Winds of change sweep F1 racing - Weekend

Winds of change sweep F1 racing

Jerome NeriAtty. Jerome G. Neri
The Scrutineer

FINALLY, the 2014 Formula One season has started with car launches and testing at Jerez Spain. 2014 marks a new chapter in F1 with the biggest rule change in modern F1 history. The most significant change of all is the engines.

This year will be the beginning of a new turbo era in F1 which will have a 1.6-litre V6 turbo engine and two Energy Recovery Systems (ERS) power unit. This is a very big departure from last year’s 2.4 V8 naturally aspirated engines. Notice that I used the words “power unit” to describe the new F1 motor. The technical directors of the F1 teams say the more appropriate term for F1 motors are now “power units” because it is a combination of an internal combustion engine and an electric motor.

There is a new safety regulation mandating a maximum height for the nose of an F1 car to keep it low for safety reasons. Since a lower nose is less aerodynamically efficient, the F1 engineers found a way to keep the nose low without losing so much on the aerodynamics. The solution is what is now called in the F1 world as the “finger” nose. F1 cars have never looked so ugly. Something has to be done about it. F1 cars should and must look good.

FAMILIAR RED. Ferrari unveiled its 2014 Formula One car Saturday in an online presentation, showing off a new paint job featuring a black outline of the familiar red coloring. (AP FOTO)
FAMILIAR RED. Ferrari unveiled its 2014 Formula One car Saturday in an online presentation, showing off a new paint job featuring a black outline of the familiar red coloring. (AP FOTO)

SLOWER? So far, Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari has said that this year’s cars are different and slower than last year’s cars. Apart from being slower than last year’s car, fuel is now limited to 100 kilograms per race, compared to the 160 kg. of fuel they used to carry last year. This means that a big part of the race will be on fuel management/conservation.

I really hope this fuel limit will not ruin the racing. The first race, which is in Melbourne, is on a racetrack where a lot of fuel is used. We will instantly get a good picture of what F1 racing will be like with these new generation cars. The organizers of F1 must ensure that the show is still fast and exciting. Otherwise, F1 might lose its fans. I personally think F1 should be about flat out racing all the time, as it is the nature of racing.

After watching some videos on Youtube of the recent test in Jerez, Spain, it was a relief to hear that the new F1 engines still sound like racing engines. They are a whole lot quieter than the previous 2.4 liter V8s, but there is still F1 DNA in the way it sounds.

POINTS RULE. The Red Bull team dominated so much in the last four years that the FIA amended the points rule, making the last race double points, in an effort to keep the championship alive all the way to the last race. A lot of fans are angered by this rule as they find it artificial.

Interestingly, all the Renault powered cars were not able to do any decent running in the first three days of testing. This indicates that the Renault power unit is having problems. The all-dominating Redbull car in the last four years is powered by a Renault power unit. Will we be seeing a change in the hierarchy of the F1 teams this year? Well, I do hope so. Alonso deserves another championship.

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