Brilliant news for Formula 1 fans on the eve of the first test of the new season: oversteer is back.
Or at least it will be in greater doses than for many a year according to Paddy Lowe, the technical director at Mercedes, thanks to the torquey nature of the new-for-2014 1.6-litre V6 turbo engines, which have banished the 2.4-litre naturally aspirated V8s of recent years to history.
Lowe, like everyone else in the paddock here in Jerez, Spain is cautious about making too many predictions until the cars have run in anger for the first time, but he's confident that the rule shake up – led by the engine changes, but also including allowing the teams one-third less fuel over a race distance, considerably more electrical energy every lap and a reduction in aerodynamic aids – will make for a better spectacle.
"I really think the torque characteristics of the new turbo engines mean we'll see more oversteer than we have done for a while," said Lowe. "With the kind of torque curve we have, plus the reduction in downforce, it is going to be exciting. Ineterestingly, the engines appear to sound better too – they've got some guts behind them, and then you've got the sound of the turbo spooling up on top of that. In fact, one of the most interesting sounds is the turbo spooling down when the car comes in the pits – it keeps going for around 15 seconds even when the driver is off the throttle."