The final step that Ferrari needs to take to become a world champion once again will be the hardest one, says Sebastian Vettel.
Compared to the win-less season of 2016, Ferrari made vast improvements in the ’17 season where Vettel grabbed five race wins. Although the German team was an effective challenger to Mercedes domination, they could not get a driver to the championship after Kimi Raikkonen’s 2007 success, or won a constructors’ title after ’08.
Vettel says the Italian squad will continue its ’17 momentum into the next season. But breaking Mercedes’ four season victory spell will be another huge step to take for the team.
“Obviously the regulations stay roughly the same. I think we have a good and healthy platform to build on at the beginning of the year so I hope we can continue,” said Vettel.
“What we have to do is take that final step. If you look back, it’s always that final step that’s the hardest.
“There’s a lot of work going on already and for the last couple of months focusing on next year, trying to make the car faster, with more power into the power unit, and then we’ll see where we are.”
Before 2017, the Maranello team has not been a title contender in the championship after Fernando Alonso’s near-miss in 2010 and another close shot in ’12.
After his first four wins at Red Bull, last year was Vettel’s first time being in the title fight while racing with Ferrari.
“In the end, as a driver, you want to win, and obviously when you are competitive at the beginning you don’t know if it will be enough to fight for the championship,” he said.
“Usually it’s a no-brainer: if the car is quick and you are doing your job well then as the season progress, it will lead you to good news or bad news.
“For the most of it, I think it’s been good news.
“There were a couple of weeks that were quite painful for us, but overall it’s always great if you have a package that you can take to the fight.”