Sebastian Vettel ended the 2013 Formula One season by winning the last nine races of the season and easily captured his fourth consecutive World Championship. Offseason change with the creation of the new Turbo era for Formula 1 meant a new car design and also a new engine.
To say the change has thwarted the mighty Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing's string of greatness would be an understatement. A terrible preseason testing program and the first four Grand Prix events of the 2014 season have proven that to be a fact. Mercedes on the other hand have been the dominant team with Nico Rosberg winner the opener and then Lewis Hamilton taking the next three wins.
Vettel has even been beaten by his first-year teammate at Red Bull, Daniel Ricciardo, in three of the four races if you count the season opener in Australia where Ricciardo finished second but was disqualified due to not adhering to the fuel flow rate regulation. Vettel finished 18th in Australia with electronic problems on his new RB10 chassis.
Vettel scored his best finish so far of 2014 the next race at the Malaysia Grand Prix when he finished third. Ricciardo retired in that event with a 16th place finish. Then at Bahrain and China Ricciardo finished fourth to Vettel's sixth and fifth place finishes and in both of those races Red Bull leaders told the four-time champion to allow Ricciardo to pass him because he was faster.
The new car design and engine package has certainly change the way the F1 cars drive and it is not playing in the favor of Vettel's driving style. He will be forced to make adjustments if he wants to return to greatness. His Red Bull Racing team is also trying to help in any way by building a new RB10 chassis which will be given to Vettel starting next weekend at the Pirelli Spanish Grand Prix.
The team thinks there might be an underlying fault with the chassis Vettel has been driving and are hoping he can regain his form with the new chassis. Time will tell on that.
Currently Vettel is fifth in the driver standings with 33 points. He is 43 points behind points leader Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton is 39 points ahead. Fernando Alonso of Ferrari is eight points ahead of Vettel and Nico Hulkenberg of Force India is three points ahead. There are still 15 races left on the 2014 calendar so there is time for a dramatic turnaround but Sebastian Vettel's performance is a million miles off of where it was at the end of 2013.
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