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Button quickest as Renault-powered teams suffer
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Posted By: Matt Meadows  |  29 Jan 2014   |  6:07 pm GMT  |  209 comments

McLaren’s Jenson Button topped the timesheets in Jerez today, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, but the second of day of pre-season testing was defined by problems for Renault-powered teams.

While Mercedes-powered teams logged 212 laps today and Ferrari-powered cars put in 100 tours of the Spanish circuit, Red Bull Racing, Caterham and Toro Rosso, which all use Renault’s Energy F1-2014 power unit, completed just 19 laps today.

Sebastian Vettel managed just eight laps in his RB10 before the team called a halt to proceedinga citing a problem with the car’s energy store. Toro Rosso fared even worse, with rookie Daniil Kvyat stranded in the garage all day due to “electrical problems” with his STR9.

“It’s obviously not ideal, but it’s better to take the time to get to the root of the issue, so the decision to stop early today is probably a good one,” said Red Bull Race Engineering Director Andy Damerum.

“We cured the issue we had yesterday and ran that reliably this morning and it will be the same process this evening. It’s a massive learning curve for everyone and it’s simply a case of working through it step by step.”

It was a similar situation for Caterham, where Marcus Ericsson’s CT05 succumbed to an electrical issue in the final hour of the day. He’d managed just 11 laps.

In contrast, Ferrari and Mercedes-powered  teams enjoyed a relatively trouble free day. After yesterday’s front-wing failure for Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W05 ran faultlessly and completed ninety-seven laps, including two 20-lap+ stints. It will come as welcoming news to Mercedes, who had all four of its customers in the top five at the close of play.

For Ferrari, who topped the times yesterday, it was another productive day. Raikkonen finished his day’s work with 47 laps on the board and a time of 1:24.812, just over six tenths down on quickest man Button.

The day began in wet conditions following an overnight shower in Southern Spain, which led to a decision to bring the dedicated wet-tyre testing session planned for Friday forward to today.

Jerez Pre-season Test, Day Two
1. Jenson Button McLaren 1min 24.165secs
2. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1min 24.812secs
3. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1min 25.344secs
4. Nico Rosberg Germany 1min 25.588secs
5. Sergio Perez Mexico 1min 28.376secs
6. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1min 33.270secs
7. Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1min 37.975secs
8. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1min 38.320secs

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209 Comments
  1. Dan Wood says:

    It’ll be interesting to see how the new Honda engines fare against the established engines this time next year and whether McLaren will be disadvantaged as a result.

    1. AuraF1 says:

      Should be interesting – though of course Renault started their power train system first and it doesn’t seem to have made a difference yet. Plus Honda will be bringing a bucket full of money and no matter how much it’s denied they are going to get a good look and understanding of the Mercedes unit just from McLarens integration team.

      It might even be an advantage having a cheat sheet to ‘work from’…

  2. Sebee says:

    I have got to get me some of that AkzoNobel chrome paint. You think it would be too much on a road car?

    Meanwhile…I breathe deeply and calm myself as the Renault teams are not making it happen so far.

  3. ian says:

    Maybe Lotus aren’t missing all that much after all …

    1. Fareed says:

      Have they signed with Renault yet? May be knocking on Ferrari or Merc’s door soon??

  4. Stuart Harrison says:

    Nico Rosberg is driving for team “Germany” and Perez for “Mexico” I see…? :)

    1. Israel Rios says:

      Haha, it’s true.

  5. Sujith says:

    I would have thought they would have deserved a special mention. Especially considering how far they’ve come and how pleased they were with the day.

    Was fun to see the 2 flying finns go blow for blow in the track.

    What a wonderful turn around for McLaren! Really such an awesome show by Button. Loving it already. I really don’t know what Lotus is gonna do in Bahrain. considering Renault engine runners are facing big problems.

    Still early days, Redbull will bounce back tomorrow for sure. I am loving Pre-Season testing so far.

    Ferrari looks reasonably pleased with their day and Kimi was awesome as usual giving us the firs overtake of the 2014 season :)

    As always GO KIMI!!

    James, no special mention for Williams and Valtteri Bottas’s day? The team seems fairly pleased with how things are going. They were the best of the Mercedes Customer teams after McLaren that is… but worth a special mention.

  6. Seán Craddock says:

    Could we have some analysis from Mark Gillan on McLaren’s rear suspension please? It looks really interesting!

  7. Richard says:

    Well of course we can’t read anything into the times yet, but one thing is clear in that the Mercedes unit is the more reliable with Mercedes themselves just having a slight wobble yesterday with the detached nose. Indeed once fixed Nico Rosberg demonstrated just how reliable the Mercedes car was. I expect McLaren are having a sigh of relief with their car although no direct comparisons can be drawn yet. If Red Bull had a weakness in the past it was their energy recovery systems, and that seems to be proving their early Achilles heel.

    1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      Well, actually the Ferrari power unit hasn’t had a problem yet, while the force india caused a red flag today due to engine problem. But yes, Mercedes teams average number of laps today was 53, Ferrari was 50 and Renault was 9, clearly a difference there…

      1. Richard says:

        Yes the Ferrari looks strong, but they have stopped on track a few times, whereas the Merc has been seemless apart from when the nose fell off which definately is not powertrain related. I’m beginning to think McLaren may have the fastest car with the innovative rear suspension, certainly any increased downforce should put them in front for a while, but early days, and is it legal? – I suspect it is.

    2. Alexander Supertramp says:

      97 laps! Things are looking good.

    3. Grant H says:

      Agree like you say times are meaningless but renault power is looking unreliable!!!

    4. Quade says:

      Its really scary to think that without the wing mishap, Lewis could have done about a 100 laps like Nico did today. That would have been about 200 laps in two days, a staggering amount when compared to teams (in fact 4 times the combined running of the entire field).

      1. JackL says:

        Why is no one talking about the fact that for the first time in half a decade, the cars actually look different? I love the variety up and down the grid, ugly or otherwise.

      2. James Clayton says:

        They have been

      3. Wellbalanced says:

        Totally agree, this is so exciting. Did you are the amount of media at the first day of Jerez? Check out Ted’s first day notebook video on Sky F1 website for an idea of the excitement.

        I now genuinely think the following cars are very good looking: Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull, Mercedes.

  8. Sebee says:

    What if McLaren and Button win the championships this year?

    Not good for Mercedes AMG, but great way to end what has been a very long relationship.

    (I’m trying to find alternate endings to 2014 in case Vettel doesn’t win.)

    1. Alexander Supertramp says:

      2 days, 11 laps, not a great start.
      Btw, last year Jenson topped the first day of testing too. It’s a cliché, but times mean very little, now more than ever. Reliability and putting in the laps is key and Mercedes blows away the field on that front.

    2. ferggsa says:

      If Renault can fix the issues before mid season, Seb can always win 9 races in a row, including the 50 point finales, so don’t panic yet

      1. H.Guderian says:

        AND ALO will split points with KIM and HAM split points with ROS.

    3. Grant H says:

      Far to early to draw any predictions other than the reliability

    4. Vlad says:

      Let’s start the season now!!! )))

    5. Tim says:

      Resistance is futile – accept the inevitable now and you will be much happier and more contented ;-)

    6. Richard says:

      What is depressing is that the lap times are almost 6 seconds slower than last year. McLaren might have shot themselves in the foot for next year if the Mercedes unit turns out to be rather good, and they will have to go through all the trials and tribulations again with Honda next year.

      1. Jean-Christophe says:

        Shot themselves in the foot? With free engine and a strong partnership? I think they more than happy to go through those tribulations. Besides, Honda won’t be sitting there waiting for next year before developing their engine.

      2. Richard says:

        It depends entirely on the relative merits of the Mercedes/Honda units. In the end it is about winning free engine or not, but of course engines require extended development which is I suspect why the Mercedes unit seems to be so good, however I reserve final judgement until they have run in a hot environment, although without doubt Mercedes will have carried out hot field trials.

      3. Chris NZ says:

        I doubt it. Honda have an engine going already and im sure they’ll be running it on track in some form of car whether it be an old mclaren or a formula nippon car.

        They’ll be able to get some data out of mclaren, even though mercedes will try and stop them.

      4. Richard says:

        Time will tell!

    7. Anon says:

      Would be funny if they switched to Honda and were useless after being strong in ’14.

      1. Random 79 says:

        Depends on your perspective:

        Outside the team: Funny :)
        Inside the team: Arrrrrgh!!! :(

    8. Miha Bevc says:

      What? You don’t believe in Vettel? :)

      I’m starting to think double points are great. If Renault engine sucks in the beginning, they will catch up and Vettel will win the title at the last race. What about this “alternate” ending?

      1. Hendo says:

        Seb won’t have to wait until the last race… I hear the Bernie has finally listened to the fans and wants to change the “double points for the last race” … He’s now written to the teams wanting “double points for the last 3 races”.

        Surely that will make all the fans happy?

      2. Sebee says:

        Sign me up for that ending ASAP! It would be so funny. I thought about it, but didn’t want to say it in comments when the rule came out.

        I believe. I’m just a touch nervous. Need to calm down and carry on.

    9. Random 79 says:

      The interesting thing will be that if Button wins a second WDC in a McLaren will that silence the nay-sayers?

      1. Jean-Christophe says:

        Button can only win with a far superior car.

      2. NickH says:

        I agree, he does need a superior car to win. This is mainly down to Button’s driving style which is referred to as ‘smooth’ i.e. he makes the corners longer because he does not rotate the car mid corner so he just holds one long steering angle. Unlike Lewis or Kimi does, they rotate the car. Kimi and lewis hands/steering will look messier than Button in the corners because they are rotating the car, but they are getting round it quicker. Watch one of Rob Wilson’s videos about driving techniques http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmEoJCKhsqo

      3. H.Guderian says:

        Like SEB.

      4. Random 79 says:

        @H.Guderian

        You mean like a Toro Rosso?

      5. H.Guderian says:

        @Random 79
        Maldonado won a race in a WILLIAMS.
        So… what’s your point???

      6. Goob says:

        That would just prove Formula One has absolutely nothing to do with racing… even worse then Vettel.

      7. Random 79 says:

        Yep, still shaking my head…

      8. Voodoopunk says:

        Great deduction, so the only thing to do with racing is if the driver you support wins?

        What happened to all the Formula 1 fans, now we have people like this.

      9. Andrew J says:

        Sadly, I doubt it. Everyone will say it’s ‘cos he has the fastest car.

      10. Joost says:

        Actually no, you have to beat your teammates over and over again to do that. And please DON’T start about 2011.

      11. AuraF1 says:

        You know why Lewis’ wing fell off in testing? Jenson Button and Martin Whitmarsh did it.

        C’mon Lewis conspiracy theorists – you know it’s true!

      12. Random 79 says:

        Fair enough. I call your attention to:

        2002
        2003
        2004
        2005
        2006
        2007
        2009
        2013

        In the interests of science I should also point out that in 2008 neither Button or Barrichello scored many points due to the bad Honda that year and that in 2012 there was only two points difference between Button and Hamilton so you could pretty much call that even…in fact the only year that he was “thrashed” by his team-mate was in 2010.

        So in 8 out of 11 years (or 9 out of 12 if you include the year that shall not be named) he beat his team-mate.

        Does that qualify or are we still on the Button bashing band-wagon?

      13. Random 79 says:

        Ahhhhh, there it is: The devastating sound of silence :)

    10. Ahmad says:

      This was a wet day test and we know that Button is better in the wet (relatively to others) than he is in the dry.

      So do not assume McLaren are fastest, but they don’t seem to be far off.

      It seems the Merc-powered teams hold a clear advantage and are the strongest group, which will favour them even more.

      Wolff has played a masterstroke by getting Williams (where he also holds shares) to switch to Merc power. That gives the Merc group more cars to test with, and would help improve Williams’ finishing position compared to last year, earning him more money. A clear win-win for Merc and Williams.

      1. Carl Craven says:

        Methinks Button was fastest in the dry too!

      2. Ahmad says:

        On second reading, I think you are right, that only the morning was wet, and the track has been drying.

        Well, maybe McLaren has found something at the rear to be so quick out of the box, so even if Rosberg went for long stints and not for a lap time, that it is still impressive from a team doing so badly last year.

        Couldn’t find pictures on any website of the McLaren’s rear section. I found the Merc rear view but it seemed normal / unimpressive from my layman’s eyes.

        Anyway, the Merc-powered cars clearly seem to hold an advantage. It might be close between Merc and McLaren, which would be good for the show.

    11. KRB says:

      Holy geez people, it’s the 2nd day of testing! No points handed out … if it’s not true to say that winter testing means nothing, it’s not wrong to say it means very little.

      Sebee, I thought you were ok with a former great marquee gaining some success? Perhaps not.

      Button’s time means nothing. Didn’t they set a great time last year, and then we found out months later that it was due to them putting on a piece of the floor backwards? If 1:24′s are what we’re looking at, as a quick lap, I’d be very surprised. Rosberg running a 20+ lap stint consistently in the 1:27′s, seems more impressive to me.

      Just looked up FP2 times from last year’s Spanish GP, and Webber’s quick lap was 1:22.891, but his long-run times were in the 1:30′s, a gap of 7+ seconds. I expect that gap to be less this year. The max fuel load is less, so fuel won’t slow down the longer runs as much. Then on the flipside, the heavier cars and the slower tires should lead to slower quali lap times.

      1. Sebee says:

        Of course it is just testing. Of course it means little.

        To be honest with you KRB, I really do enjoy a GP as an event. I am open to many outcomes and really want to watch an enjoyable race – to me. That could be an eventful exciting race or demonstration of perfection. I don’t walk away irritated from a GP if Vettel doesn’t win. I’m too old to be that attached to one horse and “ruin” the rest of my day of it doesn’t happen. I basically consider it a cherry on the centre of the cake if it happens.

        But some cakes, like a black forest for example have many cherries, one on every slice. A GP is like a black forest cake tp me. You’re not sure which slice you’ll get, but I try and find happiness in getting a slice at each GP. Oh, and it will usually have a cherry on it. Deep. But by that I mean it’s not all Vettel all the time for me.
        I’m looking forward to seeing the Nico/Lewis contest pt. Deux. The Kimi spanking of Alonso. Vettel and RBR dealing with challenges and perhaps coming out on top an incredible 5th time. Even looking forward to Monaham, the upcoming offspring of the CT05 and the Monaco tunnel.

        Many story lines to find potential joy in for 2014.

    12. Tim says:

      Just imagine. No more ‘faaaaantastic drive Seb’ at the end of each race. It’s almost too delicious a prospect to contemplate ;-)

      1. AuraF1 says:

        Even as a McLaren fan I’m waiting for Ricciardo to win one just so I can hear if Horner uses his Seb voice (oh you clever boy!) or his Webber voice (yeah, alright, not bad, stop talking now)…

      2. Sebee says:

        I just love pre-season. So many dreams. Like lilypads in a pond. On which ones will the frog hop? On which ones will the frog poop?

      3. Tim says:

        @Sebee
        I think the frog may have already pooped in the Renault electrics ;-)

      4. Sebee says:

        Easy there Tim. Don’t count your MercChikens before they hatch.

        I’ve always said that RBR Team is made of Grade A Champion DNA. They have held it together 4 years running. Let me remind you about 2012, Vettel winning 1 race in first 9 was it? If they pull it all together and mount a proper challange in 2014, I think it will be an epic achievement. I’ve said over and over again I think it’s way harder to keep your spot on the top of the mountain year after year than it is to challange and make it happen one year. I think I’ll have to demand a pint from you after Abu Dhabi for enduring all this pre-season torture Tim. Actually, I’m going to need one today to decompress the tension after this Jarez test. :-)

      5. Tim says:

        Don’t worry Sebee, I have kept a firm check on my expectations – not even counted my eggs, let alone work out how many chickens I may have. Very early days this test.
        However, you can’t really blame the non Red Bull fans for enjoying all the egg on the faces of Christian and his chums. After all, we have endured the last 4 years of finging waggling, faaaaaantastic and yabba dabba doo etc.
        In fact, if Red Bull and Renault keep on tripping over their shoe laces like this, I’ll have to order in some more of the old fizz – I have got through several bottles this week as I’ve been knocking back a glass every time I read about another of their woes :-)

  9. FerrariFan says:

    OK there will be so many posts on this today, but I have to ask as I am eager for an explanation from an expert.

    What about the rear suspension of the Mclaren. Have they found the magic solution for increasing downforce or is it outright illegal. If its legal then how much of a benefit will it have? are we going to see a repeat of a run away Jenson Button championship? How easy will it be for other teams to copy it?

    I get a feeling that this year its going to be between Mercedes and Mclaren.

    1. James Allen says:

      We will have insight from Mark Gillan soon

      1. Sufyaan says:

        Intrigued about this suspension. Please tell me more :)

      2. Grant H says:

        Look forward to this, wonder how the macca device could compare in terms of additional downforce to the brawn double diffuser if its in the same ball park macca could be strong!!!

    2. Richard says:

      I must have missed that! What about McLaren’s rear suspension? I did notice that McLaren’s front suspension anchorage points were different to other cars like the Mercedes and Ferrari. So I’m intrigued to read about it.

      1. ACx says:

        I could come across as all clever, or just post this link to the proper clever folks:

        http://somersf1.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/mclaren-mp4-29-upgrade-wishbone-wings.html

        (Hope posting links isnt a problem. If so, delete and accept my apology)

      2. Richard says:

        Thanks, just had a quick look at that, but will study for longer when I have the time to get a clearer understanding of what is going on there. It looks interesting though, and if it allows McLaren to seal a March on the opposition then who knows! – Magnusson for the title in his rookie year!

      3. Rob T says:

        It’s not the mounting points, the rear suspension has flanks that form part of the suspension itself but for pure aerodynamic performance. The flanks sit inside the wheel across the rear of the car and look more like a rear wing effectively providing them a beam wing that they all lost this year with the reg changes. They idea is that they sit up in the slow corners creating more downforce and as the speed increase and the increased downforce pushes the entire car (and therefore the suspension components) down the flanks sit lower reducing the drag.

        It wouldn’t surprise me if this is as potent a weapon as the DDD was or the EBD was, so if the Merc engine/ERS is the most reliable this year McLaren could be smiling ear to ear. If that’s the case you have to feel sorry for Martin Whitmarsh…..

    3. Tim says:

      Gary Anderson has given it the thumbs up – so that’s the kiss of death then ;-)

      1. AuraF1 says:

        Ha ha, true! Sad but true. I think half of the McLaren crew groaned when they read that in Autosport – ‘Stop being on our side Gary, it’s a curse!’

    4. Steve Zodiac says:

      Sorry, I must have missed something, is there a problem with the legallity of Maccas rear end?

    5. Urko says:

      Yeah, that’s exactly what I would like to know. I also think it might be between McL & Merc.

    6. Ticketyboo says:

      Indeed – where is Gary Anderson when you need him to explain this stuff, oh that’s right, the BBC have dumbed down their coverage even further by having NO technical expert coverage this year.

  10. Miha Bevc says:

    Are there any news on how serious are issues with Renault engines? This could have serious effect on the championship!

    1. Sebee says:

      COULD!?!?!?

    2. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      Renault says they have “found the problem”, but its a sentence we have heard a lot in F1 to think it means it will be solved soon…

    3. Tim says:

      I guess all we can do for now is keep our fingers crossed. With any luck Renault’s issues will be very serious ;-)

      1. Voodoopunk says:

        That’s the way, win a world championship with no competition, don’t you hear what they say about Buttons’ championship win in 09?

      2. Scott D says:

        Yes, but historically that has often been the case (such as Mansell’s WDC in 1992 and Schumacher’s titles circa 2001/2, and I dont hear much about them being undeserved). Can you imagine any driver not taking the easist route they could to being a world champ given half the chance? The name on the trophy is all that matters.

      3. Tim says:

        Why would Renaults problems mean there would be no competition for the world championship? If they can’t resolve their problems (and that’s a big if) that would still leave at least 3 teams with the potential to win the championship – which by my reckoning is 2 more than last season!

      4. Voodoopunk says:

        “Can you imagine any driver not taking the easist route they could to being a world champ given half the chance?”

        Of course I can, what I can’t imagine is why people bitch and moan about it when it’s a driver they don’t like.

      5. Tim says:

        what I can’t imagine is why people bitch and moan about it when it’s a driver they don’t like….

        Really?? You can’t imagine why people bitch and moan about a driver THEY DON’T LIKE. Hmmm, that surely is a humdinger of a question you have asked there, a real doozy!
        I’ll have a ponder and get back to you when I have had time to think about it !

      6. Voodoopunk says:

        @Tim

        Personally I find the whole “my driver is better than your driver” and “I hope their engine fails so mine can win” rather contemptible, but each to their own I suppose.

    4. AlexD says:

      I really hope this is the case!!!

      1. Voodoopunk says:

        I certainly hope we don’t see a Merc engine car dominating, how boring would that be, people would be turning off in droves.

    5. Grant H says:

      Rumour spreading that Red bull have big cooling issue and have been seen to be cutting holes in bodywork, if so this will put them behind on development as cooling is pretty fundamental

      1. Tim says:

        The BBC reported the back of the Red Bull was on fire when they returned to the pits after only 3 laps late on Tuesday. If true, this would support the cooling problem rumour.

      2. AlexD says:

        I really-really hope so!!! Even though I never wish bad things to people…but for the sake of F1, I hope Red Bull will struggle massively.

    6. Anil Parmar says:

      Well it’s been rumoured for a few weeks that they were struggling however after the session they said that they will be able to fix to issues going into tomorrow.

      They did mention to the press however that the cooling problem is Red Bull’s issue, which likely means they’ve considerably messed up their cooling as a result of the packaging being tight.

      Darren Heath, the photographer, said he saw Red Bull cutting slits into the side of the car to cool it down but it doesn’t appear to have worked.

      It’s going to be a long few days for Red Bull.

    7. Tim says:

      I read yesterday that Renault have issued instructions to all of ‘their’ teams not to exceed 250km or 56 laps during the whole weeks test. Not a good start.

  11. Joel says:

    Looking good for the Merc powered teams. Nice to see Williams putting some competitive times; hopefully this year they could revive and hit the front. To put the times in perspective, both RAI & BUT was on medium, while ROS was on HARD. BUTTON did a couple of impressively quick runs. Din’t follow Ferrari in detail, however ROS was pretty consistent in his long runs.

    1. Colombia Concalvez says:

      Links please ?..

      1. Joel says:

        I was following live timing in autosport.

  12. Sujith says:

    Was fun to see the 2 flying finns go blow for blow in the track.

    What a wonderful turn around for McLaren! Really such an awesome show by Button. Loving it already. I really don’t know what Lotus is gonna do in Bahrain considering Renault engine runners are facing big problems.

    Still early days, Redbull will bounce back tomorrow for sure. I am loving Pre-Season testing so far.

    Ferrari looks reasonably pleased with their day and Kimi was awesome as usual giving us the first overtake of the 2014 season :)

    As always GO KIMI!!

    James, no special mention for Williams and Valtteri Bottas’s day? The team seems fairly pleased with how things are going. They were the best of the Mercedes Customer teams after McLaren that is… but worth a special mention.

  13. goferet says:

    Looking back in hindsight, Lotus were right on the money to skip the Jerez test for with these new rules and Renault’s fragile altenators, it was right to give them time to get on top of the various issues before strapping in the complete package in Bahrain.

    It must be frustrating for the teams that the most expensive engine could make them miss out of lots of mileage.

    Anyway, it’s been a good wet weather testing day unfortunately we didn’t have fully wet conditions so they could test the wets seeing as these are never used.

    Good work by the Mercedes and Ferrari teams but seeing as Jenson and Kimi appear to have been chasing lap times is rather dubious.

    Impressive stuff from Rosberg for stringing together more laps than the entire grid on Tuesday and that’s what they call a nice days work.

    1. Chris Normal says:

      Seeing the missed test as positive is an interesting way to interpret it. I guess it is possible that Renault will have worked out all the problems and Lotus won’t have any specific to their own designs. I would still assume getting the bugs worked out in Jerez would be the most advantageous strategy.

    2. Tim says:

      Impressive stuff from Rosberg for stringing together more laps than the entire grid on Tuesday and that’s what they call a nice days work…

      I concur, it’s early days but it’s always good to start well – let’s hope they continue in this vein :-)

      1. goferet says:

        @ Tim

        here here

    3. AuraF1 says:

      Erm why the Renault alternators? The problem has been one of the battery and energy recovery systems integration. Lotus would be adding to the Renault knowledge base by now but it’s clearly money issues that have caused their delayed debut.

    4. Pedanticoldgit says:

      1- You can’t look back in hindsight until after Bahrain.
      2- As every hardware or software engineer knows, it doesn’t matter how much simulation/ unit/ module testing you do, when you test the system in the real working environment you will find problems you never ever anticipated. Are the other teams going to share their experiences with Lotus? No. Lotus on day one at Bahrain will be where the rest were here, yesterday.
      3- What have dodgy alternators on last year’s 2.4 V8′s got to do with today’s power trains?

      1. goferet says:

        Oh I see

        Cheers.

    5. Monktonnik says:

      If there continues to be drive train problems it may be an inspired decision as it would give them a chance to evaluate the different nose configurations.

      As far as the times go, JB was fastest in the first day last year.

      1. Michael says:

        Exactly, these times mean nothing. Maybe, people need to be reminded where Button and Mclaren ended up last year.

      2. Mike says:

        What’s last year got to do with this year?

      3. Carl Craven says:

        this is the second day of testing, not the first.

      4. Monktonnik says:

        Sure, but it was probably the first day of more representative running where a number of teams completed a few laps.

        Either way, early testing times don’t necessarily mean the car is fast.

    6. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      I know what you mean about Lotus missing out on the Renault problems, but I doubt Lotus chose to skip the test. It seems they had no option with their situation. Surely they would be there if they had the choice, especially to find out some system test results after the massive regulation changes.

  14. Fireman says:

    That’s pretty impressive amount of laps from all teams using Mercedes and Ferrari power trains. It was only the second day. They are learning fast.

  15. Tov says:

    Seems like Lotus’s call to skip Jerez was not that bad :P

  16. Anne says:

    So far so good for the Mercedes and Ferrari powered teams. I´d really appreciate deep analysis and information about the Renault engine

  17. Ross says:

    I wonder if Lotus were hanging back before spending the little money they have on a dodgy Renault engine?

  18. radi says:

    great news.

    the million dollar question is is this trend last during the season. It is one day of course, but take into account how long it took red bull to come in terms of their Kers system the last 2 seasons…

  19. cometeF1 says:

    Not the best of start for the Renault V6 that is for sure.

    Rosberg with 97 laps today in his Mercedes on the other hand, is quite a feat.

    McLaren would be satisfied after yesterday’s false start, even if it does not mean too much, being at the top of the time sheets would still be a positive boost for the team.

    Ferrari seems all business and so is Kimi. I would thing that they won’t be too unhappy after the first 2 days of testing.

    As if there was not enough already, the pressure on RB & Vettel has increased a fair bit. Still very early days but far from ideal beginning for them.

    Many predicted that the Mercedes would be the best engine. It seems to be reliable so far. will it also be the most powerful and most fuel sufficient as well? Still along way to go before that is known. Marc

  20. Matt says:

    While Renault teams appear to be having installation nightmares, is there anything to suggest that these will manifest themselves later in the year? Sure, the cars will take a lot more understanding than before, but F1 teams have a knack of turning difficult situations around. Too early to write anyone off yet. Well, maybe Caterham and Marussia again.

  21. Gaz Boy says:

    I remember Gary Anderson talking about this last year, that it is possible for one engine manufacturer to have a clear advantage over the other two. Of course, way too early to start about problems for Renault. Netherless, it’s hardly ideal for the Charging Bull. Still, early days.

  22. Bru72 says:

    Jenson did well to get Babar the elephant round the track that fast ;)

  23. Andy says:

    The McLaren is growing on me. Read that as you will.

    1. Alex says:

      I agree! I think it’s almost beautiful.

  24. Perez is from Mexico, and Gutierrez is from Sauber :)

  25. Andy says:

    Wouldn’t get too excited bout button topping the time sheets! Seem to recall he was the fastest at last years first test and look how the season turned out. What it does seem apparent is that merc and Ferrari engines are the most reliable at this stage.

    1. Carl Craven says:

      lol selective memories people have. Plus I doubt seriously Mclaren would make the same mistake twice.

      Mclaren put in ONE good lap last year that astounded a lot. This year he has topped a dry and a wet session.

      While it’s still only testing, I doubt we are going to see the debacle that Mclaren experienced last year.

      Let’s not forget the guy who designed last years car now works for mercedes.

      1. Andy says:

        I believe it was Tim goss that designed the mclaren, and even if it was paddy Lowe, that’s the same man who was involved with 2012 mclaren that should have won the championship, had it not been for their incompetence.

      2. AuraF1 says:

        Paddy Lowe oversaw the 2013, Goss oversaw the 2012. It was part of McLarens ‘alternating’ years team split.

        To be fair to Lowe, everyone at McLaren agreed to try and be radical for once and put a whole load of new suspension geometry solutions on the car – and McLaren have never been ones for a stab in the dark. It was too much to learn and Lowe was gone before he could try and oversee a turnaround.

        I think WHitmarsh was rather brave in saying ‘look normally we’d just keep developing this car until it wins, but with 2014 so different let’s just cut our losses, take the pain and come back with a sensible car we understand next year.’

        Naturally Whitmarsh has shouldered the blame for the 2013 failure – though I doubt he’ll get any praise for the 2014 should it be more successful.

      3. Carl Craven says:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McLaren_MP4-28

        According to this website, Paddy Lowe designed the 2013 challenger.

      4. James Allen says:

        No, Paddy isn’t a designer

        Tim Goss headed the design team

  26. Robert in San Diego says:

    I learned years ago not to read anything special into preseason testing. However it is nice to see the two cars that I said were the best looking from an F1 point of view are at the front. That is after many subscribers told me to get my eyes tested for picking them.

  27. Sri says:

    For those who are sying Lotus decision to miss this test was not bad (or in fact good): What if Lotus faces these issues in Bahrain that other Renault-powered teams are facing now? They will be behind the learning curve by few days. It is not the engine always, sometimes it could be how the engine and package interact with each other. There could be other issues like Mercedes found about its front wing which has nothing to do with engine. Always, more testing, the better it is. I won’t believe if anyone says other way round.

  28. Krishna says:

    That table was confusing, Rosberg and Perez had their nationality next to their names instead of teams – so when looking for the 4/5 mercedes powered teams in the top 5…I was quite confused.

  29. OJ says:

    Yet again, JB demonstrates why he is the best driver on the grid. His laps were impressively quick and measured. I feel we could be in for another 2009 in which JB will finally have a car worthy of his tremendous talent. These new regs will prove to suit Button’s style and if it comes down to a Button v Vettel or Alonso showdown, I favour Button because of his tactical and technical approach as well as his better mind management.

    1. Adam says:

      God I hope so! Go JB, I’ll be standing by the track in Melbourne going mental if he’s running well after last year :-)

    2. AlexD says:

      Is he the best? Which grid are you talking about?

  30. shri says:

    - I read that Merc putting flowvis on Nico’ car at end of session implying they are comfortable with system checks and now at next stage in testing.

    - Meanwhile if Renault powered engines cannot get their act together in next 2 days they will be on a backfoot to start with.

    - Blessing in disguise for Lotus with Renault problems ??

  31. Maxxus says:

    Impressive runs by the Merc-powered teams. Earlier tip to their development advantage so far has been correct. Glad Williams are showing signs of life, interested to see what Massa can do in the machine now that they have some good data from Bottas. Next couple of days should see lap times drop quite a bit I think. Bahrain should be a real shootout for the performance advantage between the Merc-power and Ferrari.

  32. Grant H says:

    Saw some footage today interesting to see back ends of the car rear ends stepping out in corners, guess due to torque increase / downforce reduction,

  33. Rich B says:

    Mercedes were rumoured to have done a better job than Renault almost before their engine was built, why? Renault’s just as familiar with turbo and hybrid engines but so far (I know it’s very early) all is not well.

  34. Merlinghnd says:

    It would be ironic if McLaren did win the championship and constructors this year as the foundation would have been laid down under the Martin Whitmarsh regime.

    Time will tell.

  35. rafa says:

    Newey´s been reported on the media stating he found the new ERS system potentially unsafe. He also complained about the new “noses” being risky if they “submarined” the car in front and has publicly bemoaned the loss of many of the features that allowed the precedent RBR cars dominate the grid. I would rather rBR had a good car and that there was an open challenge from various teams -although if the alternative to two or three horrible seasons on their side are complete and utter domination I prefer the former to the latter. At any rate, if Renault and RBR find themselves in a tight spot I wonder how long before they complain about the new rules…

    1. Tim says:

      I wonder how long before they complain about the new rules…

      Your wait is over, they are complaining already – encouraging sign if you ask me :-)

    2. Tim says:

      Just imagine. If Red Bull really do struggle this season, we won’t have to listen to that ghastly little man (CH)at the end of the race saying ‘faaaaaantastic drive Seb’. It’s almost too delicious a prospect to contemplate ;-)

    3. Sasidharan says:

      They’ll complain till they get the rules changed to suit them.

      1. H.Guderian says:

        +1.000.000

    4. Richard says:

      It is easy to complain when you’re on a bit of a streak…

    5. Bring back V12's !!! says:

      Like they did last year with the tyres? 2013 C’ship was ruined when FIA gave into Red Bull.

  36. Sarvar says:

    Pre-season rumors about Mercedes power-trains seem to appear prophetic))

    Guess what Fernando is gonna do next year if Kimi wins the title, hopefully ALO won’t quit F1))

    I still think RB10 is a very fast car.

    1. H.Guderian says:

      And I guess what will be your new nickname in this forum next year.

      Remember: KIM was beaten by ALO in 2013 with a better car. With the same car…

      1. Sarvar says:

        The name ll be the same as it is the real name, mate))
        Seems you’re to be ALO’s fan.

  37. George says:

    Fantastic to see McLaren running well and at the head of the field. Far cry from last year and a great relief. Can’t believe the Bulls will remain in the doldrums for too long so make on McLaren.

    1. James Clayton says:

      “Fantastic to see McLaren running well and at the head of the field. Far cry from last year and a great relief.”

      McLaren were fastest at the first test last year…

    2. Tim says:

      I would keep a hold on that optimism regarding McLaren if I were you – JB was fastest at the same stage last year and look how that translated to the race track!

  38. John Turner says:

    Just hope McLaren put all the Parts on the Right Way Round this Year!

  39. Andrew M says:

    Calling it now, Red Bull finish dead last in the constructors’ championship.

    1. Michael says:

      That would be glorious! I’ve had enough of Vettel, Horner, Newey, and Marco to last a life time!

    2. AlexD says:

      Behind Caterham?

      1. Andrew M says:

        Behind USF1.

      2. Tim says:

        Unlikely, but if God is good and the angels pray really hard, it just might happen ;-)

  40. IP says:

    I can’t wait for a full wet race with these cars. All that torque is going to make life very interesting!

    Between JA and Ted’s Notebooks I’m getting a real buzz. And then I read this from an aussie journo: http://www.theage.com.au/sport/motorsport/chaos-as-f1-tests-new-rules-20140129-31n29.html

    What a fool. Is he even an F1 fan? Does he even have a clue about what goes into this sport? Give me his creds and send me to Jerez instead.

    Keep up the great work James.

    1. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

      Appears to be a copy and paste from the UK Telegraph newspaper.

    2. Daniel Johnson is not an Aussie – he’s a UK journalist working for The Telegraph. He is young, wet behind the ears with no real experience so is out to make some attention-grabbing headlines just to raise his profile. He has no credibility in the sport yet so we can discard his commentary for now. He doesn’t yet realise the error of his ways.

      1. IP says:

        Ah. That explains it then.

  41. Paul says:

    I suspect McLaren are running light in order to top the timesheets since they don’t have a main sponsor yet.

    1. Jonathan says:

      then again maybe they do. Honda logos will be all over the car next year and they can’t mix those with Mercedes logos this year. Title sponsors are long term deals and nobody would sign up for a single year.

      With most teams struggling to keep the cars down to weight, running extra test sensors and other kit to learn about the car the chances of running light are very remote!

  42. Jeff P says:

    Forgive my ignorance, but I always assumed F1 teams used a Dynamometer(Aka Rolling Road) to test driveline/electronics before hitting the track for suspension/aero developmeent?

    I’m stunned by lack of preperation by some of the major teams.

    1. Mike84 says:

      Yes, after years of “We need more testing!”, “It’s ridiculous that we can’t test!”, and then “We need an early test with the new engines”, this is just unbelievable. What a joke!

    2. Jonathan says:

      a rolling road will never deliver the same experience as being out on track. To get somewhere near they would have to set one up in their wind tunnels but can’t due to usage limits. I wonder when the teams actually got hold of their first working engines?

      I wouldn’t be surprised if it was this side of Christmas and until then they were working with a set of casings bolted together. Add to that the fact the cars running at the moment are running massively different wiring looms to those they will race with – to allow for many more test sensor options.

  43. jay dee says:

    Rosberg or Button for title if mecedes keep going like this. :-)

    1. Tim says:

      Interesting choice of candidates for the WDC. One has never beaten his current teammate (in any catagory) and the other has never even raced against his teammate. I wonder if this is more heart than head talking?

  44. Richard C says:

    It will be interesting to see comments regarding power units this year depending on how the season develops. You have to feel for Renault.

    Media is like the boss that never sees all the good you do. The one time you do bad, he’s there all over you. Ok, maybe an exaggeration, but you get the point.

    They never really got the outward praise they deserved in winning the previous 4 Championships, although there seemed to be a concious effort in the last year to do so, from Red Bull. (my opinion only)

    If Red Bull win its Newey genius. If they lose its Renault’s fault.

  45. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

    I’m wondering just how many of the ‘appendage’ or ‘Prost-nosed’ cars like Williams, FI, Sauber, Caterham, etc will be looking at the big teams like Ferrari and Merc who have gone for the swoop low nose and considering changing. Surely the big guns simulated these solutions and found something better with the low swoop.

    There seems to be quite a few drivers saying the torque delivery is different. Sounds like more torque meaning they have to be careful when applying power and are more likely to slide about.

    Should make for some interesting wet weather races! (note – most drivers saying the torque application is different does not count Kimi saying no difference I just drive ;) )

    Very interested in Neweys points yesterday. Seems frustrated about his advantageous battery position being moved from last year. The ‘battery overheating leading to letting the car burn in pit lane’ comment showed this.

    Also why didn’t Newey raise the issue regarding low noses being unsafe earlier? His comment about the potential submarining under the rear of a car with the engine block in drivers face sounds serious but is it also a bit of bitterness showing regarding reg changes that he mastered so well?

    1. Tim says:

      Also why didn’t Newey raise the issue regarding low noses being unsafe earlier? …

      Apparently Newey failed to attend a single meeting of the technical working group were the new nose designs were developed, nor did he raise any concerns pre-season. It strikes me that it’s a bit late in the day to start moaning now.

      1. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

        Me too, it is a bit late to start. Though moaning like this is typical Red Bull, could have predicted it would happen as they did last year.

        It’s almost as predictable as Horner agreeing with Bernie’s suggestion to double point the last three races!

      2. AuraF1 says:

        Red Bull policy worked on Pirelli last year – complain loud, complain often.

        Though I don’t expect to see the teams agree to chuck the new power systems just because the Renault isn’t up to spec…

        Besides Red Bull have been paid by the entire field to design the new side impact protection pods to protect the driver/fuel tank against t-boning impacts – will they get their money back?

  46. Andrew Carter says:

    Given the myriad little (and some not so little) problems most of the teams have been having it makes me worried about Lotus. They’re going to have to go through all this instillation trouble shooting whilst watching all the other teams chase after performance in Bahrain.

  47. Pedantic bellcheese says:

    James, you’re getting sloppy!
    MErc teams – 4 cars, ferrari – 2 cars, renault 3 cars. Skews the stats a tad! You then go on to list drivers and teams, except 2 which are countries.

    Othervthan that, ntertaining as ever ;-)

  48. Yak says:

    Really hoping that Renault sort out their dramas quick. As much as I wouldn’t mind seeing Red Bull finally knocked off the top spot this year, I’d rather it happened with them not having one arm tied behind their back.

  49. Phil says:

    Remember guys – this year they have less gearboxes and have to have a set gear ratio for the whole season. Anyone behind in preseason testing will be behind for the whole season in my opinion.

    1. Mike84 says:

      No, because Newey will invent a Flexi-Gear.

    2. Richard says:

      What, gear ratios can’t be changed anymore? So they run the exact same ratios at Monaco as at Monza? To be honest, that is quite a bullshit rule.

    3. IJW says:

      I think they are allowed to change those gear ratios once in the entire season.

  50. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    James. Credit, where credit is due. You called the 2014 Mercedes engine advantage fairly early. Your prediction appears to be coming true. But the proof will be in Melbourne!

  51. Random 79 says:

    Forgive me for being negative, but is that Caterham nose actively getting uglier every time I look at it?

    1. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      One of their engineers said you’d either love it or hate it.

      I think it’s part of a big marketing ploy for them to obtain sponsorship. Ugly nose could mean Marmite “you’ll either love it or hate it” decals all over the car. ;)

      1. Random 79 says:

        Yes it’s kind of sad the lengths teams have to go to to attract new sponsorship now :)

    2. Tim says:

      I don’t know – I looked at it once and cannot bear to look at it again. I am therefore unable to confirm or deny your hypothesis!

  52. DB4Tim says:

    I find it so amazing some are saying run away championships…GIVE me a break it is testing….sheeeeezzzz

    1. Random 79 says:

      Fine – It’s run away testing and when it comes to the Caterham run far, far away. I’m actually having nightmares now about that thing attacking Tokyo.

      1. DB4Tim says:

        Not that is funny +1

  53. Darren D says:

    It is hard not to get a little enthusiastic about McLaren today. No matter how often we are told not to read anything into testing, it is still fun to imagine any good sign as a chance to break open the doors and let optimism pour in.

    …and I’m not particularly a McLaren fan.

    A good story I love though; and the potential for a trick bit of rear downforce producing engineering to once again put Button in with a shout would just be too fun to contemplate. It would prove that the Universe has a sense of humour.

    …if he can handle his new teammate of course.

  54. Darren D says:

    A lot has been made so far of how far off the headline times are this year compared to last year, so it was nice to see the 2014 cars “catching up” on their 2013 counterparts today.

    The Day 1 to Day 2 improvement of the 2014 cars was almost twice the rate of improvement seen in 2013. It will be interesting to see what this year’s rate of improvement from the beginning to the end of testing will look like.

    More interesting will be what qualifying times and total race times will look like in newly efficient F1. What kind of magic do these engineers have, or will all of the new efficiency and loss of downforce really be too much to overcome in the end?

    And will any of that make any difference on how exciting this year will ultimately turn out to be?

  55. Mhilgtx says:

    I am obviously not as smart as Newy et al but I thought the exact samething about these new ridiculous noses being unsafe due to sliding under cars in collisions. Although there is something very elegant about the Ferrari in a Robert Motherwell Henri Matice sort of way.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Looks more like a Salvador Dali to me…

      1. Mhilgtx says:

        Lol the lotus is more Dali to me

  56. Jim says:

    It’s getting downright scary.

    In comparison to what F1 cars are supposed to sound like, at 15k rpm these ones sound like they’re just running out of steam. They sound like off the rack sports cars. The noses look like the front ends have just been broken off the model kit parts rack.

    What was the FIA thinking???

    Now we have electric Formula E, and this latest rendition of anemic Hybrids.

    Anybody got any idea where the Formula One cars went???

    1. Random 79 says:

      Jerez I think, but in two or three weeks they’ll be in Bahrain. Hope that helps :)

  57. Mike84 says:

    Who want to go UNDER the barrier at Monza in that Ferrari? It happened to Raikkonen years ago when the noses are high, with this one he’ll probably end up completely under the tire wall.

  58. Wellbalanced says:

    January 2009. Button tests a new car put together after 18 months of intense development, after a difficult winter in the team, and with no major sponsor. The other teams quickly realise Button’s car is carrying some pretty novel design features. First impressions are good after Button’s first drive, though the team is attempting to keep expectations in check.

    Brawn 09/McLaren 14. The comparisons are striking.

    I’m putting my house on Button for ’14 championship.

    1. Random 79 says:

      You do know that if you put your house on Button for the 2014 championship that’s going to cause a slight increase in the amount of weight he has to carry through the corners which (I think) will negatively impact on the handling of his McLaren.

      1. Wellbalanced says:

        Very droll, ha ha.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Cheers :)

        I would like see him do well though, especially after a dismal 2013 :)

  59. Darren says:

    I think we need to calm down, its day 2 of testing, I repeat, testing. All we can deduce so far is that Mercedes have done a good job and all their cars are up and running straight out of the box. Red Bull are having a few teething problems but I would hardly think they will be panicking about it.

    On another note, I think the new Mclaren, especially from the angle in the article is a very good looking motor! The chrome and black looks good although I hope they get a big sponsor sometime soon, does anyone reckon the failure to replace Vodafone quickly was a factor in Whitmarsh’s apparent demise?

    1. AuraF1 says:

      No, Sony didn’t come on board for their own financial reasons, but Whitmarsh did get Honda to sign up. Ron has been trying to get his old CEO job back for 3 years and he finally managed it. Speculation is he just mithered the board to tears with Ronspeak presentations every day until they all cried, ‘OK! You win! Take the job back! Now please don’t use the words synergy or corporate integration at us in anger ever again!’

  60. What? Is no-one going to comment at the sounds these cars make? I had better rectify that then. In a word, hideous. Under acceleration the whistle of the turbo make them sound like a Kenworth getting under way from a set of traffic lights. On an even and slightly off throttle they sound like Porsche Carrera’s (as I forecast they would in an earlier post) and under hard braking and down-shifting they sound like bags of nails being thrown on a concrete floor. But that’s just my view.

    1. Tim says:

      they sound like Porsche Carrera’s …

      They don’t sound like my C2S!

      1. Try pressing that right hand peddle a bit further down and drive the car harder!!!!!

      2. Tim says:

        Just checking that I am doing this right – is the engine turned on when I press the right pedal or is it ok if it’s turned off ?

      3. Aaahh Tim, I think I see where you’re going wrong. Best you hand those keys over to me and I will take it from here.

  61. Blaize says:

    Riccardo managed two corners before the Red Bull stopped and smoked from the back. This is beginning to really hamper Red Bull and If I’m honest I’m over the moon!

    It really looks as though the Mercedes engine being the best rumours from last year were true.

    McLaren vs Mercedes vs Ferrari for the title?

    Probably not, I still have faith/fear of the master that is Adrian Newey. The Red Bull is the best looking car of the lot and Renualt will get on top of it eventually.

  62. Dave Deacon says:

    If the McLaren is a star car this year, then MW has to be pleased that he put together such a good car. But 2012 was a very good car too. Will he be the CEO? We’ve had no word on that score…

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