2014 cars will be tough to drive - Button
Jenson Button is expecting the 2014 cars to be more difficult to drive due to increased torque and less downforce - a prospect that he does not find exciting.
The new engines will be fitted with fuel flow restrictors and lower rev limiters, but will still produce a similar level of power when combined with the energy recovery boost systems. However, they will also produce significantly more torque, which is set to increase the chances of wheelspin at low revs and make the cars more of a handful.
Button has driven McLaren's 2014 car in the team's simulator, and while he believes such work will be important, he said drivers will only really know what they are up against when the cars hit the track in January.
"It's about getting an understanding of the power unit and how we are going to put the power down, because it's not going to be easy. There's going to be a lot of simulator work and running through other things that are going to help us put the power down, because I don't think any of us are used to having torque. I've raced for 14 years in F1 and I've never had torque so it's going to be a new experience.
"In reality I think it will be easier than in the simulator. The initial oversteer is very difficult to feel in the simulator - that initial feeling that you get through your bum in a race car. I think it will be easier in reality but we're going to find it tough. In high speed corners you're off power for so long and you just can't get the power down. You're waiting the whole time. It's not like now with so much downforce and so little torque that you can just floor it and even if you run a bit wide you just understeer off the circuit. But with the 2014 car if you floor it in a corner like Turn 3 at Barcelona, you don't just drive off, you immediately lose the rear because there is so much torque. It's not a balance issue, you have torque and we've never had that before.
"I don't think it will be more exciting to drive. We are going to be fighting for grip the whole time, so I don't think that will make it more exciting."
Asked if that would detract from the enjoyment of F1, he said: "If you've got a quick car it won't [be less enjoyable], because you'll still be fighting at the front. I think over a qualifying lap you might not get such a buzz, unless you've put it on pole. The racing will still be exciting, but I think it will be more close and there will be more fighting. There is a lot anyway but the way the cars will be, with less downforce, harder tyres and more torque, you'll get close racing a bit like GP2 because it will be so much easier to make a mistake."
McLaren is known for having some of the best simulator tools in Formula One and Button believes that will be an advantage as long as the wind tunnel is providing reliable data to feed it.
"It's very important but also you have to make sure that it is correlating correctly with reality and everything that's coming out of the wind tunnel is correct," he said. "If you're putting the numbers into the simulator and they're wrong then you're driving around in a car that is completely different to reality and you're not really learning as much as you should. It's always tough to know how much to believe.
"But, yes, I think the simulator is good and we turn up at a grand prix weekend and FP1 is probably our quickest session over the whole race weekend and that's because we've done our homework [in the simulator]. It's not because we've worked harder, it's because we have better tools at our disposal. So, yes, it is good and we're spending quite a bit of time in there over the winter. It's just a very different feeling with the engine because the revs are so low and you are using very different gears to what we are using now. One of the most important things is to get the sound queuing correct, because if you don't you get completely lost."
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