Skip to main content

F1: Will rule changes end Sebastian Vettel's dominance?

updated 12:04 PM EDT, Wed October 2, 2013
Red Bull has consistently provided Sebastian Vettel with the fastest car in F1.
Red Bull has consistently provided Sebastian Vettel with the fastest car in F1.
  • Formula One will introduce a whole host of new regulations for 2014 season
  • Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is poised to win a fourth consecutive drivers' title
  • McLaren believes changes in rules means teams will face adaptation problems

(CNN) -- Sebastian Vettel has dominated Formula One for the past three years and looks set to win a fourth straight drivers' championship -- but that could all change in 2014 when the winds of change are unleashed on the sport.

Vettel's Red Bull has been the standout car, with the German consistently faster than his rivals at Ferrari, Mercedes, Lotus and McLaren.

However, McLaren's sporting director Sam Michael says the introduction of new technical regulations next season means a new order may emerge in the world of F1.

Cars currently use 2.4-liter engines but they will be forced to bring in 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 engines next year, while there are also changes to aerodynamics and energy systems.

Read: Honda agrees McLaren engine deal

"When you get a big rule change the engineering structures are not fast enough to respond, even if you're given two or three years to design cars for 2014," Michael told F1's official website.

Niki Lauda on F1's most dangerous years
Will Ferrari's drivers deliver success?
Paul di Resta's Italian ancestry

"Although we're a world away from where we were 20 years ago in terms of preparation -- ultimately until you get out there and run properly you're not going to have as much reliability as you do on the current cars.

"So do I think it will mix things up? Probably. There'll be different results that wouldn't occur like they do now. It's just another thing that's part of rule changes and it's something that you have to cope with."

Read: F1 revolution ahead?

Vettel has won seven races so far this season and sits well clear at the top of the drivers' championship, with nearest challenger Fernando Alonso of Ferrari 60 points adrift.

But Michael believes next season could be a far closer affair.

He says the introduction of a new powertrain will give teams early reliability problems, while narrow front wings, a reduction in nose height and prohibiting of exhaust blowing will also cause trouble for mechanics.

"When you have such a big change to the powertrain from a mechanical side, you will build in more margin than what you would have done previously," he added.

"Let's say we hadn't made any changes to the powertrain for next year; what you'd be doing is taking an extremely well-known product and chipping away at marginal gains -- a little bit of weight here, a bit of friction there, maybe a change in packaging.

Read: McLaren drivers - We can't compete

"That's all gone out of the window for 2014 and you'll be in one of two positions -- either you've pushed it too far and you'll be unreliable, or you'll be too heavy and you'll want to take some weight out of the car.

"Both of those things take time. You won't have got it bang on in all areas of the car, so everyone will be in the same game.

"The slope that you get on when you have such big rule change is very steep compared to normal, so I think the development race -- trying to claw back as much downforce as you can -- will be a significant part of the 2014 season."

Part of complete coverage on
Track the buzz of the 2014 Formula One season, race by race, with all the latest social reaction from motorsport experts.
updated 12:14 PM EST, Fri November 7, 2014
Glitz... check, glamor... check. Teams going bust... er, check. F1 generates billion-dollar revenues, so why can't some of its teams stay afloat?
updated 1:14 PM EST, Fri November 7, 2014
With the sport currently facing up to a financial crisis, motorsport journalist Ed Foster explores the history of F1 sponsorship.
updated 5:58 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
He's paid millions to drive one of the world's fastest cars, and he's one of F1's most colorful characters, but Kimi Raikkonen loves normality.
updated 1:45 PM EDT, Sun October 12, 2014
It took a little longer than expected but MotoGP's young star Marc Marquez wraps up his second world title in Japan.
updated 6:39 AM EDT, Thu October 9, 2014
Rising star Daniil Kvyat made history as the home hero at F1's first Russian Grand Prix, ahead of next season's move to Red Bull.
updated 9:58 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Take the fittest driver in Formula One and test him against two of the world's leading triathletes in a high-performance laboratory.
updated 12:04 PM EDT, Fri September 5, 2014
Mercedes has the fastest two cars in Formula One this season but there is just one problem -- there can only be one world champion.
He's the best of the rest -- Daniel Ricciardo has been Formula One's surprise package in the first half of the 2014 season.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Formula One is not likely to go hungry in Hungary as master chefs cater in volume for drivers, teams and VIP guests.
updated 10:43 AM EDT, Thu July 3, 2014
It's the elephant in the room of Formula One. What's the prognosis legendary driver Michael Schumacher?
updated 7:10 PM EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
It stimulates all five senses, creating an unparalleled experience for drivers and fans alike. Take a tour of Monaco with Mark Webber.