Six key points to watch for in new-look F1 for 2014
Six key points to watch for in new-look F1 for 2014
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Jan 2014   |  3:40 pm GMT  |  149 comments

The controversial new rule for 2014 awarding double points for the last race is likely to have unintended consequences, like influencing the way that the smaller teams in F1 design the cars. This is one of six key points to look out for in 2014, according to JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan.

“The smaller teams could well completely change their design process in an attempt to secure these points, as it could make a significant difference to their constructor’s position. If I were running operations for one of the smaller teams I would definitely do it,” said Gillan, former head of track operations for Toyota and Williams.

As the last three places in the table are separated by just a few points there is a clear gain to be had from developing the optimum package for the car around the Abu Dhabi circuit, which could make or break a season.

Teams are due to meet the FIA next week to finalise cost controls and other rules voted through by the F1 commission last December. Although the double points rule has proved a real turn-off for fans, many commentators and even senior figures like Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, it is not clear how much of an airing it will get in the January meeting as the cost control discussion looks set to take priority. If the double points finale remains for this year, the smaller teams will have to react. (NB – Promoters of some other Grands Prix are unhappy about Abu Dhabi appearing more important than their race)

Whereas in the past teams might place resources into on a specific Monza package, for example, which would give them a strong performance on the one-off low downforce track, now the double points on offer at the final race make it a priority.

But teams have to be very crafty about how they plan their aerodynamic development this year.

With a significant reduction in the amount of wind tunnel and CFD time that teams are allowed to do, the development process is going to change this year. With radical new rules the need to react is going to be greater than ever, but the ability to do so it less than ever, because even the top teams can only have their wind tunnels and CFD computers working a maximum of 30 hours a week.

The reduction is a cost saving measure which is likely to save millions, not least in electricity costs from running these 4/5 megawatt tunnels for less time. It is also making the leading teams feel more inclined to share their tunnels- or lease them out at least – with other smaller teams, thereby raising some additional income.

The cost control measures, such as the wind tunnel restriction, are now in the FIA Sporting Regulations, which means that they are FIA regulated and therefore policeable, not subject to a FOTA gentleman’s agreement. Hopefully this will open the door for further cost controls under FIA control which should lead to more sustainable costs and teams surviving.

With the elimination of straight line aerodynamic testing, the four two day tests and especially the Friday practice sessions at Grands Prix are going to be crucial for aero development work and this could be a decisive factor in doing well this year.

Artists impression of 2014 F1 car (Ferrari) designed to new rules (in Gazzetta dello Sport)

Weight is still an issue . Despite lobbying from drivers, the teams failed to agree on raising the minimum weight at the end of last year. This means that there is a real penalty for running a heavier driver. Many teams are struggling to make a car at the minimum weight limit and to run overweight means being uncompetitive.

“With these very complex new cars, teams will want to run a lot of instrumentation, to measure things,” says Gillan. “And this adds weight. If you also have a heavy driver, then you can’t afford to have the instrumentation.”

Fuel flow is another new factor that will be well worth watching for. Teams have to cover a 300km race with one third less fuel. This has given rise to fears that F1 will become an “economy run” with engines turned down and drivers running slowly to save fuel. The reduction in fuel is in line with the reduction in cylinders (8 to 6) and capacity (2.4l to 1.6l)

Crucial to this is the fuel flow sensor, which is an FIA part common to all cars. There has been pressure on the supplier to make this part reliable and there could be some chaotic races if the sensor encounters problems on some of the cars.

There has been debate about how many teams will be in Jerez from January 28-31, following Lotus’ announcement that they will miss the first test. Lotus boss Eric Boullier has said that he is certain a number of others will also be forced to miss the test. For Gillan, missing Jerez is a much bigger penalty than in previous years.

“You have to be there (Jerez),” he says.” The racing this year is going to be dominated by reliability, at least for the first part of the year, the power train is very complicated. There are a lot of new operations to control and some very difficult cooling decisions. If you lose track time early on where those decisions get made you lose ground. These engineers will be operating well outside their comfort zone at the start of 2014 with all this new technology. It was easy with the old V8 normally aspirate engine, but developing a cooling system for a turbo engine is a big job and with quite a few hot races early on you need to be on track for as much of the testing time as possible. Missing a test in 2014 is MUCH more of a problem than in previous years.”

There are believed to be some great innovations on radiators on the new F1 cars, with a huge amount of research into making bigger radiators with finer internal tubing to allow for optimum packaging.

As a short-cut guide, here are the JA on F1 six key points to watch out for in 2014:

1) The power unit change – much more road manufacturer-relevant going from 2.4 V8 60kW KERS boosts (for 6secs/lap) KERS to 1.6 V6 turbo with 120kW ERS boosts (for 33sec/lap). Convergence with Le Mans engine technology. Turbocharged unit revving at a max 15,000rpm through a new 8 speed gearbox (with fixed ratios for the season). Only one exhaust tailpipe exit allowed. No more exhaust blowing the diffuser. Cooling could be a major issue.
2) Resource restriction into Sporting Regulations – new limits on the Wind Tunnel/CFD (30 hrs wind on time/CFD Teraflops/wk, 80 runs/wk, 60hrs occupancy/wk )and no aero test day allocation – Friday practice at GPs will be even more aero test biased.
3) New penalty structure for power train use over a season. Now max 5 units per year instead of 8 – reliability will be key.
4) Car weight increase from 642kg to 690kg. It is likely that Teams will struggle to hit this target – ballast for weight distribution, additional electronics (for e.g. tyre monitoring) may then become punitive to run in terms of weight. Penalty for heavier drivers.
5) 100kg fuel mass limit usage during the race with max fuel mass flow of 100kg/h above 10500rpm, which is down from approximately 150kg in 2013. The mass flow sensor is now the most important sensor on the car – reliability of this sensor is paramount.
6) Double points for final race of the season – smaller teams will completely change their design process in an attempt to secure these points as it could make a significant difference to their constructors’ position.

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Because of the double points we might see two unusual things happen. We could see many teams saving engines for the final race, as any reliability problems in the final race could be twice as costly.

we could also see a situation where many smaller teams take gearbox penalties in the race before so they can go into the final race with a fresher gearbox.


And what if the Abu Dhabi race gets cancelled for some reason? Will the double-points then revert back to the previous race?


So ? with DRS drivers will just stay behind another driver and wait to overtake them in the DRS zone. If people want to complain about the gimmicky double points they should also be complaining about the tires, DRS etc.


Don't worry, they do 🙂


2 x 0 = twice as costly indeed


I think most of the teams will be tempted to do that.

I really don't see the fuss about the smaller teams though: For teams like Caterham and Marussia - assuming they perform on the same level as they always have - getting double points is almost irrelevant - just getting even one point in any race would put a huge smile on their dial 🙂


Everyone at Brazil outside top 10 DNFs?


Looking at pics of the newly approved mass flow sensor, I find it amazing that they have the same problems in moulding a male thread today as I had on a part for Landrover 12 years ago.

The teams need to be looking at the new adiabatic engine cycle developed by RTU Ltd.

It will be obvious why once the season starts and the cooling problems become evident.

Redesigns of sidepods, extra holes and ways of cooling cables may make some unexpected body shapes later.


Thanks for the RTU Ltd link. That was highly informative. If the figures they give for it are real, then its one hell of a revolution.

The figures do seem incredible, so it begs the question if they were done in circumstances that strongly flattered the RTU ePhone, but disadvantaged the Audi TT. Here is some of the data, for those like me who hadn't heard about this engine:

598 kW (814 HP) - against the Audi TT's 250 kW (336 HP)

5.3 L/100 km - against the Audi TT's 9 L/100 km

Exhaust Gas Temp. 351 °C - against the Audi TT's Exhaust Gas Temp. over 1000 °C


The torque figure is incredible. Wow


Working in the industry I know that they will need to overcome the following to succeed:

1. the not invented here syndrome

2. the vast amount of investment the car companies have made into electric/hybrid/fuel cells

3. ultimately cost as any technology is only any good if it is competitive on this basis.


Response to Quade:

Yes it is correct that China is eager for new technologies and may back this venture without considering short term returns, but China has also invested large amounts in electric and hybrid and the most successful car companies in china are in fact the JVs with foreign car manufacturers rather than the Chinese wholly owned brands.


These things might be an issue in Europe, the US and Japan, but surely not in China or other rapidly growing economies that are eager to gobble up any high tech opportunities - money, no concern.


The figures they are stating seem unbelievable. Who is this company and what sort of technology are they employing to deliver this massive leap forward in combustion engine design.

Surely the F1 teams have looked over this?


Yes, I imagine the 2014 F1 field would be really interested in such a miracle engine, especially with the new feul rationing regime and tricky cooling.

The only question marks would be how to deal with patent rights. Because of the fast paced development in F1, the teams might prefer not to be tied to any rigid licensing rules and might even actively block their ears to details of any patents; so they can act in breach, knowing that no one would see them as a commercial threat since F1 is more a throw away business than it is mass production.

That all assumes that the engine is real. That said, they do have Slovak government backing, and thats something (except someone in the Slovak govt has a dud between both ears).


Wait a second James, when you say fixed ratio? Does that mean that teams can no longer set liner or shorter gear ratios? If so which team do you think will be penalized most by this? If I'm not mistaken I believe Red Bull often choose shorter gear ratios in races to start strong and maintain the lead.


It will be interesting to see if the smaller teams optimize their cars for certain specialised circuits (eg Monaco, Monza) and achieve some points finishes at those circuits.

Championship contenders such as Red Bull and Ferrari will need to optimize their cars over the entire season.


Teams can choose whichever 8 ratios they like, but they can only do it once at the start of the season and have to use the same ratios all year

RBR could still run shorter ratios, but none of the teams can change their ratios as the season goes on to suit tracks, performance evolution of the car or their pace relative to the competition.


This is old news and no, they can't. And why would red bull be more penalized by this than anyone else? What could possibly short gears have to do with it.


The teams choose their gear ratio at the beginning of the season and that choice is then fixed for the season - I believe they can make one change during the whole season, as opposed to every race as the teams have been able to do up to now.


Its gunna be tough, no doubt. Imagine the difference between the ideal ratios for say Monaco Vs Monza. I must have missed something, surely...


They set their ratios for the year, and I think in the first year they're allowed to change it once during the season. So, assuming the season can't be split into a nice convenient, "First half of the season is better with longer ratios, second half with shorter ratios" or something of that sort, there'll be some degree of compromise. Well even if they could split it like that, there'd still be compromise. Of course, they do also have that extra 8th gear to play with. Around Monaco, I suspect we'll never see 8th gear used, and possibly not even 7th. Of course around Monaco, the two straight-ish bits don't amount to anywhere near 33 seconds of ERS use, and I'm wondering if they'll even be able to discharge 33 seconds worth in a lap.

There's gonna be a fair bit going on, so it's going to be interesting to see how the different teams tackle the issues. I suspect I'll be relying a lot more on the F1 boffins in the media this year to understand what's going on.


Okay wow thanks for trying to explain. Interesting indeed. I wonder if this will penalize certain teams more than others... But I suppose having that eight gear may limit the penalty after all. I just believed Red Bull often had a differing gear ratio to their rivals at a lot of tracks which is why Sen used to be faster at slower speed particularly at the start. I believed this to be because he was geared shorter so he'd always pick up speed faster off a corner meaning he'd be harder to overtake initially. It also gave him an edge on catching up to anyone off a slow corner. Obviously they had more than just this giving them speed but I wonder how this rule will affect them now.


Yeah but they now have 8 !- so chances are they wont be wanting to change anything anyway. It will be more a drivers problem trying to find the right gear for the right corner at each circuit.


If I understand it correctly the cars will have eight gears (instead of the previous seven), and all the ratios will have to be declared before the start of the season.

I have read that they'll be able to change them once through the year (which would make sense) but I'm not sure.


Yes, the teams have to run the same ratios at every track. They get one change at mid-season.


This issue has been discussed to death in other threads. The short answer is yes,it means teams need to setup their cars like road cars and select a gear ratio that is most "optimized" for all tracks. Now think of using the same ratios in Monaco as in Monza! That's the new F1 for you!


That's what I understand. So the same gearbox ratios in Monaco as in Monza


And when you say 'fixed ratios', James, do you mean ratios that will be the same on all cars? Or can each team decide on their own ratios that are then fixed for the season?


Been mean to ask for a while, how are hours on the wind tunnel checked?

seems an easy thing to get around.


FIA: So team, have your used your wind tunnel this week?

Team: Yes Mr. FIA.

FIA: But only for thirty hours or less?

Team: *nods earnestly* Yes Mr. FIA.

FIA: Well, that's all above board then 🙂

See? Full-proof 🙂


So that's why the McLaren technology centre is entered via a long corridor - to give the wind tunnel time to spin down when the FIA guy arrives 🙂


Yes and the amount of hours some computers are on??

Mr CFD engineer ,burning the midnight oil in his spare room, on his laptop. Charlie Whiting at the window with a step ladder. Doubtful.


Now there's a creepy image for you 🙂


Meaning rather!


No, the smaller teams should just keep it business as usual by targeting strong (lucky) finishes at Monza or Monaco for am 100% confident that the double points rule won't see the light of day considering the universal disapproval of the rule not to mention from Ferrari's Luca >>> And from what am told, Ferrari have a major say in what gets approved.

As for the arms race during the season, considering the cost restrictions, it's appears it will still be imperative like the past couple of years to have the fastest car in the first half of the season so as to build a big enough margin that can't be eroded.

Of course, these restrictions hurt Ferrari the most because Ferrari prefer the unlimited testing regime where it's all systems go 24/7.

On the point of weight, I can see a number of heavier drivers struggle against their teammates such as Hulkenburg which will be unfortunate for such a promising talent.

Now, regards the fuel conserving and tyre conserving issue, this will really favour the thinking drivers such as Alonso so much so that Prost said 2014 is the only season he would have loved to participate in.

Last but not least, I think reliability will bring in another element of fun for the fans.

Yes over the past years we have been spoiled with perfect reliability with 24 cars finishing races but with unreliability, we shall have unpredictability back in the sport which in turn can have a knock on effect such as oil on the track, or a safety car or Kimi just flooring it through a plume of smoke in Monaco.

In conclusion, 2014 has all the ingredients in place to be an all time classic.


And from what am told, Ferrari have a major say in what gets approved.....

I am not sure things are quite as straightforward as they might appear on this double points business. I read that Ferrari may only use their veto on a limited number of occasions. Meanwhile, Bernie appears to be backing the double points to the hilt and is showing no signs of changing his mind. This may be in an attempt to get Ferrari to 'waste' their veto blocking the double points. So, if my little theory is correct - what has Bernie got up his sleeve that he wants to push through later, safe in the knowledge that Ferrari have already 'spent' their veto?

Zachary's Disease

Probably a rule change that may or may not aid a team that is owned by a large drinks company. This drinks company may or may not have leverage over an old guy who will loose a lot of money and power in court for playing God with a 'sports entertainment' thing he runs.....


"In conclusion, 2014 has all the ingredients in place to be an all time classic"

True, but then again they said the same of 2013.


You say that, but Red Bull were always going to be mighty in 2013 as the rules were exactly the same and once we knew Macca had gone backwards, I knew the championship was over.

2014 will be like 2009 with much more drama due to reliability issues.


True - and I hope you're right - but I'm just taking it with a pinch of salt until the season actually starts 🙂


Very interesting! I have to say I didn't know about the 8 speed fixed ratio gearbox! Does each team choose their own ration at the start of the season then?

Also about the wind tunnel/CFD - When does the limitation start or has that happened? And how is it monitored -random check ups?


Why don't you just go and educate yourself a bit. 2014 is around the corner.


Regarding the wind tunnel and CFD computers and the 30 hrs/wk maximum; what would restrict them from adding more people and more computers to maximize the 30 hours available? Or, is this 30 hours accumulative, for example, 2 computers for 15 hours each?


The CFD limit is set by teraflops processed, not time, so no gain from more computers unless you can't do enough processing with what you have.

1 hour wind tunnel on-time is assessed as equivalent to 1 teraflop, and the sum of the two must be <=240 over each assessed eight week window, ie ~30 per week on average.


More interesting for me is the question, can the teams use these super computers for something else for the rest of the week? Bitcions spring to mind.


Thanks for posting those details.

I wonder how many computer engineers the teams will be putting on building computers that are effective for their CFD simulations while performing unusually poorly on the teraflop benchmarks.


I was thinking same thing. Newry Jr.'s bank of home installed new MacPros count in this 30hrs?


30 hours total. Teams are likely to split it 25 hours wind tunnel and 5 hrs CFD



5 hours of CFD a week is nothing. Either F1 CFD simulations are ridiculously straight forward or each team has clusters allowing them to run tens or hundreds of simulations at the same time. It would be interesting to see a feature on how teams manage this.



My thoughts exactly! It just so happens that we have a two week design project at university to make an F1 style rear wing and we will certainly be doing more than that.


I know that it has been said before, but I still do not understand the purpose behind all of the cost cutting measures. Teams should be able to spend whatever they want in my opinion. I can only surmise that it is for the good of the show, to keep the bottom tier teams within the 107% window. But if that is truly the concern, then why don't they just severely limit the aero? Single plane wings. No winglets, turning vanes, vortex generators, etc. allowed between the front and rear wing. And no diffuser. Sure, the rich teams will still have the advantage, but it will be notable less so and the smaller teams will not have such a huge development gap to overcome.


"I know that it has been said before, but I still do not understand the purpose behind all of the cost cutting measures. Teams should be able to spend whatever they want in my opinion."

Simple: If money sets the limit on improving the speed then cost cutting measures compress the field and give smaller teams a chance to seriously play with the big boys.


Wow, that would be eaten up in a hurry.


Really hope that the horrific rule is scrapped. It is honestly going to ruin a great season 🙁


Excellent piece James. Always good to get the thoughts of Mark Gillan as well.


Question for the experts here - if the engine is sealed/homologated for this season - does it mean the same engine has to be used for the next season too? (assuming there are no reliability concerns)

Wondering whether the engine manufactures are allowed to design a new engine for the next year (2015) using what they learned from this year. If Yes, I don't see where Honda will have a benefit from joining-in next season.


I believe they are required to homologate a certain percentage of the engine components, but I do not recall the exact percentage. It would make re-engineering the entire engine impossible. Honda is at an advantage in one way but the percentage of homologation goes up every year which is a disadvantage. For instance, if the first year is 40% and the next is 65%, the engine builders now can change a larger percentage of their components after the first year (60%) than Honda could after their first year (35%). Honda gets a little longer to get it right from the start but they have to get it done.


According to the currently published regs, only engines homologated by 28 Feb this year may be used in the 2014-2020 seasons, so no changes (except for reliability, safety or cost-saving) in 2015. Later entrants like Honda will have to satisfy the FIA that they can "fairly and equitably be allowed to compete with other homologated power units."


There is a 3 page long list of what they can and can not modify in 2014, 2015 and so on. It's less and less as the years go by.


From my understanding of it, engines are not "frozen" as the 2.4L V8 engines are now, with zero development allowed.

Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault will be allowed to develop their engines until the FIA re-introduce the engine freeze, when they deem that the engines are powerful "enough".

So, while the teams will have to complete the season with 5 engines total, I believe they're allowed to continue to develop the units..?

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong!

So Honda would have some advantage in watching the other 3 manufacturers make mistakes. But, given the lead time for designing and producing F1 engines, I'm not sure how much help this will really be. The disadvantage for Honda is that they won't have all the actual track mileage behind them that the other 3 engine manufacturers will gain from the 2014 season.

Any word on whether Lotus has an engine supply yet?


No its 5 per year -2014 only and that is Turbo, v6 engine, ERS batteries and even wiring.

2015 has not been finalised yet but why would anyone want to carry engines into next year anyway- when they will be struggling to finish this year with them!last year they were allowed 8 and struggled.


They have to get rid of the Double Points rule!! Pleas, please for once F1 do something right. Or Undo a wrong, whichever way you want to look at it


Although it is a bit of a silly rule change, if it makes things more interesting and unpredictable for various reasons then it's not that big a deal. If this season is not action packed, with shock and surprise, I will be disappointed. I want to see cars running out of fuel, panic on the pitwall, last lap technical failures, Williams, Caterham and Marussia on the podium and most important of all: Vettel struggling to stay in the points. 😀


If you want unpredictable results, try a lottery, but please let Formula-1 be a proper competition.


Formula 1 has always been a proper competition: the rules are the same for every team and every driver. Even if some of those rules are stupid. Contrary to what some people's indignation would imply, the FIA does not script the races in a WWE fashion.


The issue of penalizing heavier drivers is a travesty, way worse than the double-points nonsense.

But beyond that, I think I'm missing something: why limit straight-line aero testing?

Is this really a cost saving? Most teams have either a track or an airfield somewhere near their factories... does this type of testing (i.e. spending the day doing runs at fixed speeds, to measure aero loads on the suspension) cost anywhere near as much money as CFD and a windtunnel, IF it's next door to the factory — which it is (Sauber being the only likely exception)?


Any time an F1 car hits the track it involves ridiculous amounts of money.

Besides, if you're a team like Sauber you could just drive it around the factory floor - at the very least you'd iron out the cornering issues 🙂


You have to have a fairly large race style support team even for straight line aero tests and so apparently they do cost more to run - obviously they have none of the development cost of wind tunnels or CFD refinement but in terms of manpower and direct car support - they are expensive even for Ferrari with their test tracks outside the factory doors...


We were told that the minimum weight limit would not be changed, as teams have been designing to the new figure for some time, and it was too late/unfair to change the goalposts after the rules were set. So how can it now be that smaller (less resourced) teams can suddenly design their to favour the final, double-points, race of the season?


They can focus their development for the season on providing great traction and low speed downforce, not high speed traction.


Change their development path. Focusing every aspect on the Abu Dhabi circuit. The cars are never the same by Abu Dhabi as they were at Melbourne.


That's what I thought! Surely it's way too late to do that!


Mr Allen, thanks a heaps for your analogy of KISS

"keep it stupid and simple"of F1 in 2014,that's why

you are still the "ONE" when it comes to F1 and the

matters that concerns F1 fans at large.

Sir,I believe my information is right to say that

Ferrari in theory No,but in practice had avoided

the cost cap that would apply in 2015 and beyond in

R/D and testing.

Ferrari is to enter Le Mans in P1 category in 2015

with the power unit of 2014 F1 single seater.

Sir,a true story you can take it to the bank.

Further where Mercedes F1 had and still have a huge

problem with the cooling of the V6 1.6 turbo, where

by the Ferrari are already testing their engine,at

the Fiorano.


Mark, will you please expand on the following statement?

The reduction is a cost saving measure which is likely to save millions, not least in electricity costs from running these 4/5 megawatt tunnels for less time. Is that 0.8 MW or 4 to 5 MW?


Rule of thumb when dealing with F1 is that it's always the bigger number 😉


Which equates to roughly £3 million / year if the tunnel were running constantly... and they have a decent wholesale electricity contract.



The mention of convergence with Le Mans top category is good; after seeing the latest Audi challenger, I envision a similar 2014 F1 appearance.

Fuel Efficient Usage Requirement and power units and...

I see a lot of lops for driviong development through, and the teams that get the best bunch that stand up to rules challenges.

Now let me see if anybody knows if it would be okay, to divert excess power, coming out of corners (all above and beyond traction limits), and store for pounding it out down the straights!!!

In other words... traction control legal?

What are the constraints to the haversting and application to drive of the power production?

I see large numbers of large and small soft-spots in the formula to get this kind of thing, and it seems unlikely, given the historical trend, that one, or likely more than one, team will go this route.

Renault also had the turning off the cylinders innovation, which saved fuel.

I envision complex algorythms sharing the work load evenly across all cyclinders in a large number of permutations for fire inclusion and fire pattern of cylinders to achieve fuel savings.

Will everyone include the Red Bull legal tilt mechanism, and design their cars, as Red Bull did in 2013, to maximize the implementation of this concept.

Any team that doesn't have it, will be at distinct disadvantage, especially with all of the initial clawbacks of aero opportunities and development restrictions.

Loving the site, thawing in Toronto.


"CFD computers working a maximum of 30 hours a week."

This means, technically, absolutely nothing.

Unless one specifies the amount of MFlops per week, the richer teams will still get the upper hand, as nothing states they shouldn't heavily parallelise computation (ie. buy more hardware to run more calculations in the same amount of time).

On the other hand, if they specified the maximum COMPUTING POWER that can be run per week, it would put the onus of finding performance unto the coders, which will have to develop cleverer algorithms to do more work within the same computational budget.

Was it slightly odd wording from you, James, or do the rules really state a fixed time amount, skipping the computational power to be used within that time frame entirely?


nevermind, i finished the article and it does state computing power. sorry.


Think how much time they could get out of a Commodore 64 🙂


Quality time that is!


Ahah, well played.

Lightened a bit my making a fool of myself in public... 😛


Well double points in the last race will add new meaning to the phrase "It's not over until it's over"

and if it's close between a few top drivers then the last race will be a mad scramble. The max. weight issue does need properly sorting out. I can't see the point in it really apart from the ERS, and I think it will be the most lame, convoluted formula so far.


All for now is guessing. As usual, until race #3 we will get a clear picture of how development is going on.

Can we judge by its Road Divisions if Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault are on good direction concerning reliability?

My personal guess is that Ferrari, although not considered fuel-efficient, they have the works in-house and can make quick improvements. The interaction KERS-Engine has been highly succesful and reliable.

Mercedes appear to be the king on power alone, but what about reliability?

Renault would seem the most fuel-efficient package, but the way Newey packs -or intends to do so- takes things to the limit, hence the bad reliability of their KERS in past seasons. They will still have an edge on aero over the rest.

Fantastic expectations to see the big 3 against each other. McLaren will be in a transition year and don´t expect to have an extraordinary year, sincerely. And who cares, I´m a Kimi fan!!


Well, I do hope the double points rule gets scrapped next week. Is there anything us fans can do to make the FIA see sense?

As an aside, has the FIA published information on the effect of the double points season finale on the count back rule? That is, would a win at Abu Dhabi count double when two drivers end on the same number of points?


Hi James,

Thanks for the detailed analysis James. Can always rely on you for a decent article 🙂

Just a few thoughts/questions:

1) With 8 gears, would that mean it'd be less likely to see cars hitting the limiter on straights?

2) With a more powerful KERS unit and longer periods of KERS boost, I can imagine there being an extra load on alternators... and possible failures.

3) Double-points! What is your personal opinion on that? I really hope it doesnt go ahead as it has an artificial 'feel' to it. I guess I'll have to tally up the points with the usual points award 🙂


1. Button said in an interview some weeks ago that new cars hit 8th gear faster than old cars hit 7th. So either gears are super short, which could be the case as they are forced to run 1 gear ratios all year, or peak engine + ERS power is much higher, which is doubtful. This stuff is so circumstantial it won't be clear until we get some proper onboard footage with telemtry.

2. Alternator has nothing to do with next years ERS boost, as it had nothing to do with 2011-2013's KERS boost. They recharge from kinetic and heat energy which do not come from alternator.


"With 8 gears, would that mean it’d be less likely to see cars hitting the limiter on straights?"

That depends on the track and the ratios.


Thank heavens those ugly noses are gone ! The 2014 look so much more pleasing on the eyes!


Have a look at Scarbsf1 to see his predictions, on his twitter and in Autosport. By the looks of it, we will be pining for the step nose cars. Get your phallic jokes ready, though the polite name is the anteater nose, apparently.


"Get your phallic jokes ready"

I was waiting for somone to say that 🙂


Enter the proboscis have been warned 😉


Fixed ratio gearboxes? I did not know about this. We have double points in final race, and less engines allowed per season (5 instead of 8) in the FIRST season a brand new extremely complex engine formula is introduced. Yet teams can't adjust their gear ratios? I loved the variation of performance through different ratios used by the teams. It made it very interesting. Some of these new rules seem so gimmicky even if you look past the double points for the last race rule.


Abu dhabi is all low speed corners and long straights, requires good mechanical grip...personally cant see teams designing cars optimised for the low speed corner tracks instead of high / mid speed tracks which are more common... Maybe it could affect final developments at end of season eg better to spend my money on abu dhabi rather than say USA. I still think teams at the start of the season will give more priority to recovering downforce as they will lose a lot at the beginning.


Actually, low speed corners are a staple of the Tilke domes and street circuits and, because you spend more time in a slow corner, you can gain much more advantage there than in fast corners. Tilke also likes to put long straights after slow corners, so good low speed traction are crucial for both attack and defence on his tracks (see the Hulk in Korea).

It was at those tracks, and in those slow corners, that Vettel and Red Bull had their biggest advantage (particularly Singapore and Abu Dhabi). I seem to recall either Garry Anderson or Horner saying that more than halve the corners in F1 are slow now.


Fair comments but it is also true cars which are quick in abu dhabi may not necessarily be quick at say spain or UK, in the main i dont think double points will influence engineering direction too much this early in the season

Lachlan Mackinnon

James, good summary/piece! Re the fixed gearbox ratios for the season. I assume the individual teams still have the discretion of what those final ratios will be for the season?

Lachlan Mackinnon

Thanks Juzh!


Just to clear up, it's more complicated than a simple "yes".

It's 8 numbers representing ratios between input and output that must be nominated. My interpretation is they can change final drive if they wish, as long as the change all the other cogs accordingly, not that I envisage a situation where this would be necessary.


"Promoters of some other Grands Prix are unhappy about Abu Dhabi appearing more important than their race"

If the double points rule applies, Abu Dhabi won't just *seem* more important, it will *be* more important.


Another consequence of double pionts is that I and many others I know will now likely watch the first and last race only. Already we only watch the start and last few laps as that is all that is obvious.

With DRS, KERS, tyres lasting 3 laps etc F1is now just a circus show. Commentators like it because it gives them something to talk about


Don't forget that DRS slot next year is increased from 50 do 70mm. Talk about overkill.


"Commentators like it because it gives them something to talk about"

Seems like it's also given you something to talk about.


Yeah, but that doesn't earn him money.


...and yet still felt like talking about something that he's not going to watch.


Instead of doue points for the last race, how about double points for a wet race?

It is those type of races which sorts the men from the boys both in terms of drivers and the operational aspects of the team.


Seems I need to look at the gear ratios rule in more depth. Its not possible to gear a car for all circuits with one set of ratios. Monaco, Spa, Monza, The Americas? Imagine the rev limiter bouncing at Monza 🙂 Youd have the close the DRS to save the flamin engine.


OK. Its a fact that the teams need to nominate 1 set of ratios at the start of the season. However, they get 1 chance to renominate a different ratio set thru the season. That ratio set then becomes locked in stone and supercedes the previous.


If what I've read is right most times they won't be anywhere the rev-limit, even if it is only 14,000 rpm now.

Monza might actually be the only exception.


15.000 is max rpm.

Normal race pace won't go past 13.000k imo, mainly because of fuel flow limit. Turbo engine, in contrast to current V8, will produce same amount of power from 10.500 to 15.000 rpm due to this rule.

Example: You are accelerating trough 3rd gear up to 12.500rpm/13.000rpm. You shift into 4th and your revs will drop to 10.500 rpm where engine will instantly produce max power. It's pointless to rev it to it's 15k max revs.

In NA V8s more revs equal more power as they have no fuel flow limit.


Yep 15,000 is correct - I just hit the wrong


I don't get it.

What will the smaller teams change about their "design process" in attempt to score-big in the final race ?

And, logically, if there is something to change about their "design process" which will help them, wouldn't they do that earlier in the year to attempt to score more points rather than wait til the last race ?

I think I am missing something.


Obviously you're not going to be working for Caterham anytime soon...and take that in a good way 😉


Sorry James I don't share your enthusiasm.

I used to care about all this. I would know all there is to know about Formula 1. But this past couple of years I kinda feel, meh.

It really has turned into entertainment. Ill be turning towards another formula for my racing fix and watch F1 along with my other casual TV shows (The mentalist and Parks and recreation are good!)


"It really has turned into entertainment"

Oh the horror.


Yes, but the irony (and this time it's real irony), is that the new "entertaining" F1 that Bernie is working so hard to create is as boring as bat ****.


I'd agree with that for the most part, but I'm really hoping 2014 will be better.


Fixed gear ratios?!?!

Somehow I missed that point before...

Of course this way gearboxes are a little bit closer to ordinary road cars, but come on! This if Formula 1! Why bother with 8 speed gearboxes - let's stick with 1! Let's slap everyone with V1 engine, rename the whole series - Kart-1 racing.... and enjoy!

To me it looks like rule-makers are smoking something too heavy.


In Monaco they will use 5th or 6th gear, in Monza 8th gear, all other other circuit 7th gear. What I did not understand is if they are allowed to change the final drive: if they are there are no problems, if not they need to compromise a bit.

Also with the new turbo engines I think the power curve will be flatter than V8's, so hitting the right rpm should not be so critical.


Next year power from 10.500 to 15.000 rpm will be almost the same due to flow limit. No point in revving to max 15k if you only have 2k rev drop between gears (rev drop will me small because 8 gears). You're putting unnecessary stress on engine with very little gain. Only time people will go past 13k will be in spa/monza with DRS open.


Well 2014 looks like quite an engineering challenge indeed. It does seem the technical side of F1 this coming year is going to be dominating. Problem is I think the cars will be slower/Drivers will have to be more "thinking" and less "driving", which will put a damper on our enjoyment. Still looks like the Vettel/Newey combination should be the odds on favorite to win the championship yet again ...


I'm really hoping the stupid double points rule is dropped sooner rather than later- maybe even at this next meeting.

I think we will defintely see weight handicap the heavier driver teams because the balancing of the car will be trickier to achieve without ballast together with smaller powerplants- peak performance will be hindered.

Im not comvinced that they will struggle with fuel. the engines have 33.33% less capacity and twice as much availaible ERS for 5 times longer per lap. What Im not looking forward to is lap times dropping 3-4sec initially. But lets hope by year end they find the same speed as 2013. The last thing we want to see is other formulas being as fast as F1.

The other issue that might cause problems is a faulty fuel flow sensor. Imagine being penalised as a result of a FIA device that plays up!


I am waiting to see the outcome of the double points discussion before I decide to buy a ticket to the Aus GP. If it stays i'll find another sport to follow. Can't believe the idea even got this far.


Maybe just buy a ticket for Aus and pretend it's the final race of the year.

Kimi for WDC! 😀


Remember, F1 is not a sport, it's a category of one sport. Motor racing is a sport. Don't give up on motor racing, it's still great, there are heaps of other categories.


Don't tell the Hamilton fans that.


Still not convinced the Jerez test is that crucial. Everyone is so caught up on getting the cars out to test, they have forgotten that Europe is in the depths of winter. Remember what a disaster the early preseason tests were last year because of the weather?.. especially for Pirelli?..

You can run around all you like in 3 degrees all day, it's not going to tell you if your cooling systems will cope in 33 degrees at the first races.

Why the teams don't test in warmer weather is beyond me. Some may argue that it's a cost thing, but how much money is wasted if the cold weather renders a whole test unreliable?


They're testing in Bahrain next time, which is a 30+ degrees desert. Good enough?


Yep, aware of that and that is good enough. But this article is about Jerez and it's importance. Not that convinced it's important yet, hope I'm proved wrong.


The major problem I have with the double points rule is not so much the unlikely scenario of a driver 49 points back winning it on a DNF of the WDC leader, but it effectively becomes a winner takes all scenario.

Consider this: Alonso & Vettel are in the title fight at the end again, but this time Alonso has the edge over Vettel with. 20 point lead. They are equal in wins. This is a realistic scenario & under normal circumstances Alonso would be favourite to win the title. Abu Dhabi though is a strong Vettel track.

Under double points conditions, if Vettel wins, Alonso HAS to finish 2nd in order to win the WDC. The points difference between positions, especially top 3 is just amplified to much.


The only people loving it are the marketers and track owners at Abu Dhabi.

I personally believe double points are going to be dropped but it may have been used tactically as a PR/hype story.

Some PR for Abu Dhabi, to get everyone talking about it as the last race, plus to deflect from criticism of going from Brazil, a proven great final track, to Abu Dhabi. Plus some hype for F1 when mainstream media usually goes dead and doesn't bother with F1.


Fixed 8 gear gearbox - does this include the 'Achsübersetzung' (axle drive ratio?)?

Or is it allowed to change the ratio the gearbox is attached to the axle?

As a non english the word gearbox confuses me. The toothed wheels at the axle are not in the box for the gears. Is it allowed to change them?


I have my ticket to Australian F1 GP. If the double points stays I will not bother travelling to another F1 GP.

It is often the case that with the best of intentions, corporations lose their way and logic of their reason for being is lost. This is what I see in F1 with these poorly considered ideas that become rules.


Not sure if anyone has mentioned it other than Newey, but cooling is going to be the main reliability issue. Those ERS batteries are literally going to be sizzling, and they will need a highly efficient cooling system to prevent overheat. - I wonder if that may prove to be Red Bull's Achilles heel because Newey is renown for tight packaging and it's going to require lots of airflow. Perhaps it's something that might disadvantage aero efficiency!


"because even the top teams can only have their wind tunnels and CFD computers working a maximum of 30 hours a week."

I've always wondered how this is policed? Even if there are FIA monitors in place at every factory, what's stopping unmarked R+D departments from running CFD time? Or indeed, employees from taking home calculations to crunch on their workstations at home??


As for the double points rule, it would gain far more support if the last race was actually Brazil, as that has proven to be more exciting and unpredictable, certainly far moreso than Abu Dhabi, which had the most anticlimatic championship win when Vettel took it in 2010. What should have been excitment as Alonso duked it out with Petrov, was predictable as the track simply didn't allow for overtaking.

Of course with DRS we know there will be overtaking, but without any of that excitement that goes in the chase.


fair points, i would generally still be surprised if at this end of the season the smaller teams will bias engineering toward abu dhabi car set up - i think the engineers have bigger fish to fry right now


Regarding fuel consumption and transmission ratios. Theoretically, teams burning fuel below 10,500 RPMs do not have that amount of fuel count against their 100kg max flow. It seems possible to make 1-7 gear for acceleration and have 8th just for the straights. If a low enough ratio is used, the RPMs could be brought below 10,500 RPMs and that fuel would not count against them. By the time 8th gear would be used, most of their acceleration is done, and the torque of the new engine could possibly make the low RPMs less of a hinderance than before.


James- as others have pointed out your suggestion for backmarkers to design around Abu Dhabi is not realistic. First- it may not end up being double points ultimately. Second - the front runners will be going all out at this race possibly saving up gearboxes and engines as other pointed out so it will unlikely for back teams to come in the top 10.

But it raises an intereting possibility: why don't the back teams optimize a car to run in the rain: high ride height, softer suspension etc. We always get at least 1 rain race. And this year we saw some of them sneak into Q2 in the rain, and Bottas get P3 once too. All it takes is a single P10 and they get millions extra. If they are at the back anyway in the dry what do they have to lose?


So for 2014 cars will be going slow because of the following:

- tires

- fuel

- engine cooling

- gears

- kers

- overall reliability

Great. "Are we racing this guy?" "No! You don't have the tires, or fuel, and your engine is overheating and you just lost 5th and 6th gear- oh and your turbo may let go soon. Let him go."

What happened to driving on the absolute limit for 40+ laps?


F1 is deep into the era of gimmicks... DRS drive-bys should also be on your list.

The WDC is a gimmick too...


Don't forget extra weight. Though I don't think gears will play a part in slowing cars down. There's 8 of them, compared to V8 7 gears. More gears is always better, as the engine spends more time in optimal rev range.


Will this happen for the first few races?


I've been watching F1 for the past 22 years. Every free practice session every qualifying session every race, going to watch races live. F1 has been a massive part of my life and my childhood.

But ive finally lost interest!

F1's lost the plot.

Pirelli ,DRS, KERS, Fuel restrictions , Hermin Tilke circuits , Double points, Turbo engines.

Not mention cars are getting slower and slower!

In a straight line a motoGP bike will leave an F1 car for dead!Remember the days when an F1 car could do 370km/h down the Monza straight?

This year drivers and the WEC will probly be able to push there cars harder then F1 drivers will be able too!

F1's become a farce and a shambles.

All the newbies wont know the difference but the true fans who have been watching F1 all their lives know what a joke F1s become.

Like Mark Webber said F1's becoming like the WWE.

Its so sad all we left with is memories of something that was once great!

They can have there "green cars" that can do a race on 5 litres of Fuel and have technology that you can plug straight into road cars.

All of which wont mean a thing when no one switches on the TV to watch a race of no one attends any races!

Fans are the most important thing in F1 and thats what FIA and the FOM forgot they can have all the gimmicks to suit all the commercial partners and sponsors and to be as green as they like but without fans F1 is dead!


Im watching MotoGP this year!

The racing is still pure there's no gimmicks its just pure "real", flatout racing thats still fast and dangerous and with battles like the 1's between Lorenzo and Marques its going to be awesome! 🙂


F1's has become contrived and Fake!

F1 is run by a bunch of incompetent delusional fools who have been around for too long , who make ridiculous decisions because they dont have the mental capacity to come up with any real solutions to solve F1's problems.

Even if F1 is still running in 200 years time its already dead spiritually!

Turbo Engines and Fuels restrictions killed of the bit of real F1.


James, a lot is being made of the "heavy" drivers being at a disadvantage.

Can you (or someone else) point me to some info on drivers working weights?

I'd be very grateful.

Looing forward to a intriguing 2014 season!

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