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Analysis: Vettel eclipses Alonso's best after six rounds as Ferrari prepares for engine boost

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Analysis: Vettel eclipses Alonso's best after six rounds as Ferrari prepares for engine boost
May 26, 2015, 12:41 PM

There is an interesting line in Gazetta dello Sport today, noting that Sebastian Vettel has scored more points after six races for Ferrari than Fer...

There is an interesting line in Gazetta dello Sport today, noting that Sebastian Vettel has scored more points after six races for Ferrari than Fernando Alonso managed in the same period in any of his five seasons with the team.

Vettel, who has scored a win and four podiums, has 98 points which is comfortably more than Alonso managed even in his best start to a season with Ferrari. It's also his second strongest start to a season, after his utterly dominant 2011 season with Red Bull.

Last year, the annus horribilis for Alonso's relationship with the team, he had 61 points at this stage; 2013 he had 78; 2012 it was 76; 2011 just 69; and 2010 he had 75 points. So he was fairly consistent.

Alonso 2012

The 2012 season featured two early wins and another podium for Alonso, who led the championship after the first six rounds in a season when he took the title fight to the wire against Vettel, who was at Red Bull at the time.

His best start in points terms in 2013 was spoiled by a retirement.

Canada is the next round and, according to Gazetta, Ferrari will have a significant upgrade on the engine, which is believed to have used up half their remaining development 'tokens'. Canada is a race which Ferrari has always traditionally targeted for upgrades over the years.

This will be the team's third power unit this season, with the target to use a fourth for Monza and then rotate engines for the rest of the season. A fifth may be needed - or may be tactically employed - at a race where it is easy to overtake to compensate for the ten place grid penalty a completely new unit demands.

It's something they would prefer to avoid; there were signs last season that they raced the engine at low regime in the final races, rather than face the shame of an engine penalty. This year the penalty is less severe, so it will be interesting to see their strategy there.

Mercedes is due to unveil its second Power unit of 2015 in Canada, again using up development tokens. They have been quite conservative in the opening events in how they use the power unit in races, but it's worked as they are 1-2 in the drivers championship, dominant in the constructors' and, so far, on target to get through the season without needing an engine penalty.

Martin Brundle, Sebastian Vettel

"It's good to keep finishing on the podium but we are Ferrari and now we want more," said Vettel after his second place in Monaco.

The German was able to stay in Nico Rosberg's wheel tracks all race in Monaco, although some way behind Lewis Hamilton, who had a gap of up to 25 seconds at one point. Nevertheless it was significantly better than Spain, where the performance gap of 8/10ths of a second which Ferrari carries to Mercedes in qualifying pace, also carried through to the race.

However most of that was due to the performance on the hard tyres in Spain. Vettel was only 10 seconds behind the leading Mercedes through the first two phases of the Spanish race on the softer tyres.

Interestingly, although Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene has set a target of three wins for this season, he has also said recently that there are limits to what can be achieved with this year's chassis.

It hints that the team will throw significant resource and time at the project for 2016, which will build on some of the lessons from this year but which sounds like it constitutes Ferrari really 'going for it' on a radical and aggressive design to try to unseat Mercedes from their world champion status.
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