Formula 1 drivers will need to learn a whole new way of racing this year because of the fresh demands on fuel economy, reckons Ferrari technical director James Allison.
With drivers limited to just 100kg of fuel for a race, teams are in no doubt that managing fuel usage will be key to success in 2014. But while fuel economy has always been a challenge, Allison says early simulator feedback suggests that the situation will be so extreme this year that drivers are going to have to practice how best to do it.
Speaking following Fernando Alonso’s first tryout of the 2014 car in Ferrari’s simulator before the holidays, Allison said the engineering group had been intrigued by what the Spaniard had said about cars behavior.
“Alonso has been to use the simulator and it has been interesting for us,” explained Allison about how the 2014 cars are going to compare to the previous generation. “Fernando gave us some important feedback and details that were important to the team in terms of things we can manage during practice and the race.
“During practice, the car will have more electrical power (available) and the car can run at the limit of fuel flow [which is 100kg per hour]. In the race it is going to be different. For some races 100kg [of fuel] is more than enough, but for other races you need to be careful to manage the fuel on each lap.
“This different way of driving will need practice, to learn how best to be fast but not to use up too much fuel.”
As well as having to manage fuel in a totally different way, F1 drivers are also bracing themselves for a whole new type of car behavior in 2014. Jenson Button talked last month about the extreme torque of the new engines making it extremely hard for drivers to control.
“You need a throttle pedal that is a meter long to control the torque of the engine,” he said.