Can Vettel challenge for a fifth world title this year?
Feb.19 (GMM) If Red Bull emerges from its early-season technical crisis, reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel will be a force to be reckoned with yet again.
That is the view of Vettel's departed teammate Mark Webber, despite many believing the radically new 2014 regulations will finally end the German driver and Red Bull's run of dominance.
Some think the 2014 rules have ended the utter dominance of aerodynamics, putting the 'power unit' and its technology in the spotlight.
And early 2014 testing seemed to indicate the Red Bull era could indeed be over, as the RB10 and the troubled Renault V6 package struggled simply to turn laps.
Australian Webber, however, thinks that if the RB10's issues can be solved, the 2014 rules could actually work in Vettel's favour.
Webber recently said Vettel's strength is in slow corners, and it is precisely there that the high-torque cars of 2014 have proved difficult to handle.
"It's probably not what people want to hear at home," said Webber, "but I think that helps Sebastian. That's right up his alley, that's perfect for him."
After 12 years in F1, 37-year-old Webber has retired from the category and this year will spearhead Porsche's return to the top-tier Le Mans prototype class.
But he will be in Melbourne in three weeks when the 2014 season begins.
"I was in the boxing ring (the F1 grid) just a couple of months ago so hopefully I can use that experience in commentating to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of drivers and so forth," said Webber, who will work with Australian television.
"I am really looking forward to the season ahead with Porsche, and with a later start to that championship in April, it gives me an opportunity to return to Melbourne and have some fun from the other side of the fence," he added.