Sebastian Vettel wants more from Ferrari in 2016 after 2015 surprise
Four-time champion had not expected such a strong first season
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 22/12/15 12:13pm
Sebastian Vettel admits Ferrari's form surprised him in his first year at Maranello but says they now must improve again to mount a title challenge against Mercedes in 2016.
Ferrari were the only team to defeat the all-conquering world champions this year, with Vettel's three race wins and one pole position helping him to third place in the Drivers' Championship behind Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
Asked what surprised him most in 2015, Vettel told Ferrari's website: "Well, I would say the final result of the team. I wasn't expecting such a strong season with Ferrari this year."
But while team boss Maurizio Arrivabene has acknowledged Ferrari "climbed a mountain" this year after a winless and acrimonious 2014, the Italian has already made clear that a full-on title challenge has to be their target for 2016.
Vettel, a four-time title winner with Red Bull, says Ferrari must improve every aspect of their car but is confident the team are heading in the right direction.
"We want to be competitive next year against Mercedes, so I won't go into details and tell our secrets," the German said.
"The fact is that we have to improve in a lot of areas, aero, engine etc. but I think the results of this season have shown that we are on the right path, so now we just have to focus on ourselves."
Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was Ferrari's last world champion in 2007 and admits the expectations on F1's most successful team are such that only a further improvement next year will suffice.
"Obviously we all know where we want to be as Ferrari; Ferrari wants to win and it will not be easy," said Raikkonen.
"I mean, there are a lot of strong teams and all of them have the same idea of winning races and championships. Obviously, having done better this year, we have more expectations for the next one, but we are here for winning races, to win championships, so we will give our 100 per cent to try to bring back the championship for Ferrari, but it's too early to say.
"We can do our best but we can't control what the others do, so we have to keep working the same way, always improving, then we will see where we end up in the next year. There's no point to start guessing, we have to wait until the winter tests and the first race."