F1 News: Vettel sets deadline for title hopes
Sebastian Vettel feels Ferrari would need to be competitive before the summer break if they have any chance of putting together a title fight against Mercedes. After just 6 races into the season, Vettel is 55 points behind Lewis Hamilton and driving a car that is massively behind in terms of downforce.
When asked about the deadline for Ferrari to get their act together, Vettel replied, “I don't think you need to be a genius, I think the latest [to get into contention is] by summer."
“OK, we are already in the summer now, but before the summer break, we need to be in very very good shape to then use that momentum for the second half to turn it around."
“I'm not too stressed. We go step by step and we have certain things in the pipeline."
“I think we have an understanding of what the car needs. Some things that we can apply short-term, other things may be more long-term."
“Then I think very quickly, within these weeks, we'll find out where we are.”
Ferrari was expected to be a frontrunner for this year's championship after dominating the preseason testing but the form book was turned on its head from the very first race as the Ferrari's difficulty in getting the tires up to temperature and its lack of downforce becoming apparent race by race.
“We certainly had not the start that we were looking for,” admitted Vettel. “Nevertheless, I think we were able to score some good points."
“The next races will be crucial for us, to try and get back to the front, and give a much harder time to Mercedes."
“Once we can establish that, then I think we have plenty of reason to look forward."
“It will be crucial to do it rather sooner than later, but at the moment I'm not too fussed, I'm not looking at, 'OK, this is the date, it has to happen by then and then we'll see how it goes'."
“We are behind, clearly there's quite a big margin between Mercedes and the rest. We have to close that gap and get ahead, otherwise, it will be difficult to turn it around.”
The gap that Mercedes has built on Ferrari both on track and in terms of points does appear to be a mountain too big to climb for Ferrari right now. But for the sake of the fans and to salvage something out of this season let's hope Ferrari salvages something out of this season.