Sebastian Vettel says the key to Ferrari’s championship challenge in 2019 will be delivering an even quicker car than last season, rather than making fewer mistakes.
As a team, Ferrari made a number of strategic errors in 2018, while Vettel also found himself involved in incidents as the title race developed. Crucial mistakes when leading in Germany and trying to recover from poor grid positions in Japan and the USA stand out as particularly costly, but Vettel says overall car performance is the area that Ferrari needs to improve the most.
“I think we need a stronger package,” Vettel said. “We certainly had our moments this year when we had strong races but we also had races which weren’t very strong, we weren’t quick enough, so I think overall it’s the speed that decides and I think more often than not I think we’re lacking a little bit of speed. I think we’re working very hard and the motivation is there to do that final step that is still outstanding.”
Vettel added that the overall strength of a team’s performance is too often placed solely on the driver, and believes the impact of other members of the team on the final result is too often overlooked.
“What you look at in terms of when you look in qualifying or the race, then obviously we are the ones driving the car and we are alone driving the car and when we cross the line you look at us first, but there’s a lot of people behind to make sure that you do cross the line and if they do their job really really well and work together then you have a high chance of finishing higher up.
“So I think it’s needless to say that Lewis (Hamilton) had an incredible run the last five years…since the day he joined Formula 1 until now, to be honest. They’re doing a really good job as a team. The challenge to beat such a strong team is difficult but that’s our target.
“We know where we want to go: A lot of work ahead of us, a lot of lessons to be learned again this year. We have 21 races and in summary, we haven’t been strong enough this year to take the challenge until the last race, the last lap, so I think we need to look at ourselves.
“I think we have the people, we have the resources so it’s more getting the maximum out of our package, improving the work inside our team and making sure that we come up with a stronger package, a stronger team for the future.”