2015 TITLE HOPES: Could Sebastian Vettel lead Ferrari to win this year's championship? Image: AFP / Fred Dufour
SHANGHAI, China - Ferrari's technical boss has played down hopes the fabled Maranello marque might be ready to charge for the title.
Sebastian Vettel won in Malaysia, is just three points behind Mercedes' championship leader Lewis Hamilton, and team mate Kimi Raikkonen was second fastest in China on Friday.
"That was very surprising," 1997 F1 World champion Jacques Villeneuve told Sky Italia. "Ferrari seems to have continued where it left in Malaysia, even without the heat."
But James Allison, the man widely credited with putting Ferrari back on track after a tumultuous period, is trying to keep expectations low for now. Allison said in China: "Mercedes has a bit more horse power than us and a bit more downforce than us.
"Until we've closed those two gaps it's not realistic to talk about title challenges."
So although Vettel has already won a grand prix after just two races in 2015, Allison said the pre-season objective of "a couple of wins" is still more realistic.
Vettel is also kicking a low ball for now.
"We are only in the third race," Vettel is quoted by France's L'Equipe, when asked if Ferrari has proved it's back where it belongs at the front of F1.
"Let's be patient. Our first goal is to be first after the Mercedes. That was the case Friday."
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