2014 promises to be one of the most exciting F1 seasons of all time. Shell and Ferrari run us through the technical regulations that the teams will have to abide by.
NEW engines, new sounds and new rules, Formula 1 has undergone its biggest makeover for a generation over the summer.
Here’s a rundown of all the changes that you need to know about.
In what has proved one of the most controversial rule changes in F1 history, the final race of the season — which this year will be staged in Abu Dhabi on November 23 — will award double the usual allocation of points to the top-ten finishers in a bid to lessen the chance of the championship being decided several races early.
It means that the race winner in Abu Dhabi will receive 50 points instead of the usual 25, the runner-up 36 instead of 18 and so on. Fourth place therefore, which usually garners 12 points, will be worth all-but the same as race victory at all the other 18 rounds.
TWO NEW RACES
While the calendar stays at 19 races for the second successive year, Korea and India make way for F1’s long-awaited arrival in Russia and return to Austria after more than a decade away.
The Russian GP will take place on a newly-constructed circuit around Sochi’s Winter Olympic Park with the inaugural race to take place on October 12. Austria represents more familiar territory for the sport with what’s now known as the Red Bull Ring previously staging grands prix when called The A1 Ring (1997-2003) and before then the Osterreichring (1970-1987). The revamped venue in Spielberg will make its return on June 22.
In one of the biggest shake-ups of the driver line-up in recent memory, just two teams — Mercedes and Marussia — retain the same pairing they fielded in 2013. In the most eye-catching moves, Kimi Raikkonen has returned to Ferrari to form a mouthwatering all-World Champion line-up with Fernando Alonso while Australian youngster Daniel Ricciardo replaces compatriot Mark Webber alongside Sebastian Vettel at World Champions Red Bull.
Sebastian Vettel appears to be getting on better with Daniel Ricciardo than with former Aussie teammate Mark Webber, the Red Bull pair sitting down to interview each other ahead of this weekends Melbourne Grand Prix.
Three rookies also join the sport with Denmark’s Kevin Magnussen joining Jenson Button at McLaren, Russian youngster Daniil Kvyat succeeding Ricciardo at Toro Rosso and Swedish GP2 graduate Marcus Ericsson signing for Caterham.
PERMANENT DRIVER NUMBERS
In order to quell age-old complaints over car identification, each driver on the 2014 grid has been given the chance to select a number between two and 99 which they will carry for the remainder of their F1 career.
For example, Lewis Hamilton has selected ‘44’, Fernando Alonso ‘14’ and Jenson Button ‘22’, while Sebastian Vettel, as is his right as the reigning World Champion, will again carry the coveted ‘1’ on his Red Bull. Rules dictate that a driver’s number must be clearly visible on the nose of his car and crash helmet.
IN-SEASON TESTING RETURNS
In a shake-up of testing restrictions during the season, four tests two-day tests at grand prix venues are now permitted from the Tuesday after the corresponding race. The Young Driver Test has been scrapped as a result.
DRIVER PENALTY POINTS
In order to create a more streamlined disciplinary system, stewards can now impose penalty points on a driver’s Super Licence for on-track misdemeanours.
If a driver reaches 12 points he will be removed for the following grand prix, after which the accrued points will be wiped. The points will remain on a driver’s licence for 12 months.
While the three-part knockout format that has been in place since 2006 essentially remains unchanged, small but significant revisions have been made to maximise the time cars spend on track — particularly in Q3. Whereas previously top-ten runners would have the option of remaining in their garages for the final stage in order to start on fresher tyres in the race, all Q3 participants will now have to start the race on the tyre they used in Q2. Furthermore, Q1 will be reduced from 20 to 18 minutes while Q3 will be lengthened from 10 minutes to 12, to give drivers more time to complete two timed runs.
POLE POSITION TROPHY
The driver who claims the most pole positions during the season will be awarded a new trophy in recognition at the end of the year. In the event of a tie then the driver with the amount of second places will be declared the winner and so on until a clear winner emerges.
EXTRA TYRES IN P1
To help encourage cars to take to the track earlier in Friday Practice One sessions each driver will have access to an additional set of ‘prime’ tyres for the first 30 minutes of running.
What’s new on the cars?
The 2.4-litre V8 engines that were used in 2013 are replaced by 1.6-litre V6s with a single turbocharger. The rev limit is also reduced from 18,000 rpm to 15,000 rpm.
To increase the sport’s green credentials and road relevance the cars’ energy-recovery capabilities have also been enhanced with two ERS systems now in place, one which recovers kinetic energy under braking (known as the MGU-K) and the other heat energy from the exhaust turbine (the MGU-H). Unlike the case with KERS, drivers won’t activate the ERS boost — which will now offer 161bhp for 33 seconds per lap — via a button on the steering wheel.
FUEL LIMIT FOR RACES
Cars will now have to start races carrying 100kg of fuel — compared to approximately 150kg in 2013 — to complete the distance with a limited fuel-flow rate of 100kg/hour.
In a bid to avoid cars being launched in accidents, the tip of the nose has been dramatically lowered — a change which has given rise to spate of ‘ugly’ 2014 nose designs.
The changes to the nose have led to some rather unsightly designs.
FRONT AND REAR WING CHANGES
A fundamental change at the front of the car results in front wings being narrowed from 1800mm to 1650mm. There are also changes at the rear with the rear-wing main plane removed and a shallower rear wing to decrease downforce. But to ensure the DRS overtaking aid remains a powerful overtaking tool, the flap can open as wide as 65mm, a 15mm increase from 2013.
Eight-speed gearboxes replace the previous seven while ratios will be fixed for the season; a central exhaust exit pipe out of the back of the car to end blown-diffuser effect; increase in minimum car weight from 642kg to 691kg.