Expert Analysis of the 2014 hybrid turbo F1 cars seen so far
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Jan 2014   |  10:21 pm GMT  |  129 comments

We have now seen 2014 F1 cars launched by six of the 11 F1 teams, with Toro Rosso due to reveal its challenger – now powered by the same Renault engine as the sister Red Bull team – due to launch on Monday.

Already we have seen lots of different interpretations of the radically different technical regulations, particular in the nose section of the car.

So here is the initial feedback of JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan, former chief operations engineer at Williams, Jaguar Racing and Toyota.

McLaren MP4-29
McLaren are the first to release pictures of the actual car and one cannot overemphasise how important this car is to the Team after a difficult year without a podium. The overall car looks pretty tidy albeit with quite a lot of complexity on the front nose and wing assembly albeit the endplates look like ‘release only’ components. The cooling looks reasonably aggressive and again like a few of the teams have louvered cooling exits along the side of the car outboard of the headrest insert. The central exhaust looks to be completely shrouded by the bodywork forward of the pillar mounted rear wing.

Ferrari F14 T
From a personal perspective the Ferrari is the most intriguing car yet released. Although some pictures show a reasonable amount of detail, understandably others use vanity panels to block the views, eg of the rear diffuser cannot be seen. After a bit of thought the front nose design has ‘grown’ on me and I like their aggressive stance of effectively dropping the nose the whole height and maintain the width, leading to a short hanger to the front wing and a relatively small gap between the neutral section and the profiled nose. The cooling package looks extremely aggressive too with small sidepod intakes and a distinct triangular roll hoop intake with a small secondary inlet below this and a couple of rear spine mounted exits too. The rear of the car features are less clear but the twin pillar mounted rear wing which is nicely contoured to channel the exhaust flow connects to a heavily slotted assembly outboard of which are located the rear brake duct cascade system.

Force India VYM07
This rendered side only ‘teaser’ image is not particularly informative and the excessive black shading around the wheels and floor regions effectively mask any detail. The only noticeable feature is that the cooling system is supplemented with additional openings at the engine cover split

Williams FW36
Again like Force India Williams has released a rendered image of the car, but this time showing different views and the clear low finger extension on the nose which protrudes from the characteristic wide section with underbody turning vanes. The cooling system is supplemented with louvered grills under the roll hoop and the central exhaust exits over a monkey seat rear wing cascade, with the pillar-less rear wing appears to be suspended onto the floor (although the fixation points are not clear).

Lotus E22
Again Lotus has given us a ‘teaser’ rendered image of the car but showing much more detail than the Force India did. The asymmetric twin nose interpretation is what I expected to see from at least one team and no doubt was on the drawing board of a few teams at some stage in the development process as it is cleverly constructed to pass the technical regulation and crash test. Only Lotus will know the benefit that they will gain from this design but I’m glad that at least one team has gone down a very different route. The heavily straked front wing also sports a very aggressive endplate gurney flap to direct the flow outboard of the tyres. Although not fully clear they appear to have a very aggressive cooling inlet package with a relatively large wide exit in front of the pillar mounted rear wing.

Sauber C33
Again only a couple of pictures with no frontal or rearwards views to clearly show the car layout. Nevertheless they appear to have a nose similar in style to McLaren’s with elongated hangers to the front wing, the detail of which is hidden by the angle of the photograph. The sidepods appear to be quite squared off , although the exact shape of the outboard extremities are hidden by the integrated wrap around turning vane. The triangular roll hoop intake and additional cooling entrances in this region are quite interesting (need to see more pictures in this region) with Sauber also opting for a central interchangeable engine spine cover which appears to have another mini- inlet incorporated in it. Similar to a number of Teams Sauber has opted for a twin contoured (around the exhaust plume) central pillar support mechanism for the rear wing.

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Formula 1 fans! I’d like your thoughts please?

I’m looking for five key technological breakthroughs in design of the Scudaria Ferrari’s Formula 1 cars that defined their success in history?


Never mind ugly or beautiful… what concerns me is racing. With the low fuel capacity limit, teams are already talking about conserving fuel. I want cars to be able to race flat out for the whole race not slow down at times in fuel conservation mode.


Pointless ´sport´ for techno geeks. Watch traffic on the M25, go trainspotting, play darts get yer Wii out – anything but this.


…or you could just be some crappy scrum half…


Thought the ugly 2010 “garden spade” Ferrari was a one-off, thought we’d never see something so bad again and can’t believe we now have something worse!


James — please can you share your thoughts on how the new nose designs impact on pit stop times? Other than Ferrari, all cars will have their noses extend beyond the front wing — surely this will hinder quick pitsops . . .


No, they’ll just adapt the front jacks.

Incidentally, the top teams spend over £200k on those grant jacks. They are incredibly complex pieces of engineering


Only in F1 would that budget be signed off. I suppose if it counts to a point at some section of the season it’s worth it if the constructors or drivers championship is at risk.

Can you do a piece on the crazy costs of F1 parts at some point, and where you think some sales to lower teams could happen?


F1 Dingo, The ERS power output and its use will be mapped into the engine system (ECU), the system will be operated by the throttle and brake pedal, the driver will have a ERS map available to adjust (on steering wheel) but will not have the freedom to access it, the ERS settings will allow for various combinations of power against time, such as, 161hp for 33.3 seconds per lap, 80.5hp for 66.6 seconds per lap, 40.25hp for 133.2 seconds per lap and so on.



Has got to say FIAT in anybody’s Book

Hope it goes better than a Punto….

McLaren looks best for me


1996 cars looked worse, bar Williams and Jordan.




Please let the Red Bull be pretty…


Is Ferrari’s nose shorter or are they able to mount the front wing further up (closer to the tip of the nose) since there nose is wider at the front? Any thoughts on this James or is it too early since the cars are probably just launch spec.


Voting which one of these cars is prettiest is like saying who’s better looking: Eric Pickles or John Prescott?????


Bratt Williams, The difference in length of the Lotus twin forks/tasks are necessary to comply with the rules (THE TIP OF THE NOSE, IT MUST HAVE A SINGLE CROSS- SECTION!!!).


The important launch is still to come of course – the Red Bull. I’m sure all the designers from other teams will be waiting nervously to see if they are in the same conceptual ball park as Newey.

Such a shame about the hump back Ferrari. The tip of the nose looks good, as does the rest of the car up to the driver’s feet, but the transition area parallel to the front wheels just looks awful!

It’s interesting that the same set of, supposedly tightened, regulations mean that such different solutions as the Ferrari and McLaren are both legal.


The experienced Scalabroni says the Lotus fork front end will not work.


But what he doesn’t know is that it’s been specially designed to work with Suzuka’s spoon.


If you’ve not seen them already, there are a couple of cool photoshoped pics trying to hide the ugliness. It’s the new McLaren in old circa 1991 and 1998 liveries. The daft nose is hidden very well with plenty of black.

Worth a look, it almost works. It’s on the 3rd page of pitpass McLaren launch analysis if the link is allowed, click the pics to see bigger.


The question is wrong in the poll.

It should be:

“Which is the worst looking 2014 machinery so far?”


The results do seem to reflect that very question.


When Williams posted the images of their new machinery I thought “If cars going to look like this I would not be able to choose the ugliest.” Ferrari made my choice easy. As well Caterham. Not to mention McLaren or Lotus. Man, I’m gonna follow races thru radio broadcast.


james, any info on the new ERS system? I understand it won’t be a driver aid anymore but will be controlled from the pit wall.

Does this mean that it can be altered from lap to lap to suit the race or is it set up with a strategy in mind?


Controlled not from pit wall, but from the car’s computer, rather than the driver with KERS button. It’s over 30secs per lap of deployment. In somewhere like Brazil that’s almost half a lap!


As I emerged from the shower this morning, my wife looked down and commented “Ah, I see where Williams got their new nose design idea from” !!


My condolences on your divorce, Pete.

Chin up – plenty more fish in the sea.


Not a very aerodynamic undercarriage though…


While I don’t like most of the designs, it is exciting to see how different teams approach the imposed design constraints, and one can only applaud this variety (it should be like this for the whole car, not just the nose).

In past seasons, cars had a different front wing for different tracks. The big variety made me wonder if this could be a season where cars will have different noses for different tracks?


I’m amazed that Ferrari are ahead in the poll. Are people blind?


Nope. I genuinely think the Ferrari is the best looking, closely followed by the McLaren. I am a Ferrari fan, but that didn’t influence my choice. There have been some butt ugly Ferrari F1 cars, but this isn’t one of them.


“There have been some butt ugly Ferrari F1 cars, but this isn’t one of them.”

This is the leader of them!


Indeed. 🙂


Many people here loves Ferrari and love is blind, so it seems people are voting for their favorite team, I’m amazed too.


The only thing Italians can win!


It’s nothing to do with how it looks, it’s to do with what it is.





Take away the front wing and the front of the Ferrari F14-T reminds me so much of the 1966 Ferrari 312. Gorgeous, and by far the best looking interpretation of the new nose rules. Just hope it goes as well as it looks!


At least this is the most variance in design that we’ve seen since the 1970s, so that can’t be bad. If looks are anything to go by then the Ferrari should be right up there but, no doubt, the true pace of the cars will be masked by reliability issues in the first test. Roll on Melbourne!


“If looks are anything to go by then the Ferrari should be right up there”

You mean make sure you don’t step on it and get some on the bottom of your shoe.


I hate to break it to you, but somebody already did step on it 😉


LOL, I’m a tiffosi but I must agree with both comments 😛


Then they need to check the bottom of their shoes to see if they’ve got a bit of a gross Ferrari stuck there.


Hilarious. It’s got to be a vintage year as nobody knows anything! I like how even the ‘expert technical analysis’ from Mark has to be ‘well this one looks a bit aggressive’. No offence to Mark of course – but the expert technical analysis might as well have been written by any of us – ‘err they are all a bit homely and we’ve no idea which one is fast’.

I think this testing season will be the first in a long time where sandbagging might actually be pointless!


The biggest change in F1 technical regulation history some in F1 would have you believe. All of this money and energy on new engines, aero, etc yet really, the cars look no different in principle. For all the millions that have been wasted on these new regs, I was actually hoping for something more than talking about ugly noses, sometimes this sport needs a massive reality check.


I’m not saying that I thought they would go back to resemble cars from the 60’s but I sure was expecting a revolution in terms of aero design.

These rules suck big time, such as my F14T looks suck big time too. 🙁


they look no different…. what were you expecting? They have to have 4 wheels and a steering wheel – if they don’t have wings and a rear engine there is no point in getting to a race meeting.


Inevitably these cars are as ugly as sin but instead of worrying about that let’s rejoice because at last we have cars which, even if presented unpainted, could still be identified. Gone are the clones.

Unfortunately one car’s nose design will prove to be more effective than the others and soon all the teams will be copying that, but for the time being let’s raise a glass to designers who find different solutions to the same problem.


I don’t find them ugly. I think they have worked hard to find an elegant solution to comply with the rules but be as aerodynamically efficient as possible. Personally I like the McLaren… and hope it goes as well as it looks.

As for copying F1 really is not that simple. One car is fast not because it has the best front wing but because the whole design philosophy works well. Changing to a similar nose as the first race winner could well destabilise the rest of the car and make it even slower.


Unlike the FIA who find different problems for the same solution 🙂


Or find problems where none exist.

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