Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel believes that the team’s pre-season success is due to the year they had in 2016 – results notwithstanding.
Ferrari didn’t have the best year in 2016. The results weren’t what the team expected, and the resulting effects of such a performance led to the latter half of the season to be dominated by the competition of the dual Mercedes Silver Arrows Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. And yet, it would seem that there were a lot of behind-the-scenes improvements happening across the board at Ferrari that would give them the competitive edge coming into 2017.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has been fairly resolute in downplaying the team’s achievements so far – perhaps in a bid to prevent themselves from succumbing to the hype – but even he admits that the restricting the team went through has yielded positive returns for the Italian manufacturer:
“I think we are better prepared than last year, we did more laps. I think overall the team is in a better shape. I think we learned a lot from last year, and I think last year was the most important year for us. Even if you look at the results, you say it was not such a successful one, but I think what happened in the background was really, really important to make a step forward, and hopefully we’ve done that. But I don’t think we’ll get a proof or have a real idea until Melbourne or the first couple of races.” – Sebastian Vettel
Vettel is right to hold his expectations in check. Whilst the tantalising prospect of succumbing to the hype is there, Vettel has been around the block enough times to know that the best approach is a calm and cool-headed one. With the gaps between teams showing to be much closer than in previous years, anything could happen during the annual outing at Melbourne.