2014 Formula 1 Report: USA Edition
Drafting the Circuits
Grand Prix Date Tire Compounds
German Grand Prix July 18-20 Supersoft/Soft
Hungary Grand Prix July 25-27 Medium/Soft
Belgian Grand Prix August 22-24
GERMAN GRAND PRIX
The world has turned its attention to Germany!
The Germans will begin the celebration that is the German Grand Prix early as they bring the 2014 World Cup home to the country. They also just staged a Moto GP race so Germany is alive with worldwide attention to sports.
By the time the celebrating starts to wane, it will be time for the upcoming Grand Prix in Hockenheim and for Nico Rosberg to take center stage.
With Germany already in a celebratory state, I would expect Rosberg to receive the same burst of energy that Lewis Hamilton received at the British Grand Prix.
The German Grand Prix could be the worst thing to happen to Hamilton as the momentum gained could be instantly stalled with a Rosberg win at Hockenheim.
On the flip side, if Hamilton wins on Rosberg’s home turf, this could sustain Hamilton and we all know that Hamilton thrives on momentum. So we have a great championship sorting itself out between the two Mercedes pilots.
Add to all of this, it is a home race for Mercedes. This will be a big one for the German team and its drivers.
The German Grand Prix started in 1951. Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have all won the German race. Redesigned approximately 12 years ago, the circuit is relatively quick with drivers on full throttle almost 65% of the timer. It is balancing act for the teams between quick aero for the high-speed parts of the track while the slower stadium section requires high and manageable downforce. This track is about striking the right balance.
Susie Wolff will get another chance in FP1 to pilot the Williams Fw36. Her opportunity at Silverstone was cut short after only 20 minutes with mechanical troubles.
In a very interesting development, the FIA issued a technical directive that could potentially ban the use of FRIC (Front to Rear hydraulically interconnected suspension systems). Although initially looked at as a way to slow down Mercedes, this seems to be one way to start the process of controlling costs within F1.
Most of the teams have some sort of suspension system that involves this concept. The FIA is saying that it could be a breach in the rules and there is a possibility that the system may be banned as early as the German Grand Prix. The FRIC system, simply, allows for better aerodynamics by tightly controlling the ride height and allowing the teams to run a lower front end.
In reality, announcing this ban is probably for the benefit of the teams researching and creating their 2015 concept. Most of the teams have spoken out saying they would be fine allowing all teams to keep this system throughout the 2014 campaign.
Silverstone Test and 18 inch Front Wheels
In season testing occurred this past week at Silverstone, as the teams scheduled 16 hours running time over the two days. Kimi Raikkonen skipped the test in order to recuperate from his accident at Silverstone the weekend previous. He was replaced by development driver Pedro de la Rosa and Jules Bianchi.
Team Tuesday Wednesday
Red Bull Daniel Ricciardo Sebastian Vettel
Mercedes Nico Rosberg Lewis Hamilton
Ferrari Pedro de la Rosa Jules Bianchi
McLaren Stoffel Vandoorne Kevin Magnussen
Lotus Pastor Maldonado Charles Pic
Williams Felipe Massa Valtteri Bottas
Force India Sergio Perez Daniel Juncadella
Toro Rosso Jean-Eric Vergne Daniil Kvyat
Sauber Adrian Sutil Giedo van der Garde
Marussia Jules Bianchi Max Chilton
Caterham Will Stevens/Rio Haryanto/Julian Leal
Felipe Massa led testing on the first day while Jules Bianchi topped the charts on Wednesday. Of most interest was the 18-inch tire test conducted by Pirelli on Wednesday.
Pirelli’s Paul Hembry announced the new tires, if needed, could be run as early as 2016 as all expectations were met during the test.
As we all know, Caterham was sold by owner Tony Fernades to a Swiss and Middle Eastern consortium and run now by team chief Christijan Albers.
The battle now is for Caterham to eclipse either Marussia or Sauber and land a top ten finishing position in the constructors championship. Failing to reach this goal will account in nearly a loss of 20 million pounds or 34 million US dollars.
Caterham is looking toward a major upgrade package to accomplish this goal with it being ready when the series returns after the summer break in Belgium.
In an interesting development, England’s Prime Minister, David Cameron took a step toward acquiring a Grand Prix in the streets of London. The hurdle here has been closing down the streets which had not been permissible, but it seems like that door has been cracked.
Bernie Ecclestone, however, warned that there are still many hurdles to cross, primarily finances and money. Either way, a step in the right direction for London!
For those who use Twitter, you can follow me @steve_aibel or check us all out @RacingDTC for Drafting the Circuits.