Sebastian Vettel's new teammate thinks the reigning quadruple world champion is still getting better.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo is replacing Mark Webber at Red Bull, but he said recently he hopes to be more competitive alongside Vettel than his retiring countryman.
"As strong as Mark is," 24-year-old Ricciardo is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace, "Seb was better. That was evident in the last two years."
"He (Vettel) is still very young, so we can ask the question of whether they were both at their peak when they were together," he added.
Indeed, he thinks Vettel - who is two years older than Ricciardo - is still improving, despite his obvious dominance as the 2013 season concluded.
"I don't think he has reached his peak, which is a little scary for the other drivers, because he has been impressive," said Ricciardo.
"In fact, the more he wins, the more confidence he gets, and the easier it is for him."
Despite that, team boss Christian Horner is excited to see how Ricciardo - who is moving to Red Bull from the junior team Toro Rosso - fares alongside Vettel.
"I think Daniel is very fast," he said. "Let's see how fast he really is."
Horner said he doubts Ricciardo will clash with Vettel, despite the increasingly fractious relationship between the dominant German and Webber in past years.
"I think the relationship will be very different than it was with Mark," he said.
"Mark was at his peak when Sebastian came to the team, but Daniel is much younger and still learning. He will learn from Sebastian. The dynamics will be very different," added Horner.
Ricciardo, while insisting that he wants to beat Vettel, acknowledged that it might be a task too far when considering the world champion's top form.
He told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "If the car is good and he wins, that's what everyone expects of him.
"But no one is expecting me to come into the team and be the number 1 driver. That takes a little pressure from me," said Ricciardo.
"I want to come in and learn from the best, and then we'll see what happens.
"If you could offer to me right now that I'm second behind him at the end of the season but with the same number of wins, then I might accept that.
"But if he's world champion and I'm fifth, I'll just say 'f**k!" he grinned. "I am prepared for a big challenge, but I am not prepared for him to kick my ass."
"I do hope I am closer to him than Mark was, but I don't want to promise all these big things and then be sh*t. We'll see what happens, but I am definitely positive," added Ricciardo.
Ferrari tells fans to speak up over 'double points'
Luca di Montezemolo has urged F1 fans to make their voices clear, as he admitted he is no fan of the new 'double points' rule.
The Ferrari president, who also makes no secret of his unique veto over key decisions in formula one, admitted this week he thinks giving the winner in the Abu Dhabi finale next November twice as many points as usual is "too artificial".
So given Montezemolo's power, an abolishment of the highly controversial rule, panned and slammed by the sport's pundits and fans, cannot be ruled out.
"As the teams decided unanimously for it, we should give it a chance," Germany's Auto Motor und Sport quotes him as saying.
"But if it does not work, we can abolish it quickly.
"The social networks are a nice platform for the fans to give us their opinion. If the voice is clear, we cannot just ignore that," Montezemolo added.
However, he played down the idea that Ferrari would wield its veto to abolish such a rule.
"We would not use our power for something like that," said the Italian.
"But believe me, if formula one tomorrow would be going with four-cylinder engines, then Ferrari would be there (with its veto)," he said.
"We make cars, not motorcycles."
He also admitted that Ferrari has issues with the new budget cap, despite FIA president Jean Todt's announcement that it is coming in 2015.
"One problem is the verification (policing)," said the Italian.
"Another is the different circumstances of the teams -- Ferrari and Mercedes build their own engines, while the others buy theirs," he added.
But Montezemolo said capping budgets in certain, specific areas might work, such as testing.
"I hate the simulators and wind tunnels," he said, "and that we are no longer allowed to test at Fiorano and Mugello. But this is motor sport -- it takes place on the track, not in the halls.
"If we had a budget cap, each could test in the manner he considers the best -- us on the asphalt and others in the simulator."
Ecclestone wants three 'double points' races
The days of the highly controversial new 'double points' rule for the season finale appear numbered.
Many fans and drivers have made clear they are not happy with the change, designed to keep the title alive right to the end by offering twice as many points in Abu Dhabi next November.
"I think it's wrong," Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne told Italy's Corriere dello Sport, "because it devalues the work a driver has done throughout the whole season.
"As drivers we are not excited about it," added the Frenchman.
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, who has the power to veto key decisions in F1, has also emerged as an opponent of the rule.
"I would not be surprised if the rule is soon abolished," said the Italian.
To discuss this and other matters, Montezemolo has invited chiefs of the other F1 teams to a meeting at Maranello next month.
"There should be more dialogue between the teams when it comes to discussing the problems affecting formula one," he said.
And the latest development is that F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone is also re-thinking the double points idea.
"It may well be that the rule is cancelled altogether at the next (strategy group) meeting in January," he revealed to the Telegraph newspaper.
But Ecclestone said that his preference is actually for the concept to be extended, with not just Abu Dhabi but also the preceding two grands prix attracting twice as many points for a thrilling end of season battle.
"I think it should be the final three races or nothing," he said.
Ferrari denies wanting weight limit increase
Ferrari has denied rumours it was among the teams who wanted the minimum weight limit to be further increased for 2014.
The rumours suggested the Maranello based team's all-new turbo V6 and 'ERS' systems were tipping the scales beyond expectations.
But in fact, team boss Stefano Domenicali insists it is others in the paddock who are using the argument about heavy drivers as cover for their own desire for a weight limit increase.
"They (the other teams) only want it because they are realising they are having problems," Domenicali is quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
"The argument that bigger drivers are disadvantaged is only an excuse," he added. "They always have been (at a disadvantage), as even when a car is well below the limit, he (a heavier driver) has less ballast to move around."
A bigger concern for Ferrari about 2014 is about the complexity of the racing for the fans.
"We want the TV companies to develop infographics that make it easier for the commentators to explain what's going on," said president Luca di Montezemolo.
One option could be a graphic showing a driver's fuel consumption during the race.
"Then the viewer can at least see why he is going faster or slower," he added.
Meanwhile, Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali admitted that the Maranello based team came close to signing Robert Kubica, prior to the Pole's horror rally accident of early 2011 that ended his F1 career for now.
Asked if there was a contract or even a handshake agreement in place, Domenicali answered: "No, but we were close (to that)."
'Hilarious' 2014 pre-season already begun
After a controversial 2013, Pirelli has moved to allay fears about its tyres for next year's world championship.
Before the Tweet was deleted, German driver Nico Rosberg on Thursday told his more than 400,000 followers about a 320kph "toilet paper" moment during Pirelli's private 2014 tyre testing in Bahrain.
The DPA news agency said Mercedes - testing its 2013 car in the island Kingdom alongside Red Bull, Ferrari and Toro Rosso - wrapped up its activities in Bahrain in the wake of the failure.
According to France's autohebdo.fr, Pirelli did not immediately want to divulge any details, insisting the testing is "private" and the information "confidential".
The Italian marque did confirm, however, that "incidents can occur" during testing.
Later, as the news about the latest exploded Pirelli spread throughout the F1 world, Pirelli said the offending tyre had been a "prototype".
Pirelli added that the tyre on Rosberg's car had only previously been tested "in the laboratory", and "will not be proposed again".
"Thus, the safety of the tyres which will be supplied for the next championship is not in question," F1's official supplier added in a media statement.
In fairness to Pirelli, its tyres are having to be vastly different to those supplied to teams in 2013, due to the high-torque demands of the new turbo engines.
Jenson Button, now the most experienced driver on the F1 grid, thinks all the changes are going to make official winter testing next month "hilarious".
"It will be cold, the tyres aren't going to work, the cars probably won't work either," he is quoted by the Independent newspaper.
Some teams, however, are relishing the F1 revolution, after Red Bull utterly dominated the now-concluded era where V8 engines were frozen and aerodynamic development was key.
"Being able to build the engine and chassis together is definitely a nice advantage," Ferrari's new technical director James Allison said on Thursday, as the Italian team's new V6 'power unit" was launched at Maranello.
"Other teams cannot do the same and this year, like never before, installing the new power unit in the car's chassis will be a complex operation," he added.
Allison is referring to the contrast between teams like Ferrari and Mercedes, who are both chassis and engine manufacturers, and 'customer' outfits like his former employer Lotus, who simply buy an engine from Renault.
"I've got direct experience of that from my time at Lotus: it's true the engine supplier tries to meet your demands, but it's never the same thing as happens here, where there is a historical culture relating to a common task of defining and developing the design of the new car," he said.
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