Vettel: New Ferrari a 'step up' and Mercedes' DAS not 'the ticket to win'

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Sebastian Vettel is confident the new Ferrari offers a "step up" from last year after his first day in the SF1000.

The German skipped the first day of testing in Barcelona through illness but finally got behind the wheel on Thursday afternoon and will continue until the end of Friday.

So far this pre-season, Ferrari has been quite coy in their approach, opting not to go for fastest times but while it's not making the headlines last year's car did, Vettel did feel some gains.

“Yes. Enough? We will see, but it's definitely a step up from last year," he told Formula1.com when asked if he felt an increase in downforce.

“Obviously I had some laps and you feel very quickly the characteristics of the car in some places. In other places, I think there are some similarities [to the 2019 car], but I think it's still very early days.

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"We've still got plenty of stuff on the list still to go through for the next four days to try and see what the cars doing, how it will respond to certain set-ups and windows where we use the car.

“Obviously we had a clear plan of what we wanted to achieve with this year's car, and it is going in that direction, but now I think it's up to us to really explore the car back to front and see how it responds on track.”

On Thursday, however, Vettel, along with the rest of F1 grid, was taken aback by Mercedes introducing a new steering system called DAS, which sees the front wheels toe-in when the driver pulls the steering toward him on the straights.

Immediately, it caused all kinds of questions over legality and whether it was something that could give the Brackley-based team an insurmountable advantage.

But the German was calm about it all.

"I've seen it and we talked about it at lunch," said Vettel. "It obviously looks interesting. I guess the fact that they're running with it means it's legal.

"I don't know, but it's called steering wheel, not push or pull wheel!

"I don't know if it works. I guess there's quite a lot of work to bring it to the track and it’s probably not as easy as it looks for the driver to work with it. For sure it was a novelty for us to see.

"I don’t know, maybe I’m underestimating, but I don’t think that this is the ticket to win," he added.

"I think there’s a lot more elements to building up a competitive car, but for sure it’s an innovation, and we will see whether it’s something that everyone has to pick up on or not."

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