Sebastian Vettel says drivers still aren’t convinced F1 has gone in the right direction by switching to V6 hybrid turbo engines.
The new engine formula increased last year has led to much quieter cars, which some claim has hurt F1’s appeal. Lap times also rose in the first year with the new engines, indicating a reduction in car performance levels. However this may also be due to new aerodynamic restrictions introduced last year, and so far this season lap times have fallen and top speeds continued to rise.
However Vettel remains sceptical about the change and claims other drivers share his view.
“I think the power unit, for us drivers – well, it is what it is,” he said during today’s FIA press conference. “I think we’re not probably at the same standings as the fans in terms of sound etc…”
“Obviously it is a step back but in terms of the technology behind it, it is incredible. The question still remains open, whether we need it or not, that’s for everyone, individually, to decide, I guess.”
According to Vettel, there are other aspects of current F1 car design which drivers are unhappy with.
“I think obviously the cars changed massively from ’13 to ’14, not just the power unit but also the car itself,” he said. “So I think for all of us it was the experience that there’s quite a lot less grip available, which as a driver is obviously not the right direction to go in because you want to go faster.”
The introduction of the new engines coincided with Vettel’s only win-less full season in F1 to date. However he said he is happier with this year’s car, which he scored his third victory with last weekend.
“There were some things that I had to get used to and for sure, at the beginning of the year, last year wasn’t great, getting the experience with this generation of cars etc…” Vettel explained.
“On top, I had a difficult year for many reasons but yeah, I think much more in control and comfortable with this year’s car compared to last year’s for many reasons, but I don’t think it’s down to the power unit really.”