Vettel: Ferrari team spirit is right after personnel changes


'For sure it's a new challenge, ' said Vettel.

"That's obviously what we want but at this point it is very far away". Mercedes stars Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas came on stage with team chief Toto Wolf, with the British driver snapped taking pictures of the supporters gathered in Melbourne.

McLaren, Williams and Toro Rosso have all new driver line-ups with Brits Lando Norris, George Russell and Alexander Albon aiming to impress in their debut seasons for their respective teams. "I think I've learned to take things more relaxed and once you learn a bit more about yourself you tend to find those things that you want to do that you feel are best for you in terms of preparation, whether it's hanging out with friends, whether it's being 24/7 at the gym, finding the balance in your free time and fun stuff, work stuff, finding that balance, I've been able to fine tune it a bit and in general feel more relaxed about everything".

Philip Morris last October made a public return to Formula One through its scientific research subsidiary Mission Winnow and branded Ferrari cars with the logo.

"What we see from testing, we think [we are underdogs]", Bottas told reporters in Melbourne.

"It's only guessing where we are going to be but, as we last were on track, we are chasing Ferrari and we'll see where we are here". "In terms of performance, it's hard to judge where we are". It's a massively long season, and always with some regulation changes like this year is going to be a lot about how much you can improve the auto, because the cars in Abu Dhabi are going to be so much quicker than this weekend. "I'm confident the vehicle will be better here [than in testing], but if it's enough, we'll find out".

The pressure is arguably heavier on the shoulders of German rival Sebastian Vettel, who won just five races past year and saw his challenge evaporate with a string of mistakes on track.

The cars feature new front and rear wings, aimed at making it easier for them to get closer and overtake, while the driver that sets the fastest lap can earn an additional championship point, so long as he finishes in the top 10 in Sunday's race.

And it is not only the threat of Ferrari that concerns Bottas, the Finn also expecting Red Bull to go well with their new Honda engines. "We have experience, it's no coincidence that we are world champions so we have to be diligent and stay balanced", added Hamilton, who has won twice in Melbourne, in 2008 and 2015.