F1 is shaping up for a ‘silver versus red’ battle in 2015.
The dominant reigning champions Mercedes were surprised in Malaysia to have been beaten to the chequered flag by Ferrari newcomer Sebastian Vettel.
Boss Toto Wolff said the “wake-up call” will speed up technical developments and trigger a strategy re-think.
His colleague Paddy Lowe agrees: “It is now clearer than ever that there is serious competition for this world championship”.
Ferrari is also vowing to keep the pressure on.
“We have some aerodynamic improvements coming and we will bring them to the car as quickly as possible,” technical director James Allison told Germany’s Sport Bild.
“The aerodynamic regulations are still young, so there is a lot of potential.”
Ferrari has undoubtedly made a step forward with its car in 2015, but others see the biggest gain in the area of the Italian marque’s ‘power unit’.
“The two teams that have taken the biggest leap are (Ferrari-powered) Ferrari and Sauber,” Williams’ engineering boss Rob Smedley is quoted by Spain’s El Confidencial.
Also getting a lot of credit, however, are technical boss Allison and quadruple world champion Vettel.
Allison, however, played down any comparison to the great technical brain of the Schumacher era, Ross Brawn.
“I have won exactly zero world titles,” he told Auto Motor und Sport, before joking: “Ross won several million.”
As for Vettel, his former mentor Dr Helmut Marko said Malaysia was the perfect rejoinder to those who thought the German can only win in a Red Bull.
“Last year, Sebastian simply could not use all of his little tricks with our car, but with this Ferrari he can use them again,” he told Sport Bild.
“He never forgot how to drive,” Marko added of the four-time title winner. (GMM)