Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button are the first drivers to speak about their experiences with next year’s cars in the simulator. For 2014, will see the most radical overhaul of the rulebook since 2009: the cars will have less downforce without exhaust-blown diffusors, new 1.6l V6 turbo hybrid power units, 8-speed gearboxes, and many other small changes. Increased torque and less downforce mean that the cars will be more difficult to drive. Jenson Button had this to say:
It is a very different way of driving and you have to forget a lot you have learned over the years in terms of the driveability of a racing car, the engine, the power output of a racing car and the way you put the power down. It is so, so different. There is a lot to learn for all of us, even the experienced drivers, and it is exciting.
Much of what the teams have learned in terms of strategy and procedure will be different as well. Fernando Alonso:
We went through a lot of ideas with the engineers: we are only at the start of a learning process which is moving forward all the time and it’s nice to be able to contribute to it.
For drivers and engineers, Winter testing will be more important than ever, but Button had a rather light-hearted view of the situation:
Winter testing is going to be hilarious in Jerez. It will be cold, the tyres aren’t going to work, the cars probably won’t work either and when you do get a lap it is probably going to feel weird because you are running higher gears – you get into eighth gear before you get to seventh gear now. It is in a bad place right now but by the first race we will all have it sorted.
Winter testing kicks off at Jerez, Spain, on January 28th.