Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Singapore, 2019

Ferrari not lacking anything to beat Mercedes to titles – Vettel

2019 Japanese Grand Prix

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Ferrari has everything it needs to beat Mercedes to championship titles, says Sebastian Vettel.

Mercedes won their sixth consecutive constructors’ championship on Sunday and will clinch 12 titles in six years by the end of the season, however the drivers’ title fight is resolved.

Vettel admitted he is “obviously not happy with the fact that we didn’t have the year that we were looking for” in his fifth season at Ferrari. “But it’s not today that made the difference, not yesterday, not last week,” he added on Sunday at Suzuka.

“I don’t think we’re lacking anything,” said Vettel. “We just need to work better. We are very committed, working very hard but it’s not yet on the level that can be achieved.

“Mercedes have shown in the last years that you can do better and they’ve been able to maintain that. I think we are not in that position, but I’ve loved to be honest and I’m sure that we would be more enthusiastic by nature but that’s not the case, so we need to work better.

“As I’ve said, I think we don’t need to work harder but I think we need to work better.”

Ferrari has won three races this year and missed out on chances to win others. The team swept the front row of the grid in Japan but Vettel came home second, four places ahead of team mate Charles Leclerc.

He praised Mercedes’ operation, saying the team appear to be “very close to perfection every time they go out on track.”

“[They’re] very consistent, [make] very little mistakes. That’s certainly also part of what makes them so strong. But if you clinch the constructors’ title with four races to go there’s a lot of things you do better than all the others.

“If you go into detail then you can argue what their car is maybe doing better than ours but I don’t think that’s the point overall, it’s a team effort and as I said, I think we do have the ingredients, we do have the commitment, we do have the intelligence but we just need to do it better.

“It’s a lot of small things. It’s not one thing that we need to improve, it’s a lot of small things that we need to do better, every single one of us and that’s the only way that we can try and step up. Hopefully they get a bit bored, we will see what happens.”

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Keith Collantine
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30 comments on “Ferrari not lacking anything to beat Mercedes to titles – Vettel”

  1. Everything except a driver of Hamilton’s calibre. Maybe not necessarily on pure pace, but certainly on consistency and racecraft. Leclerc could potentially be at that level in a few seasons, but Vettel has had his time, and failed over and over again. No more mediocre teammate and colossal downforce advantage that can carry you to another title.

    1. Also lacking is a Team principal like Toto, Engineers who can work without pressure from managerial board, and strategist who learn from their mistakes and work towards maximizing the returns from situation.

    2. I would agree with Chaitanya there @mashiat. Apart from their driver lineup not working as good as the one Mercedes has (but that can change over time), their team principal is not (yet?) doing as good a job as Mercedes’s Toto is doing in maintaining a team that is able to operate at top level while constantly imporoving itself at the same time.

      That said. In a sense I can agree with Vettel. The Ferrari team has everything in house to be able to win from Mercedes. They just aren’t doing good enough a job with what they have. And they certainly haven’t been consistent and reliably fast and efficient enough in their operations to be able to beat Mercedes.

    3. @mashiat I agree yet I don’t think Ham was going to do miracles. The last time a clearly inferior car won the f1 world championship must have been 94.

      1. While I’m a schumacher fan, I’m not sure you can consider benetton 1994 clearly inferior to williams overall, as far as I know it started off better, more driveable, even though schumacher’s team mates were surprised he could keep it on track at the speed he drove at, but across the year williams got better and overall was faster but not sure by how much overall.

        At the same time, mclaren 2008 must have also been a bit worse than 2008 ferrari, so I think they’re pretty equivalent achievements from schumacher and hamilton, winning with a car at least slightly worse than the best, don’t think anyone else did it recently, cases like 2018 and 2003 or 2000 the cars were even.

        1. People also said benetton 1995 was inferior to the williams, if so schumacher had an insane season given the huge margin on the williams drivers.

  2. Strategy
    Subpar car performance pre-summer break
    Lack of coherence

    Even if they turn up with the best car next year, they will always find a way to make life hard for themselves.

    1. Hahaha, he’s totally lost it. Ferrari gets all the breaks, all the favouritism, all the ‘we’ll allow it’ and still can’t manage to clinch a title. Without all the FIA help they’d be competing with Renault and McLaren!

      1. @Mayrton Excuse me!?, are you watching the 2006 season or are you an internet troll? Perhaps both….

    2. Now that Leclerc is on the team, Ferrari is not lacking anything anymore.

      1. Yes, Ferrari don’t know how to strategically favour their best driver.

  3. In 2017 and 2018 they certainly had everything in place to win the titles. Apart from a driver who could keep up with the relentless high level that Hamilton keeps operating on.

    2019 could also have been a lot better. Bahrain, Baku, Canada, Austria and Japan were all races they should/could have won, but didn’t. Still, even with all that they would have been behind Mercedes and we all know that both Vettel and Leclerc make too many driver errors to win all of those anyway.

    1. Russia as well.

  4. I’d have to disagree with Seb. They haven’t been able to achieve consistency for over a decade. And they are and always were aided considerably by FIA on countless occasions. If you just look at this season alone, they’ve dropped the ball so many times from team and driver(s) side, it has become a running joke in my group of friends. Part of our experience has become to watch Ferrari make crucial mistakes AGAIN.

  5. They have a slighly better car sometimes. What they lack is operational perfection to get the most out of every weekend and then a safe 0.3-0.5s laptime advantage.

    They fixed the car with 1/3rd of the season to go. Before then they were only competitive on the right tracks.

    But overall yes they are there about. Especially Vettel under-performed greatly. :D If he was 2-3 tenths ahead of Leclerc like a great driver should be, then that would be enough for many more wins this year. But with all the mistakes in last 2 years what feels like every second weekend was thrown away in some kind of incident (mostly Vettel under pressure).

    Meanwhile look at Hamilton, I cannot remember when was the last time he dropped the ball? Certainly not every second race. Even Bottas would be a serious threat if he did that.

    1. @jureo

      Last time Hamilton ‘dropped the ball’? Only race this season you could say that was the off in Germany that damaged his front wig and then the problomatic entry into the pits. Honestly, in the last three years, full on race ruining mistakes by Hamilton? You could count on one hand and stop counting long before running out of fingers.

      Mercedes themselves have made more mistakes, all strategy ones. And most times Hamitlon has at worst salvaged a decent result -Germany an exception- or through a herculean drive, Monaco for example, rendered the mistakes irrelevant.

      He’s had bad races and he’s had good races, the difference between him and other drivers, is that the majority of his bad drives have still brought home a decent haul of points. He’s consistent and has put in some impressive drives this year.

      1. Exactly. Well Germany was an outlier, before that he was on a record scoring streak, if I remember correctly.

        And his bad races like Japan are still 3-4th place finishes.

        Bad race by Vettel standards is a Monza or something like that.

  6. I think they’ve been lacking a lot to Mercedes for quite some time. Strategically they’re often slow to react or overcomplicate and mess things up, their development work is either totally bad or sluggish and their drivers seem to have to push over 100% to get close to their competitors and end up causing mistakes. As noted by what’s going on between Leclerc & Vettel they’re also not so great at managing two strong drivers. In many ways, Red Bull has them beat strategically and aerodynamically too.

    This year their engine’s come on in force but the rest of the car’s late to the party and regardless it’s useless as both championships are all but gone. I don’t think Ferrari have the capability of winning the championships at the moment, unless they start with an enormous performance advantage.

  7. With the current ‘strategists’ (and I use the term lightly), they are nowhere near championship ready. And they won’t be either as they have shown no sign of improving the department previous years, despite the most atrocious strategy calls imaginable.

    1. @balue Mercedes have made the same amount of bad strategy calls this season though. The difference is that Hamilton can overcome strategy mistakes somewhat. Like Monaco for instance.

      1. I wouldn’t say the same, I always felt that Ferrari had more. That said I agree with the overall point that they have their share of misses in strategy (Germany for example).

      2. @f1osaurus Mercedes are masters at strategy with brilliance almost every race from James Vowles who is practically a F1 star on his own. The Baku qualifying trick is just one example. Yes, they have had the odd bad call this year surprisngly, but with Ferrari, it’s the opposite where they have the odd good ones (or got lucky) but the baseline is horrible and where you wouldn’t let Inaki Rueda plan your summer holiday.

        Normally Ferrari just react to what others are doing and have lost championships because of poor strategy (Alonso at Abu Dhabi 2010 the most heartbraking of these). They are hopeless. It was said that Arrivabene played the traditional blame game, but how Rueda kept his job after his performance is simply not possible to understand. Even just last race the Sky commentators went as far as to call a Ferrari decision “insane”, and that’s just routine. Ferrari will not win championship with the current strategy lineup, simple as.

        1. @balue No they are not. They have just as many misses as they do hits.

          They have Hamilton to vercome their mistakes and that saves them in a lot of the misses.

          They freely admit and explain this in their debriefs

  8. I think the double stack in China was a masterclass from Mercedes. This race had all aspects of their superiority

  9. Driving for a dominant team gives you confidence to not make mistakes. I dont care what Vettel says the biggest part of the puzzle is a reliable dominant car that seems adaptable to all tracks.

    1. Which Vettel “for sure” had in 2018 and reasonably in 2017 it was competitive too.

  10. – Their car can beat Mercedes – six months after the season started.

    – Their strategy has been more miss than hit and even when they choose the right one….

    – ……….they can’t get their drivers to follow basic orders.

    – Their number 1 is very inconsistent, set a new record lap in Suzuka followed by a missed start.

    – Some reliability issues still.

    They CAN beat Mercedes but they will need to get their act together on some of these first if they want to challenge. Their car is finally reaching their pre-season hype but even then they are losing to Merc because if other deficiencies.

  11. It seems to me Ferrari are at a critical juncture. A few races ago their choice was obvious: back Leclerc because Vettel had imploded. But Vettel has turned it round. Despite another mistake under pressure at the start in Japan. So who do Ferrari back? Vettel seems uncomfortable with the car and presumably will want that corrected towards his driving style for next season. Leclerc possibly the opposite. Which way do they go? Leclerc self-evidently is the future, but next season should involve a real title challenge from Ferrari and Vettel is the 4x champion, apparently with renewed confidence. The next 4 races will be critical.

  12. Results beg to differ seb

  13. Lack of Ross Brawn?

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