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Vettel yet to name 2016 title contender


Formula 1 News - March, 2016

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Mar.7 (GMM) Sebastian Vettel says he is yet to give a personal name to his 2016 car, which will carry the hopes of the entire Ferrari team and much of the wider F1 world.

"No, not yet," said the German when asked if he has decided what the successor to last year's 'Eva' - the Latin form of the Biblical Eve - will be called.

"Together with my mechanics we will come up with something before the first race," Vettel smiled.

It is not just the fans who are hoping Ferrari can challenge Mercedes' dominance this year, but also president Sergio Marchionne who has set his targets very high.

"I think first of all that my own expectations are always higher than those externally," Vettel told the German broadcaster RTL.

"On the other hand it is very positive that you hear that expectations are very high -- it means in a way that people have confidence in us.

"My goal is clearly to win races and be world champion. Anything else is not good enough, which goes not only for me but I think the whole team," he added.

After the mere eight days of official pre-season running, the general impression is that while Mercedes has been sandbagging, Ferrari's less reliable new car may actually be tantalisingly close to setting the pace.

"I think there is still a lot to do, but the base is very good -- we have made a big step forward," Vettel agrees.

"I think we are in the position that we want to be, with our goal of course to win the world championship."

Whether Ferrari and Vettel can do that is the million-dollar question.

"It will be like 2015," Sauber's Felipe Nasr predicted in an interview with Sonntagsblick. "The title for Hamilton but maybe Vettel ahead of Rosberg this time."

His teammate Marcus Ericsson, however, said: "I bet on Vettel, before the two Mercedes of Hamilton and Rosberg."

Ericsson's 'bet' may be based on Ferrari's impressive pace in the final Barcelona test, which left Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel in first and second places.

And Raikkonen's best time, according to Williams' Valtteri Bottas, was very good.

"They will be fast," the Finn told Ilta Sanomat newspaper.

"It will not be easy to beat them, but I still see Mercedes as stronger than Ferrari," he added.

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