New regulations cause disappointment amongst fans
By Aidan Mouellic, Staff Writer
The 2014 Formula One racing season got underway on March 15 at the Australian Grand Prix held in Melbourne. This season will be notable for being the year that major new car design changes were implemented. Gone are the large-volume V8 engines that once propelled the Formula One cars and instead the cars are now powered by 1.6 litre six-cylinder turbocharged engines. For comparison’s sake, my current car that I drive (Ford Fiesta) contains a 1.6 litre engine but is nowhere near as quick as the new F1 cars; my tiny hatchback produces 120 horsepower whereas the 2014 F1 cars that will line up on the grid are producing over 600 horsepower—and weigh less.
The new Formula One engines are not a hit with the fans though. Noise is a large part of the Formula One fan experience. Fans love to hear the high-pitched whine of an engine revving up to 18,000 revolutions per minute (RPM) since typical consumer vehicles max out at around 7,000 RPM, but now with the new engines, the engine noise is significantly reduced. The organizers of the Australian Grand Prix were so angry by the lack of engine noise that they are threatening to sue the management of Formula One who introduced the new engine regulations. Australian organizer Andrew Westacott said in regard to the new race experience that, “We pay for a product. We’ve got contracts in place. We are looking at those very, very seriously because we reckon there has (sic) probably been some breaches.” It’s not entirely clear at this point in time if there actually is a breach in the contract due to the reduced engine noise, but what is clear is that many are not happy.
The Formula One season kick-off in Melbourne and did at least deliver an exciting race. Drivers took to the racing circuit for 57 laps that covered roughly 302 kilometres, and the race was over in just over an hour and a half. In qualifying, British driver Lewis Hamilton of the Mercedes team had the fastest time and took the pole position for the Grand Prix but was forced to retire due to a mechanical issue. Not all was lost for Hamilton and his Mercedes team though, as his teammate Nico Rosberg of Germany won the Australian Grand Prix in great style.
Second in the race was Red Bull-Renaults Daniel Ricciardo, who was also second in qualifying. Unfortunately for Ricciardo and his team, he was disqualified after the race and bumped off the podium due to a technical rule that his team broke. The final race standings ended with Rosberg in first place, followed by the Mclaren duo of Danish driver Kevin Magnussen and British driver Jenson Button, both of whom were bumped up onto higher podium positions. Defending World Champion driver Sebastien Vettel was in the same boat as Hamilton and did not finish the race due to engine trouble.
The next race on the F1 calendar is the Malaysian Grand Prix March 30 in Kuala Lumpur.