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Published: 12:07 | 18/12/15

Allison backs Ferrari progression

Ferrari technical director James Allison says the Italian team will be a "realistic" challenger to Mercedes in 2016.

Ferrari finished the season second in the constructors' championship with 428 points, 275 points behind Mercedes, a huge improvement on their 2014 campaign where they failed to win a race and secured just two podium finishes.

Allison has been particularly impressed with the performance of lead driver Sebastian Vettel, who won grands prix in Malaysia, Hungary and Singapore and was on the podium a further ten times this year.

"If we do everything we intend, we have a realistic chance next year will be a classic year for F1 - and for Ferrari I hope even stronger," Allison told the BBC F1 Review show.

"We don't have as good a car as the Mercedes, that's obvious, and yet we've won three races. Sebastian has won all three.

"And the reason that he has won those three and put it on the podium as much as he has is that we ask him to sort of work miracles to put his car in a competitive position, because the car is not yet good enough to be the winning car.

"And he delivers those miracles sort of lap after lap, race after race, weekend after weekend."

Allison, who worked with Michael Schumacher for five years between 2000 and 2005, likens Vettel to the seven-time world champion in his willingness to put the team above personal ambitions.

"Sebastian is one of the unusual characters who is very straightforward and easy," he continued.

"Egoless is wrong, but his ego is kept in check to be part of the group and team. It makes him a pleasure [to work with] and it greatly increases the power of the group when the person who has to deliver on Sunday wants to be part of the team.

"I have worked with two guys who really, really understand the value of being in a team and one was Michael and the other is Sebastian.

"That's not to denigrate the others but it's a particular strength in Sebastian and it was a particular strength in Michael."

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