Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

The blind side // Vettel bored by current F1 regulations

Published by Christine

A far too familiar sight
Credit: Getty Images/Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel has recently been talking about the state of Formula One, in particular that it is less interesting for fans with one team dominating. He also mentioned that the focus is too much on mechanical prowess and complicated technologies, rather than driver skills. Now, the four times world champion may have some good points to make, but prefacing his arguments with the complaint that one team running away with it all ruins it for everyone is a little hard to take.

The dominance of Mercedes in the past two years took away a lot of excitement for the fans. Plus the new rules focus too much on details.

- Sebastian Vettel

This criticism is coming from the man who won four consecutive world championships with Red Bull between 2010 and 2013, scooped 34 victories during those campaigns, and most notably, won an unprecedented nine races in a row at the end of 2013. At the time, fans were keen for another team to win, for anyone but Vettel to find their way to the top of the podium and end the domination. For the German superstar though, it was not an issue, and he said at the time, with his cheeky chappy grin: “Well, I’m not bored.”

He tried to explain that even though he was speeding ahead of the rest of the pack, aided by a fantastically well-designed car and a solid Renault engine, there was still plenty for him to do. Perhaps. For those of us at home, it was more about looking to the midfield for more interesting squabbles, or switching off and hoping the next weekend might be different. (In 2013, it invariably wasn’t.)

Seb’s main concern at the moment is that “we have to be careful not to lose the roots of motor racing,” by which he hopes the sport can maintain a focus on driver skill just as much as on technology. Whilst not wishing to cast aspersions on Vettel’s talent – you can’t be a bad driver and win four world championships no matter how many Adrian Newey’s you’ve got in the garage – his wins always felt aided by strong machinery and team protection rather than precision driving and overtaking knowhow.

It’s no surprise that Vettel is more disgruntled now than he was during his winning streak. Two years at Ferrari and a handful of wins haven’t satiated the desire for more success from the sport. And besides, it’s not just Seb that has forgotten the past. When Red Bull were the kings of Formula One and almost everything was going their way, one Lewis Hamilton eventually aired his dissatisfaction with the state of affairs.

I feel for the fans because I remember watching when Michael Schumacher was winning. I remember watching the start, going to sleep, then waking up when it ended because I already knew what would happen.

- Lewis Hamilton

Fast forward to the current state of affairs, where Hamilton has finished first or second in 30 of the last 38 races, and quite easily added two championships to his existing one.

Whilst we have to be grateful for drivers airing their views and not remaining behind their corporate screens, and we have to hope that someone who can actually do something about it is listening, you also need to take all quotes with a pinch of salt. As soon as they’re on that top step, drivers think Formula One is the best sport in the entire world. It's easy to be satisfied when you're on a winning streak, but as soon as someone else starts to get successful, only then is it time for things to change.