Ferrari engineering chief Jock Clear believes Sebastian Vettel will consider his 2018 title miss as ‘unfinished business’, a sentiment that will spur him on next season.
Ferrari and Vettel gave Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton more than run for their money for most of the year, emerging early on as favourites to win the title only for their challenge to crumble after the summer on the back of a string of poor races.
The German driver held himself accountable for a few mishaps suffered during the campaign, when the pressure was at its greatest. But Clear suggests Vettel’s mistakes will make him stronger for 2019.
Ferrari’s Jock Clear to oversee Charles Leclerc in 2019
“The fact is drivers of his calibre relish the pressure,” said the British engineer.
“That’s again what I think, the top athletes pit themselves against the best and the pressure is the pressure. That’s part of the job.
“I think he has enjoyed the season. There have been highs and lows. I think he said recently that losing the championship in 2009 he found more frustrating.
“I think on the whole, he has come to this battle willing to take risks, willing to give it his all and we’re part of that. We’ve all done our part this year to the ups and downs,” he added.
“I think from Seb’s point of view it just gives him more strength to come back next year and say ‘this is unfinished business’.”
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Vettel wasn’t the only member of the Scuderia to fail occasionally, with Clear insisting that the team as a whole crucially lacked consistency in 2018.
“It has been a fantastic battle and that’s why we do this sport,” he explained. “It’s seasons like this that you just relish.
“Obviously when you are on the wrong end of it, it is frustrating. But specifically, we haven’t really looked back at what point, as you put it, things slipped away from us.
“The fact is a season and the points we score in Abu Dhabi are just as important as the points you score in Australia, and to win a championship you need to put together a full season and we haven’t done as good a job in that respect as our direct competitors and we are aware of that,” Clear underlined.
“We look back over the season, we look at the strengths of what is probably the strongest Ferrari season for 10 years and we build on those strengths.
“I think the win in Austin is a testament to the fact that the team does come back and does fight back and we did understand some of the issues we uncovered in the second third of the season.”
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