Vettel a good fit for Ferrari, says Surtees

Tue Jan 20, 2015 2:32pm EST
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Sebastian Vettel could be just the man to revive Ferrari's Formula One fortunes because both need to recover their lost luster after a dismal year, the team's 1964 world champion John Surtees said on Tuesday.

Quadruple world champion Vettel failed to win a race in 2014 with Red Bull and was eclipsed by Australian team mate Daniel Ricciardo.

The 27-year-old German has replaced Spain's double world champion Fernando Alonso as Kimi Raikkonen's team mate at the most successful and oldest outfit on the grid, one who also ended the season winless for the first time since 1993.

"He's very interested in the past, and the cars and the motorcycles. He's a great enthusiast, but there was something missing from him this last year," Surtees told Reuters at the regional finals of the F1 in Schools competition at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge soccer stadium.

"The sparkle wasn't there. But I think because he's such an enthusiast, this is just what he needs. And what Ferrari needs," added the 80-year-old Briton.

"Someone who says 'Lets find ourselves again' because they've both got to find themselves again. So that makes a good combination."

Surtees, the only man to win the world championship on two wheels and four and now the oldest surviving F1 champion, took his title with the Italian team in an era when there was plenty of political in-fighting at Maranello but less money.

Under-performing Ferrari had a turbulent year off the track too, with three principals in the space of a season, and the Briton said he was surprised by developments.   Continued...

Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany speaks during a news conference at the Suzuka circuit in Suzuka, western Japan, October 2, 2014, ahead of Sunday's Japanese F1 Grand Prix. REUTERS/Yuya Shino