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Written by @Damien_Marquez   
Friday, 14 March 2014 22:21

Who would have believed you could add the word 'ever' to the biggest change of F1 regulations? The first day of the Australian Grand Prix was a bit of an eye opener and offered a different team performances than that of the winter tests.

Trackside at the Albert Park - Image: Ferrari S.p.A


Let's tackle the biggest talking point first. The cars sound good. They are definitely quieter than last year but the 'power unit' noise is fantastic in braking and acceleration zones. The spectators who prefer to sit opposite the team garages on the main pit straight will probably be the most disappointed as the cars still get past very quickly but with a whooshing rather than a screaming sound.


The second interesting point was the public reaction to Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes coming to a halt on its outlap at the start of the first practice session. Being the odds-on favourite to win the race does not guarantee a true picture of the state of play. After all, Mercedes only managed to complete two of the five race simulations they attempted in Bahrain tests.

PHOTO : ERIC VARGIOLU / DPPI for Renault Sport F1


Another surprise was the Williams pace, or lack of, on the soft tyres. Performance wise, Ferrari actually seems to be the closest challenger to Mercedes, followed by Red Bull, who have made major progress on the reliability front in the last two weeks. Seeing Vettel's lap times today, it is clear they were sand bagging during the winter test.

At the back of the grid, Lotus and Caterham are massively struggling just to get out of the garage. An engineer we spoke to after FP2 said that up to seven hours were required to change a full power unit. With the amount of work, it's not surprising a couple of teams barely turned a wheel and FP3 could be awfully quiet for the teams who are risk averse and do not want to miss out on start of qualifying.

It's the start of a new era. May the fastest reliable car win on Sunday.

What do you think? Who will reign supreme in 2014? Please leave your comments below.

Trackside observations of F1 2014

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