As part of a bid to make racing more exciting, F1 has undertaken a complete overhaul of the technical regulations for 2022.
This included a switch to ground-effect machines and a switch to 18-inch wheels with less heat-sensitive tires.
But while the 2022 F1 season has produced some variety, with the title battle hotly contested between Ferrari and Red Bull, the nature of racing has not been so radically different from the past.
And Vettel, who is retiring from Grand Prix racing at the end of this year, questioned whether the investment made in the 2022 F1 Revolution was ultimately worth it for the improvement there has been.
Asked by Autosport about the new rules and new tires this year, Vettel said: “They’ve always been tricky, but let’s put it this way: the big effort this year has been to make the cars capable of overtaking and following. much closer. But I don’t think there is a big difference.
“We follow closer, but we have less drag, so you have to be closer to overtake as well.
“And on the tyres, the big goal was to allow more racing, but I don’t think that’s a big difference either.
“So I don’t want to say it’s a failure. But certainly a lot of effort was put in and not all effort was successful, let’s put it this way.
Sebastien Vettel, Aston Martin
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
Expanding further on the tyres, Vettel suggested they proved particularly difficult to get the most out of qualifying.
“I think everyone is exploring or finding the same thing,” he said. “So as long as you’re on the right side of things, then [it’s okay].
“But generally the faster you are in terms of the car package, the less problems you have. So now that we are at the back of the grid, we have surprises and weekends where it’s not going well.
“Then you only get one or two points max in qualifying which, you know, makes it a lot more difficult. But I would say it’s pretty much the same as before.”
Sprint Race Money
As well as F1’s new owner Liberty Media pushing for an overhaul of the rules, it has also introduced other bold changes to the sport, such as sprint racing.
While there have been a trio of sprints over the past two seasons, a plan to expand the list to six in 2023 was ratified this week by the FIA.
Vettel isn’t a big fan of sprints from a driving perspective and believes they were only pursued by Liberty because of the money.
“I think from a driving point of view it’s not very exciting to have a sprint,” he said.
“I think you always watch the main race. You may be planning to improve your position, obviously, but most importantly not to lose. You get points now, and you get some more [than last year]but I think the focus is still on the race.
“I don’t want to be the bad guy just to be the bad guy, but I think it’s a way to make more money.
“If there’s a race, it’s obviously more exciting than a practice session. You have more people watching.
“So I guess it’s a matter of approach, but I don’t have full access to the numbers. That’s what we were told some time ago.