Overview: What's new in Formula 1 2014?
12 March 2014 – Formula 1 adopts a brand-new image in 2014, with a regulation shake-up, driver changes and calendar tweaks all adding to unprecedented levels of excitement. GPUpdate.net provides the ultimate refresher guide to what has changed over the winter break, as the field prepares to head out onto the streets of Melbourne...
New technical rules
Engines: Formula 1 enters a new hybrid era in 2014, with 2.4-litre V8 engines moving aside for turbocharged 1.6-litre V6 power units. Capped at 15,000rpm as opposed to 18,000rpm, the powerplants feature two ERS devices. One recovers kinetic energy under braking (MGU-K) and the other heat energy from the exhaust (MGU-H). Drivers get an extra 161bhp for 33 seconds per lap, but it will no longer be activated by a button.
Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault are the three power unit manufacturers supplying the sport's 11 teams.
Gearboxes: Cars now feature eight-speed gearboxes, with fixed ratios for the entire season.
Aerodynamics: Front wings have been narrowed from 1800mm to 1650mm, while rear wings are shallower and the rear-wing main plane has been removed. But the DRS flap can now open to 65mm, 15mm more than 2013.
At the front of the cars, 2014's stringent, low nose height regulations – introduced in a bid to improve safety – have led to a variety of striking interpretations, with most teams adopting a controversial 'finger' solution.
Fuel limit: Drivers must now complete a Grand Prix on just 100kg of fuel. This is around 50kg less than the figures consumed last season, meaning effective fuel management will be a prerequisite to success.
New sporting rules
Double points: One of Formula 1's most unpopular rule changes will see drivers awarded with double points at the final round of the season, which in 2014 is the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Instead of taking 25 points for the win, 50 will be handed out, with 36 for second, 30 for third and so on throughout the remaining top ten positions.
The move, championed by Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, has been made in a bid to prolong title battles, following the Red Bull team's impressive string of four successive Drivers' and Constructors' crowns.
Penalty points: In the wake of confusing scenarios, the sport has introduced a penalty points system. Offences will result in penalty points being added to a driver's Super Licence; if 12 are collected during the season, the driver will be banned from the next Grand Prix, following which the amassed points will be taken away.
Penalty points will remain on a driver's Super Licence for 12 months, after which they will be fully wiped out.
Five second penalties: A five-second penalty will be introduced this season to punish minor infringements. Drivers will either be forced to serve the penalty ahead of a pit-stop, or stewards will add it to their race time.
Qualifying: The three-phase knockout system, introduced back in 2006, will remain in place for the 2014 season, but minor modifications have been made to improve the on-track spectacle, specifically in Q3.
The first change sees the first segment of qualifying reduced from 20 to 18 minutes, with the difference being carried over to increase Q3 from 10 to 12 minutes, thus giving drivers greater run flexibility in the final shootout.
Moreover, drivers competing in Q3 will be required to start the race on the tyres they posted their fastest times on in Q2. This will stop the tyre-saving element that was commonly seen during the 2013 campaign.
Permanent numbers: All drivers competing in Formula 1 will do so with permanent car numbers from 2014. Number 1 is reserved for the World Champion, while the remaining drivers can choose from numbers 2 to 99.
There are three new faces on the 2014 Formula 1 grid: Kevin Magnussen, Daniil Kvyat and Marcus Ericsson.
Magnussen graduates to the top echelon with multiple World Champions McLaren, having claimed the 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 title in fine style. The 21-year-old Dane has long been a member of the Woking-based outfit's driver development scheme, and will contest his rookie term alongside the experienced Jenson Button.
Kvyat made his presence known by winning the Formula 1-supporting GP3 Series last year. His performances earned him a place at Red Bull junior squad Toro Rosso, alongside Jean-Éric Vergne. The 19-year-old, who also raced to glory in the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps championship in 2012, is by far the youngest driver on the grid.
Ericsson was one of the last drivers to be confirmed in this year's starting line-up, with the Swede, 23, only getting the nod to partner Kamui Kobayashi at Caterham in January. He is a multiple winner in feeder category GP2, while he has taken overall honours in Japanese Formula Three (2009) and Formula BMW UK (2007).
The 2014 Formula 1 grid features a selection of tantalising partnerships.
At Red Bull, Daniel Ricciardo steps up as the replacement for Mark Webber, who has joined Porsche's sportscar programme. He will be attempting to get on terms with reigning quadruple World Champion Sebastian Vettel.
Ferrari has re-signed Kimi Räikkönen, four seasons after the Finn departed. He is to race alongside Fernando Alonso, creating the Scuderia's first all-World champion line-up since Alberto Ascari and Nino Farina in 1953.
Seven other teams have also introduced new faces, with only Mercedes and Marussia remaining unchanged.
Two circuits have been added to the 2014 agenda; Russia arrives, while Austria makes a welcome return.
Russia will host its maiden Grand Prix at the Sochi International Street Circuit, situated in and around the grounds of the Olympic Park. The 5.853-km (3.637-mi) layout, the third longest on the current calendar, is now nearing completion, and is scheduled to stage 2014's 16th round on the weekend of October 11-12.
Austria returns after a ten-season absence, welcoming Formula 1 to the newly-named Red Bull Ring. The track was formerly known as the A1 Ring from 1997-2003 and, even earlier, the Österreichring from 1970-1987. It slots into the 2014 calendar on the weekend of June 21-22, between the Canadian and British Grands Prix.