Vettel expects rules changes to close up field

2012 F1 season

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 2012

Sebastian Vettel says he expects a “very tight” battle in 2012, unlike his dominant championship victory last year.

Speaking following the launch of the Red Bull RB8 he said: “It would be wrong to go into this season and expect 2011 to happen again. As in, getting into the lead early and having a big gap to the competitors in the championship.

“I think it will be very, very tight this year, and everything else will be a surprise to be honest.”

Vettel said the lack of room for innovation will level the playing field:

“Looking at the cars, there is not much room we have left to play for designers to find something extra. The last two years we had two big things taken away: the double-diffusers plus, for this year, the system around the blown exhaust.

“We’re missing that, so therefore I think it’s difficult to create a difference. We’ll see, obviously we hope that our car is better than all the others. But it will be difficult and I think the cars will be fairly similar, as in, I think the gaps will be even closer than they have been.”

Asked about Bernie Ecclestone’s remarks that it would be good if Vettel didn’t dominate in 2012, the world champion said: “I hope he’s wrong, obviously!

“It’s difficult to say, every season we start from zero again.

“Everyone has the same chance. We are all building our new cars and until we put them on the track to race each other we don’t really know, so we’ll see.

“I’m as confident as I can be at this point and hopefully we’ll have a good couple of days testing to prepare the season well.”

Vettel also said he hadn’t come up with a pet name for his new car yet: “To be honest last year we found a name for the car I think Wedneday before the first race. We might be a bit earlier this year but so far no names. We have a couple of candidates, top candidates, but nothing is decided yet.”

2012 F1 season

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Image © Red Bull/Getty images

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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19 comments on “Vettel expects rules changes to close up field”

  1. I hope nobody finds a magic trick to dominate the game the way RBR did last year.

    1. If some do, please let it be McLaren…. ;)

      1. Or Kimi maybe? :-)

  2. I really hope the field is closed up. Knowing that the race result last year would likely end up with the top three teams first, followed by Mercedes, then the midfield, then Williams and then the bottom three was boring. I want to see many teams on the podium this year, just like before 2010.

  3. While I wouldn’t be a fan of homogenous cars, I sure don’t mind the similarity being close between them such that the difference more and more becomes the driver of the car. I appreciate that it is no easy task to keep costs in F1 in check, while promoting innovation, while trying to see that one team doesn’t always run away with it from race one. It’s a difficult balancing act.

    Sounds to me like no team will have a huge edge this year…no magic innovation that would be deemed legal…of course I could easily be wrong…therefore I look for Red Bull to still be the team to beat, and just hope, like everyone else seems to, that the Macs, Ferraris, and Mercs, and hopefully at least the Lotuses if not others can shake things up from the getgo and put SV under some pressure.

  4. I really, really hope Sebastian is right. He’s an amazing driver, but I’d love to see him challenged by the others a bit more often!

    1. Agreed!! some races like India,Valencia & Turkey they were like a walk in the park for Seb.

  5. My God who cut Vettel’s hair? Justin Bieber? On topic I hope for a closer title battle this year. I almost fell asleep during some of the races.

  6. Hey Finger boy, name this one Ugly Ursula..

  7. That would be great, but unfortunately it won’t happen due to the waterfall of money McLaren, RB and Ferrari can spend.
    If they had their budgets capped somewhat, then it could be a really great season.
    So while SV worries about not having the dominant car any more, the ‘playing field’ I know of has 12 teams, not 4.

  8. From PhilDuncanF1 Twitter: “McLaren also claim they had best car at the end of last season, and that Vettel was just too good. Not sure Button and Hamilton will agree.” Think he already becomes the new benchmark in F1

  9. Is it me or does Seb look rather different in that picture.

  10. Sebastian Beiber!

  11. Ok Sebastian Bieber,McLaren is gonna win the championship This 2012 Season

    1. Ali G or the Head&Shoulder boy :)

  12. As brilliant as the RB7 was, it’s pretty much a fact that it didn’t enjoy a performance gap between it’s competitors as much as its predecessor did. That really then puts the ball in F1’s other teams.

    I wouldn’t attribute RBR’s success last year to having any wild innovation, they just hit the nail on the head from the first moment while McLaren dragged themselves out of the mire that was pre-season testing an Ferrari had an ongoing problem with tyres.

    I do expect things will be closer this year as no one really seems to have taken any gambles.

  13. I do have a mixed feeling about their domination last year. I like exciting races between teams but also think the blown diffuser as one of the biggest innovation in F1/race car history.

  14. To be a proper F1 Fanatic I think You need to understand that F1 is a facinating sport, where the competition comprises of:

    Finance – how to attract more sponsor money and get more prize money
    Design – how to design the best racecar within the written letter of the rules
    Production – how to produce the best racecar, to last a race distance
    Tuning – how to tune the cars setup etc. to suit the driver
    Tyres – Understand the tyres and adjust the car and driving style
    Strategy – how to plan development over the season
    Tactics – how to manage the resources in races to get the edge
    Pit crew – how to perform perfect pit-stops in cooperation with drivers
    Motivation – how to motivate the whole team to perform, perform
    Drivers – how to attract and keep the best drivers
    Future – how to develop the business, recruiting talents etc.

    I have probably forgotten something important.

    To me F1 is NOT about seeing which driver is the best, so rules have to leave room for designing new innovative solutions, and make it possible for a team to get a reward for being more innovative than the rest, i.e. not change the rules during a season as soon as someone have got an advantage.

    To Keith: There is a number of ” missing on the end of Quotations, and an s missing in Wednesday, second last line. Apart from that a very good article – as always:-)

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