Ferrari hasn't "lost direction" despite defeats - Vettel

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel says his team has not "lost direction" with its Formula 1 car, despite the recent advantage enjoyed by the rival Mercedes outfit.

Ferrari hasn't "lost direction" despite defeats - Vettel

The Scuderia was roundly outpaced in the two most recent races in Singapore and Sochi, in both of which Vettel qualified more than half a second adrift of the top Mercedes – despite a major front-end update that debuted on the SF71H in Russia.

The recent defeats have marked a swift turnaround in the balance of power since Spa, the site of Ferrari and Vettel's most recent win that had left Mercedes scrambling to match its rivals, particularly in the power department.

Asked if Ferrari has since lost its technical direction, Vettel said: “How do you know about our technical direction? Sorry, I don’t think it is true. I don’t think we lost direction.

“I think we’ve made progress with our car, the steps we have planned, the steps have been coming.

“Now, you never know where you are in comparison with the others, maybe they have done smaller steps or bigger steps, I don’t know.

“I am pretty sure, speaking to all our engineers, that we are where we would like to be or wanted to be.

“Of course you would like to be always further, with more performance, but that is the same for everyone.”

Vettel said he was not surprised that Mercedes has currently edged ahead, as he believes the advantage Ferrari enjoyed at earlier points in the season had been overstated.

“I think we said many times that we have a strong car but I don’t think, maybe against people’s opinions, that we had a dominant car at any point this year.

“It has been very close all year, but there were too many races from our side where we weren’t close enough.

“A race like last weekend [in Russia], the way they could play with us in a race, usually means they have more pace, and there are other races in the season where we didn’t have the pace they had.”

Vettel sits 50 points – the equivalent of two race wins – behind Hamilton in the standings with five races to go, but insists he will not approach this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix as his last chance to turn the tide of the title battle.

“I don’t like the 'now or never' approach. I don’t think there is much sense in that,” he said.

“I didn’t know it was five or six [races to go], now I know, so the secret before just now has been not to to count.

“You attack every weekend, every weekend is different, the track is different and the circumstances are different, so I am very happy to be here.

“I love the track, this is my favourite track in the world, so I better enjoy it and not spoil it by starting to count things that probably are against me and focus on the things that are working for me.”

Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble and Scott Mitchell

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / LAT Images

shares
comments
F1 drivers want DRS risk option through 130R

Previous article

F1 drivers want DRS risk option through 130R

Next article

Grosjean: Qualifying revamp solving the wrong problem

Grosjean: Qualifying revamp solving the wrong problem
Load comments
The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Prime

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi...

Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1 Prime

Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Prime

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. Damien Smith brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1.

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Prime

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus Prime

How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Prime

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Prime

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says Stuart Codling.

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Prime

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences.

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021