Analysis: F1's biggest hopes and fears in 2014

Formula 1 is in the final stages of its countdown to the opening test at Jerez in Spain, with excitement mounting about the arrival of the all-new 2014 cars

Analysis: F1's biggest hopes and fears in 2014

The dramatic change in regulations this year has left speculation at fever pitch about what will happen this year, with even leading drivers admitting this week that they are clueless about what to expect.

F1 is indeed in a unique situation in trying to predict what impact arguably the biggest regulation in change in history will have, with the optimists expecting the most open season in years, and the pessimists concerned it could be a step too far.

Having garnered insight from those in the know about the current state of affairs, and with less than two weeks to go until the first test, AUTOSPORT outlines the biggest hopes and fears that F1 faces in 2014.

THE HOPES

1. UNPREDICTABILITY

The change in rules is so great from 2013 to this year, with all areas of the car new, that it is impossible to be sure who is going to come out on top.

There is talk of some major teams struggling to match the performance of last year's cars, or having major reliability concerns in areas like the gearbox.

After Sebastian Vettel's total dominance at the end of last year, such unpredictability heading into the season is refreshing.

2. A MORE LEVEL PLAYING FIELD

Last year, Red Bull proved masters in the final season of the old regulations, with its RB9 dominant once Pirelli's tyres had changed.

For 2014 there are so many elements of the package that can influence performance that there is every chance the battle for wins will be much more closely fought.

3. AERO NO LONGER KING

Adrian Newey and his design team's genius at blown floor aerodynamics meant Red Bull was streets ahead of their rivals because that area of the car had such a big influence in performance.

For 2014, that will no longer be the case, with engine performance and fuel economy now just as important as aero. That should serve to mix up the competitive order more because different teams have varied strengths.

4. CUTTING EDGE TECHNOLOGY

F1's V8 engine freeze has meant much of the technology development in the sport has been hidden beneath the surface of the car.

For 2014 the new turbo engines and energy recovery systems will bring the technical battleground to the forefront - good news as this is an area that has always excited F1 fans.

5. DRIVERS MAKING A DIFFERENCE

The need to manage fuel in 2014, allied to best use of ERS, means top-line drivers will need to think more this year if they are going to win races.

They also need to understand how best to get performance from a car in qualifying that must be driven very differently to the races. That should help spice up the action and bring variety to the show.

FEARS

1. TOO RANDOM

While the potential return of regular reliability woes could make races more exciting, there is a danger that it could go too far.

While the odd shock winner from the back of the grid would be exciting, it could damage the image of the sport if random victors become too regular and races turned into farces where backmarkers are taking the chequered flag first simply because they are the only ones left standing.

2. COMPLICATED RACING

The challenge of managing fuel economy as well as working out the most effective use of ERS is immense - and it means grands prix may turn into complicated strategy games.

If it goes down that route too much, then it could be a turn off for fans who could get lost in all the tactical implications that 2014's rules have delivered.

3. DULL SOUNDING CARS

We will not have a true idea of how F1's new cars sound until the Jerez test, but the doom-mongers are already worried the new V6 turbos will not sound good.

F1 cars have always been about blowing away the senses. If the new engines do not do that, it could be another turn off for fans.

4. SUNDAY ECONOMY DRIVES

The end of refuelling in F1 brought a halt to the flat out sprint racing of the past, with teams having carefully managed fuel loads in recent years. It goes a step further this year, with drivers having just 100kg to play with in the races.

That limit could prove tough for some venues - like Melbourne - and may force drivers to wind down the power and cruise around in grands prix, rather than race hard, just to make it to the finish. It is not what fans want to see.

5. SINGLE TEAM DOMINATION

The F1 gossip machine is already hinting that Mercedes will be the team to beat, with the paddock grapevine suggesting it is pretty upbeat about its 2014 design performance compared to rival outfits.

If that is the case, and some of the other front runners are having trouble, then F1 could end up with single team domination again - something few fans want to see after the less than thrilling end to 2013.

shares
comments
Should F1 use reversed grids?
Previous article

Should F1 use reversed grids?

Next article

Red Bull's Christian Horner warns over F1 double points rule

Red Bull's Christian Horner warns over F1 double points rule
Could mixed fortunes for F1's leading Brits turn around at Silverstone? Plus

Could mixed fortunes for F1's leading Brits turn around at Silverstone?

For the first time in many years, none of the local racers starts among the favourites for the British Grand Prix. But George Russell, Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris could have reasons for optimism

Verstappen exclusive: Why F1’s champion isn’t fazed by Silverstone return Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why F1’s champion isn’t fazed by Silverstone return

Max Verstappen is the world’s number one racing driver… and he’s determined to keep it that way. Speaking exclusively to GP Racing's OLEG KARPOV, the Red Bull driver explains why he’s relishing the 2022 championship battle with Charles Leclerc – and why he’s not worried about returning to Silverstone, the scene of the biggest accident of his career last year

Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team Plus

Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team

On Tuesday, Red Bull laid out its plans to develop and build a new hypercar - the RB17 - penned by Adrian Newey. As the project itself sates Newey as a creative outlet, it also offers Red Bull's Formula 1 team a number of new and exciting avenues to pursue

Formula 1
Jun 29, 2022
What to expect from Mercedes as F1 returns to Silverstone Plus

What to expect from Mercedes as F1 returns to Silverstone

OPINION: The British Grand Prix is a home event for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, with their Mercedes team based just a few miles away too. But there’s another reason why the Silver Arrows squad is eager to arrive at Silverstone this weekend, which may help it fix its remaining problems with its 2022 Formula 1 challenger

Formula 1
Jun 29, 2022
The “solemn promise” that cost quiet hero Brooks an F1 title Plus

The “solemn promise” that cost quiet hero Brooks an F1 title

After two terrifying crashes, one of the best British racers of the 1950s retired before his career peaked. But that’s why GP Racing’s MAURICE HAMILTON was able to speak to Tony Brooks in 2014. Like his friend Stirling Moss, Brooks was regarded as one of the best drivers never to have won the world championship. Here, as our tribute to Brooks who died last month, is that interview in full

Formula 1
Jun 27, 2022
Inside the Faenza facility where AlphaTauri’s F1 pragmatic vision is realised Plus

Inside the Faenza facility where AlphaTauri’s F1 pragmatic vision is realised

AlphaTauri’s mission in F1 is to sell clothes and train young drivers rather than win the championship – but you still need a cutting-edge factory to do that. Team boss Franz Tost takes GP Racing’s OLEG KARPOV on a guided tour of a facility that’s continuing to grow

Formula 1
Jun 26, 2022
Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons Plus

Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons

Gilles Villeneuve's exploits behind the wheel of a Ferrari made him a legend to the tifosi, even 40 years after his death. The team's current Formula 1 star Charles Leclerc enjoys a similar status, and recently got behind the wheel of a very special car from the French-Canadian’s career

Formula 1
Jun 24, 2022
How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock Plus

How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock

Porpoising has become the key talking point during the 2022 Formula 1 season, as teams battle to come to terms with it. An FIA technical directive ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix and a second stay appearing on the Mercedes cars only served to create a bigger debate and raise tensions further

Formula 1
Jun 23, 2022