Sebastian Vettel is at it again, renewing his attack on the new looks and sounds of 2014-era Formula 1, having earlier faced rebuke from the FIA and his peers for describing the sound of the new hybrid engines as “shit”.
This time the four-time World Champion was rather more tactful in his language, but his message was still clear.
“We are a sport that is famous for being loud and dangerous. We run the risk of losing the essence of motor sports,” he told the German new magazine Focus.
“I would prefer a V10 or V12 with 1000 horse power — lots of power,” he added, when asked of his thoughts of the much lower-revving V6 engines being used for the first time.
“I would like to drive cars that are as fast as they can be — I need to feel as though I am taming a dragon or a beast.”
Our admiration for Vettel achievements and largely intelligent interactions with the media is quite well documented on this site, but his latest outburst just smacks of churlishness – not only because he is being outperformed by new teammate Daniel Ricciardo, but also because his argument has no sensible counter-position.
He may want to talk about driving a car with 1,000bhp, but he has never done that in his career and he certainly didn’t complain about not having that kind of power under his right foot when he was winning nine races on the trot last year. That’s beside even considering the impractical argument that a 1,000bhp machine is even remotely relevant to the broader motoring industry.
He talks about wanting a sport that is “loud and dangerous”, and these comments are equally – if not more – off-putting given their timing comes just after the twentieth anniversaries of Formula 1’s last driver fatalities suffered by Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna. There were very sensible measures put in place following the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix and beyond, and these have kept the sport fatality-free for its combatants ever since. That’s not to say it won’t happen again, nor should we ever dream it couldn’t.
He’s also missed the point that this year’s cars are as fast – if not quicker – than last year’s, despite a massive reduction in fuel consumption and increased base weight.
He may have a point about the noise. Yes, the cars are quieter, but is that necessarily an argument for doom and gloom?
The clear facts are that Vettel is struggling with the 2014 RB10 – “Under braking and in the corners I have an absolute lack of confidence,” he added – so perhaps these comments are his way of deflecting the focus away from his struggles and trying to make an issue out of a topic that the majority of fans have quickly adapted to.
The law of two feet apply: if Sebastian isn’t enjoying what he’s doing, then he’s quite welcome to exit the paddock, like his former teammate, and find satisfaction elsewhere.
Image via XPB Images