Currently, there is a changing of the guard taking place in the Formula 1 circuit. And this is not sitting well with a lot of people, especially some inside of the industry. The change has to do with the organization’s effort to clean up the sport environmentally.
Some of the new 2014 F1 rules aimed at doing this include:
- tighter regulations on fuel consumption, including a 100kg fuel limit for races
- the introduction of a new power unit consisting of a 1.6 litre V6 turbo engine
- the introduction of two new Energy Recovery systems
- a switch to a single exhaust with a central exit
When they made these rule changes, Formula 1 knew they would be shaking things up. According to the official Formula 1 website, “Drivers will have to save fuel and that could lead to some interesting and conflicting strategies, as well as changes to driving styles and tactics.” Obviously, they must have known the potential of people getting upset.
(Check out the highly popular video below, comparing 2013 race sounds to 2014 races)
Well, mark it down; the first official controversy has erupted.
At last week’s Australian Grand Prix, driver Daniel Ricciardo and his Red Bull team (which finished second) were officially disqualified after the race was over when FIA inspectors claimed that the rate of fuel flow in his racecar exceeded regulations.
Owner and Australian billionaire, Dietrich Mateschitz, thinks that this claim is ludacris. Mateschitz saysid, “The team has lodged a protest. The fuel-flow sensor which was given to the teams by [the FIA], gave divergent readings and it is inaccurate. We can prove the exact amount of fuel flow and this was always within the limits.”
Over the past four years, the Red Bull team has been one of the circuit’s dominating teams, winning scores of titles including the 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 Constructors’ Championships. But this year they have faced a lot of difficulties.
BBC sports writer, Andrew Benson, says, “Red Bull’s four-year dominance of F1 has been ended by the new formula, which has lessened the effect of aerodynamics – in which the team excelled – and brought back engine performance as a differentiator. Red Bull’s engine partner, Renault, is significantly behind Mercedes in both outright power and fuel efficiency.”
This frustration has been spilling out in interviews, as well. Angrily, Mateschitz has been quoted as saying, “F1 is not there to set new records in fuel consumption, nor to make it possible to have a whispered conversation during a race…It is absurd to race a lap seconds slower than last year.”
His point of view raises an interesting question and is parallel with many other in the industry. How much responsibility should F1 assume for fuel efficiency? After all, they are a sport based on extremism and gobbling gas.
Or, maybe this is just the cry of a sore loser. What does everybody think?