Sebastian Vettel joked with media on Thursday that the decision to name his new Ferrari Formula 1 car “Margherita” had nothing to do with pizzas.
The German traditionally gives all his F1 cars a moniker and, for 2016, he has decided to give his car an Italian-themed name.
When asked at a pre-Melbourne press conference on Thursday about why he had named it after a pizza, Vettel replied: “It is a name first of all: Margherita.
“I think if you look up, the first thing that comes up is a name not a pizza. We just like the name. Every year we gave the car a name. Last year Eva, this year Margherita.”
Vettel is upbeat about the progress that Ferrari has made with its new car as it sets sights on delivering a step forward in form that will allow it to challenge Mercedes.
“We have worked very hard,” he said. “The project of this year's car started very early, so definitely it is a big improvement and big step forward overall.
“From the outside it is easy to see the main differences, but from the inside we have done a very, very nice job and it allowed us to be, first of all, quicker from the start and have more chance of improving throughout the year.
"That is good news – but whether it is good news right from the start. I don't know yet.
“We hope so. We know our challenge is very, very big. We know Mercedes in the last two years built a strong and solid platform, not just the engine, but also the car.
“I think it is quite difficult to start the next season with a worse car than the year before. But we know the bar is high so we keep on pushing.”