New engine will be a big challenge in 2014: Vettel
Sebastian Vettel sped off with the world title yet again but a technical shake-up and an evolving drivers' landscape threaten to loosen his hold on Formula One next year.
While Vettel has been unstoppable in the second half of this season, the introduction of new engines and fuel limits will prove a new challenge to his Red Bull team.
Vettel and Red Bull have won both the drivers’ and constructors’ titles for the past four seasons, matching the feats of Ferrari and McLaren in past generations.
But that era could already be at an end, depending on how Red Bull copes with the swathe of new technical requirements for 2014.
“It’s a big, big project waiting for us next year,” said Vettel, after sealing Red Bull’s latest double championship triumph with victory in Sunday’s Indian Grand Prix.
“I think teams like Mercedes, Ferrari spend a lot of time thinking of new ideas. It’s a new car, it’s a new engine so it will be an incredibly big
Next year teams will be using smaller 1.6-litre V6 turbo engines, down from the current 2.4-litre V8s with their trademark ear-splitting whine.
Extra power will come from Energy Recovery Systems, which recycle energy used in braking and from waste heat to give a boost lasting about 33 seconds.
In another nod to energy efficiency, fuel will be capped at 100 litres per race, significantly less than the 160 litres typically used this season.
And exhaust pipes will have to point upwards, to try to stop teams diverting exhaust gases to create extra downforce, which helps cornering.
Technical requirements will not be Vettel’s only hurdle next season, with Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and Romain Grosjean of Lotus looking likely to be among his challengers next year.
“Sebastian has been the guy to beat in the last four years so our target next year will be to beat whoever is our fiercest competitor,” said Rosberg.