Nico Rosberg has vowed not to get ahead of himself, despite admitting he likes the taste of F1 dominance.
Quadruple consecutive world champion Sebastian Vettel's eight-month string of race wins finally came to an end in Melbourne, where a new dawn for the sport saw Mercedes' Nico Rosberg win by half a minute.
Currently holidaying in Bali with his fiancee Vivian, F1's new winning German said he is expecting to hang on to that sunny feeling in 2014.
"To know that I can keep going for poles and race wins is cool," he told Sport Bild.
"I now know pretty well how Sebastian must have felt last year when he was winning by 30 seconds," said Rosberg.
However, although currently a big step ahead of his likely title rivals like teammate Lewis Hamilton and Vettel, Rosberg insisted he is counting no chickens.
"You can never rule out Red Bull," said the 28-year-old. "I would almost have bet my house after the tests that they would still be in trouble (in Melbourne) but they were stronger than we expected.
"It shows that we cannot sleep," Rosberg warned.
Another problem on the horizon is a likely tense in-house battle with his own Mercedes teammate, Briton Hamilton.
Their relationship, both personal and competitive, goes back to their boyhoods, with Rosberg admitting: "We are not best friends, but we are fine.
"But I'm also aware that the more success we have, the more complicated our relationship will be."
No new driver era in F1 - Hamilton
Jan.19 (GMM) Lewis Hamilton has baulked at claims a new guard is sweeping into power in formula one.
After the V6 era kicked off in Melbourne, podium debutant Kevin Magnussen was hailed as McLaren's 'new Hamilton', while fellow rookie Daniil Kvyat stood out as the next Red Bull-fuelled talent in the Sebastian Vettel-like mould.
Daniel Ricciardo also stepped into the retired Mark Webber's shoes with ease at Red Bull, outqualifying and outracing quadruple world champion Vettel and causing many to wonder if a 'new era' has dawned.
2008 world champion Hamilton, however, doesn't think so.
"You still have ... Vettel, myself, Alonso and Kimi," F1's 29-year-old world champion of 2008 said.
"It's not a new era," Hamilton insisted. "It's just a new wave of youngsters coming through."
Dane Magnussen, in particular, was hailed by none other than Hamilton's discoverer, former mentor Ron Dennis, as a future champion.
"He has all the ingredients necessary to win a world championship," Dennis said.
Hamilton may be unconvinced, but he did applaud the 21-year-old's debut podium in Melbourne -- a feat he himself achieved in a McLaren back in 2007.
"Kevin did a fantastic job," he said. "I'm very impressed with his job. Well done to him."
FIA sides with fuel flow supplier
The supplier of F1's mandatory new fuel flow sensor has distanced itself from the Red Bull cheat controversy.
The reigning world champion team pointed a clear finger of blame at Gill Sensors after Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified in Melbourne due to breaching the new rules governing a maximum fuel flow rate.
"The (Gill Sensors) device has obvious fluctuations," Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko has now told Austrian television Servus TV.
"It does not give precise measurements, when in our opinion we were within the (100 kilogram per hour flow) rules," he insisted.
But Gill, a British company, said in the wake of the Melbourne controversy that it has the backing of its client, F1's governing body.
It said the FIA "provided Gill Sensors with positive feedback on the performance of the fuel flow meter (in Australia), confirming their confidence in the development and stating the meters meet the FIA's accuracy specification."
Red Bull is expected to follow through with an appeal against the Ricciardo ruling, but the fuel flow saga may only be a blip as the champions continue their chase of dominant 2014 team Mercedes.
"The speed with which Red Bull has caught up should make everyone worry," Williams' Pat Symonds is quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner confirmed that the team and its struggling engine supplier are making clear progress.
"At the Bahrain test the Renault was at 10 per cent of what it can do," he said. "In Melbourne we were at 60."
Renault chief Rob White, however, warned: "We are not out of the woods yet. In our steep learning curve, further setbacks are inevitable."
But the huge progress since Bahrain means car designer Adrian Newey can now get down to the real challenge of 2014.
"I have only now begun with the development of the car," he said. "If you can't drive, you can't try anything."
Ecclestone admits 2014 could be last as F1 supremo
Bernie Ecclestone has admitted 2014 could be his last at the helm of formula one.
And he insists that is not because of the Gerhard Gribkowsky corruption scandal, that if found guilty would at best see him fired and at worst land him in a German jail.
Until now, the F1 chief executive has always said he has no intention of stepping down.
"As long as I feel I can deliver, and the shareholders are happy for that to happen, I will stay," the diminutive Briton said in 2012.
But Ecclestone has now admitted he is thinking about retiring.
"I'm going to be 84 at the end of this year so I am probably going to have to start to think, do I want to go into the 85th year doing what I've been doing for goddamn how many years?" he is quoted by the Mirror.
"It's something I'll have to give some very serious thought to."
Ecclestone likened his thoughts about quitting to a sports star at the top of his game.
"The important thing is to know when you should hang the boxing gloves up," he said, "so you are not going to end up going into the ring and getting a good hiding."
He said the Gribkowsky case, in which he is accused of bribing the now-jailed Gribkowsky to the tune of dozens of millions of dollars, has nothing to do with his new retirement thoughts.
"No, that's nothing. No, no," Ecclestone insisted. "It's the way people have to run businesses today compared to how they used to."
He said he is referring to today's era of "corporate governance", involving "different committees, ethics committees and god knows what else boards to report to".
"I didn't know about any of these things back then," said Ecclestone. "Probably, if I had of done, I wouldn't have lasted as long as I lasted.
"And we will be more restricted as time goes on. That's how the world is. It's coming that way. I don't agree with it.
"What we are slowly but surely managing to do is get rid of entrepreneurs. Getting rid of people who think outside the box," he said.
Honda duo to 'observe' at 2014 races - report
Almost unnoticed in the Albert Park paddock last weekend strolled two Japanese with very big plans.
Speed Week correspondent Mathias Brunner reports that Yasuhisa Arai, Honda's new F1 boss, and the Japanese marque's technical chief Kazuo Sakurahara were on an ununiformed mission to learn and observe as the 2014 season kicked off.
It is not until 2015 that Honda, absent from the paddock since the shock decision in late 2008 to pull its Brackley based works team from F1, will return to the grid as McLaren's supplier of works turbo V6 engines.
But as F1's brave new era began in Australia, "It was the first of many visits this year," Brunner claimed, as the Honda duo embark upon a meticulous mission to be up to speed against experienced rivals Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault.
Arai is quoted as saying: "At the beginning (of the V6 programme) there were some difficulties, but at the moment we are quite satisfied with our level of development."
Undoubtedly, F1's smaller, greener and more relevant engine regulations lured the modern-minded Honda back to the sport, but Arai insists that the ultimate ambition is clear.
"There's no point in racing unless you win," he is quoted by Japan Today.
"That's why we teamed up with a winning team," Arai added, referring to McLaren, who in 2014 are spending their twentieth and last season with Mercedes power.
New Ferrari engine too heavy - report
One of Ferrari's main problems is that its all-new 2014 engine is overweight.
That is the claim of the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport, who said customers Sauber and Marussia are also struggling with a 'power unit' that weights 13 kilograms too much.
Correspondent Michael Schmidt said the overweight Ferrari caught even the Maranello based team by surprise, having successfully argued against a further increase in the minimum car-plus-driver weight of 691 kilos for 2014.
Fernando Alonso finished just fifth in Melbourne.
"I have 12 points more than Vettel and Hamilton, which is a positive," the Spaniard said, "but I was missing 35 seconds to Rosberg.
"That must give us pause," added Alonso.
Indeed, technical boss James Allison admits: "Our competitiveness was not acceptable in Melbourne."
Slimming-down the Ferrari engine might prove difficult, as in the wake of the end-February 'freeze' deadline, changes can only now be made for safety, cost or reliability reasons.
The FIA's Charlie Whiting revealed that all three F1 engine makers, including the troubled Renault but also dominant Mercedes, have already applied to the FIA to make changes.
"Ultimately, it's for us to decide," he said.
Engine makers must make F1 loud again - Ecclestone
Bernie Ecclestone says it is up to F1's three engine suppliers to make the sport loud again.
"They made them quiet, now they can make them loud again," the F1 chief executive said.
After Melbourne race organisers slammed the new purring tones of the once-screaming sport after the 2014 season opener, Ecclestone vowed to get to work to fix a problem that could drive promoters, sponsors and fans away.
The 83-year-old put the onus of blame on the turbo V6 suppliers, Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault.
"It's a technical problem," Ecclestone told the German newspaper Bild. "They have an obligation to give us formula one with volume."
He said Melbourne is not the only worried race promoter.
"The organisers of the other races are also afraid now," said Ecclestone. "They doubt they are going to sell enough tickets."
However, one race promoter dismissed the Australians' suggestion that F1 has breached contract by switching to such quiet engines.
"There are no such clauses about minimum volume," said the German federation ADAC's Klaus Klotzner. "Quite the contrary, in fact."
Ecclestone, however, insisted what was offered up at Albert Park was not true F1.
"Formula one -- it's glamour, and people love glamour, right up to the moment when the engines are started. Then the noise begins," he said.
A source, however, said the F1 teams are too busy to consider the sound of their complex and revolutionary new engines as a priority.
"At the moment, we've all got more on our plate than worrying about the noise," the source told London's Times newspaper.
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