Formula 1 Endures Chaotic Test Of New Rules As Cars Complete Just 93 Laps Combined
F1 "endured a shambolic return to the track on Tuesday" with driver Lewis Hamilton crashing after 18 laps, the sport's "pre-eminent designer revealing his misgivings about the safety of the 2014 cars, and Red Bull, the dominant team in recent seasons, only making it out of the garage with 15 minutes to go," according to Daniel Johnson of the London TELEGRAPH. The pattern of a "fairly farcical day was set when the front wing failed on Hamilton's Mercedes, sending him crashing into the barriers at turn one." The entire paddock "put together just 93 laps all day" (TELEGRAPH, 1/29). REUTERS reported F1's new regulations "affect almost every part of the car." But the "most unpopular change so far may be the new noses of this season's cars, which many describe as unseemly and Red Bull's chief designer calls possibly dangerous." Among the "plethora of changes, F1 has required manufacturers to lower their cars' noses, with the hope it will make cars less likely to take flight during an accident." Red Bull Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey, however, "believes the change might make knocks between cars potentially more dangerous." Newey said that he was "concerned the opposite may occur" and cars "might submarine and go under the car in front." Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel was "hesitant to comment on the safety aspect, but he did agree with Newey that there were some less than pretty vehicles this year." Vettel: "Some of the cars look a lot like a hoover. Walking around the paddock you might get sucked in" (REUTERS, 1/29).
ECCLESTONE PUSHES FOR DOUBLE POINTS: GRAND PRIX reported F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has written a letter to F1's 11 teams, "arguing that the controversial new 'double points' rule should be extended to the final three races of the season." Three races was always Ecclestone's plan, but "many team bosses refused to agree." Ecclestone, 83, "is trying again to push his original plan through, appealing directly in writing to the F1 teams because a change at such a late date would require total unanimity up and down pitlane" (GRAND PRIX, 1/29).