Sebastian Vettel has said he hopes that Ferrari will soon able to challenge Mercedes, saying its dominance is hurting interest in the sport. He also said the complexity of the cars was taking away from fans' enjoyment.
Speaking in an interview posted on his personal website on Monday, the 28-year-old German driver lavished praise on his team, describing Ferrari as "simply a legend," before adding that he could imagine ending his racing career at the Scuderia.
The four-time drivers' champion also said he had been surprised at how well he had done in his first season with the team, when he won three races and finished third in the standings behind the two Mercedes drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Ferrari also finished second behind Mercedes in the constructors' standings.
However, he said the fact that the two Mercedes drivers had been so dominant over the past couple of years was not helpful to the sport, as it had taken away the suspense for many fans.
Recognizing that it was his job to try to change this, Vettel said he was going into his second season at Ferrari convinced that changes made to his vehicle in the off-season would bring him closer to catching up.
"We know that our package isn't strong enough to pass Mercedes but we are working on it and we are heading in the right direction," Vettel said.
Engines not loud enough
Beyond the dominance of Mercedes, Vettel also pointed to a couple of other factors that have led to dwindling interest in the sport, blaming it on complex rules and the cars themselves.
"The fan must be able to identify again with the technology in the car, it is much too complex at the moment, he said. He also bemoaned the fact that modern Formula One engines are too quiet.
"The sound is missing," he said.
Vettel also said he was particularly looking forward to racing in the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, after there was no Formula One race in his home country last year.
Formula One teams begin testing in Spain next week, with the season to begin on March 20 with the Australian Grand Prix.
pfd/rd (dpa, SID)