Vettel feeling ‘honored’ ahead of Ferrari debut

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Four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel believes that Ferrari has made significant improvements over the winter, but is unwilling to make any firm predictions for his debut season with the team until after this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.

Vettel joins Ferrari for 2015 after spending six seasons with Red Bull Racing, having claimed all four of his drivers’ championships under the energy drink’s racing umbrella.

However, the German driver has had a lifetime ambition to drive for Ferrari and emulate his hero, Michael Schumacher. He will make his debut for the Scuderia in Melbourne this weekend, and spoke of his excitement during Thursday’s FIA press conference.

“Well, I think there’s a lot of history in the team and obviously, for me, it’s an honor to race for Ferrari,” Vettel said.

“I’m very happy at this stage and I can’t wait to get in the car and finally start racing with the team but equally we know that we have to work hard because our ambition is very high and we want to make sure that Ferrari gets back to the top.”

Bouncing back from its worst season in over 20 years in 2014, Ferrari enjoyed a productive winter testing programme that saw Vettel and teammate Kimi Raikkonen top the timesheets in Jerez.

However, Vettel is reserving judgement on Ferrari’s chances in 2015 until the pecking order becomes clearer in Australia this weekend.

“I think generally the atmosphere is very positive,” he said. “Obviously there has been a lot of change over the winter but people have been working very hard and I think we have definitely improved as a team.

“So now we’ll see when we get the chance to put the car on the track. We can see where the others are, see what the others run, especially on Saturday. Finally you know a little bit more. Winter [is] always a bit tricky to understand everything.”

You can watch comprehensive coverage of the Australian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra this weekend. Click here for TV times and broadcasting details.