Let’s Talk About Last Weekend’s Crazy F1 Race

Compared to some of my fellow Speedhunters, I’m more of what you might call a casual Formula 1 fan. I don’t religiously follow every bit of  F1 news, but I do try to tune into races whenever I can. And like many, I’d been anxiously awaiting the start of the 2014 season which kicked off in Australia last weekend. I’m sure you know that this season is a major turning point for F1 with a switch to turbocharged V6 engines, some big rule alterations and numerous driver changes up and down the grid. In other words, if you haven’t been following F1, now might be a good time to start.

So what exactly went down in Melbourne last weekend? Quite a lot as it panned out… There were crashes, mechanical failures, epic rookie performances, post race controversy – and of course that strange new turbo sound.

Among the big stories were the early retirements of both four-time champ Sebastian Vettel and pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton due to mechanical issues. While Hamilton’s Mercedes would be out of the race early, his teammate Nico Rosberg would have much better luck, getting to the front early and staying there to win the race by a significant margin. Vettel’s new teammate Daniel Ricciardo crossed the line in second but was later be stripped of his finish after officials found his car didn’t comply with fuel flow regulations. This allowed McLaren’s young driver Kevin Magnussen to take second – an incredible result for the 21-year-old rookie’s first F1 race.

So what are your impressions after the 2014 F1 season opener? What are your predictions for the season? Will Red Bull get back to its winning ways? Will Mercedes continue on as the favorites? Has McLaren gotten past its dismal 2013 showing? How about Ferrari and its new super team of past champs Fernando Alsonso and Kimi Raikkonen. Last but not least, what do you think of F1’s new toned-down turbo sound which Bernie Ecclestone has since promised to improve? The video above in particular does an incredible job of talking about the difference in sound between last year’s cars and this year’s.

Yes, we are just one race into a long season, but if the Australian GP is anything to go by 2014 could be a year unlike any in recent memory.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: speedhunters_mike

Photo: Getty Images

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Personally I think it is premature to express any thought. Teams are still far from expressing their true potential and that of their cars. For example Red bull seemed to have struggled throughout the all period of testing but they took second place with Ricciardo despite him being disqualified after. Maybe you didn't notice but even Ferrari had their problems: they had some issues with the rear brakes and some serious  electrical problems. And despite this Alonso and Kimi managed to bring heir cars to the checkered flag in decent places. Even williams that last year obtained almost no results can be a threat to top teams this year. I think Melbourne has been the final test, from the next two or three races at maximum we'll see the true top teams of this season that will fight for the championships. Andrea Stella said that "This is also a battle or reliability". The fastest car with the fastest driver may not win if they're not supported by the team and enginners. This in my opinion will be the key to win this season's championship.


Finally, F1 season is here! I strongly believe that mercs will keep their speed through the season, Nico and Lewis are both ready to take the championship. It'll be interesting to follow not only rivals from other teams, but also team drivers. Alonso and Räikkönen, as Mike mentioned, are an interesting pair, Massa and Bottas will be driving against each other if (and when) Bottas becomes the nr.1 driver for Williams. And like I said, Nico vs Lewis is going to be a thriller.
Also, I do not yet know what to think of the sound, I guess we have to accept that change is inevitable. The cars are butt-ugly, only decent looking is Williams with their awesome Martini colors and a nose I can live with. I'm looking forward on the upcoming season, nice to see couple of new tracks, even though I can never appreciate them the way I appreciate classic tracks. Interested to hear Kimis comments on them, like he commented on Abu Dhabi... "Couple of first turns were ok, but the rest is crap."


They definitely need to improve the sound of the turbocharged V6 engines. The engines need to be louder!
As for the teams, I don't know. I'm more a Red Bull fan. I just hope that they will do better. but then again, it's the beginning of the season...


personally i loved the new sound (if a bit quiet but i don't think they are revving as high as they are allowed due to fuel regs). The increase in instant torque from the electric power made for some great moves out of the corners.

im not a fan of fuel regulations, persionaly i watch f1 to see the fasted race cars go all out to win. where conserving fuel is a strategy not something every team has to do just so they can make the finish line. on top of that how bad is it going to be on the tracks that have long straights with alot of tight corners that will simply increase the amount of fuel needed to get back up to speed.

the 2014 cars have alot of promise in my opinion the move to turbo v6 combines with more electric power for longer and a reduction in down force makes for great racing but i fear it could all be ruined if teams have to conserve fuel for a large portion of the race.


I think the whole thing about fuel conservation doesn't really have a place in f1 which is a sprint compared to Le Mans and other 24 hour races. However, I can see why they're doing it in terms of politics, but all the tech seems very immature, and especially when the penalties are so harsh that you'll disqualify the local hero after a champion performance :(. But i think the sound is much better than previous years, i much prefer spaceships to mosquitos. Also, legendary performance from Bottas. To come from the very back of the pack to 6th, lose your back wheel and then go from 16th to 6th is nothing short of brilliant. Can't wait to see if he'll be this good in malaysia


SeBaBunea "the engines need to be louder" .... those V6s still reach 134 decibels going down the pit straight, threshold of pain is 130 decibels (don't forget its a logarithmic scale!).

The frequenz is very different tho, people that were at Jerez and in Melbourne described it as being more "feelable in ones tummy" compared to the scream/screech of the old cars.


Acc SeBaBunea Thats the thing, at Melbourne my mates on the front row of the grandstands DIDN'T even have to wear earplugs, even at the start of the race and they were 25metres infront of the S/F line. Plus the aussie V8Supercars were louder then the F1s.


I know, and perhaps even agree with all the reasons against this however I yearn for F1 to be a no regulation, no budget, mind numbing technological tour de force race series. I want the highest horsepower, highest down force cars with unobtanium for materials  with only minimal driver aids, I want to see the drivers coming through corners with full on opposite lock, 20K RPM wail hitting speeds way over 200....

Yes, pure fantasy.


All I care about is Martini. I'm happy they're back and I hope they do well. 

As for the race, I'm happy Vettel went out but I feel bad for Ricciardo since he seems like a cool guy. I'm looking forward to this season to see if the new car really throws the season off and makes for new winners.


I am honestly pretty excited about this year's rule changes and vehicle updates. I am not a fan of the fuel regulations but I believe that the actual racing experience will be better with the improved Energy Harvesting (once it is completely dialed in) and the Turbo V6 power units (once the reliability improvements are applied). Not to mention the greater straight line speeds due to the increased DRS gap.

In regards to the sound, I personally enjoy the noise that this years cars make. I understand that the aural rawness of the previous seasons has been slightly more awe-inspiring but these cars will continue to develop and the sound will grow on the fans. Who knows, maybe when this type of power unit is discontinued there will be an outcry for the sound that they made to come back.

All in all i think this year will be a landmark year for F1. With a larger overall following and a greater fanbase I think that this could be a turning point for the sport. I have involved my girlfriend this last weekend in watching the races from FP1 all the way to the actual race. She is very interested in the technology involved and probably more interested in watching due to Lewis Hamilton. I don't know. Anyway, I like what I see from F1. Hopefully this season turns out to be a great one.


SeBaBunea  I believe the sound was so different because of the lack of RPM. As far as I am concerned, the cars never came close to reaching 15K RPM under full throttle due to reliability issues. Once those are sorted out I think the sound will, in turn, be better.


IMO Redbull need to make a formal apology to Ricardo (and to the the rest of the pit lane) everyone else abided by the rules even though the had similar problems. 

I don't think Mclaren are not going to win the season (maybe next year; as if works engine provider and all that)  I'm a big Mcl fan but Merc are (apparently) refusing to let Mclaren take the engines back to the MTC with them: they get the engines back when they make it to track, so development becomes pretty hard without an engine (weight and so forth is changed not to mention the need for, you know, wheels to move etc). Roll on 2015 :D

I still love it, and, having had an eardrum blown by a backfiring BAR at Maggots (thanks for that Sato!) I think I'm the only one who is happier its a lower rumble now instead of the higher pitched scream.

Finally I will say Albert park is wrong and the spectacle is BACK in my eyes as I want to see racing, people over taking, tyres exploding, cars on fire, vettel hitting the wall, Jenson "doing it for his dad" while Magnusson is chomping at his heels.... the engines could be silent for all I care, I go to watch racing. pure and simple and the rule change has given us that back.


datsunnazi SeBaBunea  Yep. They're shifting at around 10 or 11 to save on fuel.


I hope the journalists who asked "what the FIA would do if all the cars dropped out", are asked to go cover a different sport.


SeBaBunea I'm actually happier with the sound of theese turbocharged engines ( i really like the blow off valve sound when the driver step off the throttle :P). Plus less loud engines allow to hear more sound effects. Did you ever think f1 tires could make any noise when blocked?;)


@kristian : As an ex F1 engineer I tend to disagree: Fuel makes horsepower (along with air). Restricting fuel is a way to govern that and to keep a level playing field. On the other hand, the rule changes were implemeted to promote fuel effiency. A way to make more horsepower then the competition is to be more fuel efficient. It's that simple really, as fuell is a given. F1 currently pushes engineers to obtain that, which is a win-win for the sport, as they can attract a diferent kind of sponsors and manufacturers to booth. And local hero or not: Red Bull should have listened when the FIA/F1 reported issues on how to solve the fuel sensor problem. If failing to do so dispite multiple warnings isn't the fault of the team I really don't know what is????


It will be quite an interesting year, for sure. It's unfortunate that the cars sound like vuvuzelas on TV. I'm sure they're more inspiring in person.  

I've been a dyed in the wool Ferrari fan since childhood, and Kimi & Alonso are monsters, but I think Williams has a real chance to come back to the fore.  Who doesn't like Massa? And Bottas clearly has the skill. I just hope they can keep developmental pace with Ferrari, Mercedes & RBR. 

I hope Hulkenberg achieves some results with Force India. If anyone in the paddock deserves a top-flight ride, it's him. 

It's disappointing that so many of the issues could have been sorted if the FIA would pull its head out of its ass with regard to in season & post season testing.  It's naive to think that simulators & CFD can answer every question, and if F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of automotive development, why reign them in?  Endurance sports car racing holds that crown for me. F1 is an expensive circus by comparison. 

Ultimately though, I think this year will be a bit of an extended test session for next year, once everyone really grasps the breadth of changes, and Honda comes in as an engine supplier with McLaren.  Honda doesn't do half-ass. Should be good.



Gianluca FairladyZ

Formula 1 is dead...!


Hard to watch at 2am in newyork. Would like if nbcsports would rebroad cast. Saddened by vettles early retirement, was hopping for him to get the all time consecutive record. All in all a fun race to watch though


i know F1 is fast, sure this is a F1, but for a long time F1 NA engine sound is something we don't usually hear "everyday" and thats the way we want to come and watch from the side of the track, and for this year better watch it from home...like the title this is pinnacle of 4wheels motorsport not pinnacle of technology, yes i agree with hybrid car on the road for daily use but for a race i don't care hybrid or not i just love to see it fast and the car make monster sound like always they should be


I keep thinking this exact thought.


Poor Daniel. Home track, home podium, excellent performance. All to be stripped away by legalities and politics. Red Bull used him as a ploy to see what they can get away with. God forbid the golden boy be put into that kind of light. I'm very curious as to what the future holds for F1. I think the worst era of its existence is here. I hope to see Hamilton back up front where he belongs.


This just makes me more bitter that I didn't make it to the Austin race last year. That was my last chance to hear those beautiful v8's do their thing... *sigh*


F1 is about pushing the limits in engineering for both going faster and staying safer, it has been since day dot(Maybe not driver safety, that's only in the past 30 odd years). The V8's of the past few seasons were the pinnacle of technology for years but things were pretty stagnant, with an evolution of car design rather than a revolution year to year. 

I've been to every AusGP for about 10 years now, and its always been an amazing event. When the cars went past you could feel your teeth vibrate from the noise, its that atmosphere that brings a lot of people and money to F1. So during FP1 and FP2 I went to turn 11/12 and watched with the sun setting over the lake. Whilst I was a bit apprehensive at first, I loved the new sounds of the cars. During those practice's I could hear cars under steering, running over the ripple strip and who was on the loud pedal earlier than anyone else exiting a corner. You could tell who had made setup changes in between runs because the way car entered and exited the corners sounded different. You could never hear that with the old cars. So whilst the screaming V8/10/12's are gone now I think the new generation of engines do provide a great atmosphere track side, and already Bernie is talking with the FIA to increase the volume of the cars.  I can't wait to see what happens this season!
A pic I got of Kamui's turn 1 crash: http://www.jrmphotography.com.au/image/I0000ZyJhCjP7Gb4


Gianluca FairladyZ  Nonsense!


I had a great time at Albert park! The car's are quieter, but not quiet, and that turbo whistle is pretty sweet!

Cracking race, and Bottas should definitely have a mention! Saw him hit the wall in front of us at T10 chasing Alonso. Gutted for Ricciardo though. The crowd went crazy when he crossed the line.

I don't see why people have such a downer on these new cars (except the looks). They're still quick, still loud, if different, and changing up the technical regs always mixes things up at the top. I think we're in for a cracker of a season!

I even saw a speedhunters shirt just up the way from us!


I can't express a feeling about new rules in F1 but I do remember the first time the turbo car have entered F1. It was awesome! Huge tires, huge lag, huge power, huge wings, huge balls! Renault was then the master of all cars on the track. After 30 years, I don't see why it cant be awesome again. Yes, the sound is weird. I'm thinking that this progress will continue, in few years we will have F1 cars with even smaller engines and even bigger turbo's and electrical engines. I'll bet that in 10 years or less we will see F1 cars all wheel drive with electric engines driven the front wheels. It will appear that today cars were not really modern, efficient or economical at all.


Jarrod Moore  Great photo!


Gianluca FairladyZ  Rubbish. Formula 1 always has been and always will be about the pinnacle of technology. The new engines reflect the tech and direction the automotive world is heading, the V8's were dated tech/engines.


datsunnazi SeBaBunea  Doesn't the fuel restriction mean that the amount of fuel delivered to the engine at the high rpm's tapers the higher you rev? I thought it was more a case of restriction rather than reliability.

Gianluca FairladyZ

Mat81 Gianluca FairladyZ  Ah... Okey.. Then i wish you fun watching it :)


I was like oh god, here we go, turbocharged F1 after 30 years, then after five laps, i was like "what the hell is this".. I'm absolutely obsessed by a sound of the racecars, the "old" v10 F1s sounded like God's toys, but these things, meh. You cant pass, only if Bernie agrees on that. You cant use you fuel freely, because of some idiotic new rule.
Green F1? Come on, this is the top of the motorsport, what is going on?
I think i'll have to start watching Nascar, only for those sounds..


CSAlltrac Rules are rules. I feel bad for Ricciardo but as an F1 team and a top team too RBR would better follow the rules like everyone else did. It's not a matter of politics or some sort of things like that. It's a matter of rules that must be followed. Especially when on the table there's also an enormous quantity of money.


To be quite honest I used to be infatuated listening to those high-pitched F1 cars screaming on the track....after the new regulations in 2014 I find myself liking the sound on my sport motorcycle more. Just saying. Its the closest thing in having that sound again. RIP to the old sexy sound of F1


I agree the rules should be followed by all teams. What I'm saying is RBR knew they were out of spec and knew exactly how to fix it. They decided to push their luck and see how much they can get away with on Daniel. For that I call it a political game.


CSAlltrac I call them in an other way I'm not so sure I can write here but I guess we agree :)


greenroadster The one thing restraining todays cars compaired to those of 30 years ago is that these have regulated fuel consumption, just ask Redbull..
They didnt back then, if you could dump 100l throgh a min go ahead, they dumped fuel into the exhaust header as a crude anti lag essentially turning the turbine into a jet.
Also back then, there were no rules as to how many engines you could have for the season.

That being said, i agree with you, this is just the beginning..


Cool race. Watched it live. I hope Mercedes wins the championship, however I think the fan favorite or at least the car and driver that I will be rooting for is one of the best looking cars in the field: the Williams/Martini car of Valtteri Bottas. Great drive last weekend. Was storming through the pack! I will be rooting for this car throughout the season. Kevin Magnesson did a great job. Even though there are no US drivers, the fact that he has ties to Florida makes me root for him as if he was American. Looks like a fun season. Sucks the cars don't sound as good.


AdamBezzegh  You can't deny that the quality of racing is way up. It got boring with red bull seemingly always 1-2


Totally agree. A change in the leader board every race keeps up the excitement. In any sport, when one team just dominates, it just isn't fun.


Mat81 datsunnazi SeBaBunea  no. that is not how engine tuning works. thats how you blow up engines really fast.


MilesHayler I think Audi's LMPs make current F1s sound wild by comparison!

Jason Burch Racing

Wildcardfox  Valtteri Bottas was insane that weekend weekend, had it not of been for a flat tire it would have been a different podium.


its soo quiet that you can even hear wheel spin in the pit lanes!


We were mislead into thinking you guys were there taking awesome shots lol


Not a fan of the new fuel requirements, I think it takes away from the whole point of F1 which is making the fastest cars on the planet. Also as much as I love turbo technology and definitely think it's the future of motor racing as well as production cars, I think the muted sound of these new engines don't have the aura and excitement of the n/a v8's.


Nikhil_P  Yeah I wonder how it's going to work with the forthcoming Formula E too, something is missing for sure.


Jason Burch Racing Wildcardfox  Mixing it up for sure.


Wildcardfox  caltemus AdamBezzegh I guess as a tradeoff it's not a bad swap huh? Drama for noise? I guess you could always overdub it at home!


Lille Buller greenroadster  You've got to wonder where we'll go next, that's for sure.


Mike Garrett MilesHayler  Haha, you were there? Great stuff! And an SH T shirt too :)

I think the thing is that maybe people are getting too distracted by the changes 'negative' side.


I actually like the sound the new cars are making. And all those revisions in the rules makes it an "anyone-can-win" motorsport once again.


I have to say, I was so sick of just wishing one driver wouldn't win, rather than my favourite driver winning, it was beginning to ruin the sport for me. Earl season shakeup is fantastic, but the true contenders will soon show themselves, and I expect that Red Bull are too professional not to be back on top of their game by mid season.

As for the sound… its not a bad sound, it is kind of a cool sound, but its not special, and F1 should be special.


caltemus AdamBezzegh  So if Mercedes win the next 4 years are we going back to V8?