All Change In F1
The new season will bring the most sweeping changes to the F1 rule book in decades. A quarter of a century after we bade farewell to turbo-charging, it's back. The main innovations for 2014 are set out below.
Dedicated followers of fashion, F1 folk are now using the term 'powertrain' or 'power unit' to describe the new cars rather than sticking to the old-fashioned term 'engines'.
That's because we must now see the engine, turbo-charging system and Energy Recovery Systems (ERS) as one homogenous unit which provides the motive power for the 2014 F1 car.Leaving behind outmoded V8 days and coming into line with carmakers' everyday production models, the new engines in themselves are 1.6-litre V6 units.
There the similarity ends: your road car would be lucky to push out more than 200 bhp and rev to around 7000; the new F1 engines will produce a basic 600+ brake horsepower at 15,000 rpm, which is then augmented by turbo-charging and energy recovery. The 'powertrain' is the spine of the car, the central system that governs the rest.
The combined effect of these 'hybrid' units will be to produce around 760 bhp. An advance on the previous KERS, the recovery systems will make a boost of around 160 bhp available for much longer in the course of a lap – up to 33 seconds' worth.
The minimum weight of each engine is 145 kilograms.
Intent on displaying F1's green credentials, the rule-makers have decreed that each car will be allowed only 100 kilos of fuel per Grand Prix. That is, in effect, a reduction of over 30% on last season.100 kilos is around 130 litres; that means the new F1 engines will sip around 2.25L per racing kilometer, as compared to a medium road car's consumption of around 7L/100km.
The challenge to the engine-makers is to extract maximum efficiency (in combustion and in power output) from resources which must seem minimal in comparison to previous years.
While emissions will be reduced, they will also be channelled out of the engine via a single exhaust pipe, upward-facing and at the rear so that the recent clever use of exhaust gases to assist with downforce is negated.
Some F1 purists will be pleased to note that the 'ugly duckling' stepped noses of the last couple of years are likely to disappear under new regulations governing body height.
The aim here is to reduce the likelihood of damaging intrusion in the event of side-on impact, but there are still those who believe this will lead to a new generation of down-turned noses without much aesthetic improvement.
Nose height is reduced to 185mm, while the front wings will also be narrower at 1650mm instead of 1800.
Minimum weight of the new F1 car is 690 kilos.
Engine and Gearbox Life
The number of engines per driver is now restricted to five per season. Each driver may also use only one gearbox for six consecutive events. Failure to meet either condition will result in a grid penalty.
Stewards will enforce the existing rules in relation to on-track behaviour and penalties. As with drivers on the road, a system of 'penalty points' will be used: any driver accumulating 12 points will incur a one-race suspension.
World Championship Points
If ratified, a dramatic new rule will see double points awarded at the final race of the season, which in 2014 will be the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 23.
This measure is designed to maintain interest in the outcome of the World Championship right up until the final round of the season.
The current system by which teams adopt the numbers 1-23 based on their overall placing in the previous year's Constructors' Championship is to be scrapped. (A long-held superstition prevents the use of #13).
The new system will see the symbolic #1 reserved, as it now is, for the reigning World Champion.
After that the remaining drivers will be invited to choose their preferred number, between 2 and 99. If two or more opt for the same number it will be given to the man who finished highest among them the previous season.
Testing is back – not only in the guise of a special, one-off pre-Christmas three-day test in Bahrain to help sole tyre supplier Pirelli match its product to the new performance levels, but also as a general rule.Teams will be free to arrange two 'promotional' events provided the distance covered in each is 100 kilometres at most.
There will be three team tests between January 20, 2014 and a date 10 days before the opening round in Australia. These will be of four days' duration.
Then four tests, each of two days, will be allowed from 10 days before Round 1 to December 31 2014. These will take place on circuits where an event in the Formula 1 World Championship has just taken place.
Each team will be allowed to use only one car per day; the annual total testing distance is 15,000 kilometres per team.