After a dismal and winless 2014 campaign, the Maranello-based squad entered the current season with quiet ambitions but quickly emerged as Mercedes’ closest challenger riding on the back of a rejuvenated Vettel.
The German had experienced a difficult final year at Red Bull and joined Ferrari in the search of a new challenge. With three wins and nine additional podium finishes – the latest coming after a fine recovery race at Austin –, Vettel’s objectives have already largely been met.
“Let’s not forget the targets that we set out in the beginning... it’s a new start for the entire team, with a lot of things changing,” said Vettel.
“I think we’ve exceeded expectations this year by quite a lot so the target is to do better next year and to keep fighting until the end and be in a better position.
Yet, the 28-year-old, who occupies P2 in the Drivers’ standings behind newly crowned world champion Lewis Hamilton, wishes he could have extended this year’s title fight a little bit further.
“We have to be patient because it’s a big project, there are a lot of efforts going on at Maranello and the people are really hungry.
“But I think that probably the whole factory, the whole team feels similar to me: while it’s great to know that we had a fantastic recovery and another strong race, it’s not so nice if you lose out on the championship.
“The target is definitely to come back stronger next year and just to keep making progress. I think that’s the best medicine that we need to prescribe to us.”
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