Sebastian Vettel says he has no concerns about his future at Ferrari beyond the 2017 Formula 1 season, insisting the team is purely focused on giving him a car capable for a run at the title.
Having struggled to fulfil the lofty expectations of the 2016 season on the back of its return to race winning form in 2015, team principal Maurizio Arrivabene made headlines last time out in Japan when he suggested he was in no rush to re-sign Vettel for 2018.
With the Italian adding that the four-time world champion would need to 'earn' his place in the team during the 2017 season, many viewed his words as a thinly veiled assessment of Ferrari and Vettel's lacklustre season thus far.
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Nevertheless, with Ferrari showing more competitive form than of late in Singapore and Japan, ahead of the United States Grand Prix Vettel shrugged off the attention surrounding Arrivabene's words to insist his and the team's sole focus is trained its 2017 title bid.
“I think we are all fairly busy at this time to focus on the four races that we have left and focus in particular to prepare for next year. I think honestly that's where the main focus lies. I don't think it's that important to look into details.
“My contract is obviously all fine for next year so as I said, with a lot of things happening back in the factory, back in Maranello, I know that we are very, very busy -- that's also where I want the focus to be.”
With the upturn in pace credited to new parts still being introduced to the SF16-T even at this relatively late stage in the season, Vettel is now hopeful he will get the chance to show their true potential after compromised races in Singapore, Malaysia and Japan.
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“I think [the car upgrades] were a step forward. Both Kimi and myself we liked it straight away and I think it gave us quite good performance in Japan, and Japan is usually quite a good test for the overall performance of the car.
“Here you can argue is similar in some ways. The first sector has a lot of fast corners as well, the last sector is a little bit slower but overall I think it gave us good indication for this year. There's always some things we learn, next year the rules are changing quite a lot, but still every bit you understand about the car and how it works will help you for the future.”
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