2013 might have only clocked through the halfway stage however preparations are well under way for big shake ups in 2014 for Grand Prix racing on two and four wheels. As discussed at length recently on the blog has been the shake up to the CRT rules that will see “privateer” teams getting more power under their custom frames in various forms, however F1 has laid out its plans for next season which see’s the introduction of 1.6 Litre V6 engines.
F1 – The Long Haul
Next season is likely to see 21 Grand Prix raced around the world alongside earlier testing to give time to weed out any issues with the new engines that see an introduction next year after seasons of an “engine freeze”. The majority of teams have nailed their colours to the mast regarding who will be powering their challenge next season however further changes are a foot for next year. There will 4 in-season two day tests completed throughout the season completed after selected European rounds (Barcelona and Silverstone have already been confirmed), this will see the dropping of the young drivers 3 day test and a reduction in straight line tests from 8 to 2. Additionally “promotional” days have also been cut from 8 to 2 to offset the cost of the testing (which according to journalists will need an extra engine at a cost of around 1 million Euro) . This will likely be a blessing for rookies and drivers attempting to break into F1 as its unlikely that race drivers will take part in much of the running after spending 3 days at the circuit competing (One assumes Kimi will do none of it). Another interesting dimension will be under pressure drivers will have to face reserve drivers hopping in the car in the middle of the season and lap times inevitably compared.
A 21 race calendar has also been proposed starting in Bahrain at the begining of March with Australia seemingly set to loose its status as the campaign opener. It also proposes the final test to take place at Bahrain before the Grand Prix to have a warm weather test that will also reduce costs.
This all seems like a dose of common sense in the paddock and a solution to Pirelli’s testing issues alongside giving young drivers regular mileage during the season to alleviate rookies struggles to break into the top category without huge cash support. My only gripe is Bahrain is set to be a rather dull affair with 3 or 4 days of testing prior to a full weekend the teams will have the measure of the place and a test possibly at Qatar should of been considered (which has the ability to run into the night for temperature variations)
Moto GP – The Grid Swells
With the removal of the “Claiming Rule” which will see Aprilla launch essentially a stealth factory bike proper alongside Honda offering a budget satellite bike and Yamaha engines for those who want them its been confirmed that Suzuki will now be allowed to enter the championship without having to purchase a team (as the numbers were many times above Dorna’s estimates of around 1 – 1.5 million Euros). Furthermore it would appear that some teams from Moto 2 are looking to make the jump up to the premier class next season with Marc VDS looking at the possibility of running Scott Redding in a Kalex frame / Yamaha leased engine combo to keep the British talent within the squad. Furthermore Sito Pons is looking at returning for the first time since 2006 to the top flight with the Honda production Moto GP machine with its current Moto 2 line up.
This could see Moto GP grids swell well beyond 26 riders towards 30 and Dorna has laid out plans for not financially supporting failing teams languishing at the back of the grid in an effort to keep everyone roughly competitive.
Exciting times indeed