Force India, Mercedes, Red Bull, Caterham Launch 2014 Entries In Spain

From left: Paddy Lowe, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Toto Wolff pose with the new Mercedes W05 before Tuesday’s first test in Jerez, Spain. [Photo by Sutton Images]
JEREZ, Spain-  Just moments before the opening winter test of the season Tuesday morning at this Southeastern Spanish track, Caterham, Force India, Red Bull Racing and Mercedes all launched their challengers for the upcoming year.
Force India got the ball rolling first with their introduction of the VJM07 challenger which with the color scheme for 2014 includes a white section on where the nose is (some view that this could be to disguise the black paint if it covered the nose) and other colors along with it are black are orange and green. Pretty much, these are the colors of the flag of India. Although the country has lost their home grand prix, the nationality still shines with the car color. The squad also includes two new drivers, Nico Hulkenberg, returning back to the team that began his career; along with Mexican Sergio Perez, fresh from his season with McLaren.  Along with the budding talent comes the Mercedes V-6 turbo unit as the team is back again with the Stuttgart, Germany, based engine company for another year.
Mercedes launched their car as well with the introduction of the W05, a car that hopes can take on the competition of both Ferrari and Red Bull. The squad was impressive last season, and at the last moment, took second in the constructor’s championship as well as three combined victories by Nico Rosberg (Monaco and Great Britain) and Lewis Hamilton (Hungary) who both return this season. The car is back with the same livery of a green and silver lining, but instead of the bend nose of some teams, the Mercedes squad has decided to leave it alone, something that  technical director Paddy Lowe felt could be a good idea..
“For 2014 we have probably the greatest change in regulations in Formula One history and the start of a new era for our sport,” said Lowe. “From a technical and also a racing perspective, this is an incredibly exciting time for Formula One. We are introducing technologies that are new not just to racing but to the wider automotive world as well. The headline is that of improved efficiency and the fact that we will be completing races with advanced Hybrid systems on just 100 kg of fuel sends a great message about the technology that Formula One can deliver.
“But it is also about the technology that Mercedes-Benz can develop compared with our competition, both for the chassis and the new Power Unit. The whole team has done a fantastic job on the management of the project and its delivery. We have hit our milestones and hit our targets but, as ever, we will only begin to understand how successful we have been once we begin running in anger on track.
“The new car is an elegant but aggressive design and, as is often the way, its beauty is much more than skin deep; the internal engineering of the car is extremely innovative and intelligent. Our team can be justifiably proud of its work so far – but none of us are under any illusions about the amount we still have to do before the first race in six weeks’ time.”
The team had a scare when in the test, Hamilton had his front wing failure and crashed heavily at turn one. Hamilton emerged unhurt, but it made the team cancel the test for the day to look into what the failure was.
One of the most popular launches of the day came from defending driver and constructor champion Red Bull, who launched their RB 10 defender. This season Sebastian Vettel returns to try and tie Michael Schumacher’s four titles in a row record. But the German knows with the different regulations this year, it might be harder to take the title again. And it could be even more interesting now that Daniel Riccardo is now the second driver instead of his compatriot, Mark Webber, who left F1 for sportscars.
“It’s obviously a big change for all the teams, including ourselves,” Vettel said. “In past years we always knew what to expect, which is very different this year. Therefore, it’s very difficult to have any sort of expectations.
“The most important thing once we get going is to understand the car and understand what it needs and build on to that. At the moment expectations are fairly low, but once you realize you have a good car hopefully you race in the same area that we did for the last four years.”
Those last four years have seen the technical side done by Adrian Newey, who has made winning cars for Vettel. But Newey himself does not really approve of the new noses that almost all teams are using. “It’s supposedly been done on the grounds of safety,” Newey said. “It’s meant to reduce the chance of a car being launched if one car hits another in the manner, for example, when Mark Webber went up the back of [Heikki] Kovalainen a few years ago. Whether it really makes a difference or not is a much more moot point, but it’s been deemed that it’s safer so that’s what we’ve had to go for.
“It’s a funny regulation because it calls for a maximum side-view height and then on top of that there is an area 50mm in front of the nose that we have to meet and that area is quite low down – much lower than the side view. What you end up with is almost two noses, the main bulk of the nose and a bulb sticking out from that to satisfy the regulations. I think it’s an awful shame. To me the aesthetics of a Formula One car are important, the car should look good and not many of the owners of these noses could really love them.”    
With most of the first day of testing over, at long last Caterham came out with their entry, the CT05, after originally intending to bring the car out first. However, a glitch made the car delay the launch until 3:15 PM. Second driver Marcus Ericsson was at the wheel all day, while his lead driver Kamui Kobyaschi , back for the first time in  F1 for two years, will wait until later in the week before testing.
This Tuesday was a big day for the four teams for launching their new entries as well as seeing how the cars work out. However, by what the results have been, testing will be more important this year than ever.
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