‘If you drive like last year you won’t finish’ – Vettel

2014 F1 season

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Sebastian Vettel says drivers will have to be more conservative at the wheel of the new generation of cars.

“There’s a lot of things that potentially will change,” said Vettel after the launch of the Red Bull RB10.

“How big the changes will be, we can’t say at this stage. Whether it favours myself or another driver in particular, just because of the way they drive, it’s very tricky to know at this stage.”

With drivers limited to 100kg of fuel per race, fuel conservation is expected to play a greater role, especially at tracks where consumption is high.

“For sure, there will be new elements of driving skill, different skills that you’ll have to get on top of and adapt,” said Vettel. “If you drive it the same you drove it last year in the race, for example, you won’t see the chequered flag.”

Red Bull had a slow start to the first day of testing. Vettel completed just three laps after the team made a “mistake” while preparing the car on Monday.

“Obviously, previously with the new cars that we’ve launched here in Jerez, in the end, it was just the same toys under the cover, just probably laid out differently or way or set up in a different way,” Vettel explained.

“Whereas this year, there are a lot of new things. As you can see, there’s very little running so far. So everyone is struggling. It’s a massive challenge to get all your parts lined up ready to roll out of the garage first of all.”

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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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50 comments on “‘If you drive like last year you won’t finish’ – Vettel”

  1. Hm, I call ******** there Seb. From what Renault itself has mentioned before the season (and it fits with information from Mercedes from last years), a race like Melbourne is one of the more fuel heavy tracks, so yes, it will be tight, just like it was on the edge for some last year. At the same time, Monza is not expected to be any problem at all (nor is Monaco), just like some other tracks.

    Sure, its a different approach – finetuning how to use the turbo, and the different parts of the hybrid package and battery to get there as fast as possible – but how is that different from before?

    1. I may be wrong, but I read it differently. He did not appear to be saying that, if you drive like last year, you will run out of fuel, but that the cars behave so differently this year that you must drive them in a very different way.

    2. Very different, and quite obvious isnt it? Last year, it was maximing throttle for maximum exhaust gases. This year it’s conservative on throttle trying to safe fuel. And that is just generally speaking. Im sure, in detail, there are even more differences.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        29th January 2014, 14:20

        The tyres are going to be more durable this year also which means that you can be more aggressive with the wheel and under breaking. Last year you had to be very careful to ensure your tyres lasted 10 laps. In effect, you may have to coast into corners to save fuel but once you’re there, you can chuck it in because the tyres should last longer.

        The style of driving will be very different so it’ll be interesting to see how the drivers stack up now. It won’t be the same order as last year.

    3. @bascb
      what ********?? He is 100% correct. if you drive flat out like they did last year (at least in fuel department), you wont finish this year. simple as that. Fuel savings will be critical at some tracks.

      1. Have a good look at last years races and show me a single one where the guys on the podium were able to push all race and I will wholeheartedly apologize for giving a wrong statement @juzh.

        I am convinced you would find no such race, because teams know fully well that it saves overall race time when they under-fuel (at most races they had far less than a full fuel tank), and they always count on being able to do part of the race at less than full pace. Off course last year another reason for having to slow down was the tyres, something that should be less extreme this year (with Pirelli planning the tyres to be more durable).
        Yes, fuel saving will now be limited more, but on the other hand, teams will have far more variables to play with so it won’t be all that much of a difference altogether. And at some tracks most engine manufacturers have already mentioned that the total fuel used should be easily enough even now (Monza and Monaco were specifically named).

    4. Yeah, the Four time world champ doesn’t know what he’s talking about

      1. Oh, he does know @prof-kirk. But he and his team have an agenda (everyone has an agenda, maybe save Kimi), so they put out statements that support what they want to achieve.

  2. Is DR scheduled for days 3 & 4? If so, Seb better get some miles in his new “toy” this afternoon

    1. Yes, and the drivers for the next two days will have more mileage.
      Or more like mileage considering that Vettel hasn’t done 10 full laps.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        29th January 2014, 14:22

        True but it’s still all about reliability at the moment as well as gathering some data to make sure the car’s behaviour correlates to that of the simulator. They won’t focus on setting the car up until the next test anyway.

    2. Not gonna happen, his turbo has in some way given up. He won’t be out on track again today.

  3. I just hope that in qualifying there will be no saving. I realize that black smoke coming out from exhaust pipes, like in previous turbo-era, is too much to hope for. Aggressive power slide driving is what i really want to see. At least hope to see…

    Otherwise it is too much saving in modern F1.

    1. Well, we’re all doing our bit saving the planet aren’t we?

      F1 drivers will have to be careful & canny whilst racing to the flag, and that is why I personally like the new tech. The V8’s were the engines that were boring and obsolete; turbo with gadgets is definitely the way forward.

      1. I’m not believer in Al Gore propaganda. There is no proof, just speculation, that exhaust gases are changing planets climate. One big volcanic eruption make more gases than hundred years of human activity.

        1. @latvian

          Sadly, this is not one of those things that stop existing just because you don’t believe in them.

        2. you both realize the the race fuel is only a small fraction of what F1 teams use during the year flying around the globe right?

          1. Thank you. It’s ridiculous for a racing car to save fuel. It’s not racing. And from a green standpoint, it makes absolutely zero difference that a F1 car has less emissions.

          2. Yes, but the point is that the teams will develop ways to improve efficiency, and those developments will eventually make its way to road cars, thus saving millions of times more. That’s part of the reason for the regulation changes.

          3. for the record, if i had my way, they would free up the engines even more and let the teams get creative instead of just naming a specific solution and letting the teams develop that. What would they come up with if the only limit was X amount of fuel per race.

            The one rule I would like to see added would be to make them use locally available commercial fuel. I.E. the same type of gas that available at the pump in whatever country the race is in.

        3. As with everthing, there is always an alternative viewpoint….Where did you get your data from?

          ” Our studies show that globally, volcanoes on land and under the sea release a total of about 200 million tonnes of CO2 annually.

          This seems like a huge amount of CO2, but a visit to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) website (http://cdiac.ornl.gov/) helps anyone armed with a handheld calculator and a high school chemistry text put the volcanic CO2 tally into perspective. Because while 200 million tonnes of CO2 is large, the global fossil fuel CO2 emissions for 2003 tipped the scales at 26.8 billion tonnes. Thus, not only does volcanic CO2 not dwarf that of human activity, it actually comprises less than 1 percent of that value.”

        4. No proof, besides all that proof that they have.

          1. I would like to see their proof of global cooling, I have seen their proof for global warming, not really convinced on that one, seems they have it nailed by stating the climate changes, that one’s probably the hardest to deny :)

        5. Just shut up.

    2. The issue is not so much fuel saving with the new engines but maximising what you can extract from a set amount. It’s all about thermal efficiency and recouping lost energy, which is heavily influential for road cars – a ludicrous amount of the energy in fuel is wasted as spent heat, so any contributions towards reducing that are welcome.

    3. @latvian

      Aggressive power slide driving is what i really want to see.

      You won’t.

      For one, it is inefficient. All that sideways movement only slows drivers down. Rally drivers might slide, but only on low-grip surfaces like gravel and mud where their momentum won’t be interrupted by a surface like tarmac, which had far more grip.

      And secondly, it will butcher even the most durable of tyres. Sliding of any kind puts stress on the construction of the tyre, stress that the tyres were never meant to endure. If a driver slips up and is forced to correct his steering resulting in a power-slide every now and then, it should be okay. But if he is doing it deliberately, the tyres won’t last two laps.

  4. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    29th January 2014, 13:35

    So, if we thought races were boring because itsimpossible to see drivers going flat-out, now there will be some races which will be at Safety Car speed… just to reach the finish line. Wow, that will really be the pinacle of racing. (#:( )

    1. It would be like the Top Gear challenge where they had to drive from Switzerland to Blackpool on one tank of fuel.

    2. There will be no races at safety car speed, unless under safety car conditions! Just you wait and see. Some races ay be marginal, but not exactly how you’ve described it.

  5. Vettel completed 11 laps in two days, amazing …

  6. If Vettel is correct, he along with Alonso and Button are championship favourites, and Hamilton has no chance.

    1. Keep on dreaming, Button NEVER will become WDC again, Vettel without his rear down force is nothing! and Alonslow without his No1 status can’t do anything. It’s all about Raikonen and Hamilton!.

      1. good to see such founded and well backed statements here.

        1. Well, it’s known that Alonso without his No1 status is nothing special, hence 2004 and 2007 and if he is really good why does he need No1 status in the first place ?.

          1. @concalvez00
            Yeah, Alonso had a #2 driver driving alongside him in the past four years (2010-2013). Only this “#2” beat Raikkonen.

          2. @kingshark that isn’t exactly the most valid of counter-arguments (pre versus post accident) but otherwise I agree – calling up Alonso on his lack of ability on the basis of two seasons is slightly ludicrous. He may be one to lose his cool absolutely, but it doesn’t adversely affect his driving – he is undeniably sound in that department.

          3. He doesnt need it. Massa is so usually so far behind that point becomes moot.

      2. I also think it’s gonna be between Mercedes and Ferrari, but I think it could also be Alonso or Rosberg. The driver who gets the hang of better in the first races and is lucky no to break down much is gonna be driver number one. Atm it is hard to say which one, imo.

      3. Vettel with no rear downforce is nothing?

        Let’s see.

      4. I don’t understand where your opinions are founded upon, and could go on about how Jenson is a multiple race winner, how Seb won races and Championships before exhaust blown diffusers took full effect, and how Alonso is one of the most intelligent racers on the grid…or I could just let the three of them show you themselves.

        1. Agree, he’s obviously not seen any of 2011 where Button was the best driver not in a Red Bull and not named Sebastian! Every driver has their fanboys and their haterzz. I like an array of drivers and teams. Mostly from their determination and behaviour (sportsmanship counts big here). I like Hammy’s raw pace, Alonso’s starting and racecraft, Bottas’ potential, and Massa’s spirit (when it is not being crushed) but my favourites guys are tough but ultimately fair in wheel to wheel racing: Kimi and Jenson are two of the best at it IMHO.

  7. Absolutely everything coming out of RedBull is negative so far – fearless prediction: they falter this year.

    1. Definitely a bold prediction based on two days of testing!

      1. True, but the law of averages says you can’t win ’em all, right? We can dream that it won’t be another walk to the WDC for anyone, and a big rule shake-up usually doesn’t favour the front runners, as they have the most to lose. RBR have had an incredible run and hats off to them, but it was aided in no small part by exhaust blowing (keeping your foot in hard during cornering) which simply won’t work this year. I’m hopeful and early indications point to Merc powered cars will be class of the field, but who knows. It is encouraging that aero may count for a lot less this year than good driving and reliability… But some people will still find excuses to moan about how F1 is dead. :)

    2. @maciek – When you sound out the name of the chassis, the “Red Bull RB10” becomes “Red Bull are beaten”.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys I gotta admit, that’s pretty funny.

  8. Despite all the hoo and haa, I still see Red Bull and Vettel coming on top and could very well be his 5th title.

    1. @ialtair
      I boldly predict that they will fall off the cliff like Schumi and Ferrari did in 2005.

  9. Bensons BBC blog headline annoyed me. “Vettel Struggleing with new car”. I hate it when headlines contain complete mis-information. He has hardly been able to drive it yet, how do we know he is struggling…..
    The team “may” be struggling to get the car set-up but you can hardly say Vettel is….

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