Four-time F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel believes that Ferrari must remain realistic ahead of the 2015 season as the rebuilding process continues at Maranello.
Vettel confirmed in November that he would be leaving Red Bull to join Ferrari for 2015, ending a 15-year association with the drinks giant.
The German joins a very different looking team in 2015, with senior figures such as Luca di Montezemolo, Stefano Domenicali, Marco Mattiacci and Fernando Alonso all being ousted to make way for a new regime.
Today saw Ferrari launch its new car, the SF15-T, and after a disappointing season in 2014, the team is very much finding its feet again. Even with a new car design, Vettel knows that success will not come immediately upon joining the team.
“There is a lot of change going on, new people in new positions, including myself,” Vettel said. “It always takes a bit of time to settle in until you really start to make proper progress.
“I am confident we are going in the right direction but it would be wrong to immediately expect a lot. We need to remember we are coming from a 2014 season where there was one team very dominant, so it will be very difficult to arrive there from the beginning.
“For us the main target is to start to really work together, start to make progress, hopefully catch up more and more as the season progresses. You have to be realistic. There’s a lot of change that happened over the winter.”
Vettel will race alongside Kimi Raikkonen in 2015, with the two drivers being good friends and finding each other one of the few figures within F1 they can get along with.
“I don’t expect any problems,” Vettel said when asked about working with Raikkonen. “He will be a difficult teammate to beat on the track because he’s very quick and very talented, but I think off track we get on well.
“He’s always very straightforward which is something I appreciate in Kimi and doesn’t happen that often in Formula 1.”
Vettel has certainly taken a risk by moving down the grid from Red Bull to Ferrari, but he is fulfilling a prophecy that many set out for him. Just like his hero, Michael Schumacher, he is walking away from a successful team to join Ferrari and try to build a new legacy at Maranello.
Schumacher went on to win five consecutive world titles with the prancing horse, and although Vettel is racing in a very different era, he will be hoping to follow in his hero’s footsteps.
Lawrence led all 16 laps of both races after taking the holeshot in the second moto and grabbing the lead from Dylan Ferrandis in Turn 2 of Moto 1. Lawrence claimed a four-second lead in Moto 1 and five seconds in Moto 2, but as dominant as it seems on paper, there were some exciting moments during the weekend. In the second race, Lawrence wanted to build an advantage that would allow him to maintain his pace and he nearly high-sided a couple of times in heavy ruts.
In his second race back from a concussion, Ferrandis finished in the runner-up spot with a second in Moto 1 and a third in Moto 2. While his finish of second overall goes into the record books, Pro Motocross points are rewarded for each individual race and that meant Ferrandis lost eight points in championship battle to Lawrence. With Sexton failing to mount up for the race, Ferrandis advanced to second in the standings with an 18-point gap to Lawrence. Equally important, Ferrandis gained ground in the SuperMotocross World Championship (WSX) points and now has a gap of 44 over 21st-place Justin Starling.
Cooper Webb is also in his second round since returning from a Supercross injury suffered in Nashville at the end of their season. Claiming results of fourth and second in the two races, Webb earned 40 SuperMotocross points at Hangtown and closed in on Sexton in the WSX battle. Sexton entered Hangtown with a large enough lead that he could not be overtaken, but he is now only 38 points up and could face a difficult decision next week at Thunder Valley in Lakewood, Colorado if he wants to hold onto his lead.
Aaron Plessinger had an adventurous weekend in which he seemed to close on Lawrence in his second race before crashing and dropping to fourth. Coupled with a fifth-place finish in Moto 1, he earned 35 points and was credited with fourth overall.
Cashing in on confidence he gained in the final rounds of the Supercross season, Adam Cianciarulo earned his first top-five of the Pro Motocross championship after narrowly missing out last week with a sixth. He earned the distinction with consistent results of fifth in Moto 1 and fourth in Moto 2.
The Lawrence brothers made history last week as the first siblings to win in two Pro Motocross divisions on the same day. Fans should get accustomed to seeing this happen with some regularity as Hunter Lawrence posted identical results in Hangtown to those he had at Fox Raceway in the season opener.
In both races, Lawrence got off to a slow start in Moto 1 and had to claw his way back to the podium. He dominated Moto 2 in both rounds to earn the overall victories.
Justin Cooper did not allow Lawrence to gain much of an advantage in the Motocross points’ standings, however. Finishing second in both motos, the earned only one point less than Lawrence. His modest showing in Round 1 of the outdoor season has him 12 points out of first in the championship standings.
Haiden Deegan scored his first moto win in just his fourth start in the series. In the first race of the day, he had to withstand constant pressure from Cooper, but when his teammate closed in on him, Deegan reached down and found a little more speed. Now that he’s won one of these races, he has his sight set on challenging Lawrence for the title. Deegan is second in the Pro Motocross championship standings with a 10-point deficit to the leader.
RJ Hampshire rounded out the top five with a pair of fifth-place results and 32 points for the round. Even though the deficit is a whopping 61 points, Hampshire climbed to second in the SuperMotocross championship standings now that Jett Lawrence has moved to the big bikes.
Jalek Swoll struggled last week and finished 21st overall at Fox Raceway. This week, he finished on the cusp of 10th in both races with a ninth in Moto 1 and 11th in Moto 2. In the SuperMotocross standings, he has a lot of ground to make up. He currently sits 49th on the chart with a 70-point gap to Chance Hymas, who is on the bubble to earn a guaranteed position in the SMX Mains for the three playoff races that will be held on September.