Scuderia Ferrari’s Melbourne operation is underway. The two F14 Ts are on the way to Albert Park with Friday’s Australian GP free practice just six days away.
The two cars for Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will get to the track on Tuesday, where they will be handed over to the team led by Diego Ioverno, Head of Track Operations and Car Assembly. By Thursday they will be ready for the usual FIA scrutineering.
There’s a lot of interest in the start of the 2014 season, most of it surrounding the many new aerodynamic regulations, but causing the biggest stir are the new engines. Ferrari’s first ever hybrid F1 engine is known as the 059/3. The power unit as it’s called consists of a 1.6 litre V6 turbo internal combustion engine, with turbos making an F1 comeback after an absence of a quarter of a century, combined with two energy recovery systems, providing around a quarter of the total power output.
We can expect a different type of racing compared to the past, with greater performance gaps between qualifying, when all the car’s potential can be used and the race, when fuel and energy management will be key, whereas up to 2013, tyres were the only main variable.
The new power unit can use no more than 100 kg of fuel over the course of the race, which requires the power unit to operate at maximum efficiency and in Australia, the engineers will face the challenge of combining the use of the internal combustion turbo engine with the electrical power accumulated in the batteries on each lap.
Drivers will have to pay more attention than usual to instructions from the pit wall if they don’t want to end up having to coast round for the final laps in order to see the flag. Clearly, all this new technology means reliability will be key and the pundits are predicting a very high retirement rate in Australia. In six days time we should have a better idea of what to expect.