NEW EN­GINE REG­U­LA­TIONS More Points Up for Grabs

HWM (Singapore) - - LEARN -

Per­haps the big­gest change for the 2014 sea­son is the en­gines. In an at­tempt to im­prove fuel ef­fi­ciency of the race cars and to cut down over­all costs for the teams, 2014 will see tur­bocharged en­gines re­turn­ing for the first time since 1988. Apart from be­ing tur­bocharged, the en­gine dis­place­ment and cylin­der count has been re­duced as well - down from a 2.4-liter V8 to a 1.6-liter V6. Ad­di­tion­ally, the rev limit has been brought down from 18,000 rpm to 15,000 rpm. In all, the new smaller tur­bocharged en­gine is ex­pected to be 20% to 30% more ef­fi­cient than last year’s nat­u­rally as­pi­rated unit.

Even if teams are able to ex­tract the same or even more power from a smaller en­gine, the shift from a nat­u­rally as­pi­rated V8 to a tur­bocharged V6 will have sig­nif­i­cant changes on the cars’ han­dling char­ac­ter­is­tics. Typ­i­cally speak­ing, nor­mally as­pi­rated en­gines have quicker throt­tle re­sponse than tur­bocharged en­gines, this is be­cause tur­bos of­ten re­quire some time to spool to get its op­er­at­ing rpm to gen­er­ate boost, which also means that power out­put takes some time to change when throt­tle ap­plied. This can make the car less pre­dictable and trick­ier to drive, es­pe­cially when ex­it­ing out of cor­ners.

In ad­di­tion to the new en­gines, teams will also be faced with new en­gine reg­u­la­tions that pro­mote ef­fi­ciency. For 2014, each team is limited to 100kg of fuel per race - pre­vi­ously it was un­lim­ited, al­though teams of­ten con­sume about 160kg.

En­gines must also be used for at least 4,000km be­fore they can be re­placed and each driver will only be al­lowed to use just five en­gines over the course of an en­tire sea­son. Last sea­son, en­gines were re­placed af­ter 2,000km and driv­ers could use up to eight en­gines a sea­son. Chang­ing en­gines too early or us­ing more than five en­gines will re­sult in the driver start­ing races from the pit lane in­stead of the grid.

For spec­ta­tors, the smaller en­gines, re­duced cylin­der count and lower rev lim­its would mean a dif­fer­ent au­ral ex­pe­ri­ence at races. Gone are the high pitched V8 wails that have be­come such an iconic and in­te­gral part of the For­mula One ex­pe­ri­ence; in its place in­stead are more the slightly more muted howls of the tur­bocharged V6 en­gines. The past four For­mula One sea­sons have seen Red Bull and Se­bas­tian Vet­tel dom­i­nate. Last year, Vet­tel claimed the cham­pi­onship with three races to go and won by a mas­sive mar­gin of 155 points. In a bid to keep the cham­pi­onship race more open and alive for longer, the fi­nal race of the sea­son will be worth dou­ble the points. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see how this new reg­u­la­tion will af­fect this sea­son.

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