Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel believes that the team has what it takes to end its championship drought in 2019. The Scuderia outfit has battled Mercedes for the championship over the last two years but has come off second best each time.
This season, it shapes up differently as 21-year-old Charles Leclerc steps in alongside Vettel, replacing Kimi Raikkonen. Mattia Binotto will act as team principal after the Maranello squad ousted Maurizio Arrivabene following the 2018 season.
Ferrari has not won the constructors' championship since 2008, while Raikkonen is the last driver to take a drivers' title with Ferrari - one year beforehand. But Vettel is confident that the team "has got the ingredients" to get back to championship winning ways, admitting that “it’s down to us to do the job”.
“It’s difficult to say at this time of year,” he said at the Race of Champions in Mexico City. “Everybody’s still in the dark, we’re waiting for the cars to come and then get a feel and we’ll see in the first race.
“But looking forward, it’ll be a big challenge, what we want to achieve I think is clear. In terms of support I think here also there were a lot of Ferrari fans so we’re not lacking in terms of support.”
Vettel failed to make it past the group stages in the Champion of Champions tournament on Sunday, while compatriot Mick Schumacher was defeated in the knockout stages by eventual winner Benito Guerra.
“It’s a long year ahead of us and maybe not the start I was looking for,” Vettel smiled. “It’s a fun event and I think we’ve had fun and it’s great to be here. At the end I think only one can win so I think all the rest of us, we are in a way disappointed. But that’s the name of the game.
“I think it was a fun competition, I would have liked to go a bit further, to drive a bit more, but sometimes it’s like this. Nevertheless it’s been a great day, a great two days with a great crowd coming today and good support. I think we all enjoyed it.”