Hamilton not the only one talking, Vettel critical of engines

Lewis Hamilton has been in the press lately speaking his mind about the challenges Formula 1 is currently facing and I, for one, enjoy his opinions on the matter. I liked the days when drivers shared their opinions be they pro or con on a subject. I recall JV doing a lot of that in his day but that was back in the 90’s.

While Lewis is being praised for his outspokenness, we forget that Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel is equally outspoken on the sport and always has been.

This week he told Sky Sports F1:

“I personally think the current power unit regulations are too expensive and it would be beneficial for all the teams and the whole sport to go back to something normally aspirated,” Vettel said.

Pointed out to him that a proposal to cap engine costs was vetoed by Ferrari last year, Vettel stood by his comments – after a moment of awkwardness.

“What I said and I stick to what I said is that these power units are too expensive,” he added. “They have cost a lot of money already and they will keep costing a lot of money.

“Everything else that we have been trying to with changes to rules doesn’t change the key problem and I think a lot of problems that we face now goes back to the fact it was the wrong way to go. It is easy now to raise your hand and admit that, but we are still stuck with what we have.

“I can’t change the rules, I think it is a good thing that you don’t let one driver or one person change the rules, but the way it is currently set up is probably not the best either.”

We can all argue the facts and efficiency ratings and road relevancy but in the end, I believe he’s right. F1’s serious issues started when they moved to these new engines. That’s the reality.

As F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said (also in this Sky story):

“This [V6] engine is good, I’m told, for the car manufacturers – although nobody can ever use that engine,” the F1 supremo told Sky Sports F1.

“But if it is and they want to use it to experiment they should use it in the World Touring Car Championship.

“It’s very difficult for Mercedes, and Ferrari for that matter I suppose, to agree to change a power unit that they’ve spent a fortune developing.”

I agree with him, it’s an awesome piece of kit and engineering, there is no doubt. How relevant it is? I’m not quite sure and would it not be best placed in WEC? The entire ideology is conserve, store and trickle at a level unheard of and that’s terrific but F1 is about release/use, create and deploy and do so in a limited amount of time. A sprint race meant to be ran…well, like a sprint race.

Mark Webber recently said that WEC is flat out, pushing the entire way and in some ways, F1 is not about that. Much of that is down to the way the new engine works but we’ve covered this ground before. Fact is, Vettel is saying what many in F1 aren’t willing to say…just like Lewis is and I appreciate their candor.

Hat Tip: Sky Sports F1