Melbourne's Albert Park will witness the start of 2014 season of Formula 1 races on 16 March, with the green lights back for the first time since last November.
There are quite a few changes in the rules this season compared with the 2013 season. The changes in technical rules are expected to make the race more challenging for drivers and exciting for the fans.
1. Fuel Limit
In the 2014 season, every car will have a fuel limit of 100kg per race and will see the fuel flow restricted to 100kg per hour. During the previous season, there were no limits on fuel and fuel flow.
In the previous years cars used to carry 160kg of fuel per race while having a fuel flow of 170kg per hour.
The latest change will force the drivers and teams to come up with new strategies to ensure a podium finish.
2. Gear and gear ratios
In 2013, the cars had 30 gear ratios prior to the start of the season and were given liberty to use any seven of those, including the reverse gear, for a race. However, from this year onwards, teams will have eight gears (one more compared with the last season).
Every team needs to carefully select the eight gears and the same needs to be maintained throughout the season. However, only for the 2014 season, the teams have been given the liberty to change the gear ratio once.
Also the gearbox needs to be changed once in every six races and failing to do so will see the driver dropping five places on the grid at the race.
3. New power unit
The power unit used to consist of 2.4-litre V8 engines, which normally produce 750bhp, with an additional 80bhp available for around six seconds per lap from Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS).
For the 2014 season, the new power unit will see the introduction of 1.6-litre V6 engines, along with two Energy Recovery Systems (ERS).
The two ERS systems (ERS-K and ERS-H) will give drivers an additional 160bhp or so for approximately 33 seconds per lap. This year, the driver does not need to push the button to activate ERS. Instead the power is delivered to the rear wheels via a throttle pedal.
4. Increased weight
During the last season, the minimum weight of the car and the driver had to be 642kg. From 2014, additional 48kg has been added to the minimum weight, making it 690 kg.
The increased weight will help both smaller and taller drivers equally when competing amongst each other.
5. Reduction in nose and chassis height
Chassis height has been reduced from 625mm to 525mm while the height of the nose has been shortened from 550mm to 185mm. With these reductions the drivers will notice a subtle change as their feet will be around 100mm lower in the car than in 2013.
6. Narrow front wing
There is a small change in the design to avoid cars' front wing puncturing the rear wheel of the competitor's car in the case of a backending -- the width of the front wing has been reduced from 1,800mm to 1,650mm.
Each side of the front wing has been moved 75mm inwards, which will result in the overall reduction of 150mm in the front wing.