LONDON (Reuters) - Red Bull technical head Adrian Newey says he is preparing for next year's Formula One regulation changes with some trepidation.
The sport is introducing a new V6 turbocharged engine with energy recovery systems in what is considered the biggest shake-up in a generation.
Testing with the new cars is due to start at the end of January with the season starting in Australia in March.
"I think from our perspective it is somewhere between mild panic and crisis management," Newey joked on stage at Sunday's Autosport Awards where Red Bull won the international racing car of the year for the fourth year in a row.
"Next year's regulations are a huge change. It is a very complicated powertrain and for many teams including ourselves it really is a big challenge.
"Reliability could be a big issue and it is far from clear how the three engine manufacturers will perform compared to each other. We have got the aerodynamic changes too."
Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel won both championships again this year, for the fourth year in a row, and Newey, who has also won championships with Williams and McLaren, said they would have been happy to stick with the old regulations.
"At the moment we all feel it is going to be remarkably different and we are about six months off being prepared for the start of the season," he added.
"But that is the nature of F1 and somehow or other it always seems to be alright on the night. Let's see."
Vettel expressed concern that the smaller engines could make the sport less of a thrill for competitors and spectators.
The German recalled how his first Formula One test had been in a V10 engined Williams back in 2005, the last year before the V8s were introduced.
"I just hope we are not going down from a power point of view," he said. "The revs we will lose which I think is a shame - because it is a new direction that we go into and a new technology."
(Editing by Tim Collings)