JUNE 20, 2014
F1 to create sparks in Austria practice
Hot on the heels of the exhaust 'megaphone', F1 is now courting more controversy with its latest push to spice up the show.
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has been the loudest critic of the entertainment factor in 2014, and on Thursday Kimi Raikkonen agreed that the volume of the engines may be turning off the fans.
But he sent reporters into giggles at the Red Bull Ring when he made his proposal to end Montezemolo's carping about the sport: "Probably if we start to win again," the Finn quipped.
"At least from our side it wouldn't be boring anymore."
Teammate Fernando Alonso, however, is more open to novel ideas. "I think KERS should come back to the cars," said the Spaniard, rueing that the overtaking 'boost' was replaced this year by more comprehensive hybrid systems.
"And bringing in a tyre competition would mix the teams," he added. "We could help the small teams like they do in MotoGP, giving them a different spec of tyres or different fuel quantity or whatever to use in the race.
"So there are some ideas we could take from other sports," said Alonso.
One idea today's F1 wants to steal from its own illustrious past is the showers of magnesium sparks that characterised the 80s.
The sparks ended when teams were forced to install a wooden composite 'plank' underneath the cars -- but fans may see sparks flying yet again on Friday in Austria.
In morning practice, Ferrari's Raikkonen and Mercedes' Nico Rosberg will test a couple of titanium plate solutions fitted to the floor of their cars, with the sole purpose of thrilling fans with the sight of flying sparks.
But F1 is not stopping there. After Mercedes' 'megaphone' failed to turn up the volume at the Barcelona test, Ferrari is now preparing to test its own solution to add grunt to the turbo V6s.
At the forthcoming Silverstone test, Ferrari will test a 'two-pipe' exhaust solution, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports.
Correspondent Michael Schmidt also reports that the FIA will tidy up the regulations next year to preclude the possibility of the unseemly 'anteater' noses.