F1 is undergoing significant change for this year, conforming to a extensively updated rulebook.
We’ve covered those changes in detail (read about them here), but what we haven’t touched on is why this year will be one of the most exciting yet for motorsport’s premier series.
A whole host of problems have meant curtailed running, reliability problem and a number of breakdowns for the young German – on the penultimate day of pre-season testing the car failed to even complete one lap, retiring after just four corners and then not even making it to the end of the pit lane when his team sent him back out.
So while Red Bull is looking shaky, Mercedes, Ferrari, our local team McLaren and even Williams – once a former F1 front-runner but consigned to the mid-pack over recent years – are looking strong.
Reliability of the Mercedes engine has been impressive, with Massa setting the fastest pre-season time overall, and Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg consistently near the sharp end.
After a disappointing season last year, McLaren have shown some good pace so far, proving it could once again be in with a chance of solid podiums and points finishes.
Both team leader Jenson Button and new boy Kevin Magnussen have looked fast. Bodes well for the Woking squad.
The real positive for F1 2014 is the unpredictability. How many people thought Red Bull would be struggling before the first race of the year has even begun? Not us, if we’re honest.
It’s not just Red Bull though – all the teams using the new Renault engine have struggled.
But if reliability does prove to be an issue, it could introduce uncertainty to the races and therefore spectator interest. We can’t remember the last time a car retired from an F1 race due to a total engine failure. But this year it’s a very real possibility.
It’s this intriguing uncertainty we’re looking forward to over the next 9 months or so. Hopefully it’ll keep the title close for the duration, with the drivers’ and constructors’ world championships going down to the wire.
Now if only we could just tweak the look of the cars…