Niki Lauda has echoed early claims that reliability will be the key to winning the 2014 F1 world championship following the wholesale technical changes introduced to the top flight over the winter.

With new engines, drivetrains and aerodynamic configurations to contend with, the first of the new breed of F1 cars have begun to emerge, with Force India, McLaren and Lotus all either launching or providing images of their 2014 contenders. On the eve of Ferrari's unveiling, however, Lauda has admitted that it won't be outright speed that dictates the title battle.

"It's a very complicated start, especially on the engine side," he admitted in a video interview with Ferrari's official website, "My worry is that, of Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault, who will produce the [best] engine because it is now 100 kilos of fuel for 320km rather than 140 kilos in the past, and only five engines per year, instead of eight last year, which requires a lot of reliability. The challenge for the engine people is enormous. Then there is the new car and installing the car and engine in a way that you are reliable - this is the biggest challenge. Whoever will have the least failures this year will be world champion."

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However, Lauda, who won two of his F1 world championships with Ferrari but is now non-executive president of championship rival Mercedes, admitted that this was perhaps the most exciting time of the season, particularly for the drivers, as their new mounts were unveiled in their entirety for the first time.

"The people working on [the cars] know what is coming up but, for the heart and the emotion, this is a very important ay," he noted, "But a more important day is the test in Jerez as, when you sit for the first time in the car, you get the first impression and this is the most important."

Lauda wasn't just in Maranello to talk about the feelings experienced at a launch, however, revealing that he had been discussing the entire future of F1 with Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.

"I think Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, we have to have the general view," he claimed, "How are we accepted in television, what is the future? I think we need to think about this and this is one of the reasons why I was here, even being a competitor..."