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Sebastian Vettel Q&A: Ferrari could be ‘very close’ to Mercedes

02 Mar 2016

After their troubled opening day to this week’s test, Ferrari looked to be back in the groove on Wednesday, with Sebastian Vettel clocking up over 150 laps of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. But was the man at the wheel happy? Here’s what the four-time champion had to say…

Q: Sebastian, you were running a fresh power unit today. How is it working?

Sebastian Vettel: Good! We’ve done 151 laps without any issues - so, yes, it felt very positive.

Q: If you look over to Mercedes, they’ve done qualifying simulations, they’ve done race simulations... Aren’t Ferrari a bit behind with your programme?

SV: Regarding the mileage, yes. There have been some issues that we had to solve last week and also an issue yesterday - but there are still two days to go so I am not panicking! (laughs) Today it really went well, and with all the different programs that everybody is running, you never can say who is behind. And if you decide to run eight instead of probably a necessary five laps, that is not making a huge difference in the end. It is just numbers.

Q: Have the issues that Kimi had yesterday put worry lines on your forehead?

SV: No, not concerned. Obviously these things happen. Of course you don’t really want them to happen, but better here than in a couple of weeks during a race weekend.

Q: With all the data you have and all the running you’ve done, are you still optimistic of being at the front in Melbourne?

SV: Our goal is it to do better there than we did last year - how much better we will see. Right now everybody is only guessing where he stands. Before it was always a question of how much - or little - fuel everybody was running - today there are ten other things that have to be considered when looking at the time sheets. So in the end it is all guesswork when making statements about who is where in the pecking order. The feeling is good - and that is what is important for me.

Q: When you look back at 2015, is the new car a bit better or massively better?

SV: I would say that it is a good step in the right direction - the verdict is much better.

Q: If you look around you, where do you see the trophy collectors?

SV: Well, it is no secret that Mercedes are right up there so it will be no surprise for everybody to find them at the very front - but I also see us very close to them as we’ve made a significant step forward. Whether it is enough only the future will tell - and if it is not then we are prepared to close the gap as soon as we can.

Q: Are Ferrari ready for the season - in less than three weeks?

SV: Yes, because we still do have some time to look at things: two days here and then in the factory. So let’s use that time and take it from there.

Q: Your Chairman, Mr Marchionne, said that he expects Ferrari to be on the front row in Melbourne…

SV: Of course we will push with everything we have. He said that a couple of times now, so at least he is consistent!