Its June 2013 so 2014 anyone?

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

Game over all over again

Casey Stoner wrapped up the 2011 Moto GP championship at his home Grand Prix in Australia after Jorge Lornezo crashed in warm up and ruled himself out of the race and next week as well. There was further misery for Yamaha as Ben Spies couldn’t recover from his knock on the head and decided to sit the race out on saftey grounds after not being able to put together a lap on Sunday morning. His title means Casey was the first and last man to win a world title in the 880cc era and secures Honda a world championship in the formula, as next year we move to 1000cc bikes.

In other news Aoyama (former 250cc world champion) has confirmed hes moving to World Superbikes in a rather surprise move away from the Gresini Honda team, who while providing a factory spec bike to Simoncelli (who finished 2nd) couldn’t provide Aoyama with anything similar and he is currently in 10th place in the championship with a best finish of 4th. It leaves another spot open next year in a well respected team in a season where there will be a lot of new faces with the CRT bikes entering. Unfortunatly there is still no word on whether Suzuki are commited next year to running a bike, for the sake of top flight motorcycle racing I hope we do have 4 full manufactures next year and they all field quite a few bikes. It leaves 10 seats unaccounted for (plus whatever Suzuki run if anything) next year so we expect to see quite a bit of movement between Moto 2, Superbikes and Moto GP.

In F1 the Korean race provided a entertaining race that was won again by Sebastian Vettel despite McLarens pace all weekend, but there was positives for the Woking team with a pole position and Lewis Hamilton having a calm weekend to second place. There was some great battles down the field with a seasons best showing from Toro Rosso with a 7th and 9th position. In terms of the constructors it looks as though the battle for 6th place will be intense now as Toro Rosso have pulled themselves up to within 12 points of Force India and Sauber while Renault are probably too far ahead despite not scoring.

Winds of Change at Force India

Despite Vijay Mallya saying that the team was not for sale he has sold 42.5% of the team to Sahara (who sponsor the Indian national circket team and own a IPL 20/20 team) and the team will now officially become Sahara Force India. This has left a certain Joe Saward quite irate for some reason, even though he must know that Vijay couldn’t comment anything publically to keep the price high.

It fits nicely as Mallya is running out of money it would seem and has spent a lot to improve his profile with the team, he will remain team principle and co-owner with 42.5% as well. The remaining % is owned by a family who have been investors since the Sypker days. It could boost the team further up the grid with Sahara surely having some great connections in relation to sports promotion and India, the team is ideal for them as investers but as Paul Di Resta pointed out, who will pick the drivers for next season in a team with too much driver talent for 2 seats.