At the start of 2016 Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne challenged the team to fight for the championship until the last race of the season, but after nine races Ferrari is yet to win. Vettel and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen currently sit 57 points adrift of championship leader Nico Rosberg but Vettel is convinced Ferrari is on the right track.
“My goal when I arrived here was to be part of the Ferrari team that gets back to the top and nothing has changed,” Vettel said. “I think it’s a very ambitious target trying to do it as soon as possible but that’s what we’re trying to do.
“I think the progress we’ve done over the last one and a half or two years, if you look at the team, has been phenomenal. As I’ve said many times surely if you finish second the year before in the constructors’ you want to be first and challenge the first.
“We’re not yet where we want to be, it’s not a secret, but I’m convinced and I’m confident we will get there as a team. The way things are forming at Maranello in the factory, the way things are coming together should and will make us stronger in the future.”
And Vettel feels Ferrari has no obvious weaknesses at present but needs to improve its car in all areas.
“I don’t think it’s that hard actually, we are not where we want to be. I could leave it there but trying to be a bit more precise I think we are not yet in a position where we rock up and we can say with confidence we’re going to win. So we’re not the favourites yet. Still a lot of work ahead.
“I think it’s equally spread, to be honest. I don’t think there’s one particular type of corner that doesn’t suit us. I know there has been some noise or criticism about slow speed, traction and so on. I think naturally whenever you follow another car out of low speed it’s always quite difficult because you sit quite close to the car in front and then you always get the impression: ‘Oh yeah, that guy has a much better exit’.
“Looking at the comparisons and everything we see compared to Mercedes – who are the reference – but also other cars, I don’t think there is anything that stands out. I think we need a little bit more everywhere. I think slow speed corners overall are quite a strong point for us. Not all of them at every track but most of them. Then I think in medium and high speed we’re lacking a bit.
“Top speed, talking about power we know we have made massive improvements but we also know that especially in qualifying Mercedes has the ability to turn it up so if all of a sudden they have 25 or 30hp more it’s something that you see and something that you feel. Of course you don’t necessarily see it in the sectors because every sector has straight lines, but it’s something you see and something you feel. It’s something we’re still missing. We’re not yet where we want to be but we’re on the right track with plenty of work ahead of us.”
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