(CNN)He left Red Bull after his dominance came to a crashing halt last year, but Sebastian Vettel is not concerned if he has to wait another season to add to his Formula One title haul at Ferrari.
Sebastian Vettel calls for 'realism' over Ferrari title chances
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Crowned world champion for four consecutive years between 2010 and 2013, Vettel moved to the Italian manufacturer ahead of the 2015 campaign -- even though expectations were low for a team coming off the back of its worst season in 21 years.
But Ferrari's record of just two podium finishes in 2014 has already been bettered after five races in 2015. Vettel has registered four top-three finishes, including a Malaysian Grand Prix triumph in March, while Kimi Raikkonen secured second place in Bahrain.
Vettel sits third in the drivers' standings -- 31 points off leader and defending champion Lewis Hamilton -- but he is realistic about his chances of landing Ferrari's first drivers' championship since 2007.
"The primary objective is to get the team back to where it belongs," Vettel, who endured his worst season at Red Bull in 2014 after failing to win a race, told CNN.
"For this season I think you need to be realistic. There is still a gap which makes it incredibly difficult to fight for the championship, but we will try our best for as long as we can.
"But really, I think the focus is there mid and long-term to get back to the top."
And Vettel is confident Ferrari, which appointed new team principal Maurizio Arrivabene during the close season, is moving in the right direction.
Much has changed at Ferrari since the end of the 2014 season. Two-time world champion driver Fernando Alonso opted to move to McLaren, while president Luca Di Montezemolo and former team principal Marco Mattiacci also departed.
"Things are going in the right way. It's still early days but if you look long-term, there's lots of new things happening, good things happening, so I am confident that we will catch up in the future and we will make that final step," Vettel said.
"Talk about this season, I think you have to be fair and keep the feet on the ground. We have done a massive step, probably the biggest step anyone has done over the winter which is great to see, but perhaps greater to see tha
"I would rate it as 100% that we will get back to the top," Vettel added. "Because from what I see from what is happening in the background, the atmosphere, the motivation, the will, the passion, it makes me really confident that we will get there."
'Starting from scratch'
The overhaul at Ferrari, both to its personnel and its car, helped convince Vettel to end his 15-year association with Red Bull Racing.
"The thing that convinced me most, apart from my love and passion in many ways for Ferrari, was the fact that it was an opportunity to start from scratch with a lot of new people on board with a different approach to the whole thing," said the 27-year-old.
"I think that in the end that was really what made me very interested because there is a feeling of change and a feeling of creating something very successful in the future."