As we march ever closer to F1 returning to our weekends, some very interesting news has emerged from some diverse corners.
First off, Adrian Newey has claimed that come 2014 when new engine regulations come into effect, those same engines will come to be the deciding factor of performance. To me this is a bit of a no duh moment, but nevertheless very important. The one neat thing about aerodynamic development wars is that new pieces are very visible and also, consequently, easier to copy. Engine performance will remain invisible and thus it could be much harder for rival manufacturers to catch up.
Newey, in the same article, was also critical of ever increasing body and aerodynamic regulations, set to become more stringent with the 2014 regulation changes. 2014, much more so than 2009, seems to be set as a sort of watershed moment for F1. Rather than some dramatic aerodynamic adjustments, 2014 seems set to change the balance of power away from aerodynamics and back to engine performance.
The second bit of news comes from the US where there seems to be a controversy brewing around payments that were expected to be made to the F1 track in Austin after the event was completed. It seems that the Texas Attorney General has hinted that the track may not be eligible for these payments. The track has hit back saying that they took all the necessary steps to ensure that they are. Now, this payment was never going to happen until after the F1 race, so that seems safe, but, should this payment not go through, it may affect the future financial security of the installation.
James Allen is reporting that the McLaren engine control unit (ECU) used on F1 cars is now in a trial at hospitals. The same software that monitors such things as engine temperature, brake temperatures and thousands of other sensors, is now being used to monitor patient vital signs. The advantage lies in the fact that the McLaren unit can take measurements much more frequently through the course of the day, leading to better prevention and trend analysis.
Finally, the German publication Auto Motor und Sport has released their markings out of ten. In true German fashion, their rankings are to the nearest hundredth of a point (as opposed to the nearest half a point) and is the average of markings out of ten made at every race of the season thus far.