Right now, after a wet and wild race at the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest, the Formula 1 circuit is taking a much needed four-week hiatus to recover and prepare for the remaining eight races of the season, including F1’s only State-side stop at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas in November. A new series of rules changes was implemented by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) that required teams to make significant changes to their cars for the 2014 year. Engine efficiency was the most major adjustment. Engine size, for example, has been reduced from 2.4-liter V8s to 1.6-liter V6 turbos; fuel loads are down 50kg to 100kg per race, and engines aren’t permitted to burn more than 100kg of gas per hour. And the enhanced energy recovery system, or Ers, explains the BBC, builds on the existing Kinetic energy recovery system that “harnesses kinetic energy from the rear axle during braking via an electric motor to be stored in a battery pack reapply under acceleration. Last year, it was allowed to produce 60kw for up to 6.7 seconds a lap. This year, however, it can produce 150kg for 30 seconds.” There were also cosmetic changes made to the exteriors, like lowering the nose and the redesigning rear wings, meant to improve safety and pole parity. As a result, some races have been tighter; some teams that sucked in past years don’t this year. Williams is rebounding from the team’s worst ever showing in 2013. And the same goes for drivers. Just ask four-time drivers’ champ Seb Vettel.
But for the mechanically illiterate, like myself, that doesn’t mean much. The basic concepts are easy to comprehend in terms of the effects on car performance and driver strategy; the more technical details are just that, and appreciating F1 as a competitive motor sport doesn’t require much more than this basic understanding. Here’s a quick CGI clip for non-gear heads, courtesy of the Infiniti Red Bull Racing crew, that breaks down the basics of the new rule changes effecting the cars, comparing its new 2014 model to that of 2013. It is, for us, F1 for dumbasses.