2009 was a ripple, 2014 will be a tsunami – Allison

2014 F1 season

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Jerez, 2013Lotus technical director James Allison says the scale of the change teams face in 2014 amounts to a “tsunami” compared to the “ripple” of the last major rules overhaul in 2009.

Speaking to media at Jerez, Allison said Lotus had begun work on their 2014 cars two years ago: “A long time ago in 2011, not at the end of 2011″.

“Of course the rules have evolved a bit during that time as well so to some extent you’ll have to chase the way the rules are going,” he added. “But most of what the 2014 championship will be was laid out some times ago.”

“And you deal with a huge change like that by not leaving it until the last minute before you think about it.”

Following the first day of testing for the 2013 season Allison admitted that the first test of the 2014 cars would be cause for some trepidation among the teams:

“Yeah it’ll be exciting. This is exciting and scary as well, honestly, it’s always scary and exciting. But next year… the 2009 changes were a ripple compared with the tsunami of 2014.”

“Simpler” for Ferrari and Mercedes

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Jerez, 2013Allison admitted that teams such as Ferrari and Mercedes who build their chassis and engine have a “simpler” path to tread with the new rules.

But he pointed out that there are advantages to working with Renault, who supply four of the eleven teams in F1 today:

“Generally speaking we don’t get to hear the input [to Renaultsport] from other people but you can get a sense of whether the direction we’re pushing in is one that is awkward for them or is not, because it may or may not conflict.

“And most of the time it’s pretty clear that teams are pushing in the same directions as one another because the engineering is driving that. And we see to want more or less the same things.

“So you could argue that Renaultsport has an advantage because they have more people to actually think about the problem and feed back into them.”

Allison stressed that Renault were not throwing all their weight behind world champions Red Bull. “I think one of the lovely things about Renault is they’re a very, very even-handed engine supplier,” he said.

“They will be delighted if all of their teams are fighting tooth and nail for pole position amongst one another and they genuinely don’t offer technical preference to one team over another.

“Not only do they offer this even-handed approach, but they’re also extremely conscious of the fact that they need to make a car that works well in 2014, not an engine that works well, so they want they whole package to work.

“So they are very considerate in asking the chassis people what we think is important and then trying to bring that to the engine. We certainly feel that we’re given lots of attention by Renault.”

Extra testing not needed

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Jerez, 2013But while some have suggested that the extent of the technical changes planned for 2014 will require an increase in testing, Allison disagrees.

He said it was “highly feasible” for the teams to prepare for 2014 under the current testing restrictions:

“From a reliability point of view – that’s the thing, can you be ready in three tests? Well dynos are quite good at telling you whether the engine’s reliable and they’re quite good at making gearboxes reliable and that’s the majority of the drivetrain.

“So really the only open point I think would be whether you’re going to produce a car that’s got enough cooling. A fair challenge in 2014.

“But wind tunnels aren’t bad either so most of the things that would be necessary to put a car on the ground and expect it to work are there and the testing would be about performance. So, yeah, I think so.”

2013 F1 season


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37 comments on 2009 was a ripple, 2014 will be a tsunami – Allison

  1. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 5th February 2013, 23:24

    I often get the feeling that from the technical directors and all the engineering talk people seem to be more interested in the 2014 season than the one that starts in a few weeks! I don’t ever remember this sort of thing happening since I started following F1. Ferrari for example have split their technical team into two – one team running the 2013 development while a more senior team works on creating the 2014 challenger.

    Considering these unique circumstances, will teams divert resources from developing their 2013 cars earlier in the season than we’re used to in order to focus all resources on 2014? If so this could have major consequences to the coming Championship. The smaller teams with less resources may stop 2013 development quite early, possibly creating a gap between the front and the midfield as the season goes on creating a less competitive grid. Further to this if all teams go this route, it could reduce the level of competition between teams fighting for the championship. Ferrari and Red Bull brought seemingly endless updates to the last few races in 2012, all for that extra tenth. It may not have affected the racing, but I liked seeing two teams going all out in a race to build a better car. Such effort is probably not going to happen this season if it compromises a teams’ 2014 development.

  2. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th February 2013, 23:30

    James Allison is also the man who predicted that the majority of teams would not use modesty plates on their 2013 cars, only to be proven wrong almost straight away.

    • mhop (@mhop) said on 5th February 2013, 23:39

      @prisoner-monkeys is also the man who stated that McLaren were not using a modesty plate on their 2013 car, only to be proven wrong almost straight away.

      • Nick Jarvis (@nickj95gb) said on 5th February 2013, 23:42

        he’s also quite fat.

        • JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III said on 6th February 2013, 7:44

          He also thinks that working in a shop is as high stress an environment as racing at 200 miles an hour and trying to secure million £/$ sponsorship contracts.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th February 2013, 23:50

        @mhop

        Prisoner Monkeys is also the man who stated that McLaren were not using a modesty plate on their 2013 car, only to be proven wrong almost straight away.

        I fail to see what any of that has to do with Allison’s comments, which leads me to conclude that you are only trying to undermine me because I disagreed with you on the subject of Jules Bianchi’s presence at Force India during the Jerez tests.

        There’s a simple rule you should abide by when it comes to discussing things on the internet: play the ball, not the man. Not only will it keep you out of trouble with the moderators, it will also make your life a whole lot easier because you won’t have all the pent-up animosity that leads you to do what you just did and try to undermine people.

        • mhop (@mhop) said on 6th February 2013, 0:15

          @prisoner-monkeys
          Sorry you took that so sore.

          My point was perhaps a bit too oblique for you to fully understand? It wasn’t intended as a personal attack, as you say, it was more of a philosophical question, i.e. if we should’t believe a word from the Lotus technical director, says because he was wrong about modesty plates, why should we believe a word from @prisoner-monkeys given his track record for erroneous statements?

          I’d like to hear your thoughts on that.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 6th February 2013, 1:21

            I’m sure I read in a previous comment that @prisoner-monkeys was always right :D So that could be it.

            I love how Alison is so open to talk about things his team are doing, even some of the technical things he speculates on. It’s great for us. Even if his prediction did turn out to be wrong.

            Although to @prisoner-monkeys, I’d point out it’s better for us to have people predict and be wrong, than say nothing at all.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 6th February 2013, 1:26

            why should we believe a word from Prisoner Monkeys given his track record for erroneous statements?

            Because I would have questioned Allison’s prediction even if I’d said the opposite of what I did about McLaren’s nose.

            I’d point out it’s better for us to have people predict and be wrong, than say nothing at all.

            Isn’t that what I’m doing right now?

          • Mike (@mike) said on 6th February 2013, 2:24

            Yet criticized Alison for exactly the same thing. Play the Ball.

        • Mallesh Magdum (@malleshmagdum) said on 6th February 2013, 11:49

          @prisoner-monkeys I dnt think it was intended to be personal….Come on, peace out guys!

    • Candice said on 6th February 2013, 2:16

      James assure us that the lack of pace in Spa was one – off. Turn out opposite until the introduce coanda late in the season.

    • Candice said on 6th February 2013, 2:17

      James assures us that the lack of pace in Spa was one – off. Turn out opposite until the introduce coanda late in the season.

  3. schooner (@schooner) said on 5th February 2013, 23:43

    Perhaps tsunami is an insensitive descriptive, but yeah, 2014 should be amazing. I’m totally looking forward to an exciting and close fought campaign this year, but the sweeping changes in store for the following year could well make it one of the more interesting and entertaining F1 seasons in recent memory.

  4. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 6th February 2013, 0:41

    Extra testing not needed

    Considering the costs of developing a completely new drivetrain, more testing would really put stress into the smaller teams even more than before.

    Good thing most of the teams don’t want more testing.

    • who says F1 needs small, underfunded teams anyway? What’s the point of having a Marussia in the series when they literally cannot even score a single point? I’d rather see both McLaren and Ferrari run 3 cars each than Marussia running two that serve no.other.purpose than to get in the way of the front-runners.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th February 2013, 7:48

      I fully agree with that @fer-no65, especially as the way things are the smaller teams might be struggling to even make it to the first test with their new car next year again.

      And I see another point as well, in the words of Allison:

      “Yeah it’ll be exciting. This is exciting and scary as well, honestly, it’s always scary and exciting. But next year… the 2009 changes were a ripple compared with the tsunami of 2014.”

      – I saw many bemoan how reliable cars had become nowadays, and how it makes it extra tough for the backmarkers to score points. At the same time it will make it more tense, because you really can’t say if a Vettel leading the whole race will actually make it to the finish!

      • vjanik said on 8th February 2013, 12:27

        i think there is a higher chance of one team dominating in 2014.

        plus i would be very surprised if caterham and marussia survive the 2014 season (if they even build a car that is).

        • I honestly don’t know what business model makes the most sense for F1, to balance both sustainability and sporting quality. But I do know that HRT added nothing to the grid and the team’s presence was like a bad joke. W/ respect to Marussia and Caterham, maybe there is the case to be made for more equitable sharing of revenue to ensure a baseline operational capacity, which could somehow be more effectively marketed to potential sponsors leading to greater support. But that baseline operational capacity won’t necessarily translate to baseline sporting competency and prowess, which are both necessary for success and increased sponsor dollars. But if Marussia and Caterham are going to continue, they must score points – even a point! They simply must! Otherwise how can they be justified in sporting terms? It doesn’t compute. Maybe Williams should sell them a 3 year old customer car!? lol…

  5. Candice said on 6th February 2013, 2:15

    Tsunami for team like Lotus with very limited fund…………

    Ferrari, mclaren, merc, redbull have large bunch of great people divided into two groups on that, couple with massive funding as well.

  6. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 6th February 2013, 2:33

    Lotus technical director James Allison says the scale of the change teams face in 2014 amounts to a “tsunami” compared to the “ripple” of the last major rules overhaul in 2009.

    It’s a bit of a mixed metaphor, since they employ Hurricane Romain.

  7. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 6th February 2013, 3:41

    I think it will be interesting to see the gear ratios that teams come with to tracks like Belgium that are medium downforce yet high speed. Considering that they’re only going to be allowed to choose eight different ratios for the entire season (says David Croft).

    • Drop Valencia! said on 6th February 2013, 5:51

      Computer simulations will decide the ratios for the big boys, slide rules for the minnows. If one small team are smart, and willing to put all their eggs in the Monza basket, they could optimise for that race and hopefully get a really good result, afterall they only need 1.

  8. DavidS (@davids) said on 6th February 2013, 9:15

    Talk about awful timing.
    He uses the word “Tsunami” the same day an actual tsunami hits the Solomon Islands.

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