Every F1 Season brings technical changes, but the 2014 Season brings the biggest technical changes in over a decade! The biggest change is the change in engines, and because this a big one, there are no doubt going to be reliability issues, especially at the start of the season. This may make 2014 a very interesting and frustrating season. Below are the major technical changes for this season:
F1 race cars are known for their roaring and piercing engines. This is going to change for the 2014 Season. The big 2.4-litre V8 engines which have been the standard in F1 racing since 2006 will be replaced by smaller 1.6-litre V6 engine. The new engines will have a slight reduction in power from 750 bhp to 600 bhp, but the difference will be made up by the new Energy Recover System (ERS) – this will replace the Kinetic Energy Recover System (KERS). The engines will also be turbocharged, the first time turbocharged engines have been in the F1 line-up since 1988. For fans, the new engine will produce a slightly different sound. The new ERS will also be managed by the machine engine management system, rather than the drivers, who previously pressed a button to engage the KERS.
The other major change will be the fuel component. In 2014, vehicles will have a strict fuel limit of 100kg (or roughly 130 litres) for the whole race and this will be strictly monitored and enforced – this is down from 150kg previously. This not only means that engines need to be fuel efficient (the new engines are already more fuel efficient than the old engines), but drivers must keep a careful eye on fuel consumption. Fuel consumption will be monitored by sensors placed on the engine.
The weight of the racing cars will be increased from 642kg (1,415lbs) to 691kg (1,523lbs). This is primarily to accommodate the increased weight of the new engine.
Lowering of the nose
For safety reasons, the nose of the racing cars will be lowered and cannot be more than 185mm above the ground – this is down from the 550mm allowed previously. This is a lowering of 415mm and some say this is making the new cars look like anteaters or vacuum cleaners. The safety reason is that the lower nose will stop cars from being ‘launched’ when rear-ended and also avoid the possibility of a driver being hit by the nose during a T-bone crash (when a car hits the side of another side with its nose, in a ‘T’ shape). This regulation also changes the aerodynamics of the racing car and thus the downforce.
Central exhaust pipe
Racing cars will now be required to have one single, central exhaust pipe which needs to be angled upwards. This will specifically impact Red Bull, which has been successfully using exhaust gases to increase the racing car’s downward force – although the design was first invented by Renault in the 1980s. The new exhaust pipes must exit upward, above the gearbox, towards the rear wing and may not be faced downwards to the rear diffuser. This new design ends the use of so-called exhaust-blown floors and it will be interesting to see how Red Bull deals with this change.
Pirelli will continue to be the single tyre supplier to F1 racing in 2014. Because there were so many issues with tyre wear last season, Pirelli is going to provide tyres with harder compounds for this season. Also, teams have been ordered to spend one testing day for tyres and to work together with Pirelli in tyre development.