Vettel: Lauda wrong to think Ferrari has caught Mercedes

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Sebastian Vettel thinks Niki Lauda is wrong to believe that Ferrari has now matched Mercedes’ engine development and power in Formula 1.

Ferrari has posed the most serious challenge to Mercedes’ dominance throughout 2015, claiming three race wins courtesy of Vettel in a year otherwise dominated by the German marque.

In an interview with Autosprint earlier this week, non-executive chairman Lauda claimed that Mercedes’ advantage had now been eradicated and that Ferrari had achieved engine parity.

However, Vettel believes that Lauda’s claim flatters Ferrari, saying that 2015 would have worked out very differently had it been true.

“Well, as a fact we are not yet a match otherwise this season would have been very different,” Vettel said.

“But I’m very happy, as I said, with the season so far, with the progress we’ve made and also with the things that I think we have in the pipeline for the future.

“Now Niki is usually not the best one to trust, let’s put it this way, he’s changing his opinion very quickly and sometimes what he says makes sense and other times it doesn’t make any sense.

“The more he’s talking about us the better it is for us because he can feel that maybe we’re coming, so hopefully that’s good news.”

Vettel remains optimistic of catching Mercedes for 2016, though, and is buoyed by the work going on behind the scenes at Ferrari in building the new car.

“I can see what’s happening in the background, the work that has gone into this year, the work that is going into next year back in the factory, back in Maranello with all the people,” Vettel said.

“It looks promising and I think we should be able to make a good step forward.

“Now, obviously the most important day is when you put the new car on the track and you see what it does – but that’s still a bit far away.

“For now I think we have two races left and we want to do well and ideally get the best possible results here and in Abu Dhabi.”