The Formula One gossip column may have slowed marginally over the festive period, but with the New Year fast approaching, thoughts are now turning to the 2014 season.
Amongst today’s talking points, Sebastian Vettel hopes that the new regulations do not serve to widen the gap between the bigger and smaller teams even further, while Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has slammed the reliance on F1 simulators to prepare for the new season.
Luca di Montezemolo
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has labelled the reliance on F1 simulators "a joke."
Due to the fact there is a strict in-season testing ban, next season’s new engine and aerodynamic regulations mean teams are increasingly reliant on simulators in their factories to get drivers up to speed with the changes.
Speaking at a media lunch at Ferrari’s Fiorano base, Di Montezemolo said there is no substitute for driving in real conditions, even if it is not in an F1 car.
It is a joke. We have been forced to invest a huge amount of money in these terrible machines, artificial, instead of testing here [at Fiorano] and Mugello. If somebody has no money to do tests, it is better to race in GP2, in go karts or go and play basketball. I want to do testing to first of all give new drivers the possibility to drive cars and get experience.
Di Montezemolo added that more in-season testing would also benefit the F1 fans and sponsors during the quieter times between races.
But I also want to give more opportunities to the public because from one race weekend to another it is silent in F1. There is nothing, nothing. Testing is also a good opportunity for the sponsors, to call the public. And tests are less expensive than building and developing every month the terrible simulator. This is something we have to discuss for the future.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is of the opinion that there is no need for Sebastian Vettel to move to Ferrari at any stage during his career.
Vettel has won the last four world drivers’ championships driving Adrian Newey’s all-conquering Red Bull machines—the last one at a canter.
However, whilst many have put his titles down to the dominance of the machinery at his disposal, Ecclestone says there is no need for the German to prove himself in the most famous team of all.
Ecclestone told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport via Motorsport.com:
He created this reputation himself when he went ahead of Mark Webber in Malaysia. Now some see him as a person that really he is not. But I don't think he did anything wrong to Mark. He is young and he won't stay for forever where he is. The problem is that all the drivers want to finish their careers at Ferrari, which isn't good. I think he should go to the team that can help him win more titles, and that will not necessarily be Ferrari.
Vettel dominated the field in 2013
Staying with the current world champion, Vettel has told Autosport that he hopes the new regulations lead to closer competition in 2014.
Vettel totally dominated in both the 2011 and 2013 seasons, but his other two titles were only won in the final round.
With the new engine regulations in place for next season, Vettel somewhat surprisingly hopes the gap between the bigger and smaller teams does not widen even further.
Next year with a lot of things changing it is difficult to predict how it impacts on the racing. I just hope it doesn't split the cars too much, because what we had the last couple of years was a very tight battle between a lot of teams.
We have had very close championships, then we had championships which were not that close. But that is the way F1 has been in the past and it will probably continue like that in the future.
If the new regulations do indeed serve to widen the gap between the bigger and smaller teams, it will be harder than ever for the likes of Caterham to get amongst the points.
Both Caterham and Marussia have yet to register a point in F1, and Caterham boss Cyril Abiteboul told Autosport that he thinks the trend may continue, as there are now so few retirements due to the increased reliability of the cars.
Honestly reliability is something that is just crazy. A few years ago you knew that just through reliability some cars would not finish. [There is also] something we don't talk much about: new tracks. Drivers can go off the circuit and get back on, even if there is an incident at Turn 1, people go wide and come back on and that is it.
I am not a driver myself but I believe that the cars are also easier to drive. Drivers are capable of driving their cars to the limit, but still sometimes they are very close to each other and still managing to handle the car properly, or go out and come back.
There is no penalty for giving a bit further than the limit. I don't believe necessarily that drivers have become much better than they were 10 years ago, it is just the combination of the track layout, the cars and all the dynamics systems.