The 2009 season marked a major shake-up in the technical regulations, dramatically altering the look and design of the cars. The changes in 2014 will however make those of 2009 look trivial in comparison according to Lotus technical director James Allison.
Whilst the regulations will remain almost identical for 2013, allowing the teams to continue development of their 2012 chassis throughout the season and winter, the following year will see the teams facing an “unprecedented challenge” with the introduction of a new engine formula among other adjustments.
“In a normal year, the answer would be that the focus has pretty much shifted to next year’s car already,” explained Allison. “This is not a normal year though. Every team on the grid is facing the unprecedented challenge of working simultaneously on three cars.
“There are two principal reasons for this: Firstly, the rules for 2013 are relatively unchanged which – combined with the quite tight grid – means that there is still merit in developing the 2012 car even this late in the season. Secondly, the looming shadow of the 2014 regulations demands our attention.
“Anyone who followed the sport in 2009 will know that a large shake up in the regulations presents both opportunity and hazard which can significantly re-jig the traditional pecking order of the teams. The regulatory revolution for 2014 makes the 2009 changes look trivial by comparison.”
Allison says this presents the teams with a crucial decision as to which car they focus their attention on.
“Choices have to be made with three babies competing for development food; do you put resources into the E20 and get as much out of it as possible or is it more prudent to make the most of what will be ‘the last hurrah’ for this generation of rules in 2013? Alternatively, is it right to focus more on the longer term future with the 2014 rules that will form the basis of the next generation of F1 cars? It’s a very finely balanced judgement and one that is a fascinating challenge. By the end of the 2014 season we should know if we made the correct decisions.”