In terms of the regulations, Vettel makes it clear that he is no fan of the current innovations designed to increase overtaking – the controversial moveable rear wing and KERS chief amongst them – although he is very much in favour of the end goal. When it comes to spicing up the spectacle, indeed, the Red Bull Racing star knows exactly what he would reintroduce...
“I'd put big V12 engines in the cars!” he grinned. “[I'm] against all the four-cylinder advocacy. I would take KERS off the car and put a V12 in – that would be 'greener' than what we have now! Put lots of downforce on, because this is what gives us the feeling and sensation. I definitely would go for a lot of power [and] a nice sound – some brutal machinery so that you have to rise above yourself every time you jump into the car.
“[I'd like to] make it possible to overtake – that would be fantastic for the drivers and [would] obviously help the show. Everybody knows that it is almost impossible in F1 to overtake, so if you manage to do it you know that you've achieved something – overtaking is something that separates the men from the boys.
“On the other hand, I think overtaking should never be artificial, and that is partly what I feel we are facing with this moveable rear wing. I just hope that it is not becoming too artificial. Obviously it is really hard to find a mode that allows the fastest man to find his way through. I think what is important is to have a sizzling atmosphere around the track – to have 100,000 excited people. Such an atmosphere would be very special, and thank God we have a lot of races where the atmosphere is fantastic. You always really look forward to these races.”
Talking of the races, finally, Vettel lists Suzuka, Spa-Francorchamps and the fabled Nürburgring Nordschleife as his favourite three circuits, reasoning that 'at these tracks you would never get bored', and his perfect lap would be composed of 'sector one of Suzuka, sector two of Spa and some parts of Singapore and Monaco'. The eleven-time grand prix-winner would re-instate either Kyalami, Buenos Aires or the Nordschleife on his fantasy F1 calendar, and as to a new street circuit, he is unequivocal.
“Very clearly and 100 per cent New York!” he replies. “There have been rumours lately, and I think that it would be the ultimate city to race in. Everybody knows New York, and it would be awesome to be part of such a race. The paddock in Central Park and racing along Fifth Avenue, all the way down to Washington Square... Manhattan is not that big, so we could have a circuit passing all the important landmarks. Awesome!”