Charles Leclerc's arrival at Ferrari could be the motivation Sebastian Vettel needs to step up in 2019, Formula 1 motorsport chief Ross Brawn believes.
The Monegasque is moving up to the Scuderia and bringing a great amount of expectation with him after a very strong rookie season at Sauber saw him finish 13th in the Drivers' Championship.
As another member of the next generation of drivers to challenge the established veterans at the front, many also think the hunger of a 21-year-old like Leclerc could see him beat Vettel ala Daniel Ricciardo at Red Bull in 2014.
And Brawn agrees the four-time world champion will be kept on his toes.
“The young Monegasque has been truly impressive in terms of speed and talent but now he has to make a significant step up," he said in his post-season debrief with the media.
"I’m sure his arrival at Ferrari will be a boost for the team and an added incentive for Vettel next year.
“Vettel was a worthy opponent for Lewis Hamilton but unlike the Englishman, the German failed to win all of the races he should have, nor could he win when he wasn’t favourite to do so."
Reflecting on Ferrari's 2018 season, while the dip after summer break ultimately proved costly, Brawn believes the team can be proud of their achievements despite the disappointment back home.
“When one doesn’t win a world championship that had seemed very winnable, it’s inevitable that questions are asked in order to understand what went wrong," he claimed.
“When the team in question is Ferrari, then the question is not just asked at the top but it becomes almost a national question in Italy, as I was able to see for myself during my decade in Maranello.
“Ferrari is condemned for finishing second in both championships, as it’s simply not good enough at home. And yet, there can be cause for satisfaction in Maranello, because over two years the team has managed to close a performance gap to Mercedes that in 2016 amounted to a second a lap.
“The shakeup of the technical management instigated by Sergio Marchionne bore fruit this year, with many new faces on the front line but I think most importantly it resulted in a new approach to the way the team operated and that gave the team a new spirit.”
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