Former Formula 1 driver David Coulthard has backed four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel to succeed at Ferrari after his move to the Italian marque for the 2015 season.
Vettel exercised a clause in his Red Bull contract to leave the team at the end of 2014, drawing the curtain on a 15-year long association with the energy drink brand.
The German driver has claimed all of his grand prix victories with Red Bull-owned teams, prompting many to question whether he can enjoy the same kind of success with Ferrari – a team that has fallen on hard times in recent years.
However, Coulthard is confident Vettel will be successful at Ferrari, telling Die Welt that the German driver faces less of a challenge in rebuilding the prancing horse than he did at Red Bull.
“Vettel is a winning machine like [Michael] Schumacher,” Coulthard said. “His four titles with Red Bull speak for themselves.
“Why should a driver like Vettel not succeed at Ferrari? I think it was much more difficult to build Red Bull into a top team. Red Bull had no history and no experience in F1, yet Vettel managed to win four titles with them. To me, this is a huge achievement.”
Coulthard also said that Ferrari’s winning mentality could aid Vettel’s bid for future race wins and world championships at the Italian marque.
“Have a look at Ferrari,” the Scotsman said. “This is a team built on traditions that has won an unbelievable number of races.
“They know how to celebrate triumphs at Maranello. They have a winning DNA there.”
Vettel enjoyed a successful first public test for Ferrari in Jerez this week, finishing as the fastest driver on both of his days in the car. He will next try out the SF15-T in Barcelona in two weeks’ time, where the second and third pre-season tests will be held.