Sebastian Vettel does not expect the major regulation changes in 2014 to shake up the competitive order in Formula 1 dramatically.
While some argue that the new rules, which include the introduction of the 1.6-liter V6 turbocharged engines and aerodynamic changes, will allow smaller teams to steal a march on the big guns the four-time world champion does not expect this to happen.
Vettel believes the big squads, such as Red Bull, will be best equipped to adapt to the changes even though he sees 2014 as unpredictable.
“It’s very difficult to express expectations, especially with the new engine,” said Vettel. “Nobody really knows what is going to happen but I think it will help the big teams at the front again, so the usual teams.
“It’s not clear in which order and it might be that the gaps are much bigger than they are now. It’s tricky because we don’t know how the races are going to unfold and trying to manage only 100kg of fuel on Sunday could be tricky, so we will see.”
Vettel’s new teammate Daniel Ricciardo also expects the established order not to be upset. He suspects that even if Red Bull struggles early on, it will not take time to turn the situation around.
“If Red Bull next year are not on the pace through testing and maybe the first few races, I have faith in the guys that they would find a solution pretty quickly,” he said. ”I expect, at least after the first four or five races, for the top teams still to be the top teams.
“Whether the midfield is going to spread out or get closer, I don’t know. I would love everyone to close up. We definitely don’t want to see five-second gaps between the first and the last car.”