Tag Archives: F1 2014

New Jersey, Mexico and Sochi all on 22-race 2014 provisional calendar

The latest version of the 2014 F1 calendar has been released by the FIA. Most notable is the inclusion of the New Jersey Grand Prix, which had previously been dropped due to financial issues.

A highly anticipated return to Mexico appears to still be on the cards, with the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez looking set to host a race from next year onwards. However, veteran fans will be disappointed to see that the legendary Curva Peraltada corner will not be run in its original glory, with a slower entry to the banked curve being planned. Regardless, the Mexcian race looks set to take place on the 14th-16th November, serving as the penultimate race to the 2014 season.

The more controversial Russian Grand Prix is also penned in, for the 3rd-5th of October. Costs have spiralled at the Sochi circuit, though, inflating from €140m to €260m.

Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz will be pleased to see the Red Bull Ring – formerly the A1 Ring, or Österreichring before that – serving as the starting point for the second half of the European season. The first half, featuring Catalunya and Monaco, are pushed back due to the inclusion of the North American section of the calendar, featuring New Jersey and Canada.

Despite huge concerns over the pit lane being too small, the New Jersey race is still on, according to the FIA and FOM at least, Finally, it should be noted that the Korean Grand Prix is listed as being “provisional”, seeing as it has failed to attract as much interest in the region as anticipated.

Provisional F1 calendar 2014:

16th March – Melbourne, Australia
30th March – Sepang, Malaysia
6th April – Sakhir, Bahrain
20th April – Shanghai, China
27th April – Yeongham, Korea (provisional)
11th May – Circuit de Catalunya, Spain
25th May – Monaco
1st June – New Jersey (provisional + *)
8th June – Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Canada
22nd June – Red Bull Ring, Austria
6th July – Silverstone, Britain
20th July – Hockenheimring, Germany
27th July – Hungaroring, Hungary
24th August – Spa, Belgium
7th September – Monza, Italy
21st September – Singapore
5th October – Sochi, Russia
12th October -Suzuka, Japan
26th October – Abu Dhabi
9th November – Circuit of the Americas, Austin
16th November – Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico (provisional + *)
30th November – Interlagos, Brazil

* = Subject to circuit approval by Charlie Whiting and FIA

Austrian Grand Prix set to return to 2014 F1 calendar

The Austrian Grand Prix is set to make a return to the F1 scene after a 10-year absence, after a deal was announced between the circuit and FOM today.

The Red Bull Ring, which formerly went under the name of A1 Ring, and previously the Osterreichring (in a different layout), is set to take place on the 6th of July 2014. The circuit was only reopened in 2011, after it was bought out and renovated by Red Bull.

It is reported that an agreement has been reached between Bernie Ecclestone and Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz to host the Grand Prix next year, although it is unclear for how many years the race will run for.

The track in its current layout is 4.3km long, but only has 10 corners. It is believed that there will not be any extensions to the circuit, meaning that it will almost certainly be the quickest lap on the F1 calendar next year.

Mark Webber to leave F1 for Porsche WEC programme in 2014

2013 will be Red Bull driver Mark Webber’s final year in the sport, as he moves to Porsche’s World Endurance Championship squad for the 2014 season.

The Australian has struggled relative to teammate Sebastian Vettel in recent years, frequently citing favouritism as a catalyst for conflict within the team. Several spats between the two drivers have emerged – most recently being the Malaysian Grand Prix debacle – and Webber has decided to give up on the sport without a world championship in hand.

Regarding his move to Porsche, Webber has said:

"It’s an honour for me to join Porsche at its return to the top category in Le Mans 
and in the sports car World Endurance Championship and be part of the team. Porsche 
has written racing history as a manufacturer and stands for outstanding technology 
and performance at the highest level. I’m very much looking forward to this new 
challenge after my time in Formula 1.

Porsche will undoubtedly set itself very high goals. I can hardly wait to pilot 
one of the fastest sports cars in the world."

Interestingly, no quotes from Red Bull have been supplied from the team just yet.

Mark previously raced in the Le Mans race of 1999 with Mercedes, but a spectacular flip and crash resulted in him pulling out and switching to Formula 1.

He has spent the last few years in the fastest car on the F1 grid, but a cavalcade of problems – poor starts, KERS issues, team conflicts, as well as a general dislike for where the sport is moving – meant that his departure was an inevitability.

Regardless of his disappointments in recent years, the F1 paddock will sorely miss Mark. His straight-forwardness attitude won him many fans over the years, and the sport now lacks a driver who is always willing to speak his mind.

It also opens the floodgates of rumours about who will take his place at Red Bull for next year. Without trying to get into too much speculation at this early stage, I would suggest that Kimi Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg would be the initial candidates.

Honda’s comeback proves F1’s new engine formula is working already

The return of Honda as an engine supplier to Formula 1 is very welcome news. Even better is the expectation that more suppliers will follow, and cause a greater variety of engine combinations on the grid.

In recent years, we have seen the number of companies supplying power units drop all the way down to 4 – Mercedes, Renault, Ferrari and Cosworth. The latter of these is reducing its involvement with the sport, with Caterham and Williams having switched to Renault power in the last few seasons. Now only supplying Marussia, it is very clear that they will most likely not survive the switch to the V6 engines next year. To have only 3 different types of engine on the grid for too long would be a disaster for the sport.

However, this Honda deal has revitalised the engine market. With Renault upping the prices for their turbocharged units next year, teams like Lotus, Williams and Caterham might be encouraged to switch to the Japanese company from 2015 onwards.

Other manufacturers such as Audi and Volkswagen have previously expressed interest in returning to F1, and it’s always possible that we’ll see more suppliers arrive in the next few years. All of these signs clearly indicate that the FIA’s new engine formula is already proving to be successful.

The FIA’s aim was to encourage large manufacturing corporations back into the world of F1, while also presenting a new technical challenge that keeps the teams on their toes. While it remains to be seen how the on-track racing is affected by these new changes, I believe that the new engine suppliers will provide a huge boost to Formula 1’s credibility and excitement in the coming years.

Renault reveals look at 2014 V6 engine

Renault have become the second engine manufacturer to show a glimpse of what is to come in the 2014 season, as they showed off pictures of their new turbo V6 engine, set to be introduced next year.

Mercedes had previously given select journalists an audio sample from their new power plant, which was reported to be “sweeter” sounding than the current V8 platform.

Now, Renault have provided a new insight into the new engine formula, which they claim will be a huge boost for the sport and its manufacturers.

Renault Sport chief Jean-Michel Jalinier said that “It will be a better tool to communicate than the current V8 engine.We can get some fans back to F1.”

Technical director Rob White noted that the new engines are still going to be “very loud” and “very violent”, which may come as some relief to concerned F1 purists.

“You can see on the test bed that even with relatively slow shifts on a relatively low transient dyno, that gear shifts are rapid and violent. And the big glowing red thing at the back of the engine in front of the gearbox [Energy Recovery System – called ERS] is also going to be a thing of some spectacle.”

New Jersey race to be postponed to 2014 – Ecclestone

Next year’s planned Grand Prix of America, set to take place in New Jersey, has been offset until the 2014 season, according to Bernie Ecclestone.

The track, which features a stunning view of the Manhattan island, was rumoured to be behind schedule, but nevertheless Ecclestone has been unusually quick in pulling it off the 2013 calendar. Today he stated:

"They've run out of time. There's all sorts of things...and they didn't quite think 
it all through. They've had a wake-up call but the wake-up call came too late.

They couldn't get everything ready in time - that's the bottom line."

The main issues were believed to be with repairing roads and obtaining permits for the track. Bernie had hinted at this issue months ago, when he noted that the race organisers had not complied with the terms and conditions of the race contract.

If the New Jersey track is indeed completed for 2014, it will join the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi as the two new races for that season. The United States Grand Prix, located in Austin, is still set to go ahead at the end of this season.

Glock signs long-term contract with Virgin

Timo Glock will stay with Virgin until 2014

Timo Glock will stay with Virgin until 2014

Timo Glock will stay at the Marussia Virgin team until 2014.

This was announced by the team this morning, before Timo’s home race. Glock has suffered in an uncompetitive car for the past 18 months.

However, after moving from Toyota, Timo claims that he was expecting the drop-off in performance:

"As a driver I knew I would have to go back a few steps in order to move forward.

Now we have tasted the difficult times together I can’t wait to be with the team
when we start to enjoy the good times. And I know they are coming."

He also took this moment to explain the frustration of being in an uncompetitive car:

"I was frustrated, as was everyone else at the team, at certain moments last year.
But for me that takes two to three hours to subside and then I reset my head again
for the next weekend.

For some reason everyone has asked me this weekend how I can still be motivated
fighting for P20 at the moment. For me I jump in the car and I just enjoy what I'm
doing, F1 was my goal and I am just enjoying every time I jump in there and fighting
as hard as possible until the last lap.

It doesn't matter whether I'm fighting for a podium or P20. That's how I was motivated
last year and this year. I set my target for a weekend, and I just want to get more
than 100% out of the package we have at the moment, and that's what I am doing."

F1 technical regulation changes for 2014 season

The FIA has released the technical regulations for the 2014 season, with innovative changes regarding the cars’ actions in the pit lane.

For a start, the cars will only be allowed to run on electrical power while in the pit lane, with no ignition or fuel supply to be engaged in the pits. Here is the breakdown of the changes:

Pit lane adjustments

As previously stated, one of the larger changes will be the introduction of electric-only F1 cars in the pit lane.

Self-starting motors will be mandatory on all cars, meaning that stalled cars can continue racing, as they will restart without outside assistance. This of course applies to stalls both in the pit lane and out on track.

Two energy recovery units

For the first time in motorsport, two different energy recovery units will be used at the same time. KERS will now be joined by the ability to recover energy from exhaust heat.

The KERS unit will not remain the same, however. Its power output will double, with 120kW being available.

It is currently unknown how much power the exhaust recovery unit will produce.

Expected engine changes

As expected, the engine in a Formula 1 car will undergo drastic changes. As previously reported, 1.6 litre V6 turbocharged engines will be used. The turbocharger must be inside the “V” of the engine (the 90 degree angle “V” shape remains for the engine), while the exhausts must be outside of the engine “V” area.

RPM output will be restriced to 15,000rpm, as opposed to the current 18,000 rpm.

A fuel flow limit will be introduced, restricting cars to 100kg/h (kilograms per hour). This goes with the FIA’s intentions to reduce dependency on fuel for the sport.

Weight and front wing adjustments

The minimum weight of the cars will be increased again – from 640kg to 660kg. This coincides with the much larger KERS and new exhaust recovery units, also taking into mind the reduction in engine size.

There will also be a minimum weight for all power units (engine, KERS, exhaust recovery) – 155kg. In previous years, only the engine was set a minimum limit of 95kg.

Current-generation “snowplough” front wings will become smaller, from 1,800mm wide to 1,650mm. This means that the front wing will no longer be wider than the width of the main car.

Eighth forward gear added

2014 will see 8-speed gearboxes in F1 for the first time. No fewer gears will be allowed.

The FIA also notes that:

"Each competitor must nominate the forward gear ratios (calculated from engine
crankshaft to drive shafts) to be employed within their gearbox. These
nominations must be declared to the FIA technical delegate at or before the
first Event of the Championship. For 2014 only, a competitor may re-nominate
these ratios once within the Championship season, in which case the original
nomination becomes immediately void. Ratio re-nominations must be declared as
a set and may only be effected by the substitution of change gears."

FIA explain V6 decision in Q&A

The recent announcement of a 1.6 litre V6 engine by the FIA has not been universally commended, with many questioning the benefits of such a change.

With this in mind, the FIA have released a Q&A session, in which they explain the thinking behind the engine regulation change, as well as state the detailed engine specifications:

1. The World Motor Sport Council voted on 29 June 2011. What did it decide?

Following consultation with the various Formula One stakeholders  and the current Formula One engine manufacturers, the WMSC has ratified the adoption of a V6 turbo engine to be used in Formula One from 2014 onwards. This required changes to the regulations initially adopted by the World Council on 3 June 2011. The full regulations applicable to the 2014 season will be published in due course.

2. Will a V6 use more fuel, or have inferior economy compared with the original proposal?

No. To push the engineers to develop engine efficiency, the technical regulation imposes a fuel flow control. When evolving the regulation to fit with the manufacturers’ new request this parameter has not been changed. Thus the efficiency requirement will be unchanged.

3. Why has the rev limit been increased from 12,000rpm to 15,000rpm. Is this purely to enhance the sound of a Formula One car?

No. This parameter has been updated from 12000rpm to 15000 rpm to allow engineers more flexibility in power and energy management. However, as a consequence of the new architecture (V6) and the change in rev-limit, the engine will sound different, but will remain representative of Formula One.

4. Will the increase in rpm alter fuel consumption?

Absolutely not. As mentioned above, the fuel flow limit will stay the same. The technologies are the same and as a consequence any increase in rpm will constrain the engineers to work harder on reducing friction and gaining on engine efficiency. The challenge will be even bigger than originally planned and will therefore enhance the technological lead of Formula One.

5. Has the FIA  retained the energy recover devices originally intended to be used in conjunction with the I4 engine?

Yes, the concept initially presented is respected. All of the technology intended for the I4 is still present. This new power plant will be a dramatic step forward in both fuel efficiency and in energy management.

6. Will those manufacturers already engaged in the development of a four-cylinder engine face increased costs now they need to redirect their resources toward designing a V6?

To our knowledge, five manufacturers were working on the proposed 4-cylinder engine. They will all need to adapt their project and this will surely involve some additional costs, depending on how advanced each project was. This evolution has been proposed and supported by all four engine manufacturers currently involved in Formula One.

7. Why is the introduction of the new generation of engines now being delayed by year?

The decision to delay the introduction until 2014 comes at the request of the four engine manufacturers currently involved in Formula One. Their request for extra time is linked to the change in architecture but also to ensure their projects are more robust (one of the goals of the project is to enhance engine durability to c.4000km)

8. Will these energy recovery systems and other efficiency devices ultimately influence the development of road cars?

Yes. The clear need for the automotive industry to reduce emissions means energy management will increasingly become a key factor in the development of more efficient powertrains. Kinetic energy recovery is already applied in Formula One and the introduction of exhaust energy recovery will add another technology route to be explored. Formula One will also return to its role as a developer of turbo-charger technology. This research will have real-world benefits, contributing valuable knowledge that will be of use to future road car development.

Combustion engine specifications:

1600cc, V6
15000 rpm max
Direct fuel injection up to 500bar
Single turbocharger
Controlled fuel flow

Energy recovery and storage systems specifications:

Kinetic, 120kW on the rear wheels
Exhaust energy recovery linked to the turbocharger

FIA approves V6 engines for 2014

Current F1 engines are set for an overhaul in 2014

Current F1 engines are set for an overhaul in 2014

The FIA has today approved the change in engine regulations for the 2014 season.

The move will see the sport switch from 2.4 litre normally aspirated V8 engines to more efficient 1.6 litre turbocharged V6 power units.

It has also been confirmed that this new engine formula will feature several energy recovery units, though this detail has yet to be elaborated on.

The last time turbocharged engines were used in F1 was back in 1988.

A statement issued today from the FIA reads as follows:

"Following a fax vote by its members, the World Motor Sport Council has ratified the
engine regulations recently drawn up in consultation with the main stakeholders in
Formula 1.

“he new power plant will be a V6 1.6 turbo unit with energy recovery systems. This
new formula will come into effect as from the start of the 2014 FIA Formula 1 world
championship season."

It has been revealed that the original push for 1.6 litre 4-cylinder engines, which was rejected several  days ago, was being put forward by Audi, a prospective engine supplier to F1 teams from 2013 onwards.

The switch to efficient turbocharged engines is not a surprise, considering the FIA has been keen to improve the “green” aspect of the sport in recent times. It is currently unknown how this regulation change will affect total power output, but it is expected that the energy recovery systems (KERS, exhaust gas recovery units) will compensate for any loss in engine power.

Update: The FIA has confirmed today that these new engines will use a 15,000 rpm rev limiter.