They have a large deficit to close to Mercedes in terms of their power unit, but the early signs are they can expect a more credible showing in 2015.

Over to you

Will Ferrari hit their ‘two wins’ target? And how will Vettel fare after leaving the familiar environment of Red Bull?

Have your say in the comments.

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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66 comments on “Vettel sees “massive step forward” at Ferrari”

  1. My heart is split between Ferrari and Mclaren. Happy for Ferrari…but sad for Nando

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      5th March 2015, 12:43

      Likewise. As a lifelong tifoso I cant help but have one foot on the McLaren boat after Fernando delivering so much in those five years, much like when Schumi was at Merc.

      I’ll probably start the year as much a ‘Nando fan as a Ferrari fan. I’m for Monza later in the year so it’ll be interesting to see who I’m shouting for come September.

  2. I see 2015 as a transitional season for Ferrari, considering all the new changes. It will be akin to 1996 with Schumacher. Ultimately, given the right circumstances and good performance, I can Vettel winning one or two races but not really getting anywhere close to be championship contender.

    Raikkonen is harder animal to judge. If he still has the fire, he could be a contender for wins, but if he has totally lost motivation then his days at Ferrari and indeed F1 will be numbered.

    1. @walsh-f1 Ferrari will then buy out his contract….and rehire him a few years later :P

    2. He’s satisfied with the car right now and I have full belief that the results he will get this year will at least be on par with what Alonso did last season.

    3. I really do not get this continual questioning of Raikkonen motivation. Despite evidence to the contrary by team principals and mechanics that have worked with him both past and present his commitment to the sport is always a topic of conversation. Can someone explain this phenomenon for me?

      1. Exactly. People always look for a deeper story when the performance of a driver is lacking and they will find it by making it up.

        It’s not just Raikkonen it’s with all drivers. You see it mostly when nonsensical words like “momentum” or “pressure” are mentioned referring to a driver’s mental state instead of actual physics to explain results.

        People find a trait of the driver and try to translate that into a reason for results or lack thereof.

        Like how Rosberg was losing races because he couldn’t deal with the pressure of Hamilton going half a second a lap faster behind him. Rosberg simply wasn’t fast enough during those races and tried to hard to keep him behind. Or that Hamilton got 4 wins in a row because of “momentum”. Again, he was simply driving faster. Or when Hamilton doesn’t get pole, he’s “emotional” when he probably just focused more on race pace rather than qualifying.

        People just like to hate too. When Raikkonen says that he’d rather be fighting for the wins and WDC, he gets blasted for not caring enough to fight for 10th place. Like any sane person wouldn’t rather be fighting for the win rather than fighting for a spot in the midfield?

      2. I don’t think there’s much more to it than that he has what most people would consider a fun job yet he looks perpetually bored.

        1. I agree, Raikkonen may be adverse to PR but most of the time that’s just how he looks. I met him during a sponsorship event during the 2002 Brazilian Grand Prix and he looked bored even then, despite it being only his second season in F1. And it’s not a cultural thing either, Hakkinen and Rosberg Sr. are two good humored individuals who always look content.

        2. from what i’ve heard it’s actually quite an act for kimi and his real fun is hanging with his friends laughing about it. which i respect.

        3. Thank you all for the replies. I think Raikkonen does adopt this bored cannot be bothered persona for the paddock and the media. All part of the ice man image I suppose. Still I do not think it really matters as long as he is performing on track.

    4. @walsh-f1 – Kimi’s F1 days are numbered. His contract ends at the end of the season and he’s already suggested he’ll retire when it does.

        1. 10 month old article and his contract has an option for 2016 I believe so technically Kimi could mean at the end of his option. In the 10 months since this article Kimi has made numerous suggestions that he might be around longer than some think, especially if this year’s car let’s him punch around at the sharp end. Kimi doesn’t drive dogs and is more than happy to let someone like alonso celebrate 5 & 6 position. Word is he started working with James early on last year for this year’s car while alonso was giving his extra 5/10ths to claim 5th place.

    5. I have been a Ferrari fan for as long as I can remember. I have to admit the last 6 years have been tough, and not just because of the results. Something happened at Ferrari in 2009 that hurt the team more than most people know. Suddenly we had Alonso there in 2010 and ever since he arrived the teams spirit seemed to fade more and more as time went on. We kept hearing the Ferrari was crap whereas Alonso was the second coming of Jesus. That`s not the Ferrari I used to know, the team was number one.

      I think Ferrari made the right choice for 2007 when they brought in Raikkonen. He struggled in 2007 with the tyres and the characteristics of the car, he couldn`t get heat into the tyres in qualifying. That was actually a characteristic Ferrari had built into their cars in the Schumacher era. Schumachers aggressive style made him able to generate enough heat into the tyres anyway whereas the car was still gentle on it`s tyres. Perfect for Schumacher With his aggressive style and relentless charging. Not great for Raikkonen though with his gentle style. As the season progressed the Ferrari got better and better, at the start of the season McLaren had the best car, towards the end of the season Ferrari was the best car.
      Then came 2008 and a lot of misfortune for Raikkonen plus tyhe same problems in qualifying. But he had a lot of fastest laps when the tyres kicken in late in races. That put him out of contention for the title and made Ferrari put their support behind Massa with Schumacher as an advisor on the sideline. Great effort by Massa, but they missed out and probably lost the plot.
      Then came 2009 where Ferrari chose to support Massa over Raikkonen. The car was horrible and not a contender at all for most of the season. After Massas injury Ferrari started to listen to Raikkonen again and suddenly they were back to winning ways.
      But then came the Alonso era in 2010. Ferrari started up having the best car in the field at the start of the 2010-season. If my memory serves me right they qualified 1-2 for the first race. It has in reality been downhill ever since.

      I actually think Alonso is the true successor to Schumacher in spirit, the two men have a lot of similarities. Both are very aggressive, both are fighters that will fight to the death and beyond and both are very capable of wrestling a less than perfect car around faster than anybody else. They just don`t know when to quit. Schumacher was a true war-horse and Alonso is cast in the same mould. Respect!
      But F1 has moved on from Schumachers time. The new F1 favors drivers that are more sophisticated and able to fine-tune a car to perfection. If the car in wrong from the outset you cant Cure it by testing 24 hours a day in Maranello. It`s very difficult to win in a car that`s not the best these days, and even harder to win consistently and thereby claim a championship. If Ferrari had kept Raikkonen more effort would have been put into sorting the car from the get-go and in the long run Ferrar would have been much better of. I think that`s the reason Ferrari started using Raikkonen more and more last year developing the car. They realized that the car and the team is more important than the driver and remembered what happened when they started listening to Raikkonen in 2009..
      As for Vettels arrival it is a boost in my view. A lot of people are doing their utmost to discredit Vettel based on the 2014-season. I say, untill you have been in his shoes you don`t know what you`re talking about. There`s only one person in the history of F1 that has done what Vettel has done, winning 4 Championships in a row for the same team (Schumacher with 5). In addition to that he fought for the Championship in 2009 as well. I can only imagine how tough that was on such a young man, constant pressure for 5 full seasons. In my view it`s only natural that he lost part of his motivation and faded when he realized before the 2014-season even started that Red Bull wouln`t even be a contender for the Championship.
      But that is also the difference between Schumacher and Vettel. Schumacher would have refused to accept he couldn`t win and would have kept on trying whatever. Vettel is another character, instead of pushing and pushing he`ll try to change things around to get back where he wants to be. He`ll focus on the car, and I think we`ll se Ferrari as the class of the Field again as a consequence of this. He`ll get at least one titel for Ferrari.

      Furthermore I think we are lucky enough to see the arrival of one of the future greats of F1 this year. I think Verstappen will outshine both Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso in the years to come. I haven`s seen such talent since a rainy day in Monaco many decades ago. Hope Ferrari has the sense to replace Raikkonen With Verstappen when Raikkonen hangs up his racing boots..

      1. well, what happened is the fact that Bridgestone left the sport.

    6. Ferrari has been in transition since Ross Brawn and Jean Todt left! Ok, there has been some success since they left, but it never lived up to the power house axis of Todt-Brawn-Byrne.

      I also think it is unfair to draw comparison to 1996. F1 and the world is completely different. Ferrari is completely different, it is being run by an accountant to start with.

  3. I hope that Vettel wins a couple more titles with Ferrari and silences the critics, who keep saying that “it was just Newey”. I also hope that his team mate keeps him on his toes more than Mark Webber did.

    Much has been said about the upcoming rivalry with Raikkonen but I do not think it is what really matters at the moment. Even if Raikkonen beats Vettel in 2015, the German still has a lot of years to turn the tide. Right now Vettel needs to keep his head down, patiently score points for Ferrari, stay positive, iron out mistakes and work with the team to get back to winning ways again. Ferrari are not lacking resources, sooner or later they will be fighting for titles again and there is every chance that Vettel will be a part of it.

    1. I hope that Vettel wins a couple more titles with Ferrari and silences the critics, who keep saying that “it was just Newey”. I also hope that his team mate keeps him on his toes more than Mark Webber did.

      I think the critics got their answer with Vettel’s performance in 2014. Really no silencing required .. if you know what I mean

      1. @todfod One difficult season does not prove anything.

        1. @girts nor does 4 seasons in a vastly superior car

          1. 4 seasons in a vastly superior car? What 4 seasons do you talk about?

          2. What does that make webber then?

          3. @todfod I do not agree with that because I believe that Vettel’s astonishing junior record, his succesful debut race in a BMW Sauber, the following stint at Toro Rosso (which included a rather miraculous victory), beating a highly-rated team mate for five consecutive seasons and successfully handling title pressure for several times confirm that “a vastly superior car” is not the only reason for his achievements.

            However, I see why some fans still think otherwise, which is why I want Vettel to win the championship with another team while beating an even stronger team mate.

          4. @todfod What about 2 seasons in such a car, 2 in a front runner to his tastes (but not necessarily vastly superior), 1 in a car in a league of its own – which happened to be well below Team Brackley’s at the start of the season, 1 where driving for RBR’s junior team he took STR above RBR in the standings, 1 where he scored points in his debut, 1 where he dominated Formula BMW?

            Although having said that It’s not like Alonso’s got nothing to say in his defense (or HAM, or even championship-winning Villeneuve, etc)…….

          5. @todfod

            4 seasons in a vastly superior car

            Vettel did plenty before 2010 which marked him out as a star, and during much of 2010, 2012 and even some of 2013 it was clear he did not have a “a vastly superior car”. And even when he did, it was not as superior as last year’s Mercedes.

          6. 4 seasons in a vastly superior car? What 4 seasons do you talk about?

            I suspect he is talking about the 4.5 seasons between Silverstone 2009 and Brazil 2013.
            @socksolid

            What does that make webber then?

            A driver who was never all that great to begin with, and a disaster on Pirelli tires. The fact that he actually was unable to finish at least P2 in the championship in both 2011 and 2013 despite driving a car FAR superior to anyone else is just plain pathetic, IMO.

            What about 2 seasons in such a car, 2 in a front runner to his tastes (but not necessarily vastly superior) 1 in a car in a league of its own – which happened to be well below Team Brackley’s at the start of the season,

            2009 – Comfortably the best package Silverstone-onward.
            2010 – Dominant on pace, only reliability made the championship look close.
            2011 – Dominant
            2012 – Overall the best package by a hefty margin. Considerably faster than Ferrari and a much better team than McLaren.
            2013 – Best package from Australia to Hungary, ridiculously dominant after the summer break.

            In 2014, he finally had a car which was no longer the best overall package, for the first time since early 2009; and despite the Red Bull RB10 still being the second best car overall, he lost to Bottas and barely finished in front of Alonso (in a much more miserable F14T).

            What if Button had a Brawn-caliber car for 4 or 5 consecutive years, with Barrichello as his teammate? His statistics would look very similar to Vettel.

            It’s not as if I have an eternal grudge against Vettel, it’s just that he’s never really impressed me that much for someone who is a quadrupedal world champion. He is good, but no better than Raikkonen or Button.

            If Vettel were to achieve one or two of the feats below, I would accept him as being on the same level as true world class drivers (Schumacher, Alonso, Hamilton):

            1. Win a championship with a car equal to the best
            – Such as Alonso in 2006, or Schumacher in 2000.

            2. Win a championship with an inferior car
            – Like Schumacher in 1995 or Hamilton in 2008.

            3. Challenge for the WDC in the final race of the season with a CLEARLY inferior car
            – Like Schumacher in 1997/98, Alonso in 2012, or Hamilton in 2010.

            Vettel doesn’t need to do all 3 of them like Schumacher did, that would be impossible for him. All I ask of him is to achieve one or two of the above, and I’ll accept him as being on the same level as Alonso/Hamilton/Schumacher.

            As for now, Vettel is nothing but another Hakkinen.

          7. @keithcollantine

            Vettel did plenty before 2010 which marked him out as a star, and during much of 2010, 2012 and even some of 2013 it was clear he did not have a “a vastly superior car”. And even when he did, it was not as superior as last year’s Mercedes.

            The Red Bull RB9 post-summer break was every bit as dominant as the W05. Difference? We saw a lot of races in 2014 where the Mercedes drivers pushed each other to the limit, which made the gap between the cars seem very large as they were actually pushing the whole race. As opposed to Vettel always cruising up at front in 2013 without any reason to push.

            When Vettel did have to push on the rare occasion, we saw what the RB9 was truly made of (remember Singapore after the SC, or the opening 20 laps of Abu Dhabi?).

            @girts

            One difficult season does not prove anything

            Perhaps it doesn’t, perhaps it does. Schumacher in his prime never had a dip like Vettel in 2014 did.

          8. please explain how lewis won in a vastly inferior car? If you base your argument off the points finishing of Mclaren that year, please also tell us about Lewis’s teammates that helped contribute to that point tally. Truth is, if alonso or anyone else with talent had been in that car a 2nd year, that car would be considered a world beater.

          9. Kingshark –The Red Bull RB9 post-summer break was every bit as dominant as the W05.

            No, it was not. That’s just factually false. And it ignores the reality that in the pre-summer break RB9 Vettel was still winning.

          10. No, it was not. That’s just factually false. And it ignores the reality that in the pre-summer break RB9 Vettel was still winning.

            How is it factually false.

            It’s also disingenuous to claim that Mercedes were hardly dominant everywhere in 2014 too. There were several weekends in 2014, including Monaco, Austria, and Hungary, where Mercedes’ advantage was a few tenths at most.

            please explain how lewis won in a vastly inferior car? If you base your argument off the points finishing of Mclaren that year, please also tell us about Lewis’s teammates that helped contribute to that point tally.

            Ferrari had the most wins, most poles, most fastest laps, lead the most kilometers, and scored the most points in 2008. They also had the fastest car in the majority of weekends. The F2008 was the best car of ’08, and Lewis won the WDC with an inferior car IMO.

          11. @Kingshark Lewis had 7 poles. if he had a qualified teammate you can be assured mclaren would have had a few more. you cannot compare a team with 2 good driver and 1 terrible driver to a team with 2 good drivers. Are you denying that if the 2008 mclaren had lewis/alonso that it would have not matched or bettered ferrari? Talk about disingenous. Lewis has NOT won in an inferior car and therefore he doesnt meet the same standards you have set up for vettel. So now that they are equal according to your standards, vettel has 4, lewis has 2 (almost a decade apart).

          12. @Kingshark to follow up, if lewis cannot complete 2 in a row (for his 3rd), this will be a MAJOR knock to his reputation and place him instantly much lower than vettel, there is no way Lewis can be compared to vettel if he fails to win 2 in a row with a car 2+ seconds ahead of everyone. We all saw what happened to lewis the last time nicole left him and was sleeping with 50cent so hopefully he has learned to act like a professional on the track even though his 7 year relationship has recently ended.

          13. @kingshark Triple Follow up! new record. I figured we should go with your philosphy of only looking at results to decide who is fastest. Your example of mclaren vs ferrari 2008 will be our guidestone. So comparing Lewis to Vettel. I think and correct me if I’m wrong, vettel has: more fastest laps, more poles, more race wins, and more championships. Now, since you allowed no other factors to be admitted to your decleration that mclaren 2008 was slower than ferrari 2008, the same logic MUST be applied to lewis vs Vettel, clearly Lewis is not on vettels level, according to your logic. Easy.

          14. @kingshark

            It’s also disingenuous to claim that Mercedes were hardly dominant everywhere in 2014 too.

            So, the RB was the clear dominant car and the 2014 Mercedes was not so dominant.

            Is this serious? Do we watch the same F1 seasons?

          15. @oletros

            So, the RB was the clear dominant car and the 2014 Mercedes was not so dominant.

            What I’m saying is that the Red Bull, post-summer break in 2013 easily matched Mercedes in dominance. In how many races was Vettel even challenged during his 9-race run late 2013? In how many races could he pull 1 second/lap over the nearest competition at will? How is that any less dominant than Mercedes today?

            Belgium: Vettel passes Hamilton on the opening lap, then pulls away at a rate of 1.5 seconds in the opening 3 laps. Once the gap is at about 5 seconds, he sustains it. Throughout the race, there were random laps, like lap 40, where he’d suddenly be 1.8 seconds faster than Alonso and Hamilton.

            Singapore: Vettel pulls 2 seconds a lap on Rosberg in the opening 3 laps. Then maintains the gap at 6-8 seconds before the SC comes out. When Vettel finally has to push, he pulls out 22.1 seconds on Rosberg in 10 laps.

            India: One of the few races this season where Webber was in some kind of battle with Vettel, bar indirect due strategy. Vettel had a 35.4 second lead over Rosberg on lap 39, when Webber’s car failed. After that, Vettel spent the race cruising.

            Abu Dhabi: Vettel build a 27.4 second in 20 lead over the nearest non-Mercedes car (Rosberg) before he turned on cruise control, then he still extended the gap to 36.3 seconds in the next 13 laps.

            Unlike Mercedes in Bahrain, Spain, Canada, Silverstone, Japan, USA, and Brazil this season – there was never a gloves-off brawl for the win between Webber and Vettel in 2013 (apart from Malaysia).

            Of course, there were some races in the latter stages of 2013 where RBR wasn’t totally dominant (eg. Suzuka, Austin). Then again, Mercedes were hardly *that*dominant in Austria and Hungary this season, were they?

            Make no mistake about it, Red Bull in the second half of 2013 was every bit as dominant as Mercedes were this season.

            Lewis had 7 poles. if he had a qualified teammate you can be assured mclaren would have had a few more. you cannot compare a team with 2 good driver and 1 terrible driver to a team with 2 good drivers. Are you denying that if the 2008 mclaren had lewis/alonso that it would have not matched or bettered ferrari? Talk about disingenous. Lewis has NOT won in an inferior car and therefore he doesnt meet the same standards you have set up for vettel. So now that they are equal according to your standards, vettel has 4, lewis has 2 (almost a decade apart).

            What makes you think that the Ferrari drivers of 2008 were even that good?
            Alonso CRUSHED both Massa and Raikkonen when they drove in equal cars, yet could barely match Hamilton in 2007. What does that tell you?

            Ferrari was hands down the best car of 2008, and you’d find most objective people agreeing with this.

            Alonso and Hamilton made the McLaren cars from 2007 and 2008 (in Lewis’s case) seem much better than they actually were. We saw what happened in 2008 how little a more “normal” driver like Kovalainen could achieve in those McLarens.

            Triple Follow up! new record. I figured we should go with your philosphy of only looking at results to decide who is fastest. Your example of mclaren vs ferrari 2008 will be our guidestone. So comparing Lewis to Vettel. I think and correct me if I’m wrong, vettel has: more fastest laps, more poles, more race wins, and more championships. Now, since you allowed no other factors to be admitted to your decleration that mclaren 2008 was slower than ferrari 2008, the same logic MUST be applied to lewis vs Vettel, clearly Lewis is not on vettels level, according to your logic. Easy.

            Have Vettel and Hamilton drove their entire career for the same team? Nope, they’ve never been teammates before. This is why the comparison is useless.

            Hamilton has NEVER been outperformed by his teammate in the same fashion as Vettel in 2014. Button bested Hamilton in 2011, but this was down to consistency rather than speed (Hamilton was usually faster than Button but kept making mistakes). Never in his career has Hamilton been outpaced throughout an entire season like Vettel has.

          16. @kingshark

            We saw what happened in 2008 how little a more “normal” driver like Kovalainen could achieve in those McLarens.

            But that doesn’t apply to Vettel with Webber, right? Of course, Webber was a terrible driver, according to you. And still, every single year since 2008 he has been rated higher than Massa by most (if not all) F1 pundits (Autosport, La Gazette, Le Equipe, BBC, Auto Motor und Sport, etc), the same Massa you use to present how amazing Alonso is. It’s one thing to like a driver and dislike another, there’s another thing being just fanatical and ignore reality. As I said, you have a lot of very unique opinions (nothing wrong with that), but all of them hardwired to make Alonso look better and Vettel worse. That’s fanaticism, borderline delusion.

          17. Alonso and Hamilton made the McLaren cars from 2007 and 2008 (in Lewis’s case) seem much better than they actually were.

            But Vettel did not make the RB cars better than they actually were just because that’s convenient for you right? Because Webber wasn’t all that slow as you like to believe and any objective person would say that. Yes he was past his prime in 2011 but still matched Vettel on his good days.

            Whatever your opinion is about a driver is your opinion but please use the same standards for all of them and not just interpret things so they fit your theorie.

          18. @Kingshark so you agree that if Hamilton fails to win the WDC baring anything catastrophic he will no longer be rated with Vettel?

          19. But that doesn’t apply to Vettel with Webber, right? Of course, Webber was a terrible driver, according to you. And still, every single year since 2008 he has been rated higher than Massa by most (if not all) F1 pundits (Autosport, La Gazette, Le Equipe, BBC, Auto Motor und Sport, etc), the same Massa you use to present how amazing Alonso is. It’s one thing to like a driver and dislike another, there’s another thing being just fanatical and ignore reality. As I said, you have a lot of very unique opinions (nothing wrong with that), but all of them hardwired to make Alonso look better and Vettel worse. That’s fanaticism, borderline delusion.

            @xtwl

            But Vettel did not make the RB cars better than they actually were just because that’s convenient for you right? Because Webber wasn’t all that slow as you like to believe and any objective person would say that. Yes he was past his prime in 2011 but still matched Vettel on his good days.

            No, Massa in his prime was better than Massa ever was, for one of several reasons:

            1. Webber NEVER beat a highly rated teammate like Kimi Raikkonen in equal machinery. Prior to facing Vettel, the only noteworthy drivers Webber had gone up against were a 20 year old Nico Rosberg and Nick Heidfeld, and he actually lost to the former (28-24) before Heidfeld’s injury in 2005.
            2. The F2008 had less of an advantage over the nearest competition than thee RB6 did overall, yet Massa still came closer to winning the 2008 WDC than Webber did to winning the 2010 WDC despite having more bad luck than Webber in his championship challenging season (Hungary, Singapore).
            3. Massa has never driven cars as good as the RB7 or RB9, and despite that, Webber managed the extraordinary feat of winning less races in 2011 and 2013 than Hamilton, Alonso, Button, and even Rosberg did in those seasons.

            If the Ferrari cars of 2010 and 2012 were actually equal in those seasons, you’d expect a similarly solid driver like Massa to score roughly the same amount of points as Webber did in those seasons, but no, he didn’t even come close. He finished 100 and 60 points behind Webber in those seasons respectively, while Alonso was right up there with Vettel in the points tally.

            Vettel did actually have a chance to win a WDC with a moderately inferior car (like Schumacher did in 1995 and Hamilton did in 2008). That season was called 2009, but unlike Hamilton, he could not get the job done.

            Whatever your opinion is about a driver is your opinion but please use the same standards for all of them and not just interpret things so they fit your theorie.

            I am using the same standards to judge drivers. I often judge drivers based on what they can do with an inferior car rather than with the clear best car. If a driver can seriously challenge for a WDC with a clearly inferior car, that is the mark of a true great. This is why I rate Schumacher (1997), Hamilton (2010), and Alonso (2012) so highly, and why I don’t rate Vettel anywhere near as highly.

            Come to think of it, Schumacher in 1996 and Vettel in 2014 were in very similar situations. The Williams FW18 was at least as dominant as the Mercedes W05, and the F310 was no better of a car than the RB10. Now look at the things Schumacher was doing in 1996, and in comparison, where on earth was Vettel in 2014?

          20. @kingshark

            I am using the same standards to judge drivers.

            No, this is not true and your posts clearly show that. So, believe what you want, reality is what it is and won’t change

        2. No, Massa in his prime was better than Webber ever was, for one of several reasons:

          Fixed.

      2. No, what do you mean?

      3. @todfod

        Like Alonso’s 2007? ;-)

        Losing against a rookie, tsk tsk tsk

        See, it’s easy! :-)

      4. @todfod, 2 scenarios, hamilton lover or alo lover. no need to hate on Vettel, he has no need to prove anything and your comments mean nothing but jealousy.

        1. Well hamilton has had equal machinery to vettel and couldn’t beat him, hamilton needed 7 years and a car 2 seconds faster to clinch his second. It’s been a decade since alonso had a wdc and can we please talk about those yellow years of alonso, what a performance and that win he refuses to remove from his record, classy! so if these are the fans judging vettel it doesn’t mean much does it?

      5. I think the critics got their answer with Vettel’s performance in 2014.

        I think the critics of Vettel are completely impervious to such trivialities as performance and results. I notice these same people never cited LH’s heavy defeat to JB in 2011 as providing all the proof necessary that Lewis is a mediocre driver who’s been flattered by his cars.

        1. anyone claiming to be an F1 fan (not emotionally attached to a certain driver) that doesnt give respect to 4wdc in a row, against 4-5 WDC’s on the grid at the same time, some of them in machinery capable of winning (alonso/lewis/button), has a special place in the F1 fan gallery. I think most true fans have a little bit of respect for this though – many of these fans are here on F1F and its an honor to share my random internet opinion with them.

          1. @layercake
            Your opinion would also be labeled as “vettel apologist” by certain fans.
            i am not a vettel fan but I happen to share your opinions.
            So i guess im a vettel apologist now.

  4. Lotus cars made under Allison were very kind to their tires. If that will be the case with the new Ferrari, they might surprise a few at the finish line. The pace seems to be not too bad overall. Yes, behind Mercs, but on par with the rest.

  5. Great to know that Vettel, who hasn’t even driver the 2014 challenger believes that is a massive step forward.

    I don’t expect much out of Ferrari this season, and even lesser out of Vettel

    1. He did drive the RB last year which mostly was fighting the Ferrari of Alonso on days they were closer. So he will have a representative idea as to how much is the improvement.

      But if it is a massive step compared to the RB he drove, even better news for Ferrari since it is clearly better than last year’s Ferrari and better than one of their challenger as well.

    2. @todfod

      Neither have reporters or online commenters, and still the internet is filled by articles gauging the pace of each car and speculating who has made improvements. It’s something everybody do. Bottas didn’t drive the 2014 Ferrari, but he still said they have improved.

      Welcome to F1 Todfod, it has only been this way for the last 60 years.

  6. Lol, perhaps the “massive step forward” he refers to is a comparison to his last year’s RB car. I don’t know what to expect. He seemed to hate this new era completely, from his comments last year. That could have been as much because he no longer felt ‘on rails’…no longer had a car he was at one with…or because he genuinely doesn’t believe in the direction F1 has gone. That said, he has chosen to stay in F1 and have a fresh look via Ferrari, so it is going to be really interesting to see. Surely he will at least have a better year this year than last, even if the Ferrari can only eek out a few wins at best, even if those come from attrition of others. I can’t imagine him having a worse year.

  7. I would like to say to all those who criticize Vettel for winning championship in a vastly superior car, should also criticize Webber.

    1. Personally I don’t criticize drivers for having the best car, as when you look back at the records, the vast majority of the time the WDC winner had the WCC winning car. It is plain and simply a necessary ingredient. The rare time that a bloke won the WDC with the second best car, it was a car a very very close second to the WCC winner.

      Besides…what’s a driver to do? Upon realizing he is in the best car, hand it back and say ‘no thanks, some people might think I’m only winning because of the car’? The whole effort that goes into these hundreds of millions of dollars projects, is to build the best car…as a team…the driver being one ingredient to that goal. If a driver is fortunate enough to end up with a Newey in his camp, he’s to say no I’ll go elsewhere then?

      But as they say, a driver is colored by his car. If it’s good he looks good, and if it’s bad he looks bad, for the most part. He’s handcuffed to do much with a bad car and we always look for that special performance of a driver taking a car beyond where it belongs, because we instinctively (and factually) know that without the best car there’s only so much you can do.

      1. @aks-das So in terms of criticizing Webber I would say in part that is justified in that he was in WCC winning cars, but that goes to show you that even WCC winning cars don’t suit all drivers, and MW just happened to be up against an SV who far moreso exploited the EBD on those cars…liked it more and excelled with it whereas MW didn’t
        like the feel.

    2. I’d like to say that they badly need to revise their ideas of what a “vastly superior car” is. The W05? Vastly superior. The RB8? Definitely on the poor side of “average” by the standards of title winning cars.

  8. They’ve been putting so much into improving over last year it’d be a real shame not to see an improvement. Kimi had great success with Alison’s cars at Lotus I’m optimistic.

  9. He seemed more relaxed than ever, he has learned the taste of suffer and defeat last year.

    What I admire from him, although not being my personal favorite driver is, how he handled the circumstances in Ferrari, build better environment for himself, not rushing but taking things step by step…

    For those saying he’s lacking charisma, maybe we saw him on different side of personality.

  10. I can’t see why people have “problems” with Vettel and his 4 WDCs. Schumacher, Prost, Senna are all regcognized as legends of the sport and they too benefited from the best car on the grid (especially Schumacher with the early-2000 Ferrari years).

    People are missing the point that a lot of times the driver plays a very important role in developing the car. The cars “tailor-made” to fit the driver and if he (or she) can work well in the team then together they can produce the car that suits him (or her) best.

    And remember, team managers are not idiots. If they have enough resources to build an amazing car then they will find the driver they believe is the most worthy to drive it!

  11. I notice that Santander are still sponsoring Ferrari, they haven’t cancelled that contract and moved to McLaren when Alonso changed teams, as has happened in the past.

    1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
      5th March 2015, 22:19

      Given the fact that Alonso left Ferrari with 2 years on his contract, I won’t be surprised that Santander’s contract will only last for another 2 years.

  12. Will Ferrari hit their ‘two wins’ target?

    Definitely maybe! The non-Merc wins last season took a large measure of luck and that will remain the case this year. If there are several rain-hit GP’s this season then the chances of Ferrari (and everyone else) grabbing a win or two will go way up.

    how will Vettel fare after leaving the familiar environment of Red Bull?

    Depends on what you’re defining as “fare”. I think he’ll get on very well with everyone at Ferrari, including his new teammate. In terms of track results I expect him to beat Kimi in qualifying but the results in the actual races to be closer. I expect Kimi, now in a car designed around his style rather than Alonso’s, to look more like the driver we saw in 2013.

  13. I don’t blame Vettel for moving on, and I think he’s gone to Ferrari at the right time. There’s plenty to suggest Ferrari aren’t approaching everything with an entitled attitude, or at least that has diminished. I also think that Vettel will be a good fit there, being more personable than Raikkonen. Not many voices in the media seem to have much hope for Kimi this year (as if there’s a blackout on him). I think this theory about his lack of motivation could be born out of his career moves: getting bored with F1 to go rallying; getting fed up with rallying and wanting back into F1. Maybe that’s true and maybe it isn’t. I think when he’s in the car, in the draft, lining up a move, he’ll have the bit between his teeth and biting down on it just as hard as any other driver. But out of the car, I don’t see it, and I wonder if, to some extent, that stops him becoming noticeably harder than any other driver.

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