Preview of the 2014 Formula One season.
Italian GP - F1 girls
With the 2013 season behind us, we turn our attention to 2014, and after witnessing another dominating performance from Sebastian Vettel, the most popular question, that everybody is trying to answer is "will the Red Bull and Vettel domination continue into the next season?".
It's a tricky question to answer, because there are so many variables and details that can have a major impact on a team's performance, and this season, with the major changes that are about to be introduced, predicting just got that much harder.
But let's concentrate on what is certain to happen, and we will do that by taking a look at all of the important changes that are scheduled to be introduced at the start of the next season.
Mark Webber - 2010 British GP
With Vettel winning races with an astonishing consistency, in the second part of the 2013 season, some drivers have started to plan ahead for the next season.
A bit annoyed with the monotony in the top half of the Driver's and Constructor's table, the press has wrote about these changes to the point were, now, in the break between the seasons, everybody knows what's about to happen in the following year, at least at the big teams, and the press itself hasn't got any news about Formula 1 in this period.
Just in case some of you, don't already know this by now, I'll say what are the big changes in terms of the driver's transfers at the big teams, as we all know that the smaller teams will make their driver signings just before the start of the new season, and some will continue to change their drivers even after the season has started.
So, the big announcement that came at the end of the 2013 season is that Mark Webber has retired from Formula One. His F1 career has started more than a decade ago, in 2002, a period in which the Australian driver has raced for Minardi, Jaguar, Williams and Red Bull, joining the Austrian F1 team in 2007 where he remained until the end of this season.
In his Formula One career, Webber gathered 9 race victories to his name, 42 podiums, has started 13 times from pole position, and has set 19 fastest laps.
He will now be going to the FIA World Endurance Championship where will be racing in a LMP1 prototype for Porsche. I ( and I'm sure all of you ) wish him all the best, in this new adventure he's heading for.
Mark Webber's departure from Red Bull Racing, will, of course, leave an empty seat in the Austrian team, seat that will be occupied in 2014 by Daniel Ricciardo from Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Again, Ricciardo will live an empty seat at Torro Rosso, which will be filled by 2013 GP3 Series champion Daniil Kvyat.
It was known for some time that Massa will not continue at Ferrari from 2014, and was also known, especially towards the end of the 2013 season, that Kimi Räikkönen will fill the space left by the Brazilian.
This will lead to Kimi Räikkönen joining up with Fernando Alonso, which means that 2014 will be the first season since 1954 when Ferrari will have two World Champions in their Formula 1 cars.
After departing from Ferrari, Felipe Massa will be joining Williams after spending the last eight years with the Italian team, and the move meant that Williams, surprisingly, decided to keep Valtteri Bottas as the Brazilian's teammate in the detriment of Pastor Maldonado, the driver that has got them in 2012 their first win since the 2004 season. To be fair, there were some tensions between Pastor and Williams, but that's another story.
Anyway, Maldonado will be heading for Lotus F1, trying to fill the Kimi shaped hole that was left in this team when the Finn announced his move to Ferrari.
I couldn't helped noticing how amusing this switch between the three Formula
One drivers is. I mean, Massa left Ferrari which triggered Kimi's return to the Italian
team and also Williams's decision to let Pastor Maldonado go, and the Venezuelan driver has ended up at Räikkönen's former team, Lotus. What havoc has Felipe created with just one move.
Moving forward, McLaren will replace Sergio with the 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 Series champion and McLaren Young Driver Development Programme member Kevin Magnussen.
This, means that Perez will leave after having spent a single season at the British team, and, so far, the Mexican's destination is unknown.
There are some more speculations regarding future moves, but I have written only the certain ones.
2012 Bahrain GP - race start
Teams and calendar changes.
Scuderia Toro Rosso will be powered by Renault engines in 2014 as they have secured an agreement with the French manufacturer, ending their previous agreement with Ferrari that has supplied their engines for the last seven years.
This arrangement with Toro Rosso meant Renault, which announced that in 2014 will supply only three teams with their engines, has reached it's self-imposed limit (having deals with Red Bull, Caterham, and now, Toro Rosso) and would not supply Williams with their engines any more.
This led to Williams securing an agreement with Mercedes for their 2014 engines.
Marussia has also been forced to find a new supplier for their engines after Cosworth has decided not to build an engine in line with the new 2014 regulations.
This lead to Marussia reaching an agreement with Ferrari for engines and power-train.
In terms of the calendar changes, there will be 22 Grand Prix in 2014. The most important changes are:
- The American Grand Prix which will be held at the Port Imperial Street Circuit in New Jersey on the 1st of June.
- The Grand Prix of Austria which will be held at the Red Bull Ring, formerly known as the A1-Ring, where a F1 race hasn't taken place since 2003. The event is being planned for 22 June.
- The Germany Grand Prix will be held on the Hockenheimring after being held in the 2013 season on the Nürburgring, respecting the agreement that established the two tracks to host the GP of Germany in alternating years. Date: 20 July.
- The Grand Prix of Mexico will be held at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez circuit in Mexico City and will mean that the Mexican GP will return after a 22 year absence. The event will take place in the 16th of November.
- The Russian Grand Prix is also a first, as Russia has never hosted a round of the Formula One World Championship, but the event can be delayed until 2015 if it hinders with the preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. If it takes place, the Grand Prix will be held at the Sochi International Street Circuit on October the 5th.
Honda RA168E Formula 1 engine - 1988
The new technical regulations.
The most notable change in terms of regulations for the 2014 Formula 1 cars is the introduction of new specifications in terms of capacity, format, and a decrease in the maximum Rpm the engine will be able to reach.
So, the engines will have a maximum capacity of 1.6 liters, with a V6 configuration, an 8-speed semi-automatic gearbox and will be limited to 15000 Rpm, also, the engines will be turbocharged for the first time since 1988.
The new F1 engine needs to be reliable too, it will have to last for at least 2500 mi or 4000 km.
The KERS ( Kinetic Energy Recovery System ) will be transformed into the ERS-K ( Energy Recovery System for kinetic energy ) and ERS-H ( Energy Recovery System and exhaust heat energy ) and will boost the car's power ( which, with the new rpm limit will probably be at around 550 hp ) with over 160 hp ( 120 kW ).
With the more powerful Energy Recovery System being charged under braking, the efficiency of the braking system at the rear wheels may be reduced.
To counteract this issue, an electronic rear brake control system will be allowed.
In order to make the cars more fuel-efficient, the maximum quantity of fuel that may be carried by the car during a race will be restricted to 140 liters.
Other important changes have been made in terms of design: the new 1.6 turbocharged engines mandate a single tailpipe of fixed dimensions and the nose shape will be even lower that in 2013.
Also from 2014, the camera mountings will be used strictly for, ahem, cameras, as some teams have used the mountings to attach additional pieces of bodywork for aerodynamic advantages.
In terms of safety: a new side-impact structure will be introduced to increase the safety of the car in angled impacts.
And, another change that has direct effects on performance is the increase in the minimum weight of the car from 642 kg to 690 kg.
Will the new technical and design changes bring more excitement to Formula One?
All of this changes will surely have an impact on the 2014 season, if they will produce some surprises, or the big boys will be the ones that know how to use the changes in their favor, well only time can answer that question.
With two former World Champions in their ranks, sparks may fly from the Ferrari team, while everything seems to be going according to plan for Red Bull as they aim to continue their successful partnership with their 4 consecutive World Championships winner Sebastian Vettel and hope that their new graduate from Torro Rosso, Daniel Ricciardo will prove to be another blow to their opponents.
McLaren hope that 2014 will prove to be a fresh start for them, as their precedent
campaign was a bit of a disaster. With former World Champion Jenson Button, and 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 Series champion Kevin Magnussen, they have two talented drivers in their team, let's see if they will be able to provide those drivers with a car that will let them race at their full potential.
Mercedes will be keeping the drivers that had brought them to the 2nd position in the Constructor's Table, and with good reason, as Lewis had a good season and Rosberg keeps improving from one season to the other.
Lotus and Williams shouldn't be left out, as both teams will start the 2014
season with new engines, and each team will have a new driver in their ranks.
All of this being said, what changes will provoke the new regulation in the 2014 season?
Answer this question, or just tell your thoughts concerning the new F1 season in the comments area below, and, also vote on the poll if the new regulations will have an impact on the quality of the races.