Force India's technical director Andrew Green has previewed some of the challenges that present the teams in 2014 and pinpointed the rear braking management as a likely performance differentiator.
Formula One is set for a major rules overhaul into 2014 with the modification of bodywork regulations and the introduction of new 1.6l V6 turbo engines with extensive energy recovery systems. The expectation is that the change will shuffle the ranking order, and Force India are eager to take advantage of that. The team decided to move their focus to 2014 very early into this season, resulting in the lack of development of the current Force India VJM06 in the hope of leapfrogging some teams over the next winter.
Speaking to motorsport-total, Andrew Green confirmed that a major regulation change is usually similar to starting from a blank sheet of paper.
"We carry over less than five percent of the 2013 car into the upcoming season, whereas usually that's 30 percent. Just the power steering remains the same, but it looks like that's about it. The design is completely new. The people must say goodbye so their daily routines, can no longer rely on the previous year's car. The design process obviously takes longer as a result."
Similar to other current midfield teams like Sauber, Green admits that Force India need to make some bold choices from time to time as they do not have the resources to investigate each and every possibility.
Talking about the actual car, Green says that alongside the brand new engine, two often ignored elements of the car will be absolutely crucial.
"The cooling requirements for the engine are huge in the coming season. They are one-third higher than this year. We incorporate cooling anywhere we find a place for it. The team that finds the best way in this area, is a step ahead. It involves a compromise between cooling and aerodynamics."
The bigger cooling requirements are a major challenge and will be higher than what the teams have had to deal with in recent years. In fact the engine and ancillaries will require more cooling than the V10 engines used until 2005. The tiny sidepods as on the current cars will be impossible.
"The car will look slightly larger, slightly blown up due to cooling difficulties. The differences are such that I don't think that one could confuse the two cars when seen side by side. And the new is not necessarily better" (hinting at the mandatory lower nose section).
The second important aspect that Green pinpointed is the electronic rear braking system that is entirely new for 2014, simply because any such system was not allowed in recent Formula One regulations. Aware that the more powerful ERS systems would heavily impact braking stability due to charging only on the rear axle has led to teams asking for the allowance of such a system. Without it, a driver would virtually be switching brake balance continuously throughout each lap.
"When the cars in Jerez leave the pit boxes for the first time, all their brake balance systems will be put to the test. It is a completely new, active system for the rear brake balance. Force India tested parts of the system already in the current car, to get a first impression."
There is no doubt that the challenge is massive and extends beyond the new engine itself. Green is notably also not the only one who hints at creative solutions to comply with the low nosecone regulations.