Date:Thursday February 6 2014
With one winter test session down, the Formula One drivers have begun to get a feel for how their cars will feel next season.
Dramatic regulation changes to engines and aerodynamics have made the look, sound and feel of 2014 Formula One cars very different to their long distant cousins of 2013.
Regulation changes to the front wing and nose for safety reasons have brought about some interesting new designs for Formula One, with some teams designs more attractive than others.
The switch to turbo V6 machines has meant that the scream of the old V8's has gone, while the regulation changes to aero has meant the feel of the cars has also changed for the drivers.
With a loss of downforce on the cars in 2014, the cornering speed of modern day Formula One cars are now a lot slower.
'We have lost downforce, around 20-30 per cent from last year, and now also the tyres are one step harder. It makes it more difficult all the time. Sauber's Adrian Sutil told Autosport Magazine.
'It is a shame because F1 is a bit too slow at the moment. From the engine side it is very powerful, so we are not down on the power side, it is nice to drive and nice to have a turbocharger.
'But from the aerodynamics, I think we have to step up a little bit, because F1 should also be quick in the corners.
Formula One teams will continue to improve both performance and reliability as testing continues later this month, but the fastest timed lap of McLaren's Kevin Magnussen in Jerez was a staggering 8 seconds slower than the lap record of Michael Schumacher in 2004.
In fact Autosport Magazine have put a comparison table together for pre-season Jerez testing sessions between 1999 and 2014 and this is the slowest Formula One has been in over a decade.
So the difference in performance is clear for all to see.
But despite the lack of cornering speed, Fernando Alonso remains positive about the spectacle that Formula One will produce next season.
'The forces and speed are less in the corners, but on the other hand there are more parameters to control, more buttons on the steering wheel.
'There is more criticality in terms of driving and having control of the car in high-speed corners and with traction. It's just different.
'I've driven karts that are half a minute slower than F1 and I still sweated and enjoyed driving.
'As long as you are driving at the limit, the lap time you do, it doesn't change the emotional point of view. This car is still fun to drive.' said the former double Formula One World Champion.
Date:Thursday February 6 2014
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