2014 has changed a lot more than just aero design. With turbos, V6's and single pipe exhausts being introduced, the whole car is affected. There has been a lot of worry over a grid of ugly cars which may be the case but are the aesthetics the reason everyone watches the sport or is the reason the rivalries and racing? I would hazard a guess and say the aesthetics and liveries of the cars have some bearing on the viewing figures but ultimately we all want to see an open championship that produces some great wheel to wheel battles.
Force India may have converted a few of us that worried about the form this years grid would take, revealing on the 22nd on January a rather striking contender for this season.
The turbo charged engines produce a lot more torque than the engines we have seen since 2006, so I would expect to see a lot of sideways moments on track and a pile of chewed tyres in each garage.
Rumours are that the teams are still finding low grip and traction in 4th and 5th gear out of certain corners due to the torque the new era of engines produce. Last year drivers could short shift up a gear to reduce wheel spin, this year the torque is so high even short shifting won't resolve it straight away.
We know all too well how the Pirelli tyres performed last season, add increased levels of torque and more wheelspin and we will surely see the odd tyre failure and very high levels of degredation. Gary Anderson has predicted a loss of 3-4 seconds per lap for the teams and if we factor in more pitstops due to the increased tyre degredation we could see some quite chaotic, but close, races.
Slower laptimes don't bother me personally, I am more interested in a closer field and a wider choice of championship contenders. Hulkenberg is an undeniable talent and if Force India have got it right and can even close up to the usual suspects he could fight for race wins. He is a personal favourite of mine and I hope we get to see him really push and start to get the results we know he is capable of.
Hamilton could find himself in his element, he loves to push the car and I believe if it is moving around underneath him and sliding through corners he will be able to control it while maintaining speed. Vettel is an obvious threat as he can drive a car in the same way but for out and out speed, I still believe Hamilton is the fastest on the grid.
I would also say that the Mercedes is the best looking of the 2014 cars, the McLaren is brilliant too but it needs a bit more colour to it! As good as these new engines will be for Formula One we need to see interesting, exciting liveries again. Force India have done well but if you look back at the old Williams, Jordan, McLaren etc they were all far more colourful and the liveries set the car off-they were poster cars. I can't see how the new cars will ever be seen as poster cars. Particularly the Caterham... It may an inovtive design and the rear of the car looks far more interesting but I doubt it will ever been seen on the wall of an F1 fan.
Once all of the winter testing is complete we will look at how the teams get on and give you our early predictions-nothing can really be taken from testing but we will do our best to tell you who we think is looking good, and who has struggled with the new rules.