10 Reasons why You should be Excited for F1 in 2014

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With the festive period well underway and next season’s winter testing looming large, its a good time to reflect on why the 2014 season is probably one of the most anticipated in recent history. A plethora of driver changes and rule shuffles have made this off-season very much bearable, and the wait to see the cars out in Melbourne next year quite intolerable. Without further ado, let the countdown begin…

10Its a new season

This might seem like stating the obvious, and I can only speak for myself, but the fact that we have a new F1 season on the horizon is quite sufficient to spark up all sorts of imagination about what is yet to unfold. Will Red Bull and Vettel continue to outperform the rest of the paddock, or will another contender rise to the fore and break the running streak? Statistics are on our side; the records show that, since the competition officially began in 1950, only 17 times the reigning champion was able to retain his title, and only once has it been retained for four consecutive times, courtesy of a certain German you wouldn’t have heard about. But, all bets are off, since as we all know too well by now, we can always rely on Sebastian when it comes to breaking records…

9The sound of the new engines

In case you have been living under a rock, the naturally aspirated V8 engines are now a thing of the past. Gear up for some punchy, turbo-charged V6 engines with some handy ERS on the side. The new engines, or ‘power units’ if you want to be posh about it, will effectively be a hybrid of the usual combustion engine and an Energy Recovery System. The result is an inevitable change in one of the key elements of watching an F1 car speed by; its sound. Mercedes have published a video showing a simulator run of an F1 car going around the high-speed Monza circuit, with the sound of the V6 roaring in the background. It definitely sounds a lot more gritty and rough, and it seems like the familiar whine that we’ve associated with F1 cars for a while now has been dwindled down quite significantly, in return for a rather anti-climactic drone. But, watching an online video is one thing, and listening to the cars out on track is totally another, and, since I wasn’t particularly fond of the way the V8s sounded, I look forward to what the next-generation of F1 engines have to offer in terms of ear candy…

Will the new blood shine?8

The F1 grid welcomes two newcomers to its glamorous circus. Nineteen-year-old Daniil Kvyat joins the Red Bull programme as a race driver for Toro Rosso, and Danish racing driver Kevin Magnussen partners up with Jenson Button to head McLaren’s challenge for a long-awaited constructor’s title. At first glance, it might seem that Red Bull’s talent supremo Helmut Marko has brought in young Kvyat solely for marketing purposes; a Russian driver in next year’s inaugural Russian grand prix, driving a car with Red Bull stickered all over it would do well to spread the brand’s name across the country, especially since the product does mix well with a certain alcoholic drink that’s popular there. However, do not underestimate young Kvyat’s driving pedigree. He already has a GP3 title in the bag and has impressed the Toro Rosso team when he drove for them during this year’s Young Driver test. As for Mr. Magnussen, his record doesn’t have much to brag about, but there had to be something about him that made Martin Whitmarsh send Sergio Perez out the door – who wasn’t doing a shabby job by any means, mind you – and bring in the 21-year old. It is worth mentioning that he has shown impressive pace while testing for the team, but comparing testing to racing is apples and oranges all over again. Daniil and Kevin are the two confirmed rookies, but with three more seats to fill on the grid, we could well witness another new entrant, with names like Marcus Ericsson and Luiz Felipe Nasr being mentioned. It will be quite interesting to see how the new blood will fare in a racing series where second chances are rarely offered.

The double points shenanigans7

I have already given my two cents regarding the latest of the FIA’s deranged ideas in my last post, so I will save you the trouble of dealing with the banter again. But, apparently the rule is still being reviewed, and everybody’s favourite, Luca Di Montezemolo, has called a meeting for all the F1 team bosses in order to discuss, among other things, whether the teams are in favour of having a double-point finale and whether it is good for the sport. Assuming the rule does stand, double points in Abu Dhabi is bound to create some eagerly anticipated chaos. Will we see teams building a special car for the event, seeing that it counts for a bucketload of points? Or, will we see drivers being more cautious in the race to avoid what could be a very costly DNF? Think about this scenario for a moment; Caterham score a tenth place in Brazil, but Marussia score the same position in Abu Dhabi and therefore clinch the crown in the battle of the back-markers because it so happens to count for twice the points. Think about the shock that will ensue, because we’re talking millions of pounds in prize money. Albeit for all the wrong reasons, this rule earns its place as another reason why I can’t wait for F1 to commence.

Midfield battles6

When Force India made the announcement of pairing Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg for next year, I was genuinely excited. Two of the most highly regarded young talents of the current generation going head to head is very much an enticing prospect. I personally think that Hulkenberg fully deserved the Lotus seat for next year, but seeing him face off with another driver of the magnitude of Sergio Perez is not a bad compromise. As touched on before, Daniil Kvyat joins Toro Rosso, thus it will be important for his fellow teammate Jean Eric Vergne to lay an early marker against his teenage partner if he is to have any say in his future F1 career prospects; another battle to keep an eye on. And, although hardly a midfield team anymore, and mainly due to financial motives, Lotus have decided to go with a certain Venezuelan; the one and only, Pastor Maldonado. A race winner, yes, but quite an overly aggressive driver to say the least. With Romain’s resurgence in the latter part of last season, and Pastor’s impetus to shake off his pay-driver tag, it will be quite fascinating to see how the two work together, especially if the team comes up with a handy car.

(to be continued). 

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