Drama and Disappointment Mar F1’s Power Unit Era

Red Bull car designer Adrian Newey’s pre-season fears about ‘submarining’ Formula 1 cars may have been realised. Red Bull’s criticism of F1’s new era had to be heard amid the depth of the reigning World Champions’ winter crisis after four consecutive seasons of dominance. Newey had expressed alarm about the new, low front noses, arguing not only that they are ugly, but they might also be dangerous.

‘Cars Will Submarine’

The reduced height minimised the risk of cars being launched into the air. Newy said: “I am concerned the opposite may now happen, that cars will submarine effectively.”Indeed, an alarming image of the crash involving Kamui Kobayashi and Felipe Massa at the first corner in Melbourne has sparked safety fears.

The photograph depicts precisely what Newey had feared. The low front of Kobayashi’s Caterham “submarining” under the diffuser of Massa’s Williams was lifted 30cm off the Albert Park tarmac.

A similar incident at a higher speed could result in contact between the elevated rear-end and the head of the “submarining” driver.

This is not the only controversy that has followed the sport into the second GP of the season to be held in Malaysia this weekend.

A storm of fury has erupted after relatives of the missing Malaysia aircraft MH370 flight passengers had to change hotels, when the Ferrari team touched down for the 2014 Malaysian GP to be held on Sunday (March 30).

German newspaper Die Welt reported that Ferrari had reserved rooms at the Cyberview hotel which meant grieving relatives had to move out.

The report read: “When the first Ferrari employees wanted to check in, they were told that their rooms were occupied. After heated discussions, the Italians prevailed.”

‘I Feel Very Sorry’

A hotel spokesperson confirmed: “It is true that the Chinese families were here, but they are already gone as we are fully booked due to the F1 race.”

Die Welt added that the hotel arranged alternative accommodation near the Kuala Lumpur airport for the passengers’ families.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone commented: “I feel very sorry for the families of the passengers, but ultimately the decision lies with the hotels. Imagine what would happen if hotel bookings suddenly become invalid?”

Welt newspaper said that hotel rooms for F1’s vast travelling circus were booked “months, sometimes even years in aance”.

The Malaysian flight MH370 went missing in early March 2014 and the aircraft has yet to be found.

The FIA is not closed-minded about making its new Formula 1 engines louder and less fuel-efficient, reports the governing body’s president Jean Todt.

Todt spoke to Italian broadcaster Rai following fierce criticism of the sport’s new “power unit” era in the wake of the 2014 season-opener in Australia.

Todt said: “There should be calm before reaction.”

‘Make It Noisier’

Todt also indicated he is alert to the shrill criticism of F1’s new turbo V6 ‘power units’, which trackside at Albert Park were recently likened to ‘sewing machines on wheels’.

He said: “The noise is obviously different now and if there is a problem with it we can look at a way to make it noisier.

The 2014 Formula 1 season has had a disappointing start with the new V6 hybrid turbo engines causing uproar amongst fans and organisers alike following the first race in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday (16 March.)

F1’s new sound has receieved a thumbs-down from a few big names in motorsport.

‘Are They Even Shifting?’

Nascar’s Michael McDowell wondered: “Maybe TV is not doing them justice. Are they even shifting?”

Even F1 drivers were unhappy. After an Australian Air Force fighter jet flew over the track on 14 March, Marussia driver Max Chilton said: “Finally some noise returns to the F1 paddock.”

Even Australian GP organisers had said to F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone that the fans are “being robbed”with the new units and it could be breaching contracts.

A YouTube user Krookzeh posted an interesting sound comparison of the 2013 and 2014 Australian GP. The video is described as “2013 and 2014 F1 cars on the pit straight at Albert Park as they complete the first lap.”

There is a huge drop in volume from the previous screaming engines. What’s really alarming is that the crowd in 2013 can be seen wearing earmuffs or headphones to drown-out the noise compared to those attending the 2014 race. It’s clearly not needed as the hybrid-powered cars quietly whine past.

What’s interesting is that Krookzeh seems to be sitting in the exact spot, two years in a row.

Source : The Namibian