Red Bull designer Adrian Newey admits the world champion team is heading into the 2014 Formula 1 season with trepidation because of the complexity of the new rules.
Although the outfit proved dominant in the second half of this year, the all-new regulations coming for next season mean that there is a more level playing field among teams.
And the scale of the challenge of incorporating the new V6 turbo engines into all-new cars has left Newey and his team bracing themselves for a tough build-up to the next campaign.
“I think from our perspective it is somewhere between mild panic and crisis management,” joked Newey on stage at the AUTOSPORT Awards, after Red Bull’s RB9 was voted International Racing Car of the Year.
“Next year’s regulations are a huge change. It is a very complicated powertrain, and for many teams including ourselves it really is a big challenge.
“Reliability could be a big issue, and it is far from clear how the three engine manufacturers will perform compared to each other. We have got the aerodynamic changes too.
“So it really is a complete clean start unfortunately. We would have been quite happy to stay with the [old] regulations as it turned out.”
Newey is no stranger to pushing things as late as he can with new cars, to maximize development time, but reckons his team is really up against it this year.
When asked how he was currently feeling about the 2014 preparation, he said: “I think with some trepidation as I have said.
“The engine regulation changes are a big challenge for everybody, and how that will pan out, who knows?
“At the moment we all feel it is going to be remarkably different and we are about six months off being prepared for the start of the season.
“But that is the nature of F1 and somehow or other it always seems to be alright on the night. Let’s see.”