Formula 1 - Skill not diminished in 2014, claim drivers

Formula 1's new regulations for 2014 will not diminish the skill needed to make a difference behind the wheel, reckon leading figures from the sport.

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Ferrari (Reuters)

The hugely complicated new turbo V6 regulations have put a premium on engine performance, with reliability already singled out as a key factor in the fight for title glory this year.

The importance of fuel economy in the new rules and the greater role of teams in deciding when and how energy recovery systems deliver their power boosts have also been cited as reasons why drivers' roles could be minimised in 2014.

But Nico Hulkenberg is one man who thinks that the contribution of drivers should not be underestimated, and he reckons that the best ones will help their teams to progress quicker.

"As a driver there is more to learn and a lot of stuff to do," he said. "The workload on the steering wheel will be more.

"There are also a few more tools with the ERS in terms of what you can play with, and a good flow of information is important.

"Then you need to process the information and what you learned right away. You have to have good communications with your engineers and your team in order to progress as fast as you can."

World champion Sebastian Vettel suspects that drivers are going to have to learn to compete in a different way, which means the more adaptable stars may benefit.

"For sure there will be new elements of driving skills, and different skills generally, that you'll have to get on top of and you'll have to adapt," said the Red Bull driver.

"It's a new car, and it will feel different. Of course, if you drive it the way you drove it last year, in the race for example, you won't see the chequered flag.

"That's a very simple one to understand, but which way is the best? Every driver needs to find his own way."

Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost reckons that the more intelligent drivers stand to gain the most because of the extent of the changes needed this year.

"It's not easy this year, but it's always the same story," he said. "The cleverer a driver is, the easier he adapts to any changes."

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