The short answer is not much. Apart from the hideous looking noses on the 2014 cars. I can’t really see much wrong with the sport at the moment.
Some would say the changes to the sporting regulations, are a welcome change. Others think it’s the spawn of the devil himself. Personally, I feel that these changes can only benefit the sport in the long run. The change to smaller, lighter engines for example, is a natural progression from preceding years. Especially considering the fact that car manufacturers are becoming every more environmentally aware and are on this whole ‘reduce carbon emissions because it’s bad for the climate’ thing. A lot of pressure was being placed on Formula One to make the sport more environmentally friendly. But it was inevitable.
If you ask any of my friends or colleagues here at F1 Madness, they’l tell you that I hated the idea of 1.6l V6 engines. No one liked the idea. There was nothing wrong with the previous roaring V8 engines (which were already limited to 18 000rpm). But that is old technology. Yet KERS was there from 2010? Yes it was, and it was a small a technological jump, a platform for the engines we have for this season.
This season we have a lot more electrically assisted power in F1. It’s called ERS. The engine is smaller, but it has a turbo. But wait, that means that F1 is turning into a hybrid racing formula. In fact, that is exactly what it is now. Formula Hybrid. But is that such a bad thing?
Again. No. If you look at some of the top hyper cars that we’re getting from Ferrari, McLaren and Porsche, you’ll see that their flagship hyper cars are all hybrids. The LaFerrari from Ferrari, the McLaren P1 and the Porsche 918, all hybrids. All those cars have similar DNA to the F1 cars we are seeing now. Battery power to supplement the power from the engine, brake energy recovery etc. All from Formule One. And that is what F1 is meant to do. It’s meant to bring the technology used on the track to the cars that we drive.
Upon hearing the cars in testing I was admittedly a bit surprised. I was expecting the sound to be much louder. But I quite liked the sound. It was very raw and hoarse and there was the turbo whistle on gearing down. I knew this would be different in the race when the full field of 22 cars are going around at full chat.
Good old uncle Bernie himself doesn’t like the sound of the new cars and the Australian Grand Prix organisers reportedly threatened to sue due to the fact that it was less of a spectacle than previous years. I don’t blame them. One of the big marketing draw cards of F1 is the sound of the cars.
The thing is though that everything is still very new. It will take a while to get used to the sound of the new cars as well as the new regulations. Remember how weird it was back in 2009 when the cars suddenly had very narrow rear wings? We got used to it. The same with the new noses. It will just take time. It’s only been the first race of the season. I don’t think we need to make snap judgements and decisions. There are going to be some purists out there that love the sound of the old V12’s or even the V10’s. I’ll be the first to admit that if they went back to the V10’s I’ll be the happiest guy in the world.
But let’s give this new era a chance, before we all jump on the band wagon and slam it. The first race of the season was after all, spectacular, to say the very least!