F1 2014 Season

March 14, 2014

This is a feature I wrote for an assignment...
Will the continuity ever end?
Not only are there plenty of fresh faces joining us in the upcoming Formula One season that is scheduled to commence in Melbourne, Australia in March,  but we are struck with even more new regulations to get our heads around.
Whilst new regulations could potentially introduce a safer, more environmentally friendly Formula One, they could arguably be a cover up for the lack of competition in previous years. In the past four seasons, Red Bull have dominated the tracks in most races, often resulting in a 1-2 finish, with both drivers finishing in first and second. Although in 2012 and 2013 there seemed to be competition in the first few races, once Red Bull had perfected their strategy, the season could have theoretically been drawn to a close at the half way point. However, there has been much controversy as to whether some drivers, such as Red Bull's number one driver Sebastian Vettel, have better chances of winning races due to the engineering of their cars. It is believed that such drivers have cars engineered in a way that is more successful than other teams, which has caused debates as to whether these successful drivers actually have talent. With this being said, there are limits set for every alteration, thus meaning that any changes that were made were in no way illegally made.
Now entering 2014, and with the new season approaching quickly, the argument stands as to whether these new regulations are going to change the face of the sport for better or for worse. The new rule changes are as follows:  a new 1.6 litre engine from a 2.4 litre, 100kg fuel limit per race, fixed ratio gearboxes, shallower rear wing flap, minimum weight increased by 48kg, nose height lowered, and possible double points for the last race.
With a smaller engine this will of course mean changes in strategy to save fuel as the cars will only produce 600bhp as opposed to 750bhp as before. A lot of these changes were allegedly  made in order for Formula One to become more 'Green' and environmentally friendly. With smaller engines, this will reduce the amount of pollution coming from the cars. However as some of these changes seem purely for more dynamic reasons, such as the shape of the cars, it is hard to believe that this is the real reason behind the changes. How much difference are they actually making by reducing a few things? With the amount of vehicles that get used to transport equipment all over the world for different races, it is hardly going to make a dent in the reduction of pollution the sport makes. Conversely there are dangers that come with these rules. Lower noses of the car could of course be disputed as a possible dangerous change as it means the cars are lower to the track surface. Nevertheless, these changes would not have been finalised if they had not been tested and regulated, so they in fact may not be any more problematic than previous rule changes, only time will tell. However Adrian Newey who is the chief engineer for Red Bull Racing, thinks the changes could end badly, especially the lowered nose.
Newey said: 'If you hit the back of the car square-on, you go underneath it and you end up with the rear crash structure in your face which I think is a much worse scenario..... I guess it's like all these things; it might help in some scenarios, it hurts in others. It's one which I must admit I'm personally not in favour of.'
 This then questions whether the reason behind the changes were to introduce a more equal system, a system that would provide a fairer chance for all drivers, and therefore not a continuity in winners. In the 2013 season, Sebastian Vettel wont the last 9 races, similarly to the seasons before it. If the reason for the rule changes was to make it fairer, not only would this prove who was in fact the more talented driver, but it could mean great things for the popularity of the sport.  There is no question that Formula One has lost the interest of many fans over the past few years, with people describing it as 'Boring'. So will these new regulations bring back competition and adrenaline? Fans seems to have become so uninterested, that they have turned to taunting the drivers. It is clear to see that the target and victim of most of these taunts has been Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel. After dominating for such a long time, he has unfortunately been on the receiving end of ridiculing and booing at the majority of races. Whilst people may agree that his constant determination to win has been a little dull, to give such grief to a young sportsman is truly unfair and highlights the lack of authenticity left in the sport- as it is all about entertainment now, rather than talent and sport. No one can deny that it would be nice to see a few different winners for a change, but that is no reason for vulgar behaviour and personally victimising someone.
 According to Bernie Ecclestone (the president and CEO of Formula One Management) the new rules are 'absurd'.
Ecclestone said: ‘People want noise – something special, that’s what F1 is all about – and now we have quiet engines and nobody on the track.'

In my opinion, perhaps the best way of doing this (making it more competitive) would be to limit the amount of personal alterations the teams could make to their cars, instead of endless amounts of regulations. If every team had the same built car, the test would truly be down to who was the best driver. With all the alterations each team makes, the cars are extremely different, which makes people question how good the drivers actually are. Of course only time will tell as to whether these rule changes will last and if they will in fact work or have any impact on the results. Fans are hoping for different outcomes and winners, so if the regulations do in fact make the chances of winning more accessible, we could see a rise in viewers in this upcoming season.  Nevertheless I think bringing in a ridiculous amount of new rules each season is potentially a bad idea; soon enough Formula One will be an entirely different sport.

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