28 December 2013
Vergne: Change is good for F1 2014
Jean-Eric Vergne reckons the changes being introduced to F1 in 2014 can be of benefit to teams in the midfield like Toro Rosso.
Jean-Eric Vergne is looking forward to the new era of F1 in 2014, acknowledging that changes to the sport's technical spec could bring a shake-up to the established order.
FIA-mandated changes to the engine and powertrain, as well as revisions to the rules governing aerodynamics, may not have been popular with teams trying to contain costs but, for the likes of Vergne looking to make progress from the midfield, the opportunities presented are one to capitalise on.
“The [new rules] are going to give many changes,” the Frenchman told Spain's El Confidencial, “The new engine will be the main issue, but the tyres will be hard and traction will be extremely difficult. I expect to see many drivers struggling to control the car.
“We will also have to adopt a new driving style because you start the race with [only] 100 litres of fuel. Then there are other factors like making sure you recharge the KERS under braking, so the way we use the brakes will change too - perhaps we'll need to consider braking for longer to charge the battery and be faster on straight….
“So I definitely think the way of driving will change, but changes in general are always good.”
Pirelli has already said that, without the necessary data to tailor its 2014 tyres to the new power delivery, it will aim to produce more conservative tyres than it may otherwise have done, and Vergne is confident that the sport's sole supplier can bounce back from a nightmare 2013.
“I think they'll do a good job for next season,” he said, “First of all, the tyres must be safe, so they will be more conservative.”
“I disagreed with the decision to change the tyres [back to 2012-spec] this year. We are a small team, smaller [in budget] compared to Red Bull or Ferrari, and we designed a car around the tyres they gave us and did a good job. At beginning of the year, everything worked perfectly, as we were fast and we scored points. But, from the moment Pirelli put the tyres back to last year's spec, we went backwards.
“Teams like Sauber, which I think did a poor job of building its car around the [original] tyres, were lucky to return to the previous year's specification and therefore progressed. To adapt to these tyres, we had to redesign spoilers, the exhaust, and we suffered in the second half of the season.”
Knowing that he will remain at Toro Rosso for another year, Vergne already has an insight into the 2014 challenger currently on the stocks at Faenza, and he's cautiously optimistic about his chances.
“I think our car will be strong,” he smiled, “Everyone probably says that, so I'll say the same thing...
"Aerodynamics is always the key. I think Red Bull is still the favourite. They've been working on the new car for a while and I think it will be very strong, but it will be an interesting year.”
One thing that Vergne isn't quite so happy about is the decision to award double points for the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
"It undermines what has been done by a driver during the season,” he told a separate interview with Marca, “It is a rule that is imposed on us but we drivers are not happy with it."
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