As the calendar page turns to 2014, thoughts focus on the new F1 season which is now just 73 days away.
The change to the technical regulations is the biggest for a generation and no-one is really sure how the racing will be affected. Reliability is going to be vital, Mercedes’ Niki Lauda has said he thinks it could be the decisive factor in the end for the championship.
F1’s popularity has been hit by the domination by Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull and what many people will be waiting to see is whether the change to the hybrid turbo engines will mean a change in the order at the front.
Red Bull’s Adrian Newey has consistently downplayed expectations of his car for 2014, which could be a bluff, but he has explained in more detail some of the areas where Red Bull will lose their competitive advantages, built up over the last few years with the V8 engine formula. Chief among them is the ability to work with Renault on channeling exhaust gases to boost rear end aerodynamics
“There is almost no effect from the exhaust with the further single pipe exit position and the fact that the turbocharger takes a lot of the energy in any case, so there’s virtually nothing left,” he said. “We’ve probably done a better job than our competitors in developing the best use of the exhaust position from the current restriction, so unfortunately we stand to lose the most again.”
Another of the real unknowns is where the main area of development will be this year.
Newey believes that the significant change to the rules around the front wing of the car will provide headaches for teams in the initial testing phase of getting the cars to work, but may well provide a rich area for development,
“I think the big problem next year will particularly be the narrow front wing, which is a big change,” he said. “100mm off the front wing (i.e. narrower) doesn’t sound very much but it’s actually a big change because it puts the endplate right in the middle of the front tyre now, so I think on the straight aero side trying to recover from that is going to be one of the big challenges.
“In addition there’s the whole challenge of packaging the engine. The power unit, I should say, is now a very complicated beast. It’s a sort of two or threefold jump in complication compared with installing a V8.”
A very Happy New Year to all JA on F1 readers and thanks for your support and feedback during 2013.
We had a great year hitting a new high in traffic and reach; with 1.75 million active unique users on the site from 225 countries around the world.
The UK was the leading country with 39% of the audience, but the USA and Australia were next up on 12% each, then Canada, India, Spain, Germany and on from there.
We are constantly evolving this site and we have a few exciting things planned for this year in terms of site development. We hope these will help to bring you even more insightful coverage of Formula 1 in all its aspects. We are also working hard to create opportunities to bring the fans closer to the sport, such as the recent opportunity for eight readers to drive the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team simulator.
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