Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Random Thoughts On F-1 So Far In 2014
The most important thing: the races are interesting and entertaining, even though Mercedes-Benz has replaced Red Bull as the team that just drives away to victory.
Apparently there have been complaints in social media about the pace and sound of the new cars. I like them. They're slightly better-looking. The 1.6 liter V-6, with turbos and energy recovery, limited to 12,000 r.p.m., looks to have technology transfer potential for road cars. Perhaps reflecting this, Honda is jumping back in to supply McLaren's engines in 2015. Or maybe Honda just wants its logo on a Grand Prix car again.
In Spain, Mercedes got back some of the 3 seconds the 2014 cars lost to the 2013 cars. But everyone else remains 1 to 2 seconds slower than Mercedes. Even if the other teams are able to close the gap, this looks like Mercedes's season. At least it's not Red Bull (or Ferrari, for those who remember the Michael Schumacher era) again...
The cars are harder to drive, and that's a good thing. It's entertaining to watch some of the cars nearly always on the limit or over it. There were signs at the beginning of the season that the new fuel consumption rule might limit the racing. But managing the tires and the car on worn tires appears to be the limiting factor.
In Spain, Lewis Hamilton appeared to get into his own head. So it's early to anoint him as World Champion. Fernando Alonso tried to get into Kimi Raikkonen's head. That won't work, although Ferrari might mess with Kimi's mind. Valtteri Bottas at Williams is the "find" of the season--Felipe Massa can't stay with him. Romain Grosjean seems to be getting an improved Lotus back on pace. Sebastian Vettel is coming to terms with the new Red Bull car. In Spain, Hamilton (and Rosberg) lapped the field up to 5th place. But the racing behind them was gritty and suspenseful. So it looks to be good, and hard, for the rest of the season, as the teams sort out who is "the best of the rest."