A year on from the manufacturer's most recent win in the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel insists Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne is only placing as much pressure on the team as can be expected given the 'high level' of competition.
With Mercedes unusually struggling for form around the Marina Bay Circuit last season, Vettel waltzed to a dominant victory from pole position for Ferrari's third and final win of a successful 2015 campaign.
However, with a year having now passed since Ferrari last celebrated a win, Marchionne is said to be stepping up the pressure on the team behind the scenes to prove it has what it takes to rival Mercedes and also rebuff the challenge of an increasingly competitive Red Bull Racing.
Nevertheless, lead driver Vettel says this is pressure that it can expect and insists that while expectations are lofty, there is ultimately respect from Marchionne for the challenges it faces too.
“I think above all, knowing what's going on, he's realistic. I think he knew [in Monza], that we're not the favourites but it's something everyone in the team is up for and willing to change. Now, the way you need to look at it is not that we get smashed by Mercedes. I think the way we need to look at it first of all, and it is a question of respect, is to say that they do a very, very good job, they've strung a very strong team together.
“Both drivers are hardly making any mistakes, they are really clean every weekend and if we can be behind that, that's a positive because the level is very high. Obviously it's not satisfying for us, for anyone going from our president to us at the track, to all the people in the factory but as I said, I think what we need to do and what we know is our biggest strength is to do what we can do and rely on what we have.
“I think we know we need to improve for the future and that's what we target. The target is clear and of course you always aim for the highest, otherwise what's the point of going on the grid if you think that you can't win. But you have to be realistic as well, saying that they are the favourites but we'll try to give them a very, very hard time.”
Latest Tweets from Crash.net & GPF1rst