Sebastian Vettel says he is absolutely sure Ferrari has the ability to catch and surpass Mercedes following if it can once again make a substantial step forward over the winter.
With three wins and 13 podiums, Vettel proved a thorn in the side of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in his first season as a Ferrari driver, the German repeatedly getting amongst the 'Silver Arrows' as Ferrari enjoyed an impressive return to form in 2015.
Though his push to beat Rosberg to the runners-up spot in the closing stages of the season was scuppered by his countryman's improved run of form in the final three races, Vettel still ended the year with nearly double the points his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
Indeed, Vettel describes Ferrari's return to form as 'a miracle', the step forward made in the twelve months giving him hope that another improvement over the winter could see him challenging Hamilton and Rosberg more often
“It is a miracle where we started off in the winter, setting fastest times, but [then] knowing in Australia and getting the confirmation we are a long way behind,” he said. “Then I haven't seen any other team making that much progress throughout the season.
“Obviously we had upgrades on our engine and we upgraded our car and naturally that brought us closer. Not close enough yet to really fight them and put them under pressure - but I 100 per cent believe that they are beatable, especially when you put pressure on them.
Indeed, Vettel feels Ferrari must now focus on its own efforts, rather than measure itself against Mercedes, in an effort to get on terms with its rival in 2016.
“I think our strategy has to be to focus on ourselves, like we did the whole season, work on ourselves. We had a lot of smiles this year and if we can increase the number of smiles [in 2016], it is also good news for the result next year.”