Ten things we want to know about the 2014 season

2014 F1 season

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With the new year upon us and the days counting down to the 2014 F1 season, here are ten things we want to know about the year ahead.

What will the cars look like?

The artists’ impressions of how the new cars will look, based on the 2014 rules, have not been entirely promising.

New rules requiring teams to lower the noses of their cars may lead them to produce unusual, needle-nosed machines to satisfy the regulations without making concessions to performance.

Two years ago there was sighs of disappointment as car after car emerged from beneath the sheets with unsightly stepped noses. We could be in for a repeat this year thanks to F1′s stiflingly tight regulations.

What will the cars sound like?

This has been a source of debate ever since the move from normally aspirated V8 engines to turbocharged V6s was announced.

Inevitably the volume is going to be a little muted compared to last year, but I doubt this year’s cars are going to sound any less racy than the last generation of turbocharged F1 cars did in the eighties.

When will we get to see them?

At the time of writing none of the car launch dates for this year have been announced yet. But with testing due to start at Jerez in 26 days’ time, expect most if not all of them to appear before then.

All launch dates will be added to the F1 Fanatic calendar as they are announced:

Will all 11 teams make it to the start of the season?

You don’t have to look very far to find evidence of Formula One’s poor financial health at the moment. To begin with there’s the conspicuous lack of new entrants to the sport in recent seasons and the well-documented problems of the teams at the back of the grid – one of which pulled out just 12 months ago.

It got worse in 2013 as it emerged midfield teams such as Sauber and Lotus were having financial problems. Faced with that, you have to wonder how long Formula One’s meagre roster of 11 teams can keep going.

It’s a sorry state of affairs which those in charge of the sport have neglected for far too long.

Who will get the remaining seats?

Assuming all 11 teams do make it to the start of the season, there are currently three seats available for drivers to claim. Caterham are yet to confirm either of their drivers and Marussia have not announced who Jules Bianchi’s team mate will be.

That assumes that the 19 drivers announced so far will still have their seats by the time the teams reach Melbourne. Last year Timo Glock was supposed to drive for Marussia, but was dropped early in the year as the team found themselves forced to hire a driver with financial backing.

Will one of the engine manufacturers have a big advantage?

In recent years we’ve become used to seeing fairly narrow gaps in performance between the teams as the engine specification has been frozen for so long.

But were one engine manufacturer to have a significant performance advantage over the rest with their new V6 this year it could massively disrupt the competitive order.

For example, based on last year’s average car performance just a 1% loss of lap time from the Renault engine would be sufficient to drop Red Bull well behind Mercedes and Ferrari, consign Lotus to the tail of the midfield and leave Toro Rosso and Caterham with little chance of ever escaping Q1.

Will reliability be a serious problem?

The other major variable which the new engine rules is likely to affect is reliability.

Car reliability has reached record levels in recent seasons. Last year mechanical failures accounted for less than 7% of all retirements. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see that double or even triple next year.

How will the new cars change the racing?

With narrow front wings and shallower rear wings, the latest cars should have a little less downforce than last year. The restrictions on exhaust placement, designed to prevent teams using exhaust-blowing of the diffuser, will further curb downforce.

The power delivery characteristics of the new turbo engines are likely to be challenging, and the energy recovery systems will add a much greater boost of power. On top of that, they will have to manage a limit of 100 kilos of fuel which will be an especially tough target at some tracks.

All these new challenges should make for some interesting developments on the racing front this year – and hopefully some excitement too.

Will Russia’s new track be any good?

There are two new additions to the 2014 F1 calendar. One of them, Austria’s Red Bull Ring, was last on the schedule in 2003.

But the circuit which will host the first ever Russian Grand Prix in Sochi is an all-new affair. Built on the roads around the venue of next month’s Winter Olympics, the circuit looks a little on the slow side but we’ll reserve judgement until we’ve seen the cars in action this October.

Is the double points plan for real?

Hardly anyone has stepped forward to defend the dreadfully ill-conceived plan to offer double points at the final race of the year which has drawn howls of criticism from F1 fans – including over 90% of F1 Fanatic readers.

It is written into the Sporting Regulations for now but they have the chance to weed it out and restore some of F1′s credibility before the season begins. Hopefully those in charge will see sense, but I’m not optimistic.

Over to you

What are you itching to find out about the new season? What do you suspect the answers to these questions will be?

Have your say in the comments.

2014 F1 season

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Image © McLaren/Hoch Zwei

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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106 comments on “Ten things we want to know about the 2014 season”

  1. I’m itching to see the MP4-29!!!

    1. I’m itching to see who the new sponsor is…. and if they revert back to Papaya Orange. Which they should, because it’s the best color.

      …..in the worrrrrrrld.

  2. Another thing we would like to know is how long will F1 continue with DRS? The purists know it should be on borrowed time, but so many clowns are in decision making positions that I am quite worried we will have another year of gimme overtakes.

    1. I wouldn’t get your hopes up. DRS was introduced to address the issue of the inability to overtake. And it has done just that, whatever you might think of it.

      The problem is that the only viable alternative is to introduce dramatic cuts to downforce and aerodynamic development. Since that means giving up on their advantage and jeopardising their position, the teams will never, ever agree to it. And why should they? As far as they are concerned, the problem has already been addressed.

      Having said that, I think there is some merit in DRS. What the sport needs is some way of using it strategically. I have no idea how that might work, but I think strategy has been neglected in recent years.

      1. @priosoner-monkeys – that’s one way to look at it – “DRS was introduced to address the issue of the inability to overtake.” Another way to look at it is that DRS was introduced to eliminate the advantage produced by the f-duct and similar systems at other teams.

        And I agree with your point that teams ahead will not want to give up advantages that they have gained by allowing for decreases in downforce/aero grip. But I don’t agree that DRS has merit.

        Here’s my problem with F1 at the moment (aside from a lack of refueling which is a separate argument), they can’t get out of their own way. Rather than paring down and simplifying rules they keep adding more and more. They say it is all for cost savings but it’s not saving money. Institute a cost cap and then blow open the rules.

        Give restrictions for safety, basic size/dimensions, engine/power performance limits, and then general rules (no moveable aero, no fans, etc). Everything else should be up to the teams. This allows development with reduced cost.

        1. But I don’t agree that DRS has merit.

          DRS, taken in complete isolation from the way it is implemented, has merit. Movable aerodynamic parts in general could be a great feature of the cars. Why have them waste power/fuel generating downforce when they don’t need it? Just like my opinion of KERS, I think it is the rules surrounding it which are the problem. Both could be used in much different ways if the teams were allowed to. As a simple example of this, a driver could use both DRS and KERS to save fuel if restrictions were relaxed.

          The problem is the implementation. Both have been implemented in such a way that their only real use is overtaking. This leads to artificial overtaking, with little perceived skill, which put (real) fans off them.

          I don’t know what the solution is. Personally, I would like to see less restrictions on car development, so cutting the amount of downforce is not necessarily my preferred path. I would like to see innovative solutions to the problem. I loved the F duct, for example.

          Unfortunately, as soon as an innovative solution to any problem appears, it is banned.

          I think my personal preference, on the balance of the info I have available at the moment, would be restrictions in the amount of downforce generated by wings etc, but the introduction of shaped underbodies for the use of ground effect.

          1. @hobo, @drmouse

            I remember there was a proposal for KERS at the end of the 2009 season that tried to emphasise strategy. If a driver did not use KERS for a lap, then the unused charge would carry over to the next lap, and the driver would get twice as much boost. Personally, I think this would be a fantastic way of using it because drivers would have to plan out their attacks, and when two drivers were racing, they would have no way of knowing what the other intended. If you were attacking, do you use KERS lap by lap to pressure the car in front, or do you try and stay in touch without using it to get the extra boost? If you were defending, do you use KERS lap by lap to maintain your advantage, or do you strategically pick up the double boost to fend off attacks when they come?

            If there was some way of implementing that same strategic element to DRS, then I think people would really take to it. Instead of having DRS zones, open the entire circuit up, but put a time limit on how long it can be open for and how long you have to wait before you can open it again (and maybe make it so that the longer you have it open, the longer you have to wait).

    2. Unfortunately I don’t get any impression that its existence is even up for debate. It seems as if it’s here for the foreseeable future unless someone can point me towards anything to the contrary. They would clearly rather have artificial overtaking rather than fixing the design rules around dirty air. DRS is my main gripe (among many) with F1 these days.

      Adding double points to the list might be enough for me to finally switch off altogether.

    3. Now you mention clowns…

      I’m very curious if the clown di tutti clowns will still be at the helm of the sport in a year.

    4. I agree. DRS should be dropped or at least delayed until we see how hard / easy it will be to overtake with the new aero configuration. This years design is radically different to previous “DRS” years designs and DRS may not be needed at all. I think with the anticipated ‘mileage marathon’ racing that we are going to see that it will indeed be possible to overtake if one is willing to burn the extra fuel while the other is economizing.

    5. We will have to have less reliance on wings before DRS gets dropped, unfortunately.

    6. With two DRS zones per event becoming common place in 2013, could it be inevitable that we see three DRS zones at races in 2014?

      1. nah mate, five. Monza will have one between the Lesmos…flip it wouldn’t surprise me. DRS is pathetic, because it stops cars overtaking outside the zones, many of which already promote overtaking (Monza, Spa, Montreal in particular) knowing they can just score with an open goal if they wait for the zone. That’s not racing.

        If you scrap DRS, and keep the Pirelli tyres and their high degrading nature, we are doing better. The difference in grip offered by tyres in their different stages promotes overtaking. Another rule to scrap is the ‘start the race on the tyre you qualified on’, so the Top 10 qualifiers will actually try and get pole position. Also, scrap ‘have to use both compounds in a race’. Stuff it, if a car thinks it can do no stops, let it try. If another thinks it can thrash two sets of super softs and actually go fast all race, let it try. That’s diversity, and that makes for good motor racing.

    7. It sounds to me like the combination of turbos and greater kick from the electric power assists should allow drivers to pass without DRS. Perhaps this would have been a good time to retire it.
      Unlike many purists, I think DRS had a role. No passing was just as “unpure” as using moveable wings to enable it.

    8. The other day I had an idea for DRS. If the objective is to avoid “Trulli trains”, then I think it has merit, but I would change the conditions under which it can be used. Right now, to enable DRS, the condition is that the driver is < 1s behind the preceding car when they pass over the detection point, which is immediately before the DRS zone. I would change it to make it stricter, like he has to be < 1s behind for three consecutive laps, or something like that. That would put pressure on the driver to try to pass without DRS, so as to not waste 3 laps stuck behind the other driver, but it would eventually allow him to pass with DRS if he is indeed unable to pass any other way. It would also eliminate things like a driver letting another driver pass in order to be behind on the detection point.

      What do you think? I may be missing something, but I think it could work.

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        3rd January 2014, 18:46

        I like this idea so far

  3. On the reliability

    With the energy recovering systems taking a big part of it there will of course be issues with those, but its my understanding that as far as the ICE part of it, the rules are quite conservative and the engine builders should be able to get that part fairly reliable and probably very close to each other in HP, its all dictated by the max flow (?)

    1. I suspect ERS failure will be the number one cause of retirement next year, even more so than the engines. ERS will be more powerful and complex than KERS, which will inherently cause more failures, and also, whereas a KERS failure didn’t necessarily spell the end of a race previously, now the drop in performance from a faulty ERS will be so great that drivers will be forced to retire almost every time, especially in qualifying.

      F1 rulemakers fail to understand that their super annoying environmental friendliness is completely at odds with their super annoying “improve the show” policy, and I think the numerous ERS failures next year will prove it. The other hypocrisy of the F1 rulemakers is that battery-powered ERS is not environmentally friendly on account of the polluting chemicals in the batteries. Flywheel-ERS would be a different story.

    2. Maximum HP might be set by the max flow, but how the power is delivered over the course of the Grand Prix is the key problem for the engineers. If they run at max flow for very long they’ll run out of fuel well before the finish. Also, given that it’s already clear the power-trains are going to weigh more than intended there will be maximum weight saving going on – weight saving often results in worse reliability. The cooling/packaging compromise with aero will also lead to reliability risks being taken.

    3. If I were a betting man and the odds were good I think I would place a bet on none of the ICEs suffering a mechanical failure in racing this year. Then I would worry about track temperature and excessive lean running causing an overheating problem but would be relaxed about races in temps less than 30 C.

  4. will their be any overtaking that wasn’t due to drs and any point in watching ?

  5. Yup, this list sounds just about right! And yes, the biggest one in my list is also number 1 in this list!! I can´t wait!

  6. Just saw this animation showing what the cars might look like. If it is anything to go by, the cars will actually look fantastic:


  7. I don’t buy one thing about the reliability. It is 2014 and the past season has seen almost no engine related retirements with only Grosjean his smoke curtain in Brazil popping up in my mind. Technology is at an all time high and car manufacturers will not yet push these engines to a total limit. I really believe big car manufacturers like Renault and Mercedes can already make an engine as reliable as the V8 which were used last year. I think the reliability problems will not come from engines but rather from little malfunctions in the adaptions teams had to make to their cars as a result of the engine change.

    1. I don’t really believe that. While the tech is certainly top-notch, and testing undoubtedly has been heavy, there is still a big difference to engines actually racing.

    2. The fact the V8 engines were so reliable was mostly down to the rev limit. “Just” 18.000 rpm for an engine that could already reach over 20.000 rpm in 2006 means it was really, really running far beneath it’s limits. Didn’t Renault say they could have probably reached 23.000 rpm in 2013 if the rev-limit was never introduced?

      1. RenaultSport have speculated that, were development unrestricted from 2006 until today, that the engines would now be reaching 22,000rpm, although some manufacturers put a lower limit. Cosworth, who claim that they were the first to hit 20,000rpm, seemed to believe that 21,000rpm would be the development limit based on the FIA’s restrictions on the air intake systems.

        With that in mind, whilst reliability is likely to be reasonably high, there will probably still be enough new systems that could cause teething issues for reliability to fall a little in 2014. After all, the electrical systems of the Renault V8 had not significantly changed since its inception in 2006, yet Renault were, and still remain, at a total loss to explain why there were suddenly a spate of alternator issues in 2012 (although Red Bull were the highest profile victims, Renault revealed later that both Lotus and Caterham had near misses too).

        Now, those issues were encountered with relatively well developed engines and ancillaries – although the current manufacturers will have, no doubt, carried out extensive amounts of testing in the laboratory where they could, there may well still be some unexpected issues when those components are installed in a racing car for the first time.
        The above situation with alternators is one such example – Renault stated that, despite trying to replicate those conditions in the lab, they were unable to replicate that sort of failure mechanism during bench tests.

        That said, Sam is right that the bigger problems are probably more likely to be with the ancillary systems that are connected to the engines. The energy recovery systems, which are becoming more complex this season, are probably likely to be the main cause of issues, as will customer specific installation details (some teams may prefer slightly different cooling arrangements, for example).

        1. As Anon says, keep in mind that the new engines will develop max power at 10,000 rpm, despite the 15,000 rpm limit, and you can already buy motorcycles with 3 year warranties that rev above 10k and several road cars that rev over 8k including a Ferrari that develops max power at 9k with much bigger pistons and longer strokes than the F1 engines which will only exceed 10k in DRS/tailwind situations and are unlikely to ever exceed 11k.

          1. yet Renault were, and still remain, at a total loss to explain why there were suddenly a spate of alternator issues in 2012

            Because they told the public, and in turn their rivals, that they didn’t know the issue, does not mean that they did not know the issue. F1 is the biggest smoke and mirrors show in the sports world..

    3. petebaldwin (@)
      2nd January 2014, 15:44

      @ardenflo – The engines aren’t the main issue for me – it’s the ERS that will cause the problems. The teams (and by that, I mean mainly Red Bull!) haven’t managed to get complety on top of this and there have been several KERS faliures over the last few years.

      The big difference is that in 2013 a KERS faliure loses you a small amount of time. In 2014, an ERS faliure will cost you huge amounts of time. If you ERS fails, you may as well pull into the pits and retire the car.

      1. +1 for the worries!

  8. I wouldn’t be surprised if most teams will launch their cars around or on the first test.
    The cars launched will look a lot different to the cars in Melbourne for sure, more then
    previous years.
    But the most important will be the sound, if that La Ferrari with the f1 engine is anything to go by,
    I am very hopeful!

    1. I wouldn’t be surprised if most teams will launch their cars around or on the first test.

      That’s IF they make it to the first test, I think that’s the reason why they haven’t given a launch date for their cars, because they don’t know if they can finish them in time!

  9. Will Vettel make it 10 in a roll? :)

    1. Would be incredible if he does, but I do hope someone else wins for once!

  10. one of the ‘better’ renderings I’ve seen for next years cars..

      1. this years*

        also.. haven’t Mclaren lost vodaphone as a main sponsor too!? which makes me think what colour livery they will be using this year?

        1. @memo87 – One that their sponsor uses.

          It has been suggested that they will launch and possibly test with an orange livery if they cannot secure a new sponsor, but they are unlikely to race it. Besides, they say they have a sponsor, but chose to delay the announcement until the car launch.

        2. Yes, looks nice but unfortunately the tunnels under the side pods are not within the regulations.

          Also, to achieve the tunnel all the engine anciliaries would have to be raised up creating greater surface area higher up which not only raises C.O.G but creates a lot of drag too.

          Also, the low nose would mean the tunnels would receive little meaningful airflow anyway so whilst it would be nice to have the ability to manage the flow above the floor with these tunnels the net gain would be non existent and not worth the packaging headaches.

          1. what about the walrus nose we saw on the FW26 could that or something like that work!? I Really liked the look of that car!

        3. Yes, they will loose Vodafone and is strange is that Mclaren still have them as sponsor in their website, I remember when Williams ditched AT&T the first day of the year they changed their logos and everything.

          1. petebaldwin (@)
            2nd January 2014, 16:57

            Haven’t they already said that they’ve signed their new title sponsor? I’m sure they announced it ages ago but didn’t say who the deal was with?

            I guess once they announce that, they’ll change everything. Everything on that site has Vodafone on it so they’d have to change everything temporarily otherwise.

            Not sure why they haven’t announced anything yet though… I guess it must have something to do with Vodafone’s contract (or the new sponsor’s current contract) having not ended yet or something along those lines.

          2. Exactly what Pete said: the difference is that Williams didn’t have a title sponsor lined up when AT&T left. The logo they used once they left was used for the rest of the season.
            McLaren aren’t going to use ‘McLaren Mercedes’ for a month. It would be a waste of time, so for now they’ve just left it as is.

          3. Just been reading that mclaren are rumoured to be launching on the 25th and they could be testing the car in the original orange livery like they did a few years back

  11. “…with testing due to start at Jerez in 26 days’ time…”

    Oh how that made me smile. :) 2014 is going to be fantastic, I really can’t wait to see how the teams have interpreted the new regulations.

  12. I wonder how much slower the 2014 cars actually will be. I bet it will be a fair amount.. Newey already pointed out the narrower front wing takes away a chunk of performance, add to that the removal of exhaust blowing/coanda effect .. the removal of the lower beam wing, and the actual rear wing being more shallow. Besides, the cars will be havier, and need to safe fuel in the race. I wouldn’t be suprices if we see 20min added to some of the races. Hopefully it won’t feel like it’s quantitiy over quality. Let’s see..

    1. @me4me I doubt it’ll be 20 minutes, because for a typical 60 lap race that’ll be um, 20 seconds per lap. So I’m gonna make a wild guess and say 3 to 5 minutes longer.

      1. Your right, 20min was a bit over the top. I didn’t actually calculate lap time etc, but in general if in 2013 a race was 90 minutes, 100+ minutes shouldn’t be out of the question.

        1. 10 minutes is about 6 seconds/lap. At that pace a GP2 car might get into the field.

          1. Note for the upcoming 2015 entries… =)

          2. I think Martin Whitmarsh said something about losing only 1-3s per lap.

    2. also tires will be conservative and slower.

  13. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    2nd January 2014, 11:57

    I’m keen to see how Alonso will handle the pressure now that he’s got a high quality teammate for the first time since 2007.

    Will he throw the toys out of the pram? Or will he thrive and be better than ever? Either way it’s going to be entertaining. Win:Win.

    I’m really really looking forward to this season :)

    1. He’s all grown up now. He knows the team, and while Raikkonen is returning, a lot has changed in four years. What’s more, Alonso has the support of Luca di Montezemolo.

  14. As the cars next year could be slower, it could mean that the race laps for the Singapore Grand Prix will have to be shortened.

  15. There will be a new entrant in 2015. I am quite confident about this.

    As regards other things. It just makes we wonder if it would just be best to scrap F1. I think if F1 Fanatic was in charge of F1, there would be no financial worries or anything like that. F1 is the worlds biggest case of bad manegment. F1 could be great with very little effort. But as long as the FIA keep taking them loopy pills, then it will only get worse.

    1. Well, the FIA did open up the grid to new entries for 2015 – and the deadline for expressions of interest is tomorrow. The short lead time makes me think the FIA has a few candidates in mind.

    2. @full-throttle-f1

      I would be all for replacing F1 with F1F, a racing series governed by the people of this site!

      C’mon, let’s start a petition!

  16. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    2nd January 2014, 12:44

    With Bernie’s tantrum of 3 double-pointed races “or nothing”, I hope it marks the beginning of the end for that rule. When in January is the League of Injustice… the Strategy Group meeting?

  17. For example, based on last year’s average car performance just a 1% loss of lap time from the Renault engine would be sufficient to drop Red Bull well behind Mercedes and Ferrari

    The prospect (whether plausible or not) of Red Bull going down the order is so mouthwatering.. ;)

    1. just 1%

      There is somewhere in the internet an audio recording of a lecture by William Toet(maybe someone else I don’t remember well anymore but should be a Sauber emplyee if my memory is decent) where he said that 10% engine power difference translates to 1% (or 1,5%) lap time.

      1. I think there should be enough new variables for 2014 that it is possible that a specific engine could be better than the rest, but the engine/chassis marriage might not work so well from one team to the next. Ie. I expect, and I’m assuming F1 expects, that is not just going to come down to a 1% difference in engines…if that turns out to be the case then I think everyone should be disappointed at the massive expenses F1 just put itself through. Ie. if the product is no different and only the running order is, and it was all only meant to put RBR back, then that will be as artificial as DRS.

  18. I am really waiting for the car launch…am excited for that as that would be the begining for the feeling that F1 is back!! I am still worried Michael and hope he gets well soon. Dont want any bad news *crosses finger* on what could be a great season this year!!

    On the other hand, I do remember that we had participated in a F1Fanatic prediction for the 2013 season before the season began last year. Did we get the result on who won that, @keithcollantine ?

  19. For the teams, the new engines are surely going to be the most challenging factor of the 2014 season; the new front wing specifications will make for obvious visible differences from last year’s cars. But it’s unlikely that either of these will lead to a significant improvement in the racing this year, which is after all what we care about the most.

    The most worrying change to 2014 is of course the 100kg fuel limit. Lots of people regard DRS as an overly artificial overtaking aid that removes some of the reward for passing the guy in front. But the fuel limit surely has the potential to have a much greater effect on the racing (especially at those races that are already close to 2 hour limit)?

    I don’t deny that fuel management should be part of the drivers’ job, in the same way that tire management is. But to enforce an absolute (and reduced) fuel limit, particularly when we already see drivers having to coast the last couple of laps of long races in order to make the chequered flag (and lose positions in the process), completely ridiculous.

    F1 should be taking steps to make the sport more affordable, and some people would say (I’m not one of them) that it should also be attempting to appear more environmentally friendly. But F1 is still a sport, and its existence is reliant on spectators being excited enough to tune in/turn up. The last few seasons have attracted criticism because its arguably becoming more predictable and less exciting; the introduction of a fuel limit is at best ill-timed, but at worst detrimental the chances of F1’s long term success.

    1. I should add that one change I particularly welcome are the narrower front wings. In 2009, when the front wings were widened to the width of the tires, the amount of drivers getting them knocked off increased dramatically. Since then, drivers have got used to them so we don’t see this quite as much, but I still welcome any change that will allow drivers to race closer and harder.

    2. tbh, i don’t think there will THAT much fuel saving. 160kg is typical for a current (or past should i say) v8, while next year we have downsized 1.6 turbo which will consume massively less fuel. Less revs, less power, less displacement, less cylinders –> less fuel consumption.

    3. I doubt we’ll find driver cruising to save fuel. MotoGP has been using a fuel-limit for a while now which is accurately managed bij the ECU

  20. I want to see how Kimi shapes up against Alonso. It’s just mouthwatering seeing them two against each other.

    Also really looking forward to seeing Kevin Magnussen in the McLaren!

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      2nd January 2014, 15:52

      Yeah I agree – Fernando vs Kimi would be in my top 3 of things I’m looking forward to in 2014. I think Alonso is going to start of stronger but Kimi has the knack of regularly scoring points and ending up there or thereabouts at the end of the season.

      If the Ferrari is decent, I imagine Alonso will probably win more races but may finish behind Kimi in the WDC.

  21. Even though I expressed my doubts in my above post about if F1 will get better, I am still looking forward to this season. So much change is great.

    Lets just hope its not a Red Bull-Vettel walkover again.

  22. For me the key question is ‘How will the new cars change the racing?’

    After all, isn’t that what it is all about? Why the rules have been changed so much? Why they brought on DRS? Why they’ve been curbing EBD? Why they’ve been using aggressive tires to try to manipulate things? Etc etc…

    I think F1’s biggest fear should be that after having the teams go through all this expense to deal with the new technical regs, we better not still have one team running away from the pack. I think expectations are quite high that we shouldn’t see RBR making a cakewalk out of it, but at this point I’d be happy to see them at least challenged, and have the Championship come down to the last race with 3 guys as potential WDC’s. I don’t care if one of them is SV…as long as he had a long hard fought battle throughout the season to get there.

    So to me, what to look for is whether or not the racing is close. As long as the racing is close I think most people should be happy with that, but then again I think that as long as they have DRS, I question how close the racing will ever be. And for me it won’t suffice if the cars can somehow be close and just exchange DRS passes lap after lap. Those aren’t real passes of the type that create legends that we will talk about for years to come. At least they’ve shown a little willingness to change to front and back wings so hopefully that helps, but ultimately I think they need to make much bigger restrictions to the wings and rid themselves of DRS if they want the quality of F1 to improve.

  23. How long before on-track item boxes are introduced so?

    1. As long as Blue/Spiny Shells only appear when Vettel’s in the lead :P

      I jest, I jest.

  24. I’m also very interested in which drivers will be carrying which numbers. We’ve heard about some but it’ll be interesting to see the whole grid assigned them.

    1. Likewise.

    2. Such questions are why I chose my pen-name.

  25. Michael Brown (@)
    2nd January 2014, 16:08

    If you thought Valencia could ever be worse, the Russian track manages to do just that.

  26. It’s all about Mercedes for me!

    This is it.

    The budget from Stuttgart has increased.
    They have recruited heavily to improve all areas of their F1 car development.
    The team will be making their own turbo engines around their own chassis!
    The star driver has been recruited and had a season to bed in.

    Their modern F1 works team presence has been building up to this season.

    Will Mercedes-Benz live up to the potential and hype? Will they flop like big spending Toyota or can they gun down RedBull?!

    I can’t wait to find out!

    1. I’m with you, and can only add that I think both drivers will make for a pairing perhaps second only to that at Ferrari with their two WDCs, so I hope we will see both LH and NR giving Ferrari and RBR fits.

  27. My concern is around the 100kg fuel limit. What’s that, 100 litres? To complete 300 Kms with 100 litres of fuel works out at ummm 3km per litre. I’d hate to see a car win all because it was more economical on fuel. We already have that with tyres. I just hope it’s not as bad as I think it will be.

    1. Rest assured it will be far worse than you suspect. Cars are going to be:
      1) heavier
      2) less powerful
      3) more fragile
      4) uglier
      5) less loud
      6) less agile
      7) otherNegativeThing
      8) otherNegativeThing
      9) otherNegativeThing

      31) otherNegativeThing

      74) otherNegativeThing

      N) Abu Dhabi 3rd place will be worth more than a win in Spa.

      1. Lol, yeah I too think it will really suck if we see delta time driving (not racing) due to poor tires replaced with delta time driving (not racing) due to fuel conservation. I think tire and fuel conservation should be left to the R&D Departments of domestic car makers, not to the best racers in the world that are supposed to be racing in the pinnacle of racing. Yes fuel and tire conservation have always played a part, but it shouldn’t be anywhere near the whole part. If we wanted to watch moving science experiments being monitored by drivers that are being limited and are capable of doing way more with the car but are not allowed that’s one thing, but I don’t think that’s what we want, and then why are we considering this the pinnacle of racing? If conservation becomes too much the story of F1 then I’m all for a breakaway series that simplifies and goes back to square one of putting the racing back into the hands of racers, not encumbered by the car so much that their talents are wasted and we can no longer categorize them as potential legends.

        1. Totally agree. I’m all for a breakaway series. In the meantime, FIA WEC is a good surrogate for an F1 breakaways series. They’re always racing on the limit there, and they don’t stifle technological innovation (besides the very annoying horsepower limits).

        2. Because the breakaway series idea worked out so well for American open-wheel racing.

          1. Yes but nothing works in the USA without a big V8.

          2. Lol, I do take your point about a breakaway series not being easy, but in terms of the Indy comparison, don’t forget that was within one country, and much centered around Tony George owning the biggest by far venue, the Indianapolis 500, which is the only way his series was ever going to work.

            An F1 type breakaway would be international in scope and there’s many venues they could go. Again, not saying it would be easy but the fact that it has ‘almost’ happened (not sure how close they ever were in reality) bodes well for the idea. I think the concept is always present, so let’s see how the racing is with the drastic new regs and hope for the best for now. It will come down to the product on the track and right now there are a lot of people who are weary of the direction F1 is going.

            I personally feel F1 is currently degraded with DRS affecting the races, and I mean I even respect non-DRS passes less because DRS put the players where they are to set up the non-DRS passes too. For me, and many others F1 will not be the pinnacle until they get rid of DRS.

            Who knows…maybe there’s a sad reality for us traditionalists that in fact the new direction will attract more new audience than it will shun the old, and we’ll just have to give it up and find our racing zen elsewhere. I cling to the hope that the racing in any series should be left to the driver on the track, not done in a boardroom nor by the engineer in the pits directing how and when a driver can ‘race.’

    2. Apparently, 100 kg of fuel equals about 130 litres.

    3. I would love to see them racing on hard,skinny tyres and an ultra low-drag setup.

  28. I love this site… most commenters are true fans with something intelligent to say and respect for others opinions. This seems hard to come by these days, especially on other sites where its mostly team, driver, and commenter bashing. We all have our opinions and its great to see genuine discussion without resorting to taking the mickey (to put it nicely). A little off topic I know but I had to say it.

    I honestly can’t wait for the 2014 season to start and I think its going to be an enthralling year. My only real gripe with the new reg’s is this double points malarky but as much as I seriously, SERIOUSLY, hope the rule is removed I still believe its going to be a fun season of racing.

  29. For me its will McLaren make another dog of a car, or will we be out in front.

  30. Does anyone know what are the most demanding tracks in terms of fuel? Does big acceleration like in Monza consumes high levels of fuel or is a track like Hungary most demanding?

    1. @spoutnik, good question, more slow speed corners require energy to accelerate the mass back up to speed but also mean more deceleration opportunities for energy harvesting to provide stored energy for acceleration.
      Long straights and high speed corners require less energy for acceleration but need more energy for drag and provide less opportunity to harvest energy.

      1. I think Martin Brundle mentioned it some years ago, Monzo is actually one of the least fuel-consuming tracks on the calandar. Apparantly it’s because of the efficient layout that makes for a very high avarange speed. What takes a lot of fuel is constant accelerating and braking. Energi is effectivly going to waste, even though the KERS can recover a small bit ot it. So i’d imagine Singepore and Hungary like you mention should be on the other end of the scale, being very thirsty.

        1. So that means F1 cars will be lapping slower than GP3 cars in Singapore and Hungary.

  31. The first question is what I’m most interested in seeing at the moment. There hasn’t been such anticipation since 2009. I wouldn’t mind seeing the needle nose design, as long as it’s quite subtle, like the 2nd image here: http://www.f1technical.net/features/19020?sid=0cc3ad071c37774cf1c563f790adae9e. It’s quite similar to the “anteater” noses that were used by McLaren from 06 to 08. I wonder what the teams that don’t go with this needle design go with, if any.

    Whatever they look like, the noses won’t be as bad as the 2012 stepped nose. 2012 may have been a good season, but it produced some of the most hideous cars I’ve seen.

  32. Surprised that tires weren’t brought up. I know Pirelli has said they are going to be more conservative next year, but one hope’s that means there won’t be any kind of tire lottery.

  33. Things I look forward to finding out in the 2014 season;

    1. Will Alonso and Raikkonen end up at each others throats?
    2. Will all the new Energy Recovery Systems enable overtaking (not DRS assisted) more so than before?

    3. Will the fuel limit have a negative influence on the racing? At the moment it is due to tyres that we hear the engineers telling drivers to slow their lap times and it absolutely sucks (and definitely detracts from the sport in my opinion). It will be no easier to swallow if a similar thing happens due to fuel
    consumption issues.

    4. Not-really-important-to-racing issues; Any new liveries? What numbers will the drivers choose? Surely for starters the
    size/ visibility of the number on the car will need to increase.

  34. Who are McLarens new sponsor?
    When will we find out?

  35. Alonso/Raikkonen should be interesting, I think it will be back and forth all season long and come out pretty even by the end of the season.

    Will the technical hires Ferrari made help their performance? I think how the Ferrari matches up to the Mercedes powered and Renault powered teams will be very interesting. It will be fascinating to see which teams have the best combination of performance and reliability.

    Can FI build a car to give their new drivers a shot at podium finishes?

    Will Lotus maintain a competitive level technically and driver-wise?

    Will the higher torque make for a good test of driver skills, particularly out of low speed corner exits?

    Will the powers that be finally figure out that gimmickry tends to have the opposite of the intended effect. Especially an unneeded variable points scheme.

  36. I wonder how much the ERS will really save fuel. It seems to me if one is producing electricity from the exhaust gases thru the turbo, then one is still burning fuel. The only way I can think of saving the required fuel is to turn way down on the down force and hence drag. I wonder how many teams will be telling their drivers to slow down to conserve fuel? I wonder if the junior series will be recording quicker lap times?

    1. It seems to me if one is producing electricity from the exhaust gases thru the turbo, then one is still burning fuel.

      Turbos are often called “free power”. They (mostly) harvest energy which would otherwise be wasted by throwing hot air out of the exhaust pipe. I know there is a restriction to the exhaust gas flow, but this is very small in comparison to the amount of energy available to be harvested. The thermodynamic efficiency of the ideal petrol engine is around 60%, meaning that (ignoring all the other inefficiencies) 40% of the energy from the fuel is thrown straight out of the exhaust. The amount wasted due to the additional exhaust restriction will be tiny by comparison.

  37. The only way to get overtaking without DRS is for the car to follow closely behind prior to any move and the only way to allow this is to have a “clean” aero from the car in front.
    Simple and fair for all but not so simple to implement.
    Frankly it seems that the aero engineers are much cleverer than the rules makers but not much effort or encouragement has been given to go down this path.
    Maybe f1 should swallow its pride and look at Indycar design and rules,, which might also cut costs!

  38. About the look of the cars (I don’t know if somebody already mentioned this): what about a return of the Walrus nose, like on the Williams FW26 back in ’04?! I guess that would be better than the digital proposals I’ve seen so far

  39. I miss the days of tobacco advertising.

    With all the money flowing from the tobacco companies, even midfield teams like Jordan could eek out a win every now and then.

    And the tobacco liveried cars from back in the day look cooler than a current F1 car with, let’s say, some bank as a sponsor.

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      4th January 2014, 4:22

      I don’t see why tobacco advertising was banned. Yes it’s bad for you, but it’s ok to advertise phones and alcohol? That’s associating phones and alcohol with cars.

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