Prost: Smart, adaptable drivers will thrive with 2014 technology
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Posted By: James Allen  |  03 Nov 2013   |  9:26 am GMT  |  116 comments

Alain Prost was on hand in Abu Dhabi this weekend as Renault Sport upped the noise about 2014 engines with a briefing for selected media.

Prost was on good form, providing insight into the driving techniques necessary to do well with the new small capacity hybrid turbo engines coming in next year. His message was clear, it will be intelligent and adaptable drivers who will thrive, by being open to changing their driving style and working hard behind the scenes to learn how to get more from the powertrain.

“It has always been the case (that F1 drivers need to be intelligent to succeed)” said Prost. “But when you have a new technology like this one you have to work on it. You have to be more involved. Driving style could well have a big influence. So you have to adapt to that; it’s not going to be easy. If you do not understand, then you will struggle.”


The powertrains will have far more modes than today, variables in power, torque, fuel saving and how the driver makes use of these will have a bearing on strategy as well as performance.

One major difference is that whereas today a car will be able to reach the finish of the race if the KERS stops working, with a loss of performance of around 0.4s per lap, next year a failure of the hybrid system will probably spell retirement and even if a “nurse it home” mode works, it will lead to significant drop in performance as the hybrid system injects around 160bhp of the 760bhp total.

As this is a fairly immature technology, reliability is going to be a challenge. Engineers suggest that the engines themselves should be fairly reliable, but getting the hybrid units and the batteries to last for four races will be hard to achieve in the first year. So it could re-introduce the variable into the championship of drivers having a few non-scoring weekends in their title challenge.

The powertrain harvests energy from two sources; heat energy from the turbo and kinetic energy from braking. It stores them as electricity in two separate motor generator units, which release the energy back into the system. The last time F1 engines had turbos, in Prost’s day, the delay on power delivery when the driver applied the throttle (known as turbo lag) could be measured in seconds.

With the 2014 engines, to avoid this, some of the energy harvested from the turbo will be reintroduced electronically to spin the turbo up instantly when the driver applies throttle exiting a corner and this will mean no turbo lag.

Prost gave the example of his McLaren Honda team mate Ayrton Senna, who famously devised his own technique for eliminating turbo lag, by pumping the throttle on and off very quickly under braking before accelerating from the corner, so he would have full power on corner exit.

There is no need for that with the new engines, as the system will take care of that itself. Getting a good efficient system for this is clearly going to be a hugely important area for the engine makers to get right. As explained by JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan in a previous article, the most common type of corner in F1 is the sub 130km/h corner and getting the car optimised for traction out of those corners is one of the reasons why Red Bull and to a lesser extent Mercedes have thrived, while Ferrari has struggled this year.

With no exhaust blown diffusers allowed next year, the system to avoid turbo lag will be key. There is no question of traction control being allowed with these systems.

“It is very interesting technically. It is going to be controlled by electronics, but it still depends on how the driver is going to use it and how he will use the throttle,” said Prost.

“You can imagine how drivers will develop their style during the winter testing. We will be able to see quite a difference between the styles (of driving)”

Prost won many races in the turbo era of the 1980s by conserving fuel and tyres and then pushing through to the front in the closing stages of races, a methodical approach which earned him the nickname “The Professor”. He believes we could well see drivers replicating that next year. Only 100 kilos of fuel will be allowed, compared to 150kg today.

No driver aids are allowed, so the driver will still be in charge of commanding the amount of torque the engine delivers.

Key points of 2014 powertrains
The powertrain will be allowed to harvest 2 mega joules of energy, five times as much as currently.
The hybrid system will be able to release 10 times the energy of today back into the engine.
Without factoring in changes in tyres, the cars will be around 1.5 seconds per lap slower
The cars will have less drag, which will help maintain high speeds and improve fuel consumption.
Powertrains will have to be more reliable than today. Assuming a 20 race calendar (the current working one does not have New Jersey or Mexico on it) each engine will have to last for 4 Grands Prix.

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  1. Tommy says:

    Can’t wait until next season. Intelligent and adaptable drivers, drivers driving with real intelligent. Bring it on.

    Mind, there may be a couple of drivers that are truly fearful of what’s to come. Pastor and Lewis are two names that immediately spring to my mind. Maybe it’s time for them to move into the commentary box.

    1. Bradley says:

      Much as I’m not a Hamilton fan, Brawn did consider he was worth a lot of money, with an eye primarily on 2014 and on.

      Personally I’d guess that Brawn has at least decent judgement on his ability to adapt.

      1. JackL says:

        I dont think Hamilton will win anymore championships. He’ll be there or thereabouts so he;ll score podiums and wins, but mentally his focus isnt always there at the same level as Vettel or Alonso.

      2. William says:

        Hamilton does not cope with not being top dog like Alonso (etc). His team mate is regularly outperforming him, he speaks of Ross Braun (by far his intellectual senior) with little more than disdain. You get Lewis, his dad, his girlfriend, his brother, his dog, his constant whining and eternal excuses. Vettel bores a lot of us, but what could Hamilton do with some of his enthusiasm, and, dare I say, intelligence. Dump him and get some enthusiasm on board, tempered with a little better placed ego.

    2. Equin0x says:

      Yes and you can add Chilton and his “pushing lap” to that list, even though he thinks he still deserves another season for some strange reason.

    3. Abraham says:

      What do you know about Lewis & Pastor’s ability? Can you elaborate with some solid evidence why you conclude that they will be fearful of the new formula? It is your wish only. I for one will only choose to wait and see how it will pan out. But for sure it will be a driver whose car is built by the cleaverest engineer who will win the championship it can be Vet, Ham, Alo etc they are all capable.

      1. Mike B says:

        I think Hamiltons failure to adapt to the Mercedes is at least hinting at the idea that he may have trouble altering his style to fit a hardware change but despite his instability he’s a smart guy. Maybe a full reset like this will be good for him.

      2. caz says:

        lewis has adapted rather well have you not been watching!!they where no where last year and this year they could finish 2nd in the chapionship.Lewis help towards that it wasnt all niko, lewis will relish a new car it will be set more towards the way he drives rather than niko, he has had problems with his breaks and the feel of them next year will be set up more the way he likes it .

      3. Jumping on the bandwagon of bias journalists and veiled insults from Prost is rather shortsighted, Hamilton was supposed to have struggled this year and like it or not he has over achieved.

        Funny how we are prepared to make excuse for Jenson and blame the car, while ignoring what Hamilton has done in his first year at Mercedes..

    4. @Tommy- the word is intelligence, and not intelligent…,one is a noun the other an adjective, you decide…

      Prost, should be the last to claim intelligence, seeing he started a team, that was constantly at the back!

  2. Andrew R says:

    Interesting read, i just really hope we got more teams/drivers that may/can adapt to 2014 rather just the usual suspects.
    I can’t wait for 2014!

  3. jakobusvdl says:

    How much of the challenge the teams and drivers will have in making this new power train work do you think will be evidentl to the F1 fans?
    Any ideas on how tv and other media will be able to do this?

    1. Martin says:

      The reliability aspect will be relatively clear in terms of grid penalties and probably to a lesser extent cars that have stopped. The explanation of why “Grosjean qualified fastest but will start from 11th” might become too common.

      In terms of driving style it tends to be that driving at the optimum speed all the time is the most efficient way, but drivers might be instructed to reduce the battery usage for a few laps to reduce its temperature for a bit. Radio comments and lap times will show that part.

      1. jakobusvdl says:

        I think ‘anorak’ fans (like us?) will understand that sort of thing, but will be irritated if the races become an economy run, and the casual fan who thinks F1 is boring when the pole sitter wins will find it all a bit too tedious.

      2. caz says:

        it is tedious, f1 should be balls out racing not tyre management and fuel management right through the race .. yawwnnnn !!! lotus only win cause they can do a stop less wheres the excitment in that, it has all become prosestional, and btw i am not a casual fan and i do understand the tech involved, but racing should be about the fastest man winning , shame the cars aint clsr so we could have a proper race to see that but no this is the time of the redbull which is making the sport a yawnfest

  4. Richard says:

    The loss of exhaust blown diffusers completely next year will rob Red Bull of their prime area where they excel as exhaust exits are moved to the top. Of course they may find something else to give them an advantage, but having the torque available is one thing, but being able to put it down is another, and with the loss of downforce that may be critical. Electrically assisted turbo to avoid lag sounds good. The one fear I have is that I hope it does not turn out like racing in a strait jacket as that will be boring.

    1. Quade says:

      I doubt that Red Bull will be compromised. I suspect that they are already adept at hacking the ECU through KERS and too far ahead of the others in engine mapping. They could spring a ruder surprise than Vettels nasty finger next season.

      1. Richard says:

        Well ECU and KERS aside I suspect Adrian Newey’s team are already working on something more fundamental than that. They do of course already have very good aero efficiency, and it maybe they find some way of using the exhaust gases in conjunction with the rear wing in terms of controlling air flow underneath. Who knows, but the odds are they may just spring such a surprise.

  5. TGS says:

    Looking good for another championship for Vettel.

    1. Anil says:

      Seb’s championship are based on his ability to maximise the huge amount of rear grip the RB produces. This won’t happen next year as the exhaust will be pointing away from the rear so it will be interesting to see if he falls back to his hit and miss early 2012 form, which was the last time he had to deal with a lack of rear grip.

      1. Martin says:

        Vettel has been fast in other cars and categories, so I would caution against thinking he’s a one-trick pony (bull?) The early 2012 car was aerodynamically unstable, which based on Newey’s comments to JA on sensitivity to downforce may have hurt Webber less. In those races, with the same car Vettel was still faster.

  6. Mat Evans says:

    James,
    Will there be a button to release the ERS like the current situation or will it be automatic with the throttle? As I understand it there will be 30+seconds of energy available, so at some tracks the drivers will be pressing the button for around half a lap. Seems a bit silly to me.
    Thanks,

    1. john3voltas says:

      Indeed, it seems silly to be pressing a button for half a lap.
      They should find another way of releasing the power.

    2. James says:

      It’s built in.

  7. Jim:) says:

    Really can’t wait for next year, from what I here most teams will be running a monza style setup even at high downforce tracks, to make the fuel last

    1. Michael Ray says:

      If so that would be quite an interesting proposition. Could return f1 to before where the drivers are more prone to make an accident, instead of today where even the youngsters at silverstone controlled the cars with relative ease

      1. Jim:) says:

        Yeah hopefully drivers will be making more mistakes with less downforce, also they will be able to turn the engines up by maybe 100hp aparantly

      2. Jim:) says:

        In qualifying

  8. Simmo says:

    Very interesting! So, if Ricciardo has the same luck as Webber does now, will we see him retiring because of a KERS failure?

    On a slightly more technical note: If the cars have less drag, does that also mean less downforce in the corners? And the cars will be roughly twice as heavy won’t they?

    Just a thought on the calendar you mentioned there, New Jersey I can understand, but what has cast so much doubt on the Mexican GP now? And does this mean Korea is likely to be on?

    1. Bradley says:

      I’m sure someone else will have the numbers to hand, but the weight increase was more like 10-20%.

      1. Clear View says:

        I think it’s 48kg increase from 642kg currently to 690kg so that’s just under 7.5% weight increase, but they are only allowed 100kg of fuel instead of 150-160kg currently so when they line up in the starting grid they will actually be 0-10kg lighter depending in the track as this year they fuel to track needs not to a limite weight.

        Start line weight 2013 – aprox 790kg-800kg that’s 642kg minimum weight + 150kg-160kg fuel

        Start line weight 2014 – 790kg that’s 690kg minimum weight + 100kg fuel (providing the drivers weight does not put car over minimum)

        Hope that helps paint a clearer picture

      2. Ivan Julian says:

        How times have changed. Back in 1982, in the early days of turbos, they used to run the engines incredibly rich to keep them cool and if my memory serves me, Ferrari would start their races with up to 290kgs of fuel.

      3. Lewis says:

        Yes, but the finish line weight will be heavier, as more of the weight is DRY weight.

        So not only are the engines going to fail as they are new designs, but they are carrying more weight for longer.

        Races will be much slower for the first couple of years of this spec F1

      4. Simmo says:

        Ahh right. Thanks!

    2. Jonathan says:

      with the reduction to 100Kg of fuel the cars will be starting races at a very similar weight to this year.

    3. Rich C says:

      > what has cast so much doubt on the Mexican GP now?

      Possibly that half the country is overrun with narco-terrorist gangs?

    4. caz says:

      no luck involved, redbull dont want webber to win and they dont allow him too! the pit stops see to that when there is a chance of webber beating him.i feel for richardo he is not going to be allowed to win either , he is gunna be another whipping boy for the team. quiet clear where the teams loyalty lies and it aint with webber or richiardo, they do love there aussies seconds !

  9. Truth or Lies says:

    Excellent article.

    If Prost is correct the real skill level of the drivers will be much more apparent in 2014 and that can only be good news. They will also have to manage all these new techniques in close racing situations, which could make life very hard for pay drivers and Russian teenagers.

    1. Rich C says:

      No it won’t.
      You need to checkout some of the Russian driving videos on Youtube!

  10. pallys says:

    So the fastest driver won’t win? this is not motorsport.

    Would anyone be interested in a category of asking Usain Bolt to solve a sudoku puzzle while doing the 200m?

    1. Hezla says:

      To be the fastest driver you must be intelligent.

      And that is motorssport.
      It was like that when Prost won, and is still like that.

    2. Opa says:

      Very very good!!! lol!!!

    3. Jonathan says:

      [mod]

      when was the last time the fastest race lap was anywhere near the pole time?

      On that basis we haven’t had a race for years. Like it or not an F1 race is more than a one lap sprint. Modern gearboxes are what have made races boring. Before them changing gear was much harder and a missed shift cost places and could wreck a gearbox and/or rev the engine to oblivion – so a race was a marathon and needed a cool head.

      It would seem you think a modern race should be like Usain running his 100m pace for 10,000m – something that will never happen.

      1. Clear View says:

        Excellent analysis, nicely put.

    4. john3voltas says:

      Completely agree. F1 is not WEC. It has always been about the driver being the fastest. One of these days they will put headlights on F1 cars and force them to run for 5 or 6 hours…
      I don’t want to see drivers like Kimi, Hamilton, Alonso lifting the foot off the pedal so they can get to the finish line. That’s not intelligent, that’s lame and boring.
      If the amount of fuel is a concern then they should bring refueling back to F1 races.
      Fuel tanks would have room for 100Kg but it was up to the driver to choose if he wanted to do the whole race on a tank or if he wanted to refuel only once during the race.

      1. caz says:

        omg someone who talks sense, i feel the same f1 should be about balls out racing not manageing, i loved refueling i hate drs means less talented overtakes anyone can do it. bring back proper racing from start to finish of the race and then we will have excitement .. ohh and ban newie.. lol that will make f1 much more competative hehe i wish!

    5. Mac says:

      This is the problem of arm chair critics and opinions versus facts. I guess this comments assumes a 200m race has no technique or finess. As far as I know, a 200m race has a bend and a staggered start. At the very least Usain would need to judge his pace against experienced competitors with these two facts in mind. Factor in his form, wind and direction etc. contrary to what you think, he can’t win by just blasting down the track at full speed.

      F1 is no different. Winning a race is not just pressing the go fast peddle and the fastest car wins. The fastest driver is the one who can intelligently control as many of the variables with resources available to full effect. No change in 2014 just different variables and challenges. Can’t wait!

      1. TheLollipopMan says:

        Good post. These amateurs always forget the golden rule of race driving, as stated by the great JM Fangio, and repeated by Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, et al, “win the race as slowly as possible”.

        You can’t win if you don’t finish. Going flat out and demolishing your tyres and breaking the car will only cause pit stops and retirements.

        It’s the same as boxing. If you come out thrashing, you’ll be exhausted after two rounds and be easy meat for the opponent. It’s about strategy.

        If you want flat out racing (that causes endless accidents and retirements), go watch GP2!

    6. Valois says:

      Let the best driver win. Not always the best is the fastest.

      That is motorsport.

    7. Multi 21 says:

      Usain Bolt should be compared to a drag racer, not an F1 car: Race in a straight line for a few seconds at maximum speed with no regard for strategy or any other competitor.

      F1 is more like 5000m: Strategy is as important as speed. The runners have to analyse their own lap time, their competitors’ lap time, their position relative to their strategy and how much energy to expend at a certain point in the race to fulfill that strategy.

      1. Sesh says:

        Fantastic analogy.

  11. KRB says:

    Interesting read. Prost looking as fit as ever. Contrast him with Niki, who looks as though he hasn’t missed many meals of late!

    1. Matt says:

      Prost has become a serious cyclist, prepping his own bikes, dressing the part etc. Which explains why he looks so trim. He also does snow racing in the Alps.

      1. Ivan Julian says:

        Indeed, you’re correct on the road cycling score. My background in sport has always been road cycling so I’ve followed Prost’s transition across to cycling with interest over the years. He was, 30 years ago, a smoker but he gave that away and has really become a super fit guy, and apparently he’s very handy on a race bike. Climbs well from what I hear.

    2. Rein says:

      Niki Lauda survived two kidney transplants since he stopped racing. This may be partly reason for his appearance.

    3. Chris says:

      Prost should make a comeback — he’s the right size, still fit, intelligent, experienced …

    4. Benalf says:

      there’re 6 years age difference between the two and Lauda survived burns and kidney problems. Kind of crazy your comment, mate

      1. Abraham says:

        +1000

      2. Rob01 says:

        6 years? Looks more like 20 years on appearence alone, Lauda wasn’t so bad a few years ago like 2007 but now especially at Abu Dhabi he looks close to rivalling Murray Walker or Bernie for age.

      3. KRB says:

        Agreed. Not called for, and I apologize.

  12. Ricou75 says:

    We are witnessing the emergence of a new style of F1 race where drivers will have to be smarter in their strategies. The time when a pilot could bomb throughout the race is over. This will appeal to nostalgic F1 people but this new style is more compatible with today’s world where a car must travel and manage energy consumption too. Technological progresses in this area will be benefit to car’s industry. F1 will be a new technological laboratory again.

    1. Rich C says:

      > F1 will be a new technological laboratory again.<

      Not a chance.
      Grandma's Caddy is more technologically "advanced" because F1 outlaws innovations that actually work so that no team finds a magic bullet. Witness the double diffuser, Renault's mass damper, active suspension, traction control and on and on.

      1. Ricou75 says:

        “Grandma’s Caddy is more technologically advanced” – Ahaha funny !
        With the new power unit build by Renault for example, we will witness an exchange beetween the industry and F1. Experience will come from engineers working in F1 to Industry and reciprocally. The downsizing is the best example of this point of agreement craved first by FIA. You can find somes articles on the web which explain this point of view.

  13. Paige says:

    A few drivers come to mind when reading this article.

    Vettel is someone who has become quite adept at managing the car over a race. He has also proven to be quite adept at changing his driving style- if for no other reason than that he is willing to put the work and focus into doing so.

    Raikkonen also comes to mind- not because of a possibility that he would have to change his driving style, but because he is sommeone who, based on what I’ve read, wouldn’t have to change at all to suit the new regulations. Provided that he has the front-end grip that is known to really thrive on, he’s a guy who is known to make the corner very short and use very smooth throttle appplication on exit. This helps to conserve both tires and fuel, as he won’t be spinning the tires as much by not pumping the throttle but also because his smooth acceleration will make fuel delivery linear, whereas other guys who are pumping the throttle will be spiking the fuel delivery several times in the corner and effectively waste fuel. I can see Kimi thriving under the new regulations next year.

    Rosberg seems to be a driver who is quite cerebral in his driving and makes good use of the various gizmos and gadgets on the steering wheel. He’s another one who the new regulations could suit well.

    I’m sure Hamilton and Alonso will also be quite fine because they are such damned good drivers, but perhaps they won’t adapt as well naturally as the above three.

    1. Martin says:

      Interesting thoughts. Pat Fry has suggested that drivers will need to speed time in the simulator to understand and practice the way to get the best out of the powertrain, which will largely be about when to change gear rather than cornering technique.

      I’ll sit on the fence re any predictions.

    2. Iestyn Davies says:

      I’ll admit I think this is what may happen. Raikkonen is the master of weight transfer. I think Bottas also has a similar short corner driving style. Vettel and Rosberg will seek to understand the formula and Vettel will adapt we’ll to whatever style is needed to succeed.

      I have a hunch that Vergne is in a similar mould to Raikkonen now, in that he does well in the race than over one lap, perhaps Button, Perez and Di Resta as well – and I have a good feeling about Bianchi. But maybe the aggressive style may be hard to see thriving, which is bad news for Hamilton and Maldonado. Maybe Ricciardo or Massa as well?

  14. Aleksandar says:

    Lots of gadgets for Newey and people on forums like this, but true sports fans who love wheel to wheel racing will suffer even more since now its not just how to overtake, but how to play nintendo on the wheel and race at the same time…

    We are losing the primitive but yet so seductive aggressive and in the moment racing.

    In couple of years it will be like flying an advanced fighter jet, people who make gadjets work better will be up…

    I dont want to see nerds in F1, I want fire and brimstone, playboys and roughnecks, characters like Kimi..this will all change…

    1. Howard P says:

      Er….”nerds” have been in F1 since the dawn of time. Whether they are calculating stresses on the aero package or getting their hands dirty with changing car parts, all of it requires technical expertise.

      1. Quade says:

        But nerds are not yet driving the cars. There is that danger in F1.

        Picture your favourite F1 driver of the future; a girly guy with pimples, twiggy arms and thick, horn rimmed glasses; who doesn’t know the brake pedal from the throttle or oil from water, but can juggle the quantum theory from back to front and is an ace computer gamer… God forbid!

      2. Howard P says:

        If they don’t know their brake pedal from the throttle chances are they won’t even be in motor racing.

        As for drivers of that physical stereotype, there are plenty to choose from. Plenty are short sighted; plenty of rookies barely out of their teens (Kimi suffers from a couple of zits now and again), and most have twiggy arms due to the weight restrictions meaning they can’t work out.

      3. Martin says:

        If they understand quantum theory they are more likely to be atheists :-)

      4. Pat M says:

        Do you mean nerds as in short thin men with nicknames like ‘the Professor’?

      5. Quade says:

        No, I really doubt that ‘the Professor’ didn’t know the throttle pedal or couldn’t tell oil from water.

  15. Hansb says:

    Exhaust blown diffusors or not, Ferrari really should find a lot more low speed traction in the car due to the arrival of these high torque power plants. Otherwise they will become a midfield team.

  16. VV says:

    Smart and adaptable? Isn’t that Vettel to a “T”?

  17. Mocho_Pikuain says:

    Smart adaptable drivers with worse driveable cars? Alonso rules!

  18. Miha Bevc says:

    Great! Continuously adapting driving style should suit Vettel :)

  19. Quade says:

    I just hope 2014 will mark the end of gimmicks. For the first time, this year I began losing interest in F1 – gimmicky tyres, gimmicky WDC, gimmicky stewarding. Its all a bit too much to pack in a single season.

    All we want is for drivers to shine, not gimmicks.

  20. Clear View says:

    James,
    great article, please can you clear up 2 questions I have.

    Will the drivers still have a boost button (KERS) or will this feature be gone and the ERS power controled by the ECU and fed in as part of the overall power?

    Also will they still have DRS?

    Many thanks

    1. James Allen says:

      No. it’s all mapped – no button

      DRS is there and the wing slot opens more – 70mm. More powerful than now

      1. Ogami musashi says:

        IIRC the 2014 regulations this may implies that the main flap of the rear wing will have more surface than now despite being a bit shallower.
        That 70mm rule was added when the regulations reverted to 2012 style aerodynamics so i assume this is to compensate for the shallower profile.

      2. Clear View says:

        Thanks for your prompt response James, do you feel that this may make passing too easy? As in, if the driver in front has clear air and not able to use DRS then he becomes much more of a sitting duck as no KERS to defend. I would be very interested in your informed view as I can’t quite decide if it’s better or worse.

        Thanks again in advance and I really really enjoy the tech articles it’s why I watch F1 I’m not that bothered about who wins, more how they won and why.

      3. James Allen says:

        It’s hard to say now as there are so many things about 2014 we don’t know yet

        The tyres are a big question mark. Hopefully they won’t be a talking point – it will be all about drivers’ styles and who has the best power train

      4. glen says:

        I do not like DRS. It reminds me of sitting in the middle lane of the motorway and watching cars overtake in the outside lane. If it has to stay, then maybe the car in front should be able to use it to defend a position. The 2013 races are more boring to watch than the old fashioned style processional races.

        One of Hamilton’s strengths was the ability to overtake whereas other couldn’t. The current regulations suppress this talent.

      5. Laurence says:

        Does the mapping of the electric motor power delivery mean that the engineers code (of the engine maps) will be very important in 2014? In addition, will acceleration from low speed corners be noticeable greater than at present?

      6. KRB says:

        You know for sure that it’s all mapped? Why wouldn’t they leave some portion of it for use at the drivers’ discretion, like the overtake button in IndyCar racing?

        As for DRS, I hate it. Anything that causes people to delay a pass just b/c they think it will be easier to do later on down the road, or that they fear being easily re-passed if they were to pass too early, is screwing with the racing!

        As for the tires, God help us if they play as big a part as they did this season. I would hope and expect Pirelli to just get the hell outta the way next year (i.e. build hard durable tires), and let the teams work out how to race with the new cars and powerplants. Perhaps that is why they were asking for 2 mandatory stops from the FIA?

  21. Richard says:

    I have heard stories on the grapevine that power outputs are likely to be higher than anticipated. Yes they will revolve more slowly, but the cylinder pressures will be very high. – I’ve heard 3 bar which might prove interesting in more ways than one!

    1. Rob Ducker says:

      I hear 750 bhp from the Merc turbo already and that does not include any hybrid power. Yes its 3 bar on the inlet side but 600, so they say, in the chamber.

      1. Richard says:

        If it’s 3 bar on induction as against atmospheric today it will depend on the compression ratio as to what pressures are shortly after ignition. – They will be high!

  22. Rich C says:

    OMG This is such terrible news!
    Once again drivers will have to “drive to their equipment”! It won’t be tires next season, but it’ll be gas and something else! OMG this is so “not racing” !! If they can’t drive flat out – just stand on it the whole race its just not “pure racing”.
    The bloggozens here will go berserk.

    1. Me says:

      Every F1 driver that has ever lived had to “drive to their equipment”… it’s impossible to do otherwise.

    2. Cakes says:

      hahaha..well put sir

  23. Sujith says:

    I would like to echo one of James comments. We don’t know about the tyres yet. All of this looks promising. F1 is certainly living upto its name of the Pinnacle of Motor-Sports! But what if the tyres don’t hold up??

    James, could you tell me why is the FIA not giving Pirelli what they need in terms of testing? Is it all down to cost?

    1. Rob Ducker says:

      Lots of controversy mate. Merc wanted wider, taller tires, ie more contact patch. The other didn’t and the FIA agreed with the others, so it sounds like the merc unit has more torque. other than that there is a stupid situation whereby the teams cant test without the FIA and other teams permission and they have to test a old car even then. Essentially next year they can’t test at all because last years cars will be “obsolete” in the FIA’s new “system”.

  24. Richard says:

    60kg less of fuel, they’re not even going to run HALF the race flat out… Technically, if James May had a contract, Marrusia or Red Bull, he would be the man to beat next year.

    1. hulliby says:

      Good call Mr. Hammond…

      1. Richard says:

        I’m more of a Clarkson.

    2. Rob Ducker says:

      Nonsense. They will be braking qualifying records by mid year at least and race records by the end of the year. F1 has always been about technology – not fuel use no matter what.

  25. Sufyaan Patel says:

    From the front runners, I expect Vettel and Alonso to thrive then. Both have shown they can adapt very well and have a lot of ‘capacity’ when in the car.

    Kimi is/was brilliant in this area too, we’ll have to wait until next year to see how he fares. One thing that will help him is that he is so smooth with the throttle. Surely, this will help him as with the torquey engines next year, tyre conservation will be that bit more critical.

  26. Rob Ducker says:

    OK a couple of things….(1) while it is partly correct that 161 BHP is available per lap (ie 2Mj), it is also true that X2 this amount is available in the ES (4Mj) and under the regulations ALL of this is available for qualifying, and, I would presume if it is needed in the race. So, at certain times 161 additional BHP is available for 60 seconds – most time spent on throttle is about 75% so in effect its 161 BHP for a whole lap. However, only 2Mj may be collected or harvested per lap, meaning that a deficit will be hard to make up. (2)However, and this is a biggie, the 2 Mj mentioned does NOT include harvesting from the MGU-H – the turbo and there is no harvesting limitation on it all. Part of the reason for this is that it is very hard to quantify how much it will produce in, partly because just how much power is reversed into the Turbo when normally off boost. I think it is widely anticipated that this will be considerable because powering up the turbo then boosts pressure in the engine off throttle which increases the engine braking, and means brakes can possibly be downsized. Part of this is helped by direct injection rather just from throttle mapping as it is now. I don’t as yet have any figures for this but even if its as low as 0.5-1Mj per lap this could be very very important.
    (3) lastly it has been said there is no traction control. Well true, however, there is agreement about using a number of electronic controls to control the amount of electric torque available, and this leaves a huge hole in the regulations in my opinion – with all of the turbo torque available it was considered essential and is one of the reasons Pirelli have been so vocal about testing – they are scared of the total amount of torque available as the power goes back on. I suspect we can already see today’s KERS being used in that way already – ie being used to smooth the torque output
    Next year sure looks interesting and I would expect to see the power units producing somewhere north of an average 800 BHP or more by the end of the year. I can see another fuel reduction coming…

    1. Martin says:

      Hi Rob,

      could you explain what you mean by engine braking being helped by direct injection? I understand DI should allow a larger compression ratio, but I might be missing something here.

      I believe with the traction control side of things there can be no feedback in the system, such as wheel speeds or engine rpm acceleration. Limits can be applied, just as the current cars are often only running on 4 cylinders in corners, but that is pre mapped rather than reactive.

      1. Rob Ducker says:

        Hi Martin,
        currently the cars have throttle and engine maps and typically when the driver lifts off, the throttle closes and fuel is cut off for max engine braking, though this depends how much brake/throttle overlap the driver prefers. Engine braking therefore consists of what pressure there is in the cylinders – a semi vacuum of about 5 psi.This means the engine has to compress very little, so not much engine braking.
        With DI the amount of power needed is controlled by the driver of course but as it is injected very near the time of combustion the precise amount of fuel can be injected at phenomenal pressure – around 600 bar, to get the power required, though in practice of course there are other considerations such as mixture. The point is though that the actual butterfly can be completely open, so airflow into the combustion chamber is well controlled, even when off throttle. This of course means that the turbo, which is at full boost pressurises the chamber to around 45 psi, not 5, leading to a potentially big increase in engine braking. It remains to be seen if all engine suppliers do this, but I know they recognise the opportunity. The are obviously lots of considerations such as driveability, transmission reverse torque etc, effect on brakes, on MGU-K et al….

      2. Rob Ducker says:

        Sorry missed the bit about TC.
        I am not sure to be honest but it seems to me that the amount of electric torque available can be controlled very precisely…if the current draw rapidly decreases this means that the wheel is therefore probably spinning, in which case the controller cuts the electric power available, or (complete conjecture here…) might even quickly switch to generation mode on the MGU-K, as this would then absorb excess power. Unlikely though as this would probably compromise the maximum MGU-K harvesting limit but then we know what F1 engineers can dream up.
        I take your point about current engine maps. As I see it without an effective EBD or Coanda system much of the need for some of the extreme maps has gone but I could be completely wrong.

        I should also mention my thoughts about engine braking also need to consider the effect of engine wear as obviously this increases the overall rotational wear.

        IMO Prost is not wrong and I reckon that younger drivers may well cope better than old in adapting to a different way of driving. I think that is good.

      3. Clear View says:

        Really great info, thank you. I love this aspect of things, even if a percentage of it I don’t fully understand straight off I know what to look into further and as we know, if you got an idea of roughly what you want to know then the internet comes into its own.

        Thanks again

  27. George says:

    I hope the new regulations and designs don’t exacerbate the driver restraint shown this year due to strategy requirements. I want to see racing drivers racing with their all and not holding back for 90% of the race.

  28. Rich C says:

    >>Key points of 2014 powertrains
    The powertrain will be allowed to harvest 2 mega joules of energy, five times as much as currently.
    The hybrid system will be able to release 10 times the energy of today back into the engine.<<

    Why why why?? WHY put these useless limitations on this emerging tech?

    Because F1 is all about "not losing" instead of "winning." They limit innovation so nobody "undeserving" comes out of left field with an idea that blows the others away.

  29. David says:

    “Cars will have less drag…..”

    Does this mean we go back to the days before the OWG, i.e. Higher cornering speeds and less overtaking? It is great to see the technical abilities of F1 being displayed again and good to see the playing field levelled to a large extent, but not so good if that’s where we are heading back to. It will be an interesting season surely with some big surprises both with teams and drivers, but it would be nice to safeguard the race craft.

    1. Lewis says:

      I don’t get your quote?
      Less drag is normally due to less aero. There are 2 sources of grip, mechancial, from teh tyres and aero from the wings and body. So less drag might mean less drag, but does not mean more grip to lead to higher cornering speeds.

  30. another says:

    small adaptable drivers will thrive with 2014 technology….
    god bye Hulk, hate this sport.

  31. Bart says:

    Great article, great insight by Prost, thanks James!
    Bart

  32. aveli says:

    we will find out what will happen when it happens in the 2014 season.

  33. Gabrielp says:

    I think we might see nico rosberg do very well next year. Its well known that he is very intelligent and has the natural speed to complement this. It isnt based on much but I have had a feeling for a few months that merc have the best engine or at least one that will be competitive. So for this reason don’t discount nico to win the WDC. Willliams also are using merc engines next year, plus am i right in saying they have a very good record with kers, this could help next year as if they can get kers right than they should get ERS right.

    1. Clear View says:

      The ERS is not team specific it’s engine supplier specific, so all Merc powered cars will have the same ERS system fitted because it’s integrated, where as the current KERS is an ‘add on’ to an existing power unit. I still think this is a good move by Williams as I feel Renault only really care about RB and Lotus (to an extent) I believe Merc are very good with their engine partnerships and will want to show Williams they made the right move to change to them. Would love to see a competitive Williams again B4 Sir Frank becomes too old to get to the races regularly. He deserves to see them back up where they belong.

      1. gabrielp says:

        Ah I understand now. So will this knowledge of kers be any use at all?
        It would be nice to see williams competitive and imagine if massa was to finish ahead of Alonso in the championship! (I am guessing massa has the drive). What i fear about next year though is one engine manufacturer dominating so they will easily win and then their customer team will be second. People say at the moment its an aerodynamic championship so how is that worse than an engine one, I say the difference is that every team does their own aerodynamics so can change the situation if it starts badly (mclaren 2009, ferari 2012) wheras if your engine is two seconds slower a lap your season is over by australia.

      2. Clear View says:

        They way I understand it, if it’s an aero formula then the cars struggle to follow really close due to the turbulent air from the car in front so overtakes are had to make. With an engine formula then the aero is less important and if cars rely on engine not aero then they can follow each other much tighter and get the overtake done. It’s the aero that stops more non-DRS overtakes being made.

  34. Roy Jessep says:

    I for one will NOT be watching the last 2 races of the F1 season due to Kimi Raikkonen not taking part! Kimi is the ONLY reason I have watched all the races.He is a GREAT driver with so much charisma.I believe all his fans will also boycott the rest of the season. I am totally insensed at the way Kimi has been treated by Team Lotus and I think he has made a wise move to go and have his back operation

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