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Sebastian Vettel denies Niki Lauda's claim that Ferrari's engine is now a match for Mercedes in Formula 1

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Sebastian Vettel denies Niki Lauda's claim that Ferrari's engine is now a match for Mercedes in Formula 1
Nov 13, 2015, 1:40 PM

Sebastian Vettel has countered Niki Lauda’s claim that Ferrari’s Formula 1 engine is now a match for Mercedes and says that while the Scuderia ...

Sebastian Vettel has countered Niki Lauda’s claim that Ferrari’s Formula 1 engine is now a match for Mercedes and says that while the Scuderia is currently not quite capable of beating the German marque, he is quietly hopeful of its chances in 2016.

Lauda, Mercedes’ non-executive chairman, recently told Autosprint magazine that he reckoned Ferrari’s recent improvements to its power unit had brought it level with his team’s engine.

“Since they introduced the updated engine at Monza, I would say that they matched us in terms of power and efficiency. The 20bhp advantage we had is now gone. Now we are at the same level of power. We know for certain because of the reference we have,” he said.

Niki Lauda

Vettel responded by pointing out the difference between the two teams in the constructors’ championship as evidence that Ferrari still has work to do to catch Mercedes, but explained that he was pleased with the work the squad has already done on its 2016 car.

Speaking at the pre-event press conference at the Brazilian Grand Prix, Vettel said: “As a fact, we are not yet a match otherwise this season would have been very different. But I’m very happy with the season so far and the progress we’ve made and with the things we have in the pipeline for the future.

“Niki is usually not the best one to trust. Let’s put it this way, he is changing his opinion very quickly and sometimes what he says makes sense and other times what he says doesn’t make any sense.”

Sebastian Vettel

But Vettel did acknowledge that Lauda’s comments were a sign of how seriously Mercedes was taking Ferrari after its upgrades to its power unit before the Italian and US races.

He said: “The more he is talking about us, the better it is for us because he can feel that maybe we are coming. Hopefully that’s good news.”

When asked if he believed Ferrari could challenge Mercedes in 2016, Vettel said that it was still too early to tell, even though he had seen encouraging results from the team’s factory.

He said: “It’s always difficult to predict what is going to happen but it is our target. I can see what is happening in the background and the work that is going into next year back in the factory in Maranello.

“It looks promising and I think we should be able to make a good step forwards. The most important day is when you put the new car on the track and you see what it does, but that is still a bit far away.”

XPB.cc

Vettel is currently third in the drivers’ championship, just 21 points behind Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, and the four-times world champion explained that he was still aiming to beat his compatriot to second place overall, despite Rosberg’s win in the Mexican Grand Prix.

He said: “We have two races left and we want to do well and ideally [get] the best possible results here and in Abu Dhabi. As long as it is possible to finish second rather than third, you want to finish second. Our target is to at least try and split the Mercedes, and split them the right way. But the best recipe is to do our job and try to achieve the maximum.”

Vettel crashed out of the race in Mexico City as he tried to recover from a lap 1 puncture, and the 28-year-old confirmed that the accident was his own fault and not the result of a problem on his car.

XPB.cc Sebastian Vettel

He said: “There was nothing wrong with the car. As I said after the race it was my mistake.”

How would you assess Vettel’s first year at Ferrari? Will he beat Rosberg to second place in the championship? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
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