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.
Red Bull rivals 'back in the game' - Montezemolo
After four years of title-winning dominance, Red Bull's rivals hope to be "back in the game" as the new F1 era kicks off in 2014.
Even before Sebastian Vettel's run began in 2010, Ferrari had already lost two consecutive world championships to McLaren and Mercedes' former guise Brawn GP respectively.
Team president Luca di Montezemolo said the time for Ferrari dominance has come again.
"We dominated for five years, they (Red Bull) did it for four and I think now we must make sure we get back to winning," he is quoted by Italy's Tuttosport.
"I have utmost respect and praise for what they have done, knowing that today we all get back in the game. We'll see," he added.
Team boss Stefano Domenicali said the F14-T got off to a solid start at Jerez, but warned that Ferrari must now build on that momentum.
"It is impossible to start with a perfect car in a season where so many changes are made," he is quoted by Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"We still have much work ahead."
In the Red Bull era, it is widely believed that F1's most famous aerodynamicist Adrian Newey utterly mastered the rules.
But the emphasis has switched to the new turbo and ERS-powered V6s for 2014, and Red Bull and engine supplier Renault struggled even to run the new RB10 at the first Jerez test.
Putting in lap after lap in southern Spain, on the other hand, was Mercedes.
"Reliability is the keyword for the first five, six races," team chairman Niki Lauda is quoted by Osterreich newspaper.
"Who is the best prepared will be furthest ahead," he predicted.
The F1 circus has now moved to the island Kingdom of Bahrain for the second of the three pre-Melbourne tests.
"Jerez was an engine test," said Lauda. "Now the real preparation begins."
But he said the pecking order still will not be clear after the first week in Bahrain.
"After the second week (in Bahrain) you can read a little bit more into it," said Lauda. "Until then it is not only difficult, but also pointless."
So Lauda insists it would be a mistake to write off Red Bull on the basis of Jerez.
"You do tests to find problems," he said.
Nonetheless, he said Mercedes has started on the right foot and is on target for its ultimate goal.
"We want to be world champion as soon as possible," Lauda is quoted by Kleine Zeitung newspaper.
"Whether it is this year or not, you cannot say yet. My personal goal is that it happens in the next two years.
"This is a hard goal, but that's how it should be," the former triple world champion and F1 legend added.
More delays for Red Bull in Bahrain
Red Bull's troubles seemed to have carried over from Jerez, as Sebastian Vettel struggled to get up to speed in the troubled RB10 on Wednesday.
Two weeks after the Jerez calamity, the reigning world champions are back on track in Bahrain with designer Adrian Newey and Renault's fixes in place.
However, over four hours into the first day of the second official pre-season test, German Vettel had not even turned a lap.
"The car was still being assembled," said German correspondent Michael Schmidt.
"New parts were still arriving from England," he told Auto Motor und Sport.
It is becoming clearer that many of Red Bull's problems are not engine supplier Renault's fault. On Wednesday, Renault-powered runners including Caterham and the Lotus were busily collecting laps.
The first public glimpse of the unique double-nosed 2014 Lotus, which also features an asymmetrically-positioned exhaust, can be seen at: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bg0jln_CAAAQqV4.jpg
The asymmetrical exhaust image is at: http://img1.auto-motor-und-sport.de/Formel-1-Lotus-E22-Romain-Grosjean-Bahrain-Test-Tag-1-fotoshowBigImage-defdf622-755959.jpg
"I'm not saying that we have solved all of our problems," said Renault Sport's Remi Taffin, "but we should have a firm grip on what held us back at Jerez.
"We now have a base on which to build. Bahrain is our first test.
"Yes we could still have some problems, but we should be able to build upon this basis," he added.
Even Red Bull's always-blunt Dr Helmut Marko was on Wednesday not pointing the finger of blame in Renault's direction.
"Even if there had been no problems with the power unit," he said, "we would not have been running much in Jerez.
"It was our fault. Under the cover it was getting too hot, so we have brought two solutions here to Bahrain, which should help us."
At about 2pm Bahrain time, Vettel emerged from the pits for an installation lap, and he soon followed it up with an initial run of four laps.
Meanwhile, a photo of former Lotus boss Eric Boullier in McLaren grey in Bahrain can be seen at: http://img2.auto-motor-und-sport.de/Eric-Boullier-McLaren-Bahrain-Test-19-02-2014-fotoshowImage-ed297a3-756079.jpg
'Lack of time' caused Red Bull crisis - Newey
Adrian Newey has admitted his rush to design Red Bull's title-defending car for 2014 was a cause of the early-season technical crisis.
Much of the blame for the team's situation, where the RB10 struggled merely to run at the recent Jerez test, has fallen on troubled engine supplier Renault.
But Newey says Red Bull must also take the blame.
"What stopped us at Jerez - on our side as opposed to Renault - was a problem where the bodywork local to the exhaust was catching fire," he is quoted by the Daily Star.
"It was really a lack of time. It was something we could have proved out on the dyno if we had managed to get everything together earlier.
"But Renault have been up against it in terms of their use of the dyno; we have been up against it making the parts in time," Newey added.
"So had we been a couple of weeks further ahead then that could all have been done in private on the dyno. But unfortunately it was done in public.
"Hands up on our side, that was a Red Bull problem," the Briton said.
With both Red Bull and Renault taking fixes to this week's Bahrain test, world champion Sebastian Vettel will be first at the wheel on Wednesday and Thursday.
And the last two days of the initial Bahrain test will be conducted by the German's new teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull confirmed.
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