Η φετινή περίοδος της F1 ουσιαστικά ξεκινά σήμερα, καθώς η McLaren Mercedes παρουσίασε επίσημα μέσω του site της στο διαδίκτυο το νέο μονοθέσιό της για το 2014, με τον κωδικό M4-29.
Η Βρετανική ομάδα ελπίζει με την M4-29 να κάνει πολλά βήματα εμπρός, καθώς το προηγούμενο μονοθέσιο της ομάδας, δηλαδή η MP4-28, ήταν ένα μονοθέσιο με αρκετά σχεδιαστικά λάθη.
Το 2013 ήταν ίσως η χειρότερη αγωνιστική χρονιά της ομάδας στο σπορ από την ίδρυση της και με την MP4-29 η Βρετανική ομάδα φιλοδοξεί να αλλάξει το κλίμα που επικρατεί στους φίλους της, δημιουργώντας ένα μονοθέσιο νικητή.
To νέο μονοθέσιο έχει χρώμα ασημί και είναι σχεδιασμένο βάση των νέων κανονισμών που θα ισχύουν το 2014 για τα μονοθέσια της F1.
Η MP4-29 διαθέτει και αυτή τη μύτη Garidan, όπως και η Williams. Κάτι που πιθανόν να γίνει και από τις υπόλοιπες ομάδες του grid.
Το μονοθέσιο που παρουσιάστηκε, θα έχει φυσικά πολλές διαφορές σε σχέση με το μονοθέσιο που θα εμφανιστεί στην Jerez. Συγκεκριμένα ήδη υπάρχουν διαφορές ανάμεσα στο animation που δημοσίευσε η McLaren και το ίδιο το μονοθέσιο.
Σε σχέση με πέρσι βλέπουμε την push rod ανάρτηση μπροστά, τα πιο ογκώδη sidepods, το ρύγχος το οποίο έχει σχεδιαστεί με αυτόν τον τρόπο απλά και μόνο για να εφαρμόζει τους νέους κανόνες, τους μορφοποιητές ροής πάνω από τα sidepods (μόνο στο video), τον κάθετο πυλώνα στήριξης στο μέσο της πίσω πτέρυγας (ο οποίος αφήνει κενό ενδιάμεσα για την έξοδο των καυσαερίων) και τον διαχωρισμό στην εισαγωγή αέρα του roll hoop (και πάλι animation).
[Πηγή McLaren Mercedes]
READY FOR FORMULA 1’s STEEPEST-EVER LEARNING CURVE: McLAREN reveals ITS 2014 challenger – the MP4-29
Woking, UK, January 24 2014
A period of unprecedented change – both in Formula 1 and within the team itself – is the backdrop against which McLaren launches its latest grand prix challenger, the all-new MP4-29.
2014: Formula 1 begins its reinvention
Gone are normally aspirated engines – a Formula 1 mainstay for a quarter of a century; in their place come 1.6-litre V6 power-units, which sophisticatedly integrate turbo-charging and turbo-compounding, fuel-flow restrictions, and a powerful energy recovery system.
These new regulations will enable teams to harness both traditional internal combustion and electrical energies. They further underline Formula 1’s relevance as a pioneer of future roadcar technologies, represent the biggest and most dynamic change to the sport since its inception in 1950, and are duly destined to re-shape grand prix racing.
McLaren, too, faces a period of dynamic change: the organisation has not only embraced the extreme technical and strategic challenges posed by the new regulations, it has simultaneously been growing and developing ahead of even bigger and more exciting future partnerships.
MP4-29: a frozen snapshot of intense development
We have responded to the disappointment of our 2013 season by pragmatically framing our approach to the technical challenge. The new MP4-29, revealed today, is a sensible and calculated response to the new regulations.
But it is very much a frozen snapshot of the design team’s steep development curve, and, as such, a machine that will potentially undergo more technical change throughout a single season than any other car in McLaren’s long and illustrious history.
The challenge for 2014 is to build-in both performance and reliability – something that can no longer be taken for granted given the steep technical challenge ahead.
And that is entirely as it should be: for this season will be Formula 1’s steepest-ever learning curve.
It is also a time of transition. Our final season with our engine partner, Mercedes-Benz, will be our 20th together, before we begin an exciting new journey with Honda from 2015.
Our drivers: the perfect blend of styles
Jenson Button, the 2009 Formula 1 World Champion, remains for his fifth season at McLaren. For 2014, his experience, level-headedness and innate ability to read the behaviour of a racing car will be a powerful asset to our engineers, designers and analysts.
Kevin Magnussen arrives in Formula 1 with a stunning record in Renault Word Series 3.5, grand prix racing’s feeder series, and, crucially, no preconceptions. Having already devoted hundreds of hours to refining and developing our 2014 car in the McLaren simulator, his eagerness and commitment will sync perfectly with Jenson’s experience, providing us with a perfectly balanced driver pairing.
Powering the market with world-beating expertise
McLaren is leading the evolution of sports partnerships. The breadth of the McLaren Group’s experience and expertise presents a wealth of opportunities for innovative technical integration with our partners, which can have an impact way beyond the racetrack.
Whether it be extensive engagement with ExxonMobil to develop new lubricant technology, which can help McLaren Mercedes cars on the grand prix circuit, and ultimately improve the efficiency of consumer cars; developing new lightweight coatings with AkzoNobel; or working closely with SAP to develop and implement innovative data analytics techniques, our work with partners goes way beyond what can be described as sports sponsorship.
Our strategic partnership with GSK is now also in its third year and is breaking new ground from manufacturing to pharmaceutical R&D.
Race technology is helping to improve the delivery of experimental trials into new medicines. Working with GSK we are using telemetry systems, which are inspired by the way we monitor our cars, to collect real-time data about the recovery of patients taking part in drug trials. These are at an early stage, but in future it’s hoped that being able to take a constant stream of reliable information about a patient could significantly enhance the already robust process of drug evaluation.
Our commitment to innovation and creativity does not stop with technology projects, but extends to the implementation of marketing campaigns with and on behalf of our partners. Santander recently announced a renewal of their major eight-year partnership with us, and this reflects the continued impact that our creative marketing campaigns can have.
The depth of trust and respect we enjoy with our partners has allowed us to extend record-breaking relationships with the likes of Hugo Boss (33 years), TAG Heuer (29 years), Kenwood (24 years), ExxonMobil and Mercedes-Benz (20 years) and SAP (16 years), Johnnie Walker and Hilton (nine years).
Managing director, McLaren Racing
Formula 1 in 2014 is all about managing change – how is McLaren going about that?
“We’ve never had such significant new regulations before; reacting to them, and managing those changes, while still pushing the performance limits, has been an extremely tough job.
“We’ve been relatively pragmatic about it. We know that the need for consistency initially outweighs the need for performance – the winter tests won’t be about chasing set-up or refining the car; the envelope of performance is likely to be so wide, and so relatively unknown, that the winter – and to some extent the opening races – will be about understanding the operational boundaries of the car as best we can.
“To achieve this, we need a consistent platform – one that responds positively to changes. Moreover, the work of the engineers and designers to understand and interpret trackside data will be more important than before. That’s because this year, more than ever, will come down to a development race: I don’t necessarily think you can expect the car that wins the opening race to be the car that leads the championship charge, something we’ve often seen in the past.
“No, it will be all about a team’s ability to react and respond. We already have an update package that we’re readying for race one, and we’re discovering new things in the ’tunnel, or in CFD, all the time. Once we start track testing, I think you’ll see an intense throughput of ideas and concepts – that’s the nitty-gritty that will win or lose the world championship.”
There’s a greater backdrop of change at McLaren, too, isn’t there?
“A team with a fantastic heritage like McLaren is always faced with the challenge of continually winning races and championships. Equally, there’s a responsibility to move the organisation – and our processes – forwards. In fact, we’ll be doing just that during 2014: pushing ahead with an incredible amount of effort, analysis and commitment on the racetrack, but also making changes away from the track that will reap a greater dividend in the long term.
“There’s a huge amount of talent and potential already extant within the organisation, but there’s always more to discover. And we’ve made some very important key additions who’ll have a significant input into our future momentum – we’re incredibly pleased and excited to have hired the likes of Peter Prodromou and Dan Fallows, both from Red Bull Racing, and Ettore Griffini and Ciaron Pilbeam from Lotus, as well as more than a dozen top-level engineers from among the best teams in Formula 1, all of whom have seen the capacity and potential that exists here at McLaren.
“Nonetheless, this is a long-term process, and this year will be about developing and growing McLaren to a position where we can once again fight at the front.”
What are your thoughts on the driver pairing of Jenson and Kevin?
“We all know and like Jenson very much – he’s an integral part of this team now. And Kevin has shown such fantastic promise – both in the junior series, and on the occasions that he has tested for us – that it made absolute sense to develop him as our race driver.
“I really think the beauty of our driver line-up comes from its strength and structure through sheer contrast. In Jenson, we have Formula 1’s unofficial ambassador, somebody who provides us with an unprecedented databank of experience; we can really work with him as we learn together how to develop and refine this year’s car.
“In Kevin, I see a raw, unfettered enthusiasm and a fearsome work ethic. His arrival has been a terrific motivator for the entire team, and I’ve been really pleased and impressed by the way he’s thrown himself into the process. While he’ll naturally need time to acclimatise, we’re undoubtedly of the opinion that he’s ready for F1.
“Additionally, we have Stoffel Vandoorne as our reserve – another driver whose long-term potential is tantalising. He’ll have an increasingly complementary role alongside our two drivers – he’ll be attending all the races where GP2 is on the support bill, and will be heavily dialed in to our trackside operations as we ramp up his learning and experience.
“I think we have a fantastic line-up, and the best thing is that each driver will motivate and inform the other – it’s a win-win situation for the whole team.”
Sporting director, McLaren Racing
What are McLaren’s expectations for 2014?
“We’ve made no secret of our disappointment at how the 2013 season turned out. The aim now is to get back to winning – that’s what McLaren exists to do – but there’s a certain amount of growth and regrowth that needs to take place before we return to a position where we can challenge for the world championship.
“The good thing is that we’ve acknowledged that, and we’ve actually been working towards that goal for many months now. We have Honda waiting in the wings, we have a number of key technical staff bolstering our existing design and engineering teams, and we are fostering the careers of our young drivers, all of whom have an incredible amount of potential. The future for McLaren is bright, and we’re now putting in place the processes that will move us closer to our goals.
“For 2014, our aim is for continuous development; we’ll be refining and strengthening the car and the organisation throughout the year, so you’ll see a rapid turnover of parts and ideas on the car as we, like every team, wrestle with the many unique challenges of these new regulations.
“More immediately, our aim is to enjoy a smooth winter at all three tests, hopefully learning a lot as we go, and hopefully developing MP4-29 into something consistent, useable and quick.”
How do you balance the equation of reliability vs performance?
“I think the key to the first quarter of the season could well be consistency. It’ll be critical in the pre-season tests – firstly, to enable the drivers and engineers to learn about and understand the behavior of the new car; but, secondly, to provide us with the mileage and data our designers at the MTC need to further refine and develop the car for the year ahead.
“It’ll be a season of complexity and subtlety; we won’t find ourselves in a situation where the guy who wins the first race goes on to win the championship, I think it’ll be unpredictable and exciting – and that’s fantastic news for Formula 1’s fans.
“One thing is for certain, though, there’ll be a lot of cross-pollination of ideas during the season as the best concepts and solutions proliferate. We’re proud of some of the concepts we’ll be introducing with this car but, likewise, there’ll be areas where we can learn and improve.
“In fact, I think constant learning and improvement will be the key motifs of 2014.”
Our drivers – ready for anything
In Jenson and Kevin, we have both the sport’s most respected senior ambassador and its newest and most promising young hopeful, respectively.
Jenson has proven again and again that his unmatched experience, application and supreme natural ability make him perhaps the perfect driver to spearhead the development and integration of the myriad of new systems introduced for 2014.
Kevin is motivated, incredibly focused and eager to learn. Everybody at McLaren has not only been convinced by Kevin’s raw pace and commitment, but also by his ability to channel his determination and thoughts with singular and unblemished dedication.
Only 21, he is unmistakeably ready for Formula 1, and is prepared and equipped for the intense and steep learning curve ahead of him.
Our test and reserve driver, 21-year-old Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne, is the most promising racer outside Formula 1. He will combine a full year of racing in GP2, with the ART team, with his duties as McLaren’s reserve driver – a role that will naturally dovetail with his racing activities at all coinciding events.
Both Kevin and Stoffel are outstanding protégés of the McLaren Young Driver system.
#22 JENSON BUTTON (GBR)
Date of birth January 19 1980 (34)
Titles 2009 world champion
Wins 15 (eight for McLaren)
Points 1072 (fifth highest of all time)
What are your realistic aims for the 2014 season?
“Obviously, we want to get back to the front. We want to have a better season than we did in 2013, too. But it’s really difficult to accurately predict anything right now – these are such huge changes that they’ll have a massive impact on the competitive order, so we need to wait and just see how things shake out.
“Our aim must be to have a smooth and productive winter; I’m very keen to learn all about the new formula and our new car, and I want us to be in a position where we head to the opening flyaways feeling comfortable with our package, yet still ready to absorb and learn more as we go.
“I don’t think anybody’s anticipating the next few months to be easy – I can’t imagine anybody in the pitlane would admit to that – but our aim must be to make progress all the time, and to learn positively as we go.”
Is it difficult to get to grips with so many changes all at once?
“It’s part of the job of a Formula 1 driver. I’ve spent my whole career jumping from different specification cars – I’ve driven V10s, V8s, I’ve raced on grooved tyres, on slicks, with KERS, with DRS, with traction control, without it, with refueling, without it. I’m still here!
“Obviously, there’s a period of adaption, but the way I drive – working upwards to find the grip level, rather than working downwards – has always made it quite a seamless transition. As a driver, it’s just an exciting time. I’m really looking forward to it – I love the mental challenge of tackling such a complex task; there’s so much to get your teeth into, and the prospect of problem-solving, and pulling apart difficult concepts and drilling down to find the best solution – that really motivates me.”
Nevertheless, are you worried about the state of flux ahead of this new formula?
“I think every single person in Formula 1 is sitting on the edge of the unknown. That’s both exciting and unsettling in equal measure. There will be lots of things going through my mind when I settle myself into the cockpit for the first time in Jerez next week, but, above all else, what I’ll be looking for is that simple, positive feeling you get from knowing that the car beneath you is a solid platform; one you can work with, and one you can develop throughout the season.
“I don’t think anybody will be coming out of this first test feeling certain that they’ve cracked this new formula. I think it’ll be more of a case of slowly peeling away successive layers as the engineers and designers gather more information and gain an understanding of how the cars and power-units are behaving; and we’ll see that being gradually refined throughout the forthcoming tests and into the opening races.
“I think this formula is too big, and too complex, for a single team to feel secure about getting everything right and quickly establishing an advantage. It’s about diligently chipping away at it that we’ll get there.”
Finally, how does it feel having a new team-mate alongside you?
“I haven’t really got to know Kevin properly as a team-mate yet. Over the winter, there aren’t too many opportunities for us to spend time together, but that will change once we go testing – we’ll be working very closely together to share data and gather as much information as we can about what the car’s doing, and how we can improve it.
“But, yeah, I’ve been very impressed by Kevin all along – he clearly did a very good job last year and drove superbly to win the World Series by Renault championship. And I’ve been pleased by his professionalism and determination this year – it’s a very difficult job for any driver in F1 this year, but I’m absolutely sure he’ll do a great job.”
#20 KEVIN MAGNUSSEN (DEN)
Date of birth October 5 1992 (21)
Titles 2013 Formula Renault 3.5
[274pts, 5 wins, 8 poles, 13 podiums)
How have your preparations been going over the winter?
“I’ve just had a singular focus: it’s been about immersing myself within the organisation, with the people, and getting to grips with everything that I’ll face when I finally sit in the cockpit later this month.
“It’s no secret that I live in Woking and I go to the MTC every day. So I’ve spent every available day working – either with my engineers, with the team management, or with the trainers at MTC; building those relationships, getting to grips with the car, the style of driving, the cockpit and control systems, and improving my fitness. It’s a constant learning curve, but it’s fun and satisfying to be able to do it with a group of people who work so closely with you.
“It’s been relentless, but I’ve enjoyed the discipline and focus of the winter. It will actually be nice to arrive in Jerez, to hopefully look out at a blue sky, and drive the car!”
Despite all the preparation, is there a sense of nervousness going into the first test?
“Naturally, sure. You never reach a point where you feel completely ‘ready’ – there’s always more you can do. But I think every team and driver is going to be feeling uncertain going into the pre-season. Personally, I’m just working hard to make sure that I’m as ready as I realistically can be – so I’ve learned the cockpit systems inside-out, I’ve been in the gym at the MTC every day, and I’ve worked hard with my engineers to understand just what to expect from this new formula.
“In a way, the regulation changes makes things a little easier: at that first test in Jerez, everybody will be easing themselves into something new, rather than just getting in the car and driving away, so I’ll really be no different from any other driver. It’ll be how we react during the season that will define how successful we are. I know the engineers are working on new things all the time, but I think there’s still plenty of scope to move forward.
“I don’t think you’ll get a definitive read on who’s competitive and who’s not until at least the Bahrain tests – maybe even later.”
What’s the biggest challenge to overcome ahead of the new season?
“I guess it’s just getting to know people, feeling comfortable within this new environment, and learning what you can and can’t affect. One of the things that’s really struck me at McLaren is just how much influence you have as a driver – I can test something in the simulator, or we can work on something in the cockpit, and they’ll really listen to my input and, the next time you get in the sim, or the mock-up car, it’s been changed at your recommendation. That’s impressive, and it encourages me that this team has the speed and motivation to react quickly to any changes.
“I’m learning how the team works, too. Obviously, a World Series team is a much smaller operation – you know everybody – and this is much, much bigger, so getting used to that has taken a bit of time. Obviously, I haven’t really experienced much in terms of media and marketing yet – I’ve been in something of a cocoon – but I’m looking forward to getting out on the road with the team, going testing and seeing what happens.”
STOFFEL VANDOORNE (BEL)
Date of birth March 26 1992 (21)
Titles 2012 Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup
2010 Formula 4 Eurocup 1.6 Series
What will your role be as McLaren’s reserve driver?
“Obviously, I’m really pleased and excited to have been chosen as the team’s reserve driver. I’ll be working with the other drivers to develop the car using the simulator, which is something I’ve been doing since I became a McLaren Young Driver. And, as I’ll be contesting the GP2 championship this year, with ART GP2, I’ll also be present at many grands prix, and I’ll be integrated into the race team’s programme, assisting Jenson and Kevin wherever I can.
What are your aims for the 2014 season?
“Naturally, my aim this year is to win the GP2 championship, but the natural extension of that is the ambition to graduate to Formula 1 – so I want to be in a position where I can contribute to, and learn from, the race team as possible throughout the season. I’m positive that I can keep the momentum that I’ve developed over the past few years moving forwards.
How have you started to integrate yourself with the team?
“Well, I’ve been a McLaren Young Driver for almost a year, and I’ve been making increasingly regular visits to the MTC. I’m usually there at least once a week nowadays, and I’m increasing my workload and fitness levels so I can more fully commit. It’s an exciting time for me.”
MP4-29 tech spec
Monocoque Carbon-fibre composite incorporating driver cockpit controls and fuel cell
Safety structures Cockpit survival cell incorporating impact resistant construction and penetration panels, front impact structure, prescribed side impact structures, integrated rear impact structure, front and rear roll structures
Bodywork Carbon-fibre composite. including engine cover, sidepods, floor, nose, front wing and rear wing
Driver-operated drag reduction system
Front suspension Carbon-fibre wishbone and pushrod suspension elements operating inboard torsion bar and damper system
Rear suspension Carbon-fibre wishbone and pullrod suspension elements operating inboard torsion bar and damper system
Weight Overall vehicle weight no more than 690kg without fuel
Weight distribution between 45.5% and 46.5%
(Subject to tyre weight adjustments and axle weight limits)
Electronics McLaren Applied Technologies. Including chassis control, engine control, data acquisition, alternator, sensors, data analysis and telemetry
Instruments McLaren Applied Technologies dashboard
Lubricants & fluids Mobilith SHC™ 1500 Grease – high-temperature drive-shaft tripod lubrication
Mobilith SHC™ 220 Grease – low rolling-resistance ceramic wheel bearing lubrication
Mobil SHC™ Hydraulic Oil – high-pressure, high-temperature hydraulic fluid used for driver, transmission and power-unit control actuators
Brake system Akebono calipers and master cylinders
Akebono ‘brake by wire’ rear brake control system
Carbon discs and pads
Steering McLaren Racing power-assisted
Tyres Pirelli P Zero
Race wheels Enkei
Paint AkzoNobel Car Refinishes system using Sikkens products
Type Mercedes-Benz PU106A Hybrid
Minimum weight 145 kg
Primary PU components Internal Combustion Engine (ICE)
Motor Generator Unit – Kinetic (MGU-K)
Motor Generator Unit – Heat (MGU-H)
Energy store (ES)
Internal Combustion Engine
Capacity 1.6 litres
Bank angle 90 degree vee angle
No of valves 24
Max speed 15,000 rpm
Max fuel flow rate 100kg/hour (above 10,500 rpm)
Fuel consumption 100kg ‘lights to flag’ regulated fuel capacity limit
Fuel injection 500bar direct injection, single injector per cylinder
Pressure charging Single-stage compressor and exhaust turbine, common shaft
Lubricant Mobil 1™ Engine Oil – high-protection low-friction lubricant and coolant, for high durability and improved fuel economy
Fuel ExxonMobil High Performance Unleaded (5.75% bio fuel)
Energy Recovery System
Architecture Integrated Hybrid energy recovery via Motor Generator Units
Crankshaft coupled electrical MGU-K
Turbocharger coupled electrical MGU-H
Energy store Lithium-Ion battery, between 20 and 25 kg
Maximum energy storage, 4 MJ per lap
MGU-K Maximum speed, 50,000 rpm
Maximum power, 120 kW
Maximum energy recovery, 2 MJ per lap
Maximum energy deployment, 4 MJ per lap
MGU-H Maximum speed 125,000 rpm
Maximum power, unlimited
Maximum energy recovery, unlimited
Maximum energy deployment, unlimited
Gearbox Carbon-fibre composite case
Gears Eight forward and one reverse
Gear selection McLaren Racing hand-operated seamless-shift
Differential Epicyclic differential with multi-plate limited-slip clutch
Clutch Carbon/carbon, hand-operated
Lubricant Mobil 1 SHC™ Gear Oil – Low traction-loss, high-efficiency gear and bearing lubricant and coolant
2014: a guide to what’s new in Formula 1, and how it will affect the racing
1. ALL CHANGE ON THE ENGINE FRONT
The headline change for Formula 1 in 2014 is the introduction of a new engine – or, more specifically, ‘power-unit’.
The sport is changing from a 2.4-litre, naturally aspirated 750bhp V8 – a unit that was introduced to Formula 1 at the start of 2006 – to a 1.6-litre turbo-charged 90deg V6 with a sophisticated and extremely powerful energy recovery system (ERS).
It’ll be the first time turbo engines have been permitted in Formula 1 since they were banned, on safety grounds, at the end of 1988. Incidentally, McLaren was the last team to win in F1 with a turbo, Alain Prost triumphing at the Australian Grand Prix in 1988 – 429 races ago!
However, these new turbo systems are far more sophisticated and integrated than their predecessors. The turbo itself will spin at up to 125,000rpm, and its efficiency and reliability will be a key engineering management issue during the season. These new engines will be limited to 15,000rpm, but they can produce significant power through the use of energy recovery system (ERS, a natural evolution of KERS).
Engine usage is even more tightly regulated in 2014: drivers may now only use five complete units per season – with heavy grid penalties for premature changes to both the V6 and its key ancillaries.
What does this mean for the racing?
Expect 2014 grands prix to initially boil down into three key segments – an opening charge, to establish position; a consolidatory middle-stint as engines, fuel levels and temperatures are managed; and a final burst as drivers with the machinery and confidence to push, press on to the finish.
These new engines will also have a lot more bottom-end torque, increasing strain on the rear tyres, and consequently emphasising the need for good tyre management.
2. KERS BECOMES ERS
The engine’s scope increases considerably for 2014. Now, it will integrate a number of complementary systems that improve both performance and efficiency:
– MGU-K (traditional motor generator unit – kinetic) mounted directly onto the engine.
– MGU-H (new motor generator unit – heat) mounted directly onto the turbo-charger, to allow exhaust gas energy to be extracted to enable turbo-compounding.
ERS, in particular, will play a much larger role in contributing to the car’s power than its predecessor, KERS, did.
For 2014, ERS power doubles from 80bhp to 160bhp. Deployment time increases drastically; ERS can be used for up to 33.33 seconds each lap, as opposed to six seconds last year. This will contribute a laptime improvement of over two seconds; by contrast, KERS would only provide a few additional tenths.
What does this mean for the racing?
ERS will be race-critical. In previous years, drivers could still limp home largely unpunished if they suffered a mid-race KERS failure. Now, an ERS problem will cost drivers seconds every lap, and drop cars out of contention swiftly and cruelly – which makes system-reliability crucial for 2014.
3. CLEVER DRIVERS COULD STAND TO GAIN
While ERS is far more powerful than its predecessor, the system has been defined in the regulations so it isn’t able to harvest and replenish the full amount of available energy over a single lap.
This means strategic harvesting and deployment will play a key role in overtaking and strategy. We’ll see some drivers conserving ERS over one lap, before attacking with their full armory on the next. Equally, we’ll see far more strategic ERS deployment, particularly from drivers whose supply has dwindled, and who are holding off faster drivers behind, while their system is recharging.
Intriguingly, we should see increasingly clever defensive and attacking modes of use develop throughout the season.
What does this mean for the racing?
The new regulations will really play into those drivers with bandwidth to spare in the cockpit.
4. FUEL, IF YOU THINK IT’S OVER
For the first time, cars will be limited by a maximum fuel-flow rate during the races – 100kg/hour. Furthermore, since this rate is restricted according to engine speed, it has a direct effect on the power output of the engine – effectively flattening the curve in the higher rev range.
Fuel-flow has always previously been unregulated, so this regulation tightens up an area where there had previously been no governance, making it a tricky management task for engineers and designers.
Additionally, there is now a 100kg fuel-weight limit (cars previously ran with a maximum load of around 160kg) – so fuel management will become even more important.
What does this mean for the racing?
Drivers will need to manage fuel, with four to five races where fuel consumption could be absolutely critical. At all races, teams will be fuel-saving and monitoring throughout.
5. RELIABILITY WILL BE CRITICAL
It can’t be stressed enough that the 2014 regulations are probably the biggest and most daunting set of changes that F1 has ever witnessed.
Teams will only bring all this cutting-edge and untried technology to the track for the first time in January, and have just 12 days’ running to get it race-ready in time for Melbourne.
With both performance and reliability utterly dependent on mileage, getting the package to run satisfactorily will be critical. Managing that equation will be a critical balancing act for engineers.
Their quest has been given something of a helping hand with the return of in-season testing, which was dropped, on cost grounds, at the end of 2008. For 2014, four two-day, post-race tests have been arranged in Bahrain (April 8-9), Spain (May 13-14), Great Britain (July 8-9) and Abu Dhabi (November 25-26).
What does this mean for the racing?
We’ve become accustomed to almost bulletproof reliability in Formula 1, but that’s all set to change. We could even see a return to the reliability levels witnessed in the 1980s, when only a handful of cars made it to the finish line.
The prospect of reliable yet less-competitive cars perhaps gaining an early foothold in the championship as faster cars falter is tantalising…
6. RAPID DEVELOPMENT
Any wide-reaching regulatory change brings a raft of innovative and different solutions. So, in tandem with the quest for reliability, all the teams will be facing F1’s steepest-ever learning and development curve.
In Formula 1, this ordinarily means that the proliferation of different systems on display at the start of the season will rapidly narrow as the cleverest and most effective solutions come to the fore.
What does this mean for the racing?
As in 2009, the last time the F1 rules were significantly altered, we could well see a season of two halves – the first half dictated by the team that enjoys the most productive winter; the second by the team that most diligently and effectively develops its car during the early to mid season.
It also means winter testing could be more of a series of reliability-proving runs before performance is applied during the early races. As such, speed out of the box could be less important than in previous years.
7. CHASSIS – SAFER THAN EVER
While the changes to the power-unit have attracted the headlines this year, there’s a myriad of small but complementary changes to the chassis, too.
These are primarily safety-driven – either through reducing downforce to scrub off speed, or by changing impact areas to reduce the risk of cars being launched into the air when they collide.
This year, the front wings are narrowed by 150mm – this makes them less susceptible to damage, but creates new issues for the aerodynamicists, who’ll have to re-route important airflow around the front tyres.
The chassis around the driver’s legs and feet is now significantly lower – due to a regulated drop in maximum height at the front bulkhead. Chassis nose-height is lowered even further, resulting in some novel structures at the front of the car in order to meet compliance.
At the rear, and in tandem with new exhaust regulations (below), the traditional lower beam-wing has been outlawed and the main-flap made shallower – both will have a significant effect on downforce levels.
One of the small knock-ons of all these engine and chassis changes is the increase to the weight limit – it goes up from 642kg to 690kg.
What does this mean for the racing?
Expect to see an initial variety of front-wing designs slowly converge as teams react quickly to define the most optimal configuration. This will be a real hotbed of activity in 2014 as the front wing is a critical flow-conditioner for the whole car.
8. NO EXHAUST BLOWING
After four seasons largely defined by the use of exhaust blowing to produce additional downforce, the 2014 regulations conclusively remove its exploitation by stipulating a radically different exhaust exit point.
Now, the single exhaust must exit much further rearward than before, and is far too high to influence the floor’s aerodynamics. The rules state the exhaust must exit upwards on the car’s centreline, close to the rear light, with no bodywork behind the tailpipe – so nothing can aerodynamically influence the exhaust’s gases.
What does this mean for the racing?
It will place less emphasis on a single, key performance solution, hopefully broadening the net for innovative engineers and designers to bring performance to the car through a variety of different areas. That variety could also bring spice and unpredictability to the racing – until another team finds the next performance breakthrough, of course…
9. DIFFERENT GEAR, STILL SPEEDING
McLaren has been using a seven-speed ’box since 1999, but Formula 1 goes a step further in 2014 with the introduction of eight-speed transmission. Last year, teams had to specify 30 ratios for use across the whole season; this year, the regulations are tightened even further – teams can only nominate one set of eight ratios for the whole season. As a concession for 2014 only, the regs allow teams one opportunity to re-nominate those ratios during the year.
Gearbox life has also been extended – from five races to six.
What does this mean for the racing?
Not too much – it’s primarily for cost-saving purposes.
10a. WHAT DO POINTS MAKE? PENALTIES!
The driver penalty has been overhauled for 2014 to make it both more consistent and more stringent. Infringements will carry penalties of between one and three points; and if a driver accumulates more than 12 points he will be banned from the next race.
Penalty points will remain on a driver’s licence for 12 months.
What this means for the racing is…
Serial transgressors will face stricter punishment than before, although the exact nature of the penalties has yet to be fully revealed.
10b. WHAT DO POINTS MAKE? ER, MORE PRIZES THAN BEFORE…!
One controversial addition for the new season is the incorporation of double-points at the final race of the season – a move intended to help the championship go down to the wire. With 50 points on offer for victory, and a mighty 86 available in the constructors’ championship, expect to see more than a few happy (or utterly miserable) faces in the Abu Dhabi paddock on Sunday evening…
Also new for ’14 is a nominal pole position trophy. Although it doesn’t carry any championship weight, the title will be awarded to the driver who scores the most pole positions this year – in the event of a tie, the winner will be awarded to the driver with the most second positions, and so on.
Another novel change for 2014 has been an overhaul of the car/driver numbering system. Drivers are now at liberty to choose their own unique numbers, which they’ll carry through their careers. Jenson has chosen #20 and Kevin #22.