Vettel: F1 should be about drivers, not tech

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Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel believes Formula One should be more about driver skills than technology. F1.COM

Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel believes Formula One should be more about driver skills than technology. F1.COM

Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel said Formula One should be a sporting contest rather than a technological war among manufacturers.

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His statement in his official website comes prior to the regulations overhaul next year that would result in faster, wider cars and bigger tires. Meanwhile, the engines have become influential following the introduction of hybrid V6 engines for 2014 and, as The Manila Times earlier reported, the removal of the token system that would result in less restrictions on power plant development.

“I believe that primarily it should be about sport and accordingly which driver is fastest,” said Vettel. “The car currently plays a significant role, as it did in the past. However, we should not lose ourselves in complicated rules.”

Vettel also said the dominance of Mercedes has proved to be a turn-off for fans, but he also said the way that the rules are written also has an effect.

“The current regulations are too detail-orientated,” the former Red Bull driver said. “I believe we should not lose sight of the motor sport’s roots and that in future we are able to once again identify with the cars.”

The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, the sanctioning body for F1, agreed early this month to scrap the engine token system, introduced in 2014 to stop manufacturers from entering a spending war over the then-new hybrid V6 power plants. However, the new rules will only allow manufacturers to introduce upgrades when a driver uses new elements.

“One of the reasons we have all agreed to do this is that we all need the performance of the engine to converge,” Renault Sport Formula One Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul told Motorsport.com in an interview early this month. “You see, it is not good for Mercedes, it is not good for Renault, Ferrari – we all have interest to change that.”

The system worked by giving virtual tokens every season that can be spent developing the power unit, which is broken down into 42 parts that are each allocated a token “weight” from one to three, depending on importance. The entire power unit comprises 66 tokens.

This year, manufacturers have 32 tokens, but this was supposed drop to 25 in 2017, 20 in 2018 and then 15 from 2019 to the end of the current formula. Just three a year would have been allowed for the last two years of the formula, after which manufacturers would have to make a new engine based on new rules.

The token system became controversial when it appeared that manufacturers like Renault and Ferrari were at a great disadvantage to Mercedes-Benz, which has the most powerful engine and most advanced token spending.

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