F1 2014, For Dummies

I’m slightly concerned that the incredibly popular For Dummies books have a trademark on that phrase, but as I’m not making any money through this post I’m very hopeful that they won’t sue me into oblivion.

It does make a point though, and that is that F1 is very complicated for those who don’t follow it religiously. I was thinking of creating a three-part blog post series detailing all the new and wonderfully complex changes to the upcoming F1 season, but then I realized that the majority of people don’t care that much and just want summarized information. Twitter limits what people say for a reason, and that is because our generation has the attention span of a …. ooooo, look a pretty butterfly.

See what I mean?

1 - Vettels 4th Title

Vettel clinches his 4th Driver’s Championship

But I love F1, and I love to talk about it, and I’m tired of people’s eyes glazing over when I do, so this post will be as understandable and succinct as I can possibly make it. So here it goes: the car goes round and round. The end.

But seriously, some pretty big changes are happening to the pinnacle of motorsport. First and foremost the engines of the F1 machines are changing from naturally aspirated V8s to turbo-charged V6s. Now this is good because it mimics what is happening in the real world where normal, regular people cars are continuously being offered with downsized engines. Take the new BMW M3 for example, which is now offered with a twin-turbo’d inline six (like a V6 just designed differently) instead of the previous generations all natural V8. This downsizing makes it look like the manufacturers are improving the lives of polar bears the world over, and the turbocharging means that horsepower figures don’t drop from generation to generation.

2 - Mercedes 2014 V6 F1 Engine

Mercedes 2014 V6 F1 Engine

Polar bears win and car people win. Everyone’s happy right? Wrong. Nay-sayers believe that these new V6 won’t have the aural reach of the previous power units, meaning your ears won’t bleed every time an F1 car blows past at full lick. I’m fairly confident that they are still going to be bloody noisy and to the average race fan the difference in noise level will be negligible.

A whole host of other technical changes have also been implemented and in summary they will make the car look different from last years model. But then again, to people who don’t watch F1 these changes will not be noticed. I’m getting quite tired of having to tell people that an Indycar is not an F1 car, but you can see where they are coming from: open wheel racers all look similar.

3 - No F1 for New York

We won’t be seeing this anytime soon

What people will notice is where the races (known as Grand Prix’s – GPs) will be taking place. In 2013 there were 19 races, and there will be the same amount in 2014. This is a bit of a downer for me as the proposed calendar that came out a few months ago included 22 races. In my mind: more races = more good. But for some reason the drivers and their teams feel that having to travel the world over and not taking a day off for months on end is too much of a strain and they can’t handle such a gruelling schedule. What babies…

The three circuits that didn’t make the cut between the proposed and actual calendars were Korea, Mexico, and New York. Korea has been on the calendar for the past four years but due to financial problems won’t be included moving forward. Both Mexico and New York were long-shots to be added as the preparations for their races were behind schedule, so hopefully we will see them in 2015. Another race from 2013 that was dropped was the Indian GP. Seen as a part of a bigger plan to introduce the Indian population to motorsport the venture always had a high sell rate, but ultimately a space couldn’t be found for it on the 2014 calendar.

4 - Red Bull Ring

The Red Bull Ring

To fill the two vacant spots left by Korea and India we will see the return of the Austrian GP to the newly named Red Bull Ring (they sponsor EVERYTHING) and the introduction of the Russian GP to be hosted at Sochi’s Winter Olympic Park. Some race dates have been changed, but the season will still kick off in March with the Australian GP.

The driver line up is always something that fluctuates from season-to-season (and sometimes mid-season). The big announcement was the retirement of longtime racer Mark Webber of Red Bull Racing from F1 to join the World Endurance Championship with Porsche. Daniel Riccardo from Toro Rosso (Red Bull’s junior team used to develop future talent) was promoted to fill the Webber’s seat.

F1 - CLIO IV RS LAUNCH WITH WILLIAMS F1 TEAM DRIVERS 2013

So…this is awkward

Mercedes’s line up remains unchanged with the strong pairing of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, but structural changes amongst the team’s management should see a reshuffling of how the team operates moving forward.

Ferrari’s long time bitch Felipe Massa was officially fired after the 2013 season to be replaced by Kimi Raikkonen, who was the last person to win the World Championship under the prancing horse. This means that two dominant personalities, Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso, will both be driving for Ferrari and sparks are sure to fly as they both battle for the #1 spot within the team.

6 - Alonso leads Massa

Fernando is faster than you

After completing one of their worst seasons in their half century long history Mclaren chose to drop their Mexican driver Sergio Perez after only one year. Given that the car was crap all year it really isn’t fair to blame Perez for his lack of success, but it does open the door for new rookie in the form of Kevin Magnussen. Jenson Button retains his spot at the British team, and hopefully both he and Magnussen will be provided a better car to actual compete in the new season.

Rounding out the top five teams with Lotus choosing to hire a driver that comes with bags of money over bags of talent, Pastor Maldonado moves from Williams to fill the vacant spot left by Raikkonen. The perpetual-crash-test-dummy turned actual racer Romain Grosjean retains his seat to lead the team going forward, and hopefully continues his form of not hitting everyone for another year.

7 - Grosjean, he fly!

Grosjean, he fly

Lower down the order sees Force India drop both of its previous drivers to pick up Mclaren’s leftovers with Perez and also sign one of the brightest stars in the sport, Nico Hulkenberg. Hulkenberg was in contention for the vacant Lotus seat, but ultimately returned to Force India after a year away with Sauber. Speaking of Sauber, they retain the second Mexican F1 driver, Esteban Gutierrez, while also picking up long time driver Adrian Sutil who joins them from Force India. Toro Rosso keeps the Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne for another season and hired 19 year-old Danlil Kvyat to partner him. Kvyat is a Russian talent who matches the sport’s plan to expand into the Russian market along with the GP at Sochi.

Rounding out the final three teams, Williams retains Valtteri Bottas for another season and picks up Felipe Massa to try and use some of his experience to resurrect the team’s past glory. Marussia’s line up of Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton remains unchanged while Caterham drops both of its drivers for the rookie Marcus Ericsson and the Japanese ninja Kamui Kobayashi. Kobayashi previously raced with Sauber, but spent the last year racing for Ferrari in GT racing and agreed to come back to full time F1 driving with Caterham for reportedly zero pay. He could have accepted a reserve driver role with Ferrari, but wanted to race as a full driver and raised $1million from fans to secure his seat with Caterham.

8 - Really wish the Mclaren looked like this

Wish Mclaren’s contender looked like this

Lots of names, most of whom the majority of you readers have never heard of. What it does show is how the F1 driver market fluctuates greatly between seasons. There are only 22 seats on the grid, and all are fiercely fought over and coveted. Only the very best drivers can ever feel secure in the topsy-turvy world of F1 where those with the deepest pockets routinely get more chances than those with the most talent.

F1 is always exciting for its fans. New tracks, new tech, and new faces all combine to form one of the greatest spectacles in motorsport. F1 is back!

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~ by ubercar on January 28, 2014.

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