Although Sebastian Vettel appeared to crack under the pressure, Jock Clear insists the Ferrari driver “relishes the pressure” despite losing the title.
Vettel’s chances of securing a fifth World title came to naught at the Mexico Grand Prix when a P4 on the day for Lewis Hamilton handed the Brit an unassailable lead in the standings.
However, in the end, one mistakes too many from the German cost him dearly.
Clear, though, reckons he’ll come back stronger next season.
“The fact is, drivers of his caliber relish the pressure,” said the Ferrari senior performance engineer. “The top athletes pit themselves against the best and the pressure is the pressure. That’s part of the job.
“I think he has enjoyed the season. There have been highs and lows. I think he said recently that losing the championship in 2009 he found more frustrating.
“I think on the whole, he has come to this battle willing to take risks, willing to give it his all and we’re part of that.
“We’ve all done our part this year to the ups and downs.
“I think from Seb’s point of view it just gives him more strength to come back next year and say, ‘This is unfinished business.’”
He addedd: “We look back over the season, we look at the strengths of what is probably the strongest Ferrari season for 10 years and we build on those strengths.
“I think the win in Austin is a testament to the fact that the team does come back and does fight back and we did understand some of the issues we uncovered in the second third of the season.
“The fact is that over the course of 21 races you have to score more points than the opposition.”
Clear, who previously worked with Hamilton at Mercedes as well as seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher, refused to highlight the differences between the three or say which is the best.
“We don’t get the opportunity to make the ideal driver. So they all attack it in a different way. The opposition and the competition of the hour of the year obviously varies, so with all sportsman it’s very difficult to make direct comparisons.
“All I can say is that the common theme that all of these top drivers have is that they are exceptionally focused.
“They are exceptionally sensitive to everything around them. And that’s not just the car — that’s the support structure and the people around them.
“They require a whole load of things lining up to get those championships in the bag. And that’s where the team comes in.
“That’s why it’s not just about the driver. It’s not just about Schumacher or Vettel or Hamilton — it’s about the whole team. So we, with Seb, will create victories and championships, hopefully, down the line and it won’t be in the same way as Michael did.”
Catch up on all the latest Formula 1 news with The F1 Word: