Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Fiorano, 2014

Vettel bids to join the F1 elite at Ferrari

2015 F1 season

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Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso, Monza, 2008“I don’t know what to say. Grazie mille. Perfetto.”

Those were the words Sebastian Vettel uttered as he crossed the finishing line at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 14th 2008 and became an F1 race winner for the first time.

He won the Italian Grand Prix driving an Italian car powered by an Italian Ferrari engine. Seven years later, Vettel has been reunited with the most evocative name in motor racing.

In that time no Ferrari driver has claimed the sport’s ultimate prize. Vettel’s mission is to put that right.

Into Alonso’s seat…

The first person to congratulate Vettel after he climbed from his Toro Rosso was Fernando Alonso. Since then an intense rivalry has developed between the pair, and Alonso’s view of his rival’s accomplishments is a perspective shared by some.

“It’s true that he had an advantage in car performance all these years,” said Alonso in 2013, “so we see how good he is later in the career.”

Of course the irony of Vettel taking Alonso’s place at Ferrari is that much of his success at Red Bull came the expense of his new team. In 2010 and 2012 Vettel broke Ferrari hearts by denying Alonso the championship at the final race of the season.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Fiorano, 2014Those defeats rankled with the Tifosi. Their cheers may have greeted his maiden victory but at his most recent Monza triumph they were replaced with jeers. It was the man stood beside him who enjoyed the crowd’s approval: Alonso.

The needle between the pair heightened in 2012, when the championship resolved into a two-way fight between the pair. Monza had been a flashpoint the year before: Vettel accused Alonso of forcing him off the track at high speed in the Curva Grande. In 2012 he returned the favour – and was penalised – but went on to take his third of four consecutive titles.

Alonso will be a difficult act for Vettel to follow at Ferrari. He seldom gave anyone cause to believe he was extracting less than the maximum available from the car. He annihilated Felipe Massa over four seasons and the arrival of Kimi Raikkonen last year made not one iota of difference to the balance of power.

While Vettel expects an easy relationship with his new team mate, both drivers have reputations to rebuild after difficult 2014 campaigns. The sight of Raikkonen being so emphatically eclipsed by Alonso was as great a surprise as the difficulty Vettel had alongside Daniel Ricciardo.

…and Schumacher’s

It is tempting to draw comparisons between Vettel’s move to Ferrari and Michael Schumacher’s move in 1996. Like his predecessor, Vettel is eyeing the challenge of winning the championship with a different team, and is drawn to the undeniable emotional appeal of Ferrari.

A driver who has won four world championships cannot be described as something less than a great of the sport. But the ultimate example of the sport’s elite won titles with more than one team – something which Alonso is also trying to do.

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Imola, 2002But these are different times for Ferrari. When Schumacher arrived Jean Todt had already been team principal for two years, and the process of dragging Ferrari from its early-nineties slump was well underway.

Vettel, however, has joined Ferrari as they are in a state of flux. Since his hiring was announced they have jettisoned their team principal, chief designer, director of engineering and director of tyre development. The director of engine and electronics was shown the door in July, and three months before that the poor performance of their power unit cost the previous team principal his job.

The hard truth for Ferrari at the beginning of 2015 is that last year they produced the only power unit which failed to win a race, and their two drivers for this season have struggled with the latest generation of cars.

While the Red Bulls of 2011 and 2013 were almost unstoppable, Vettel’s 2010 and 2012 titles were harder-fought affairs. However the simple fact that he won four titles in a row will lead some to share Alonso’s view that we are yet to see how good Vettel really is.

There will be no room for such doubts if Vettel does win the championship with Ferrari, and succeeds where Alonso failed. But Schumacher’s example is a cautionary tale.

The Ferrari Schumacher joined in 1996 was in a state of evolution, not revolution. And even then he still had to wait five years for his first world championship in red. Vettel may get there too, but it could be a long time until everything is “perfetto”.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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75 comments on “Vettel bids to join the F1 elite at Ferrari”

  1. If the car is as poor as it has been in recent seasons he’ll be battling in the midfield with Kimi fighting for those last few points each race.

  2. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
    15th January 2015, 12:56

    When Schumacher joined Ferrari he was clearly the best driver in F1 and the engineering talent followed him there. Vettel is unlikely to be able to replicate that, good as he is, he’s not head and shoulders above the rest – Fernando and Lewis are good enough to draw top engineers to themselves. My guess is that Seb has won his last WDC.

    1. Thank you! Schumacher joined a team that was already set in place thanks to Todt, and was able to draw the technical staff from Benetton with him to Ferrari. This not being the case is further proof to me that Vettel isn’t really all that special and that Ricciardo is actually better than him (which puts Webber in a very bad spot). We will see.

      1. We must remember the cars are different. It was said a while ago that Webber may have liked the new cars much more than the 2013 ones.

        1. That may very well be, but I think that’s an excuse used to hide deficiencies by drivers. We heard the same about Vettel all last year, how these rules were not suited to him. Could it just be that Vettel, and Webber for that matter, are just not as good as most people thought period.

          1. Seriously guys, to win 4 wdc compared to a mere winner of only few races like Ricciardo is like comparing top wine with a wine u buy in the supermarket. Vettel is 4 times world champion. He won that championships in a lottery.

          2. In 2013, I remember seeing the suggestion that this generation of cars will suit Vettel. I’m pretty sure Webber said that as well. So far, those suggestion are pretty wide of the mark. We’ll get a truer reflection after the next couple of years.

  3. I personally think that during next year, F1 fans will be comparing Vettel to Alonso using Raikkonen. But respect to Vettel for taking up the challenge. He might ruin his reputation by going to Ferrari, and yet might’ve done the same had he stayed at Red Bull. So it’s a case of ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’, for Vettel.

    1. I don’t think he had any choice in it. One more year fumbling around behind Riccardo and the big money days would be gone. Ferrari was the only and smartest move.

      1. You’re right. If he stayed at Red Bull for another year and lose again, Ferrari would go after Ricciardo, not him.

        He went for it while he still could. Ran away from a tough battle, IS the number one on Ferrari and making all the money Red Bull couldn’t pay him for his titles.

        It may backfire later, but for now it’s the best decision he could take.

  4. If Kimi beats him,,, is not going to be pretty. I think people is going to judge Vettel with Alonso as yardstick, and rightly so, Vettel is going to drive a bad car (yet to be seen) and Alonso drove a couple of those and did always very well.
    If Ferrari gets better is not going to be because Vettel, the problem always was the ingeneers, the wind tunnel, the politics and so on. Now is up to Marchionne and Arrivabene to put the right people and tools in place.

    1. Really doubt Kimi will beat Seb, but then again, I was wrong about Ricciardo.

      Honestly, I don’t think Seb can take the maximum out of an under performing car. Alonso is miles ahead of Seb in terms of versatility and tenacity, and I just don’t see Seb being able to do what Alonso did in 2010 and 2012.

      1. And 2014.
        I was talking with a friend that Kimi had a couple of disappointing years. 2008, part of 2009 and 2014. Vettel was so-so on 2014.

        Alonso and Hamilton always perform accordingly.
        Hamilton had a very bad season on 2011, more reckless than never, but fast as always.
        Alonso’s last not so good season was 04. Centuries ago!

        And Ricciardo seems to be the same kind of driver. Not a so sensitive and more adaptable. Kimi and Sebastian seems to lack on this department (it’s not coincidence that Webber’s highs moments on Red Bull came when Vettel had trouble setting the car)

  5. Before Ricciardo, Vettel had as team mates Liuzzi and Bourdais, two rejects, and Webber who had trouble to defeat an aging David Coulthard.

    Ricciardo is the first prospect he faced and even if he didn’t have so difficulty with the car, is would be his hardest fight ever.

    I believe Vettel will be WDC again, but not for now. And may even be not for Ferrari.

  6. it will be interesting to see vettel in the ferrari. he has a lot to prove, and at this moment in time, i’m not sure if he’s got what it takes or he doesn’t. i’ll be keeping an eye on ferrari, but i doubt we’ll see them on the podium a lot next year.

  7. It’s currently a pretty small list of drivers who won championships with another team only to net at least one with the Scuderia: Fangio and Schumacher. The list of drivers who win championship(s) and fail to do so with the Scuderia is a bit larger: Farina, Andretti*, Prost and Alonso (* Andretti did only two races with Ferrari after winning a title). There’s some big names in both lists. Ferrari seems especially excited by the arrival of a four-time champion to their team, and I have absolutely no doubts that he will deliver the goods. Whether he will deliver the sort of domination that we saw with Schumacher is unlikely, but I won’t rule it out. Vettel is an incredibly hard-working character who quietly just gets on with what he knows how to do. It will be very interesting to see how he (and Raikkonen) perform this year. What I am interested to see from all this is who (if any) will win a title with a second team first: Alonso or Vettel.

    1. It’s questionable as to whether you can even count Fangio, since it did it driving for Ferrari, but not driving a Ferrari, since Ferrari were racing the Lancia D50 chassis in 1956.

    2. My 2 cents : Alonso and Vettel have both already won their last title.

  8. It’s still so bizarre seeing him in Ferrari overalls. Whatever happens though, he definitely deserves respect for taking a huge risk like this.

  9. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    15th January 2015, 15:24

    It will take time. Especially when the real yardstick here is Mercedes. You can be a great driver, but if the other engine is miles and horsepower ahead, it is almost impossible to be the WDC (and get the WCC as well). As suggested with Schumi’s comparison, Vettel must be patient and realize that, if all the process and logistics are put in the right way, it still will take a bunch of years to make everything fit.
    Anyway, I hope next Ferrari is not as lacklustre as 2014’s. if they can match Williams or Red Bull’s pace, it would be great. But I’m not hoping breakthrough developments at all.

    1. @omarr-pepper

      if they can match Williams or Red Bull’s pace, it would be great.

      Ferrari were able to match Williams and Red Bull’s pace in 2014. At least in the hands of one driver. ;-)

      1. @kingshark just 2 podiums in a year vs many of Massa, Vettel, Bottas (and Ricciardo was on his own league), and he got more points than Massa because Felipe was quite reckless many times (Canada and Germany come to my mind).
        I mean, to be a match during the race. I know the guy is very talented but last year Fernando just didn’t have the right tool to REALLY match the other ones. Not his fault of course.

  10. I’m betting it’s going to be a huuuge rollercoaster at Ferrari in the next few years. But good luck to Seb, he needs it…

    I share Alonso’s view, but I also think that Vettel should also be regarded for those years before 2011. Up until the end of 2010, he fought against some strong opposition and he showed his talent more than enough.

    Just entering F1 and running 3rd at Fuji means something. Getting that Toro Rosso to a win means even more. Giving the Brawns a hard time in his first time in a top car has some merit and beating Alonso, Hamilton, Webber and Button in a straight fight, everyone with very capable cars, surely ranks among the best thing he’s ever done.

    He basically needs a good-ish car to win some races but not all of them, and we’ll get him among the Elite? seems a bit nitpicky…

    1. beating Alonso, Hamilton, Webber and Button in a straight fight, everyone with very capable cars, surely ranks among the best thing he’s ever done.

      Dont make me laugh. How has Vettel ever beaten Alonso, Hamilton and Button in ‘equal’ machinery???

      Alonso and Hamilton would have annihilated Vettel in equal machinery.

      1. @todfod , @fer-no65 said very capable.

      2. @todfod as @davidnotcoulthard points out, I said very capable. They all had cars with strenghts and weaknesses which they exploited at different points of the season. Qualifying appart, they were not that far from each other in terms of performance.

        And let’s be honest, Alonso was about to beat them all until Ferrari themselves lost it… not because Seb had a car advantage or whatever.

        1. Except for monza, red bull was the quickest car at every circuit. I don’t see how that nakes Ferrari and McLaren capable contenders.

          Ferrari were in because Alonso capitalised on the red bull driver’s mistakes… Not because Ferrari were a close match to red bull in terms of performance

        2. Well Seb had the championship in his control just about were it not for his mech failures throughout the year *cough*Bahrain *cough* Korea you’re welcome Fernando

  11. He is exceptional driver and he had some “luck” with a great car and all, but what happened in 2010 and 2012 finally is extraordinary. Those two final races of those seasons showed that he had determination to never give up. That would be vital for him in following years as I don’t believe that Ferrari will produce best car in near future.

  12. I’m glad Vettel has taken the challenge. He is young, already a multiple time world champion, and has assured himself recognition for many generations. I’m my opinion he is the only driver that can afford to go to a struggling team. Drivers like Hamilton and Alonso deserve more world championships than they have gotten, and they’re not getting any younger. Plus, who doesn’t like seeing WC’s race for new teams?

    1. Plus, who doesn’t like seeing WC’s race for new teams?

      Not me! I was delighted when the news broke. It gives us something new to talk about. I can’t wait to see how his Ferrari career unfolds.

  13. In my mind I often compare Vettel with the Spanish football team, who were practically unbeatable, and won everything for many year. But in 2014, it came to an end and they suffered a HUGE drop in performance. They weren’t motivated enough to give it their all anymore. Their capability didn’t all of a sudden disappear, they just weren’t hungry enought anymore.

    In 2015, I think Vettel can start a new chapter and will do much better. He’ll probably need to wait a year or two for Ferrari to catch up performance-wise, so no championships anytime soon. But I definitly think Vettel is as good a driver as any currently in F1, and will be back at his very best.

    1. I definitely agree with a lot of what you just wrote.

      I think he will come to the realization that he will have to work hard to win something in a Ferrari. RedBull’s dominance no doubt affected the amount of effort he had to put in to get results, and I’m sure he hasn’t forget how to fight. I expect him to amp up his fitness, concentration, and motivation in a Ferrari to get every last second from the car. He will probably be pressured to destroy Kimi as well.

    2. Wholeheartedly agree. Look at his face in the Ferrari test videos. He looks like he did in 2011; excited, and focused. A huge contrast to his last couple of years at RBR (especially last season). I think with Newey on his way “out”, his engineer moving up, many of the technical staff moving on, to say nothing of the lackluster year, it was time for a change. I heard a driver (dont’ remember which one) say once that to win one WDC took enormous effort, to win two was more than double. The effort taken to win four in a row surely took a toll on motivation. I look for Ferrari to have a middling year for 2015 and then begin to turn things around and be a real title contender in around 2017. Seb is young and, unlike Alonso, has several years to win his 5th title. With Ferrari he has an opportunity to build a team around himself.

      1. The most impressive thing about Schumacher was IMO that he stayed motivated long enough to win 7 championships.

        1. +1 It’s amazing. Across his whole career Schumacher kept that motivation sky high. That is what makes him great IMO. It is not easy to stay at a high level for long.

          1. Come on…paid hundreds of millions…designer car….designer tires…contracted subservient for a teammate, not to compete against him…only a fool wouldn’t stay in that deal. It was Ferrari who eventually couldn’t keep up the unsustainable motivation and resources to throw everything his way and why he was retired from Ferrari early only to come back with Mercedes.

  14. I still maintain that this is a great decision from Vettel. At 27 he’s got more than enough time to build Ferrari around him and hopefully enjoy the spoils. I’ve never rated Kimi that highly, I only started watching F1 in 2008 so I’ve never really got the hype, and I was not surprised at all that Fernando destroyed him. I’m really excited to see how Vettel will face up to him, he’s much younger and I think hungrier.

    1. @jmc200
      Kimi from 2003 to 2006 quite clearly was an extraordinary driver, IMO better than Vettel has ever been. In 2003, he challenged Schumacher for the WDC with a McLaren that was both slower and less reliable than Ferrari. Then in 2005, he absolutely destroyed Montoya who many people rated very highly in his Williams-BMW days. In 2004 and 2006, he scored more podiums than Vettel did in 2014 and even won a race, despite the MP4/19 and MP4/21 being more disastrous cars than the RB10.

      Ever since around 2007, he’s never been quite the driver he used to be. Who knows why, maybe it was just the Michelin tyres.

      1. Yeah, I would have liked to have seen Kimi in his prime.

      2. Yup, you really have to watch some of his races from the 2003-2006 period @jmc200

        It’s also a motivation problem I think: Kimi’s hero is James Hunt, who only won one championship. If he is still in F1 today, it’s for the money.

      3. Kimi remains the same. It was the Newey Rocket ship that made him look fast.

        1. @david-beau
          Newey made a tractor in 2004 and 2006, didn’t stop Kimi from being more impressive in those season than Vettel was in 2014 (and the RB10 was a better car than either the MP4/19 or MP4/21).

      4. @kingshark

        I think its unfair to JPM to say “Then in 2005, he absolutely destroyed Montoya who many people rated very highly in his Williams-BMW days.”.

        I wouldnt say that he was destroyed..there were various factors that contributed to Montoya’s performance. He started the season well enough, but was injured while training and missed the 3rd and 4th races. After he came back, he still wasnt fully recovered and it showed. He was on the money during the second half the season, from Silverstone onwards, 3 wins and 2 podiums werent shabby at all, Kimi had 4 wins in that time. Note that Juan was on pole at Spa but Pizzonia crashed into him while he was second….he had 3 further retirements as well, 1 crash with JV in Japan and 2 mechanical failures…the MP4-20 wasnt the most reliable car.

        On Vettel and Ferrari, I think this is the best place for him to be right now. His star has certainly dropped in the wake of Ricciardo wiping the floor with him. Safe to say that the level of expectation isnt as high as it could have been, mostly due to Ferrari’s current situation, but Vettel’s performance last year will also have its part to play. This is the perfect situation I think…with time on his side, he can become a better driver, and when Ferrari start winning again, he will reap the rewards and praise.

  15. He’s not the ‘all-time great’ some were calling him this time last year but he’s still one of the elite group of drivers and capable of winning more titles… at least, he is if Ferrari build him the best or equal-best car and provide him with a weak team-mate.

    1. He is an all time great as defined by the history books, as every 4 time WDC will be until that becomes the norm. What Vettel did with his car has been accomplished by 4 men. If it were easy, many more would have done it. Racing is a team sport and the driver is celebrated because there are two of them and ultimately, only 1 can take the most points. So all the petty excuses people come up with to try and say Vettel is not an “all time great” are BS. What he achieved cannot be undone. Sorry.

      1. We all know that Vettel’s 4 WDC cannot be taken away from him, but that doesn’t automatically put him alongside the likes of Schumacher (in fact, Vettel as a driver is several tiers below Schumacher). Schumi was never beaten by his teammate in the prime of his career, let alone by the margin that Vettel got beat by last year. Schumacher won a championship with inferior cars in 1995 and 2000, Vettel never has. Schumacher came within 3 points of winning the WDC in a car WAY inferior to the best (1997), Vettel never has.

      2. “What he achieved cannot be undone.”
        True, but how he is perceived is in a constant state of flux. Imagine how “legendary” he would be if he retired after his 4th WDC, now compare that to what everyone says about him now, 1 lackluster season later… quite undone IMHO!

        1. If he’d retired after his 4th WDC, it would have confirmed that he only won because of his car. Instead, he’s now moving to a new team to try and prove what he is capable of.

          I agree he’s not on the same level as Schumi but to be fair, how many drivers in the history of F1 have been!? Only a handful…

          Vettel found himself in a position where the regulations suited his driving style and he was in the fastest car. If you put the current grid in his position back in 2010, I doubt many would go on to win 4 straight titles.

          He’s done exactly what he should have though in moving on from Red Bull. If he does win a title with Ferrari, it would be very hard to not give him the credit he would deserve.

      3. No one said four titles was easy. But Drop any one of 100+ past or present drivers into the best car for four years in a row and they’d have four titles too.

        A driver needs more than statistics to be considered ‘great’ in my eyes.

    2. I would say it`s all about motivation when you have achieved as much as Vettel has. That was what made Schumacher truly great. When Schumacher returned for his second career it was clear the fire wasn`t there anymore. I admired Schumacher for being able to motivate himself year in year out the way he did in his first career. Tha same can be said for Valentino Rossi in MotoGP, how easy wouldn`t it have been for him to simply accept that he`s past his prime and leave it to the young guys. Well he didn`t and he`s even been able to adjust his style and has returned to winning races. Impressive.

      Mika Hakkinen burned himself out winning two titles in a row, in the end he told Coulthard he would have to step up now as he was exhausted.

      As for Vettel I have no problem whatsoever to forget his troubled 2014-campaign. First Schumachers injury affected him a lot, then a totally new life situation (the kid, and we know Vettel always prides himself in doing everything perfectly), wear and tear after four hard fought Championships, he did not like the direction F1 was going and finally an uncompetitive Red Bull. I think the combination of these factors served to reduse his motivation last season. We know he spent the first half of the season looking for a drastic change to the car so that they could challenge Mercedes whereas Ricciardo just went with the program. That is understandable, Ricciardo was happy to be up there behind Mercedes whereas Vettel having achieved what he has will never be happy unless he wins. I also think mentally at least he was looking for a change early in the season.

      He got what he wanted and it`s clear for all to see the change in him. After joining Ferrari he reminds me of the “fresh-faced” racer we saw in 2008. It`s like a load has ben lifted off his shoulders. Vettel needed that hange as much as Ferrari and Alonso needed a change.

      The question now is whether Vettel can maintain that motivation if Ferrari can`t deliver. That`s the real difference between Schumacher and Vettel, Schumacher was almost unbreakable and never ever doubted himself nomather what. Vettel is a different character, but it`s obvious to all that have followed his career that he too has a steely resolve. Finally I might add that Vettels strenght is in refining a consept. His extreme attention to detail serves him well as a new consept evolves. That`s how you win a lot of Championships in a row. You develop untill you are on top and then make sure you don`t drop the ball. There`s always a danger when you win, if you drop the ball you`re suddenly beaten.

  16. Not gonna happen

  17. I can’t help but smile every time I read or hear that, to be a great driver, you have to win championships with multiple teams. So that means that Senna, Clark, Häkkinen, Alonso are not great drivers?
    Ah, the good old double standard in F1…

    1. @philippe Stirling Moss and Gilles Villeneuve failed to win a championship with any team, yet they are regarded as two of the greatest of all time!

      1. Exactly. Great is an attribute that has many definitions depending on who you ask. I certainly have never felt that Great must mean having won the WDC with more than one team. As has been mentioned Gilles is considered a Great by many in spite of no WDC simply because he was the hardest charging driver ever, and instilled great passion.

        I personally don’t consider MS a Great because I don’t believe in the way he won his WDCs…illegal Benettons, and Ferrari’s built strictly for him with designer tires and a teammate under contract to not compete against him. And he still managed to be a huge bully in spite of the massive advantages he had. Not my cup of tea. MS at Ferrari was not an apples to apples fight amongst the rest of the grid. F1 was skewed for MS to end the Ferrari WDC drought. In other words, IMHO, many drivers could have compiled the same numbers MS did given the same massive advantages. But they likely wouldn’t have also felt the need to be such bullies on top of that.

  18. I think Seb is facing an array of problems:

    He’s following Alonso
    Allison may have developed a pointier, nervier car for Kimi
    Ferrari have money but none of the many other advantages that Schumi had
    I’m not sure his particular style of being assertive is going to work at Ferrari

    I don’t see any promising signs from the team either. Marchionne is saying too much and Allison too little. The cohesion Seb was used to at Red Bull will be gone, he won’t be in contention for wins, and he’ll have to trash Kimi to stand comparison with Nando.

    On the upside Seb must have talent to be so good in the wet and on first laps, and last year reliability issues made him look worse than he was.

    It’ll be one of the things to watch, for sure. Once the 2015 engines are in the cars will be less unequal and so the drivers will make more of a difference. But I’m expecting less Seb vs Nando and more Seb vs Romain.

  19. I don’t think Vettel can win a WC anytime soon. Maybe in 6 years, but not now. Vettel is a good driver, but not amazing or the best in my opinion. Yes, he won 4 WCs but I think he was lucky to be at RBR. Drivers like Alonso or Hamilton might have won 5 WCs if they were at RBR from 2009-2014, as 2009 was a missed opportunity for Vettel. He got beaten by Ricciardo who was expected to be demolished by Vettel in late 2013, but that was not the case. Ferrari is in a slump right now, and since Vettel is nowhere near as good as Michael Schumacher (keep fighting champ), I don’t expect him to ”do a Schumi”.

    1. You think eithet of those two in a red bull could have beaten a merc driver to the wdc last year?! You must be delusional….

      1. I meant that Hamilton or Alonso could have won in 2009 not 2014…

  20. don’t get me wrong I am a big but what Vettel did in that Torro Rosso that day at Monza was magic. I see Vettel as the only driver that is level performance wise with Senna. And yes I know you are thinking……….. What an idiot. Wait for 3 years and then judge me on what Vettel has shown you to prove me right. It will take him 3 years to win the WDC with Ferrari IF. But to my defence F1 is IF spelled backwards.

  21. I think it will be very interesting how can Vettel and Kimi perform in this year. Anyway and the car as well.

  22. So much hate directed at Vettel because he has been humbling Hamilton and Alonso on equal cars for years on end. So what if he had 1 mediocre year and lost to his team mate. At least you don’t see him blackmail his team like Alonso or twitter team telemetry and insult your team mate just because he’s beating you and not following you on twitter… Vettel was humbled by Ricciardo but considering the zero amount of testing and his car breaking down in practice and and qualifying ruined his weekends more than his detractors like to kid themselves you never saw him go to the media making out the team is against him like certain fans seem to do every year with Whitnash. Alonso has been beaten 3 times in his F1 career and he has never won a world title in a car that didn’t have a mass damper and yet somehow he is still seen the best driver on the grid…

    1. Plus, Form is temporary class is permanent! It has only been 3 years ago that Hamilton wasn’t even regarded a top 3 driver anymore he was 5th behind Kimi and Jenson because he couldn’t stop crashing and burning his Pirelli tyres up and being unable to get the maximum out of a season like Jenson. Again form is temporary class is permanent. You don’t become a 4 time wdc just being mediocre.

      1. The cars weren’t equal. On ’10 and ’11 every pole position but 4, 2 to ALO and 2 to HAM, were set by a Red Bull.
        His cars were so good that even a nobody on the big dog’s game like Mark Webber looked like a real driver.

    2. But VET got emphatically humbled by RIC in the same team. Comparing drivers with different machinery is a futile exercise.

  23. He is a quality driver, but now i wanna see what he really is about.
    If we go back to 2009, we’ll see that of the legal cars w/o double deck diffuser, Red Bull was by far the best.
    They even managed to defeat Brawn without the diffuser, which debuted later on the season.

    This heritage was present on every single car from there onwards. Vettel had the best equipment for 4 seasons, and on 3 of them, it was by far the best. The only season where Red Bull was in the middle of the pack was ’12. And there he wasn’t even a contender till some races to the end where like magic Red Bull grew competitive again.

    Without some sweat, some hard work, i don’t see him having this kind of times at Ferrari. I want to see what his drive is about. I wanna see his leadership skills, and his capacity do accept defeat like the ones he imposed to others for so long.

  24. I like Vettel and like to wish him the best in his Ferrari years to come.
    But if Kimi beats him in 2015 that would be truly detrimental.

  25. There was an analysis on F1Rejects maaany years ago, concerning why is it hard to win a WDC in a Ferrari. Basically, as I recall, they said that there is some sort of a jinx – you can’t win a title in a year containing the same last digit as a previous WDC winning year. Ferrari drivers won in: 52, 53, 56, 58, 61, 64, 75, 77, 79… so it was inevitable that Schumacher’s first WDC couldn’t come any sooner that 2000… thus restarting the cycle! He won again in 2001-2004 and Kimi grabbed one in 07, so as it turns out – fate made it impossible for Fernando to win during his stint with Ferrari… And looking at the RedBull resurgence int the final stages of 2012, and at the pit-stop shenanigans in Abu Dhabi 2010 whick both cost Alonso the title… Then again – 2015/2016 is up for grabs for Vettel… I wonder if he ever read that analysis and planned ahead his career moves acordingly?

  26. You could call this a digression, but I believe Alonso is out of the league with everyone except hamilton and maybe ricciardo as it is to soon to tell. Alonso’s only problem was his arogance in 2007 which denied him a 3rd championship then and a few more later as mclaren was championship contender in 2008, 10, 11, 12. Don’t know if he would have stayed for all these years. But perhaps he wouldnt become the driver he is today…

  27. I want to see wins from Ferrari this year. I’m optimistic that they will do well which means Vettel and Raikkonen will get good results.
    My guess is that Mercedes is still strong but Ferrari will do better than last year.

  28. changing diapers requires far more motivation and work… thats why he wasnt on form

  29. Nicely written article.

  30. Alonso is most consistent and reliable performer at present, despite the car. He went to Ferrari in wake of Kimi’s first disastrous stint there where latter was s’posed to be anointed the new Schumacher. But even Schumi gave up on Kimi pretty quickly and started backing Massa. Alonso went into that mess and took up challenge, sadly he spent his best years banging head on the wall with bad management and cars.
    Ferrari are acutely aware everyone knows Alonso flattered five years of rubbish that cost too far much and underperformed, for Ferrari Corp the very real danger emerged of being seen as a lesser brand than Alonso – and that is very bad for road car sales to the uber rich. This was all in parallel to the consequences of a decade of over merchandising – cheapening – their brand, on everything from key chains to the relentless parade of caps and polo shirts at the local pub. They had no choice at that corporate brand level other than to take new risk, and it may fail dismally with Vettel, but that is probably better than any further sinking brand damage as widely perceived vis-s-vis Alonso’s prowess.
    Just my two cents.

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