Sebastian Vettel says he is 'here to help' Ferrari develop its machinery despite a critique from team boss Maurizio Arrivabene in which he was told he needs to 'refocus' on driving.
The four-time world champion's priorities have been under scrutiny in recent races after Ferrari team principal Arrivabene commented during the Japanese Grand Prix that Vettel needs to be 'reminded' to focus 'on the main job' of driving the car.
Though Vettel has gone on to play down the comments and deny there is a rift between himself and Arrivabene, speaking ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix he reiterated that he wants to be an asset for Ferrari when it comes to using his experience in improving the car.
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“When I joined Red Bull I was 20, 21 years old so I guess I have a little bit more experience now or the day that I joined last year,” he responded when asked whether he feels more central to Ferrari than he did at Red Bull.
“When you grow up, you build a certain experience, you are able I think to see a bit the bigger picture. I guess it changes also your mind and your perspective of things. Of course if I see I can help somewhere, in the end I'm here to drive the car, but also here to help.”
Indeed, Ferrari and Vettel have endured a trying year in 2016, hampered by a combination of clumsy on-track issues, ill-timed technical problems and an upturn in form from Red Bull.
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A year on from Vettel's three race wins, the German nonetheless feels the results have merely not showcased the true pace of the Ferrari rather than there being a fundamental competitiveness issue.
“I think what we need to do is do exactly what we are doing, I don't think we are lacking anything. Obviously in Austin we were not as competitive as we would have liked to have been, I think in Japan we had the potential to put both cars on the podium if we start where we qualified so yeah, very much it has been up and down, probably the last 10 races I guess for the team as well.
“I don't think we need to actually change anything. It's clear that we have the car that we have, we know we are not the favourites going into the weekend but still we are here to fight and I think we have a chance always to win and always to fight for podiums.”
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