Formula 1’s 2014 regulation changes could have a radical impact upon races by making efficiency potentially more important than performance, reckons Ferrari’s director of engineering Pat Fry.
Fry predicts that the introduction of V6 engines, and the increased contribution of energy recovery systems, will create a massive differential between outright pace and the optimum strategy over a race distance. As a result, he believes teams may have to re-evaluate their approaches to a grand prix weekend next year.
“It’s true, I think that the races will be rather different next year,” Fry said. “There will be a fixed maximum quantity and payload of fuel for the race and various levels of energy.
“It’s possible there could be considerable differences between the maximum pace possible and a pace aimed at saving energy and fuel, to the extent that there could be a difference of between one and one and a half seconds per lap in the race. We are looking at what could be the best strategy to be as effective and efficient as possible in using what we will have.
“It will be important to work out for each track and for every race where and when it’s best to use all the potential and where we should save fuel.”
Fry said drivers may also have to adapt to a new style of racing in 2014.
“The drivers will have a lot to learn,” he said. “It’s a real turnaround from what they are used to and it will be up to us engineers to find the best simulations and get the drivers to try them on the simulator. It will fall to them to train much more, before even going out on track for the first time.
“Clearly, having an experienced driver can be a positive: the quicker they learn certain mechanisms, the more easily they will be able to concentrate on their normal job of developing the car.”