Charlie in action - photo: Octane Photos
Charlie in action – photo: Octane Photos

As far as big red buttons go, Charlie Whiting owns the cream of the crop. The button to end all buttons. Yes, it’s the ‘GO’ button at the start of every F1 Grand Prix; and here at Badger, we really want one. But for now, we’ll settle with a brief chat to the Race Director, who was speaking at this year’s Autosport International Show in Birmingham on all things F1 2014…

With such a radical change in the rule book in-line for the season ahead, BadgerGP asked Charlie just what it is he is looking forward to most about 2014. “More than anything, I’m really looking forward to seeing how these new power units work. [that’s engines to me and you, ed]

“It’s going to be fascinating to find out how they sound, and on top of that how the racing will change as a result of them.”

Unsurprisingly coy for a high-ranking F.I.A official, Charlie wouldn’t be drawn on who was doing what in terms of design. Damn. That said, light was happily shed on what it is he’s seen so far (generalising throughout, of course).

“I can’t give away too much obviously! But we’ve seen a lot of looks, strange by previous standards, particularly the tip of the nose which has to be 300mm lower (than 2013). So each team is doing their best to overcome the disadvantage aerodynamically of doing that, and so are coming out with different ideas. I think what you’ll see is some interesting things which a lot of people will think are a little ugly a little odd. But im sure we’ll all get used to it.”

One of the solutions mooted by, well pretty much anyone, is the radical and slightly-ugly-but-not-as-bad-as-the-blocky-stepped-nose , ‘ant-eater’ idea. “What we’re seeing are these rather odd looking things and some nose tips that have to be a certain height which may not be the nose itself, but a separate fairing instead.

“They want as much clean air over the front wing (beneath the nose) as possible, but with the nose height coming down, I presume there’s an unwanted aero interaction between the front wing and the new nose height. So they’re doing their best to overcome that, whilst also satisfying the rules.

“It’s all going to get very odd around here I think.”

Despite the now accustom presence of aerodynamic influence however, it’ the 40k reduction in fuel allowance that has many people concerned, with a return to the ‘limping across the line on empty tanks’ mentality from F1 in the late 80’s, threatening to rear its head once again. Whiting though, was quick to quash these fears when quizzed;

“I somehow think that we won’t see anything what we used to see.”

“These days fuel management is much more sophisticated as we know, and they’ll know right from the start exactly where they are and what they have to do to make sure they don’t run out of fuel.”

It’s all getting rather close now, isn’t it? F1 2014 is coming up quick folks and it’s going to be turbo.