HUGE FAN BASE: Sebastian Vettel delighted scores of fans in Melbourne. Image, AFP / Mal Fairclough.
MELBOURNE, Australia - Sebastian Vettel has named his first Ferrari 'Eva' - yet another name to what is becoming a long list of ladies.
The quadruple Formula 1 champion has continued his personal tradition of giving his F1 machine a female nickname after switching from Red Bull to become a Maranello man.
The big question now is whether 'Eva' can take the title fight to dominant Mercedes in 2015.
Nico Rosberg said in Melbourne: "It would be nice if he could make our lives difficult but I think it will take them a while."
What is clear is that Ferrari is publicly delighted with its new No.1 driver after losing Fernando Alonso to McLaren.
Mercedes' team chairman Niki Lauda, who knows that role well, has been quoted by the German-language publication Focus as saying: "The Italians always need a driver to look up to. Sebastian is now in the position Schumacher once was."
New Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne has confirmed the feeling in the paddock that Ferrari was putting all its eggs in the Vettel basket since Alonso's departure.
According to Wikipedia, Vettel was inspired by American Second World War pilots who named their planes. He's reported as saying: "It’s important to have a close relationship with a car. Like a ship, a car should be named after a girl as it’s sexy."
The car he drove in 2008, a Toro Rosso STR3, was named Julie, followed by Kate and Kate's Dirty Sister (2009), Luscious Liz and Randy Mandy (2010), Kinky Kylie (2011), Abbey (2012), and Hungry Heidi (2013). Vettel's car for 2014, the Red Bull RB10, was baptised Suzie.
His new Ferrari has followed the tradition with Eva.
Referring to the Spaniard, Marchionne told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "It was not an easy marriage for him with Ferrari. Maybe it was right that this era came to an end after five years.
"It was probably better that way for both sides."
Marchionne made it clear that the future was called Vettel as the 27-year-old successfully combined "tranquillity with wisdom, which is not easy for a young man".
Marchionne was also happy with 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen, who was "not the Kimi that we saw last season".
"He is the Kimi that we knew before."
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