Formula 1

Ferrari warned to expect 'ruthless' Sebastian Vettel

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Former team-mate Daniel Ricciardo has warned Ferrari to expect a "ruthless" Sebastian Vettel as the German begins life after Red Bull.

The Australian largely outshined the four-time world champion in his first year at the Milton Keynes-based outfit finishing third in the Drivers' championship as Vettel languished in fifth - 71 points behind the 25-year-old.

Yet when Ricciardo was announced as a 2014 Red Bull driver back in September 2013, many held little hope for the man from Perth going up against a dominant world champion in a team centered mostly around him.

Bringing a team together

And now Ricciardo has revealed a little more about how Vettel operates and what Ferrari should expect as he inserts himself into the loop at Maranello.

"The way he basically brings the people who work with him close to him is impressive," he told the Express. "It's the way he demands and gets what he wants.

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"We [racing drivers] are never happy with our cars and we always want something better from it and the way he approaches that, he is quite ruthless but quite fair at the same time.

"He has a good balance of being serious and looking the team in the eye and saying, 'I need this'. He doesn't rest. He is not going to be happy being behind.

"You do need this otherwise it is easy to get pushed over."

Adapting to Ferrari culture

It is an interesting insight given how the first man from Red Bull's young driver program to become world champion, really did assert his authority over Ricciardo's predecessor Mark Webber including a number of controversial moments ranging from the use of upgraded front wings at the 2010 British Grand Prix to the infamous 'Multi-21' at Sepang in 2013.

Despite Webber being the veteran at the team, once Vettel began delivering on the promise he had shown winning for Toro Rosso in 2008, there was only one man Red Bull were turning to for success.

Whether that kind of approach works at Ferrari will be interesting to watch, one of the reasons the man Vettel replaces, McLaren returnee Fernando Alonso, lost patience with the Italian team was because he wasn't allowed to fully express his thoughts about how he felt about the under-performing cars he was given.

The most notable example was after the 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix, when then president Luca di Montezemolo publicly warned Alonso over comments he made referring to the struggles the team were having.

Vettel too has previously been open about any opinions he has and has spoken strongly about his dislike for the new V6 turbo hybrid power units F1 introduced last year, but the 27-year-old will have to likely tone down his views and keep them internal in what will be a difficult first year at Ferrari.

2015 car behind schedule

Certainly his hopes for an immediate impact appear to be hit even before we have seen the new Prancing Horse after comments by new president Sergio Marchionne admitting work on the 2015 car was a little behind schedule.

"We're starting the season a bit late because the design of the new car was started late," he was quoted by ESPN at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit. "But we don't have to freeze the engine by the first race, so it will be a very interesting season. I think the car will get better as we go through the year."

Indeed Ferrari had been one of the catalysts behind the FIA admitting the loophole in the regulations that will now permit all engine suppliers, including Honda following an FIA U-turn, limited development during the upcoming season.

Building for the future

Despite the late start for 2015, however, Marchionne believes Ferrari is now building the foundations for a return to the top of F1 as they embark on their longest streak without a win in over a decade and having not secured any world championship since 2008.

"We have a new guy, a team principal, who has been involved in racing a long part of his professional life - Maurizio Arrivabene. And he's busy now. We've got a technical guy, (James) Allison, who's taking over the technical side of the business. So we've got the team," he said.

F1 success key for company success

And Marchionne also continues to stand by his belief that the time had come for fresh faces at Maranello claiming a success Ferrari in F1 equates to a success Ferrari all-round.

"It was time for a change. I think Luca has done a great job of leading that business for 23 years, but we hadn't won an F1 championship since 2008. We had a disaster of a season in 2014, and I think organisations tend to get lazy, so it was time to bring about some change.

"On the road car side [business] is doing tremendously well, but at the heart of the success of Ferrari is what it does on the Formula One track. And if it doesn't get that right, if it doesn't fight properly, then I think it will ultimately impact on brand - so we had to intervene."

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