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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There's no point voting in how a car looks, it's how fast it goes that's important, overheating is likely to be the early reliability issue.

The other question is how honest have the teams been in releasing images of their cars, using CGI images raises doubts. Roll on Tuesday, apart from Lotus, who need extra time for something......


Of course it matters. It wouldn't matter if the question implied that the performance was somehow related to the aesthetics. But what's wrong with enjoying the beauty of the car itself? For many of us, the beauty of the tracks, facilities, cars and locales is just as important as the performance. We're not robots.


There's nothing wrong with appreciating the beauty of a car, over it's performance, unless you are a team owner.


As the author stated, the Ferrari's nose is growing on me. Frankly I think the black paint on the Sauber is sexy, but I'd like to see more of the car.


So you didn't vote?


No I didn't, the vacuum cleaner looks the worst so far, closely followed by the nostrils and the tuning fork.


I think you're missing the idea of the poll. Speed cannot be voted for, fastest car will be fastest car, no vote will change that. In this case vote is your opinion on beauty, it has nothing to do with performance, like a beauty contest...


So all the Williams had to do to win was put on a CG bikini?


James is it possible Lotus are not attending to save costs?


It doesn't really matter anyway, if you look at the results its all to do with who supports who, not how they look.


I tend to agree with you, the same happens with Driver of the Day.


If that was true, wouldn't Williams have more votes. Williams would have quite a significant fanbase due to it's long history.


I think Williams are most people's "second team" these days


Yeah right, Williams are so popular these days, I doubt if even half of current fans remember the days when Williams were winning.


They still have to tune the fork.


Lotus need some cash to buy fuel the ship everything to the testing track.


The Force India, because you can't see the front.


Meet horny, droopy, retroey, dicky, forky and pointy.


Ha, ha - I wonder who will be Dopey. Also, does that make bernie Snow White?


Put it this way Clarks: If he ever needs a Prince Charming to wake him up with a kiss then count me out 😉

Krishna Kishor Bhat

Nice one Random79 😛


Probably has one of each ready to test.




There are more adult rated counterpart terms floating about, but this will do 🙂


True, but unlike most of the internet James actually has standards 🙂


No grat, James does...although the responses to recent articles will be testing them 😉


The internet has standards...?!?


Dead right! High ones too!


"Forky" is pronged just so Pastor can poke 2 cars running close together at the apex at the same time so he can push his way through without loosing his wing


Ha ha! Well said! Pastor certainly does like to "meet and greet" his fellow competitor...


+1 Quite indeed!


Not a fan of any off them yet but I am sure I will get used to them in time, guess I will have to!

As always the fastest will end up the best looking, roll on testing.


It would help to compare if you hadn't cut off the end of the nose of the Lotus! Looks better symmetrical.


It has to be asymmetrical, otherwise it would be illegal. Don't ask...

Christian O'Brien Carlsen

Hi JA and Mark

Thanks for a good look at the new cars.

Could the Lotus have a form of a venture after the twin nose inlet. It could be a way to accelerate the airstream before it hits the turning vane and goes to the floor.


Oi, come to think of it, Mclaren are the only team to have released images of the actual car.

Yes, as the toys keep rolling out with their new bits and pieces, it will also be crucial to see which teams enjoy the Pirellis more.

For what's the point of having the best equipment only to be hampered by the rubber.

Meanwhile, maybe Bahrain will give us the best barometer on who has the best cooling system and thus the most reliable engine.

I believe the theme of the 2014 winter test will be >>> If you can make it in Bahrain, you can make it anywhere.


Bahrain GP is at night now. I assume temperatures won't be as high. Will it affect?


Yes, race time is 18-00hrs which is 5 hrs later than in the past


So it will only be 100 deg F, not 200?


The best equipment is that which will work best with the rubber.


Must.... Not.... Make..... condom..... joke.....


Had proper giggles at that one.


I just realized that Alonso has raced 7 seasons since he won a WDC. Closer to a decade than not. Wow...time, she flies.


Too many people are voting for favourite teams rather than what they see before them. Just saw merc tweet aerial shot of engine cover-looks great


I voted for Sauber, not my fav team but the car that so far looks somewhat decent


"Too many people are voting for favourite teams rather than what they see before them."

I agree.

Robert in San Diego

Ferrari has never been my fav. team but I voted for it as I think they have the best overall interpretation of the F1 car.


Oh boy! Does that car have an ugly nose of what!! Might well be the best performing one, but it is the ugliest nose I think I've ever seen on an F1 car.


@Robert in San Diego

Get your eyes looked at.


Can you add an option for none of the above? This has really hit a new low. So much of the beauty of F1 was the sight and sounds of these beautifully sculpted racing machines in all their glory. I think the turbo 6 will still sound cool, but these frankenstein cars are just beyond silly.

Oh well I thought all the winglets that looked like tusks and the sharkfins also looked pretty terrible, so maybe this will pass with time. I think the best looking F1 cars were the 2010-2011 variants. Clean lines, fast, and loud.


What will we get if the Lotus & either the Mecedes,Williams or Sauber meet head on?An extra team on the grid next year? LOL Seriously though there's some wierd interpretations and it will be very interesting to see who is right.Will the midfield runners benefit from conservative early designs focussed on reliability steal an early unasailable championship lead,aka Brawn Mercedes? Could Marrussia be a bolter out of the blue? Can Torro Rosso upstage their sister champion team? Can Caterham finally match their chest beating?Can McLaren return from their wayward years?

These are all distinctly possible this year,just like 2009 when Red Bull finally lived up to their hype & BrawnGP(Weren't Honda STUPID) cobbled together the 18 mth long planned Honda chassis and the Mercedes engine,so personally i can't wait for Melbourne.I'm not going to take too much from testing,except reliability issues found out in the new power plants,as the big teams always sandbag in the pre-season tests.



There's something about the McLaren that makes me think "Kilroy was Here".

So far it's a collection of leafblowers and todgers, but I know that when they're 3 or 4 abreast trying to outbrake each other into t3 in Melbourne I won't be thinking about the funny noses....unless they lose a few of course.


May be the first year in F1 history when the cars look more sensible when their noses have been knocked off!


This year, they all look quite good.

These new design look quite aggressive and slim, somewhat elegant.

So far I'm debated between the Mc Laren and the Ferrari as which is the best looking one.

Every season Mc Laren is competing for the best looking car.


"Every season Mc Laren is competing for the best looking car"

Generally I agree they produce some of the most beautiful F1 cars...but not this year.


Appearance is secondary to performance. Some cars appear to have much larger cooling air inlets for obvious reasons, but does that bode well for the smaller ones like the Ferrari? Looking forward to the Red Bull and Mercedes designs on Tuesday.


The extreme importance of aero has completely ruined racing cars, F1 and LMP. Neither of these stand out as being better looking than the other and the low key launches are further evidence that even the creators think so.


I always think of Jughead from Archie comics when I see that image of the McLaren. The Ferrari looks like a dustbuster, Dyson sponsorship going begging there, Luca.

The Sauber looks like the original 1993 Sauber. Perhaps they've recycled the old car cause they're short of cash?

So far it's the 1992 Minardi, I mean the Force India, that is the best looking car but i would like to see the front shot soon. Williams obviously need to update their graphics programmes, still using Windows Paint by the looks of things. As for the Renault, well, as John Lennon once said, I am the Walrus coo coo ca choo.


crazy comment!

so the best looking car is best looking because you haven't seen the nose yet? .... so it could be the worst looking by the time they reveal it ... and if Williams had used better software and only shown the side view you would vote for that!


"Williams obviously need to update their graphics programmes"

I had the same thought: Worst CG since 1995.


James - would you or Mark be able to further elaborate on the significane of the asymmetric twin nose on the Lotus? I noticed the right nose-prong (it's prominent looking at the top-down view) of the E22 juts out slightly further than the left one, however don't understand how this could be of benefit. Cheers!


Cars are only allowed one nose "tip", so if one is longer than the other then they meet that requirement. If both tips were the same length the Lotus would be illegal.


I thought it was a camera tacked on the end of one, but your exp makes it make more sense.


Ah, thanks Timmay, great explanation!


I'll ask Mark to look into that


it has been widely reported elsewhere as a way around the rule. One is the rule keeping single nose as it is the furthest forward part of the car and the other is an odd appendage that is not reflected in the rules but works well aerodynamically.


That would be useful . . .

Just saying ‘. . . twin nose interpretation is what I expected to see . . .’ is hardly what you would call ‘expert analysis’!


With respect to Mark, at this stage of the season you have to replace "analysis" with "guessing".


Waiting for Red Bull to launch their car now. It is exciting to see cars that look so visually different from each other, over the past few seasons most cars look identical to each on TV.

Will Red Bull have a totally different interpretation or will they go the route of one of the cars already launched ! What does Mr. Newey have up his sleeve now.

Can't wait for these charges to start rolling their wheels in anger !


The Ferrari has really grown on me, it is easily the best looking, not least because it keeps the width of its nose


Also the one which has the steeper profile, which I think is awful. Seems like there will never be consensus about the looks...


For the vast majority these designs can only be described as peculiar at best, but I prefer this variety in designs to the homogeneity witnessed in recent seasons. There's a genuine excitement to see which team's solution works the best. And also, with so many different interpretations, it is likely we may see teams trying different approaches during the season. For the fans, the prospect of such developments are probably more appealing than teams adding slots to their front wings!


The Sauber nose is easily the most attractive of the lot so far...but will be very interesting to see which design works, and whether teams immediately all switch to the winning design early on in the season


If everyone thinks that everyone else has a better solution we may see a game of musical noses 🙂


Not sure - can't factor in Williams, Lotus or Force India - and Sauber's pics don't reveal much either. Am I alone in thinking that Mclaren's front end is truly ugly! So, at this stage, by default, it has to be Ferrari - though this could change once more "reveals" appear ....


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.


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.


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!


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.


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!


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.



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?


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...


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!


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.


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 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.


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.


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!!!).


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


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.


Please let the Red Bull be pretty...


1996 cars looked worse, bar Williams and Jordan.





Has got to say FIAT in anybody's Book

Hope it goes better than a Punto....

McLaren looks best for me


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.


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?


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!


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...


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.


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?

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