Sebastian Vettel believes Ferrari needs to produce a stronger package in order to beat Mercedes in the upcoming 2019 Formula 1 season.

Impressive gains in the engine department over the winter enabled Ferrari to turn in its greatest title challenge yet to Mercedes in 2018, with the Italian squad appearing to boast the fastest car on the grid for much of the season.

But hopes of a first world championship since 2008 were dashed in the second half of the campaign by a combination of driver errors from Vettel and team mistakes, as Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton capitalised to charge to both titles.

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Asked what Ferrari has to do to pull off a consistent title challenge in 2019, Vettel replied: “I think we need a stronger package.

“We certainly have had our moments this when we had strong races but we also had races which weren’t very strong, we weren’t quick enough.

"Overall it’s the speed that decides and I think more often than not we were lacking a little bit of speed.

“We’re working very hard and I think the motivation is there to do that final step that is still outstanding.”

A host of upgrades introduced across races in Singapore, Russia and Japan failed to achieve the expected results and proved costly as Ferrari suffered a dramatic loss in performance to Mercedes at a crucial stage of the season.

By the time Ferrari found a solution at the United States Grand Prix - by reverting back to an old-spec version of its 2018 car - the damage had already been done, leaving it staring down the barrel of a second title defeat to Mercedes in a row.

Vettel acknowledged a series of factors ultimately derailed Ferrari’s campaign, including the death of former Scuderia CEO and chairman Sergio Marchionne.

“In the end it’s a big operation, so a lot of small things that need to come together but I think everybody’s there,” he explained.

“We’ve mentioned it many times. Obviously we lost our path a little bit halfway through the year.

“Things didn’t come together so obviously we did a step back towards the end of the year which enabled us to be more competitive again but I think we’ve understood what went wrong.

“We obviously tried to do a better job in the future, that was one key thing. On the other hand I think we had a lot of lessons, it was a tough year in general.

“The team is strong and the team has potential but surely it was a lot of things that happened inside the team.”

Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene believes the Scuderia must swap its mentality "from a fighter to a winner” in 2019 if it is to finally end Mercedes’ run of dominance.

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