August 29, 2014 (GMM).- Last Sunday's Belgian grand prix was the first time the new 'power unit' era proved faster than the screaming V8-powered machines of 2013.
So far this year, the turbo V6s - combined with lower downforce and heavier cars - have proved at least several seconds slower than the pace of the past.
But at Spa-Francorchamps, the fastest lap on Sunday - achieved by championship leader Nico Rosberg - was two tenths quicker than the corresponding race of 2013, won by champion Sebastian Vettel.
An analysis by the German specialist magazine Auto Motor und Sport shows why.
First, aerodynamics plays a lesser role at Spa, where the more powerful turbo 'power units' of 2014 resulted in an average of 20+kph more top speed than the 2013-spec V8s on the long straights.
Last year the best performance on the speedtrap was Felipe Massa with 307.2 Kph compared to this year in the hands of Nico Rosberg who marked 314.1 on the speedometer.
Interestingly, the real maximum speed is not recorded on the 'speedtrap' designated area just after "Radillion", and here we see a more significant difference.
Adrian Sutil registered 322.2 Kph in 2013 while this year; Nico Hulkenberg marked a very fast 344.6 Kph, more than 22 kph faster in a place where 70% the cars go at full throttle.
Also, the cornering deficit in 2014 was minimised at Spa last weekend, with Pirelli bringing the soft and medium compounds to Belgium compared to the medium and hard choice of last year.
All this means that for the Italian GP at Monza, a similar result can be expected.