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Teams facing 'unprecedented challenge' ahead of 2014 regulations
Lotus technical director James Allison says the teams are facing an "unprecedented challenge" at present ahead of the 2014 technical regulation changes.
With a new engine formula being introduced in 2014 there are also a number of technical changes which will see a new generation of cars from that year onwards. With the current regulations remaining relatively stable next season, Allison revealed it's a unique year as teams are working on three cars at once.
When asked when focus will fully shift from the current E20 to next season's car, Allison said it wasn't a situation that teams are familiar with.
"This question comes up a lot at the tail end of the season," Allison said. "In a normal year, the answer would be that the focus has pretty much shifted to next year's car already. This is not a normal year though. Every team on the grid is facing the unprecedented challenge of working simultaneously on three cars.
"There are two principal reasons for this: Firstly, the rules for 2013 are relatively unchanged which - combined with the quite tight grid - means that there is still merit in developing the 2012 car even this late in the season. Secondly, the looming shadow of the 2014 regulations demands our attention. Anyone who followed the sport in 2009 will know that a large shake up in the regulations presents both opportunity and hazard which can significantly re-jig the traditional pecking order of the teams. The regulatory revolution for 2014 makes the 2009 changes look trivial by comparison."
Allison added that teams are left with a tough choice regarding where they should focus their resources at present.
"Choices have to be made with three babies competing for development food; do you put resources into the E20 and get as much out of it as possible or is it more prudent to make the most of what will be 'the last hurrah' for this generation of rules in 2013? Alternatively, is it right to focus more on the longer term future with the 2014 rules that will form the basis of the next generation of F1 cars? It's a very finely balanced judgement and one that is a fascinating challenge. By the end of the 2014 season we should know if we made the correct decisions."