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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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!


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.


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! 🙂


Will this happen for the first few races?


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.


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?


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.


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


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.


“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??


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!


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.


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?


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.


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.


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.


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!


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 …


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.


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.


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 😉


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 key…honestly…er…


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.


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.


“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.

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