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F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

aving fol­lowed, vir­tu­ally to the word, the ad­vice we gave them three months ago in F1 Rac­ing, Fer­rari should win plenty of races in 2015. They are now struc­tured cor­rectly; Se­bas­tian Vet­tel is re­mo­ti­vated; and the James Al­li­son car (aero- and chas­sis-wise) will be quick. The big ques­tion, as with the Re­nault teams, is how much power will Fer­rari have at their dis­posal?

Thus Seb joins them at just the right mo­ment. The dirty work is over, thanks to in­tel­li­gent de­ci­sion­mak­ing by Fer­rari’s lat­est team prin­ci­pal, Mau­r­izio Ar­riv­abene, and the only way is up. Nor will Seb need to de­vote too much time to tra­di­tional Fer­rari pol­i­tics. With Al­li­son in charge, Fer­rari’s new era should run as efciently as the Red Ar­rows – with English, no doubt, as the pre­dom­i­nant lingo.

In leav­ing Red Bull, Seb im­plied he was deal­ing with the difcul­ties of 2014 in the most efcient way – by ex­pung­ing them. By mid-2014 he had no an­swer to the su­pe­rior race pace of Daniel Ric­cia­rdo. He’d never been sim­i­larly trou­bled at any stage in his ca­reer and his rea­son­ing was that the more he wor­ried, the worse it was go­ing to get. So he cut the Red Bull ties and im­mersed him­self in the big­gest team of them all: Fer­rari.

I doubt that Seb will have any­thing like the same prob­lems with Kimi Räikkö­nen. Kimi is still fast, still very much a touch-and­feel driver, but even on a good day he is now a cou­ple of tenths away from his McLaren-best. So Seb will be un­der no real pres­sure to learn from the re­sults of 2014, which could be a bad thing since last year high­lighted style aws that un­til then had re­mained dis­guised.

With the RB10 still gen­er­at­ing huge down­force at the front, but with the new regs dumb­ing the rear, Seb in 2014 was not as ma­nip­u­la­tive with the back end as Daniel, Lewis or Fer­nando. This was prob­a­bly due to the qual­ity of the Newey cars he’d raced since 2007, and the way he was per­fectly able to ex­tend the straights with them, in the knowl­edge that the back end would in­vari­ably take a one-move­ment ro­ta­tion. Then there was the hu­man fac­tor: Seb en­tered 2014 with four world cham­pi­onships be­hind him. Some sort of slump was in­evitable.

The Fer­rari will be less pointy and Seb now knows what it’s like not to win a ti­tle: he’ll be a bet­ter driver for it. He proved in 2014 that he will race wheel-to-wheel with any­one on the grid – that he’s a racer up there with Fer­nando. For 2015 ex­pect a win and a bun­dle of points – as­sum­ing, of course, that Fer­rari, like Re­nault, can max­imise horse­power with their bonus mid­sea­son up­grade to­kens.

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