Vettel ruffles feathers over F1 criticism

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has been making news lately over his comments that Formula 1 should be less about complex technology and more about the drivers:

“I believe that primarily it should be about sport and accordingly which driver is fastest,” said Vettel on his official website.

“The car currently plays a significant role, as it did in the past. However, we should not lose ourselves in complicated rules.”

“The domination of Mercedes during the past two years has naturally reduced the excitement for many fans,” he said.

“In addition, the current regulations are too detail-orientated.

“I believe we should not lose sight of the motorsport’s roots and that in future we are able to once again identify with the cars.”

Now, before you start lambasting Seb for not saying this back when he was dominating F1 in a Red Bull, it wasn’t quite this dominating back then and while he may not have been saying, Lewis Hamilton certainly was and he even said he’d hate to win titles like that…in a clearly dominant car.

Now, all of that is just head games between drivers and fair enough but if you put your biases to the side, is there some resonance in his words from your viewpoint? Has F1’s tech/car pendulum swung too far the other way? Winning 32 of the last 38 races is surely a feat Mercedes can brag about but many of the continued concerns over F1 is the complexity of the new regulations, the lift-n-coast fuel flow restrictions, the DRS and HD tires and more. Has the complexity become too much?

We’ve debated this before but this is a sport that bans traction control and could there be any more road relevant tech than that? If it’s all about being road relevant for these new regulations, have we made road relevancy the paramount concern for F1 and actual racing a close second? The technology arc is certainly going to increase so how do we get the driver back in the equation without compromising the tech? Can both elements live in full force or do both have to be measured and restricted to find the balance?


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Paul KieferJr

If there is a balance between tech and driver, I don’t quite know what that is. However, as it currently stands, I don’t think we’re there.

Aadil Khota

There was a balance up until the mid 90’s it began to swing the other way with the new regs brought in for 1998.


There is not much to add new which hasn’t been said before. Cost down regulations in past a few years have done a lot of damage to F1 on competitive battle lines, and when I see as often as I do regulations and equipment in headlines, then I think Sebastian has a point. This might not a place to do so right now, but I am convinced that RBR’s so called “domination” cannot be compared in the slightest to hit in the form of homologation that F1 took in 2014. Both, Cowell and Hamilton can trumpet now how much they… Read more »

Robert Rick

Vettel probably wants more equality between the race cars. 2014 regulation changes were huge. It’ll take some time for things to equal out again. It’s the DNA of F1 that it’s a constructors race more than a drivers race, I think. Even Senna had to make sure he was in one of the best cars.


It was inevitable once the racing became dominated by car manufacturers and no small teams.


This is the path NASCAR may be going with the new charter system.

Roger Flerity

A lot of reading between the lines to support the popular griping. Vettel seems to be saying he is concerned that the overly restrictive and “detail oriented” regs have set the stage for Mercedes dominance that interferes with competition between the drivers, which is reducing excitement for fans. I don’t see any comment about the current formula, road relevance, or manufacturer influence. In fact, he states that the car plays a dominant role, as it always has. Sounds to me like a driver hoping to see more equity in performance with Mercedes, through reg adjustments that avoid the over-control that… Read more »


What is surprising to me is that given the extremely low cost of technology, that people keep saying that we need to put what amounts to a tech cap in order to control costs. Like Adrian Newey’s aero brilliance is cheap? The lower the apparent technology, the more magic that is required to advance the sport. Lest we forget, please forgive me for quoting Clarke’s third law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. What F1 mostly means by limiting tech is limiting “computer controls” technology. But which is cheaper? A solenoid that changes the angle of attack on… Read more »


It’s obvious that F1 has historically been about the best driver AND the best technologically advanced cars. The problem now is that the balance has swung much to far toward the car technology side. We certainly don’t want a spec cars series for F1 but I think we need to see a much better balance that will showcase the driver’s talents. That’s why you hear calls for much more powerful cars with less aero, that would require greater skill to drive at the limit. Re: Seb going on about one driver or team dominating: he should just shut up. It’s… Read more »