Ferrari have a “realistic” possibility of mounting a critical title challenge to Mercedes in 2016, according to technical director James Allison.
Sebastian Vettel finished third in this year’s championship, winning 3 races to champion Lewis Hamilton’s 10.
Allison mentioned: “If we do almost everything we intend, we have a realistic chance subsequent year will be a classic year for F1 – and for Ferrari I hope even stronger.
“But saying it is straightforward and doing it is a lot, lot tougher.”
Allison, 47, is the man charged with turning around Ferrari’s fortunes after a dip in kind in current years and a title drought dating back to 2007.
He has led a recovery this year following Ferrari had in 2014 its worst season in two decades, failing to win and taking only two podiums.
This year, Vettel, who replaced Fernando Alonso soon after the former Ferrari group leader moved to McLaren believing they would give him a greater possibility of winning a third world title, has scored 13 podiums, such as his victories in Malaysia, Hungary and Singapore.
Glowing praise for Vettel
Allison, who was speaking in an exclusive interview for the BBC F1 Review show, was glowing in his praise for Vettel, describing his year as “flawless”.
“It really is easiest to talk about it by searching at Bahrain, the weakest race of the year, where he created a single or two errors,” Allison mentioned.
“We never have as excellent a vehicle as the Mercedes, that is clear, and yet we’ve won 3 races. Sebastian has won all 3.
“And the reason that he has won those 3 and place it on the podium as much as he has is that we ask him to sort of work miracles to place his car in a competitive position, since the vehicle is not yet good adequate to be the winning car.
“And he delivers those miracles sort of lap following lap, race following race, weekend after weekend.
“Then, just sometimes, once or twice in a complete year in thousands of laps, you see evidence that there is not a machine there, there’s a human. And that shows the magnificence of the achievement in all the other races.”
Similarities to Schumacher
Allison said Vettel was “an easy guy to perform with” and related his “understanding of the worth of getting in a group” with that of seven-time champion Michael Schumacher, with whom Allison worked throughout Ferrari’s dominant era of 2000 to 2004.
“With drivers, the quantity a single issue you want is that they are rapidly and never make blunders,” Allison said. “And very often the kind of personality that is necessary to be quickly and not to make errors is not necessarily the most sympathetic character to get along with.
“Sebastian is a single of the unusual characters who is quite simple and effortless. Ego-less is wrong, but his ego is kept in check to be element of the group and group. It makes it a) a pleasure and b) it significantly increases the power of the group when the particular person who has to provide on Sunday desires to be component of the group.
“I have worked with two guys who really, truly comprehend the value of getting in a group and a single was Michael and the other is Sebastian.
“That is not to denigrate the others but it is a particular strength in Sebastian and it was a distinct strength in Michael.”
Mixed year for Raikkonen
Allison described the season of Vettel’s group-mate Kimi Raikkonen as “a bit of a curate’s egg”.
Allison described Raikkonen’s drive to second place in Bahrain early in the season as “fantastic”, adding: “There have been a number of other occasions exactly where he has created Sebastian sweat and produced him have to stretch himself to maintain his team-mate at bay.
“And other races like Silverstone exactly where Sebastian was utterly candid that he could not reside with Kimi at a variety of sections of the track in the race, he was not as swift.
“But at other times in the year a handful of errors have crept in and he has had some genuine misfortune, where our reliability has dropped the ball for him.
“But what we have noticed by way of the season, and latterly especially, is Kimi actually producing Sebastian perform for his income.
“I am hunting forward to subsequent season due to the fact I know the relationship will keep sturdy in between them and to see the pair of them spurring each and every other on. Kimi is a really knowledgeable and strong driver and I am hunting forward to seeing what he can do subsequent year.”
BBC F1 Assessment, Saturday 12 December, 13:00 GMT, BBC 1
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