THE VETTEL FACTOR
The big question is: can Sebastian Vettel deliver a trophy to Ferrari where Fernando Alonso couldn’t? Vettel is younger, so he still has that hunger and that need to deliver – plus, I get the impression Seb puts in just that bit more work away from the circuit, and I think that will help carry him forward. Until very recently, he was the only current driver to have visited Pirelli to try to understand their design philosophy – and almost certainly to try to influence it towards his driving style.
A lot rests on tech boss James Allison, and the team he’s built around him, to make the next step. The engine has obviously made a big leap, but what’s the next stage in efficiency? It’s one thing being able to deliver a reasonable qualifying lap, but fuel efficiency is a part of modern Formula 1 and a key element in being able to mount a challenge to Mercedes.
We are hopeful, of course. Just as we want to see good racing between Nico and Lewis, we also want to see Ferrari in the mix. If they’re not up there, then it’s just going to be another Mercedes intra-team battle.
Kimi Räikkönen is a shadow of what he was, but he’s a good number two who will always be a few places and several seconds behind his team-mate. Kimi isn’t delivering consistently; I know it’s always difficult to criticise Kimi because he’s a fan favourite for whatever bizarre reason (I’ve been his team-mate, so I do feel I’ve got some inside knowledge here!), but I don’t think he has the work ethic.
MURRAY ON FERRARI
He relied on talent to deliver his title, and that ship has sailed. He can’t just rely on his speed any more, as displayed by Sebastian coming into that team and making it his own.
If James Allison and his colleagues have improved their car as much as they did last year, ‘Super Seb’ could match Fangio’s five world titles. I’d love to see that: F1 needs Ferrari success. But Kimi will need to pull his socks up.