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The New Season Begins - Nicholas Frankl 2014 F1 Preview

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Nicholas Frankl
Senior Editor
Formula 1 Racing Desk


With the new season upon us I am just glad I don’t have to commentate on the BBC or Sky TV any more. With all the new regulations –most of which few people can comprehend good luck to my colleagues who will have to go into the intricacies of the engine, the electrical bits and to top it all the various penalties the stewards will be dishing out.

I must say – it really is complicated and qualifying has changed too with Q1 now 18 mins, Q2 15 mins and Q3 12 mins(2 extra) and with an extra set of tires so the drivers have the incentive to go for a hot lap.

With Formula E around the corner Bernie and the FIA believe they already have the ‘green formula’ and this is all supposed to make the sport even more green, shake it up and give it better entertainment value too.

It might be working as it appears the Newey / Red Bull domination may be over, just like the “McLaren years” in the 80’s Williams in the 90’s, Renault with Alonso and the Schumacher/Ferrari/Todt/Brawn era. They all come to an end – no team can sustain the momentum indefinitely.

Red Bull explains the new rules!!

The FIA stewards will have a tough job I think and some of these stewards are in their 70’s and retired racing drivers who cannot really relate to what is going on. Three times World Champion was not known for being called Black Jack, his tactics were somewhat borderline at times but in those days it was less PC than it is today and ‘dusting’ the cars behind you was all part of the fun – old chap…..

Interesting that two former champions-Jackie Stewart and Jacques Villeneuve both complained about today’s plastic heroes and I cannot disagree. Half the grid in made up of rent a drivers and I am certain few of you would recognize most of them without their helmets with their names written on it. At the other end of the grid the great drivers have all been carefully briefed as to what they can and can’t say. Every word they utter is recorded by one of the PR lackeys for reasons I will never be able to fathom out. Pity.

Sir Jackie Stewart on Saturday admitted he has a "very, very big" safety concern about F1's revolutionary new era.

"I see a very, very big problem," the F1 legend told German newspaper Die Welt in Melbourne.

Indeed, it is believed the very sort of concern raised by Stewart, F1's safety-pioneering driver of the 70s and a triple world champion, was also raised by experienced current drivers including Jenson Button in the FIA briefing in Australia.

The worry is that the new 100 kilogram per driver race fuel limit could mean some cars are aggressively saving fuel at the very same time as others are still racing flat-out.

"Drivers who are six seconds slower than the fastest cars is a huge safety risk," 74-year-old Stewart said.

"And when you're talking about safety in formula one, it is the question of life and death," the Scot added.

"If I understand the problem, I cannot understand that others seem to have thought so little about it," he said.

2014 FIA Formula One World Championship® Race Calendar - LINKS CHANGED BY F1

01 2014 FORMULA 1 ROLEX AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX (Melbourne) 14 - 16 Mar
02 2014 FORMULA 1 PETRONAS MALAYSIA GRAND PRIX (Kuala Lumpur) 28 - 30 Mar
03 2014 FORMULA 1 GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX (Sakhir) 04 - 06 Apr
04 2014 FORMULA 1 UBS CHINESE GRAND PRIX (Shanghai) 18 - 20 Apr
05 FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA PIRELLI 2014 (Catalunya) 09 - 11 May
06 FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DE MONACO 2014 (Monte Carlo) 22 - 25 May
07 FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DU CANADA 2014 (Montréal) 06 - 08 Jun
08 FORMULA 1 GROSSER PREIS VON ÖSTERREICH 2014 (Spielberg) 20 - 22 Jun
09 2014 FORMULA 1 SANTANDER BRITISH GRAND PRIX (Silverstone) 04 - 06 Jul
11 FORMULA 1 PIRELLI MAGYAR NAGYDÍJ 2014 (Budapest) 25 - 27 Jul
12 2014 FORMULA 1 SHELL BELGIAN GRAND PRIX (Spa-Francorchamps) 22 - 24 Aug
13 FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO D'ITALIA 2014 (Monza) 05 - 07 Sep
14 2014 FORMULA 1 SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX (Singapore) 19 - 21 Sep
15 2014 FORMULA 1 JAPANESE GRAND PRIX (Suzuka) 03 - 05 Oct
16 2014 FORMULA 1 RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX (Sochi) 10 - 12 Oct
17 2014 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX (Austin) 31 Oct - 02 Nov
18 FORMULA 1 GRANDE PRÊMIO DO BRASIL 2014 (São Paulo) 07 - 09 Nov

Best Wishes
Nicholas Frankl – Founder / CEO /

About Nicholas Frankl

Nicholas Frankl has attended more than 250 F1 Grand Prix in the past 30+ years (1st race age six weeks). He has been writing for The Auto Channel since it started in 1995/6. He managed the Asprey/Ferrari partnership from 1996-99 working closely with Todt, Irvine, Schumacher and Stefano Dominicalli. Visiting the Ferrari factory annually he has a deep insight into the inner workings of the team. He is also an three time Olympic sportsman, having qualified and driven a two-man & four-man bobsleigh in Lillehammer 1994, Nagano 1998 and Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympic Games. He has raced cars in the UK and USA, competed in the Cannonball, Gumball and Bullrun rallies, is a certified private pilot and member of both The Royal Automobile Club and Automobile Club of Monaco. Throughout his life he has visited the majority of F1 tracks and shared drinks and many fun times with many of yesterday’s legends and todays hero’s.

A Word from Nicholas:

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

So where does bobsleigh fit into this mix?

Well, that's me. Gilles Villeneuve I may never (unfortunately) be, but the next best thing (I'm told - and in fact can vouch for) is Formula One on ice. 1994 saw me competing as driver of the first Hungarian bob team in the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, and then onto two more Olympic Winter games. Why am I telling you this? Well, if for no other reason than that you'll at least understand how I gain some insight into the sport we love. Strangely enough, the F1 boys have a real respect for their ice cousins; the speed, G' forces and exhilaration are quite similar. This, however, is only my "off season" hobby. The reason for this intro is to allow me to say HI, From here on I hope we’ll become firm friends, as I follow the F1 circus around the world and you get to pick up all the details. Not just the results, but the gossip too and the first-hand natter you just don't get from the usual sources.

Thanks to my father, whose stories you'll also be reading, I've grown up in the world of motor sport and cars - in fact instead of a birth certificate, I think I was born with a pit pass. It's the sort of life that if you enjoy our sport is tough to beat, so I thought this would be a good way of sharing the fun.