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Jerez F1 test Day 3: Magnussen Keeps McLaren On Top As Renault Woes Continues
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Posted By: Matt Meadows  |  30 Jan 2014   |  6:02 pm GMT  |  140 comments

McLaren continued to set the pace in Jerez as rookie Kevin Magnussen wasted no time in getting up to speed in Formula One, the Dane finishing ahead of Williams’ Felipe Massa and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

Red Bull Racing’s woes continued, however, with new recruit Daniel Ricciardo managing just three laps as the ERS problems that stopped the team yesterday again forced them to abandon running.

Mclaren covered 92 laps with its two drivers, Magnussen and Jenson Button, while Mercedes did 62 laps and Williams 47. Force India was the only Mercedes powered car to struggle for mileage. Williams has had a promising start to 2014 with some solid running for Felipe Massa today to back up what Bottas managed at the start of the test.

Following his quickest time yesterday, Jenson Button was again at the wheel of the MP4-29 this morning to make up for his lack of running on day one of the test. After setting the morning’s fastest time with a lap of 1:25.030 he handed the car over Magnussen for the afternoon session.

And it did not take long for the Dane to better his team-mate, completing 52 laps in the process and concluding another successful day for McLaren and its power suppliers, Mercedes. Magnussen finished the day with a best lap of 1:23.276, four tenths clear of second-placed Williams driver Felipe Massa. Lewis Hamilton was third for Mercedes with a time of 1:23.952.

“At the moment we’re definitely happy,” said Hamilton. “Proving reliability at this stage is crucial and every lap is precious, as this is going to be a seriously challenging year for every team. I’m feeling very positive after these tests.”

However, the woes at the Renault-powered teams continued as Red Bull Racing and Caterham once again hit trouble, resulting in the defending champions cutting their day short for the second day in succession. Ricciardo completed just three laps in the troubled RB10 but failed to set a time.

Caterham also endured a torrid afternoon. A power unit problem which could not be remedied before the 5pm chequered flag meant a lost second session for the Leafield squad, as the team’s Track Support Leader, Cedrik Staudohar explained.

“Robin Frijns was sent out in the car early and we started working through a number of programs but just after lunch we found a problem with the power unit that required us to change a part which, unfortunately, ended our running early. We have identified the source of the issue and will work overnight to ensure it does not occur again, giving the team the chance to add to the lap count tomorrow.”

At Mercedes, Hamilton’s day ran more smoothly and the Briton posted 62 laps on his way to third sport on the timesheet. The 2008 champion set the pace early in the afternoon with a 1m23.952s before a red flag for Adrian Sutil put a halt to that run, but despite losing out to Magnussen and Massa, an all-Mercedes top four that racked up a total of 201 laps will surely bring a smile to engineers at the company’s Brixworth technology centre.

Thirty-four laps for Sutil and fifty-seven for Fernando Alonso showed that Ferrari’s power-train is also enjoying some reliability, whilst the Italian marque’s third customer, Marussia, rolled out their latest machine – the MR03 – this afternoon to complete a handful of installation laps in the hands of Max Chilton.

Jerez Test 2014 – Day Three times
1. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1m23.276s 52 Laps
2. Felipe Massa Williams 1m23.700s 47
3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m23.952s 62
4. Jenson Button McLaren 1m25.030s 40
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m25.495s 58
6. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m26.096s 17
7. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m29.915s 30
8. Adrian Sutil Sauber 1m30.161s 34
9. Robin Frijns Caterham No time 10
10. Max Chilton Marussia No time 5
11. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing No time 3

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140 Comments
  1. TheFlyingFlyer says:

    Early days but I’d imagine double points for the last three races are looking pretty attractive to Red Bull at the moment.

    1. Ahmad says:

      Well, given how close Horner is to Bernie, it’s not surprising that Bernie is now pushing for the last 3 races awarding double points and Christian now feels that otherwise “the last race would be too big a lottery”. Very funny coming from RBR.

      I still don’t think RBR are going to win this year. McLaren, Merc and Ferrari are the clear favourites.

      1. Lindsay says:

        “McLaren, Merc and Ferrari are the clear favourites.”

        Based on what?

      2. Richard says:

        Reliability I think!

      3. Ahmad says:

        As Richard mentions, reliability of the Renault power unit for a start.

        Secondly, Renault never produced a good KERS unit (remember how often it failed with Mark Webber?). With ERS, this becomes too prominent to be ignored and will leave Renault teams really exposed if it’s not good enough.

        Thirdly, the fact that they have lost so much running this week compared to Merc, McLaren and Ferrari who have been able to iron out the gremlins and can now shift their focus to performance, efficiency gains, fine-tuning, better understanding of the power unit and tyres, and so on, while RBR still has to make up for lost time.

        As the Renault guy (Taffin) mentioned, the Renault unit worked perfectly fine on the dyno. So there’s no substitute for on-track testing.

        Even if RBR produce a great aero (as it is expected), power unit reliability and performance will be more crucial ever, which don’t play into their hands, quite the contrary (and that was one of the reasons for the regs changes, to even up the game).

    2. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      You can never underestimate Newey, they’ll be back in Bahrain, well before race 1.

      It is a bit entertaining though, Red Bull only managing a handful of laps more than Lotus!

      Newey does seem to have an issue with his tight packaging though. Perhaps he should call on DC again, he’s all about tight packages… ;)

    3. Karsten says:

      It looks good for Mclaren so far.

      But i do not think any of the teams, have been pushing hard in the testing.

      Best lap time in testing 1.23.276

      The lap record of Jerez is 1.15.650 (Schumacher 2004)

  2. Vinoo says:

    James, jensons time was a 1:25 and not a 1:35 , as far as i ve understood

  3. Gav says:

    I’m pretty sure Buttons fastest time was 1m25.030s James ;-)

  4. spactus says:

    mclaren looks pretty solid,best looking car by far,muscular,foward looking,but not overly engineered looking as some of their cars in the past.
    There is an elegance about in its symmetry,yet beastly looking.
    But I must say at this stage they seems to be chasing headlines.Thats been their problem in recent yrs,an obsession with short term media narrative.
    Sony a mlti billion dollar company is not gonna blindly sign a deal with them because they top the timing sheet.
    get to work Mclaren and stop chasing the sugar high.
    Atleast Gary Anderson think you got a better car because you have a more complex wing with more vanes,cause you know the entire problem with last yr was your wing and you guys at Mclaren just couldnt see that

    1. Ral says:

      If that’s not a typo, but you are implying that McLaren are trying to secure a sponsorship deal with Sony, then I think Sony have other worries at the moment. Like, their credit rating having been downgraded to junk status for example, ie. their shares are rated “highly speculative, probably better to avoid because this business is under very high risk”: http://arstechnica.com/business/2014/01/sonys-credit-rating-crash-lands-to-junk-status/

    2. Jonathan says:

      The front wing was NOT McLarens trouble last year.

      There is no point putting front downforce on a car if the rest of it cannot match it. They know how to build wings!

      1. aezy_doc says:

        The front wrong does a little more than simply add downforce. I don’t know what McLaren’s woe was last season – if I did I would be earning a pretty packet in their employ. It may have been an issue with how the front wing delivered air to the rest of the car but I suspect it was more than that.

    3. Ahmad says:

      I’d love to agree with you as I’d prefer Merc to win, but it doesn’t look like McLaren are just chasing the headlines given how easy it has been for them to top the timesheets.

      They clearly seem to have an edge over Merc, with Ferrari not far behind these two in terms of speed and reliability.

      Also remember that they gave up last year’s development race before the top 4 as they were busy chasing second place.

    4. Quade says:

      McLarens problem last year was their wings, but setup. That is why as soon they announced they were taken a “radical” direction in setup toward the end of the season, they immediately began challenging Merc and almost beating the Ferrari’s.

  5. Rayz says:

    McLaren are looking in good shape after a slow start to the test. They have got two solid days testing under their belt with relatively few issues. Times of course mean nothing thus far but it’s clear that their package is innovative. If they can navigate the final day tomorrow with no problems, they’ll have built a steady platform going forward.
    Very interesting to see how quickly Magnussen got up to speed. He looks like a real talent.

    As for the Renault powered cars, it’s been a tough week so far but plenty of time for them to solve their issues. The word ‘crisis’ is being thrown around by some already…… way to early for that. A mere setback.

    Looking forward to seeing even more running tomorrow.

    1. Richard says:

      Yes It’s starting to look as though McLaren have a quick car, and I think Button will have his hands full with Magnussen who on first impressions seems very capable.

      1. Neil says:

        A car conceived and built under the Whitmash regime…

      2. Ahmad says:

        So what? It’s not like he didn’t get his salary for it. He’s also responsible for the dismal 2013 year and for wasting a golden opportunity in 2012.

      3. jakobusvdl says:

        Somebody had to say it, well done Neil ;-)

      4. Rayz says:

        With no technical input from him however! Giving him credit for the 2014 car is an insult to the engineers and designers that put the new McLaren together. While the MP4-29 was being “conceived and built”, Whitmarsh was travelling the world concentrating on the 2013 season……. and he made a hash of that!!

      5. Richard says:

        Indeed but McLaren could have won the drivers championship in 2012 with Lewis had they not made such a hash of it with operational errors and technical issues. Whitmarsh was a likeable chap but I felt he ran too slack a ship.

      6. Gaz Boy says:

        I agree with Richard; Martin’s and Macca’s lack of operational sharpness and stupid niggly errors squandered what should have been a dead cert constructors championship in 2012, and possibly WDC as well.

      7. AuraF1 says:

        Magnussen will definitely be a better qualifier/one lap specialist than Button or Perez who both had that steady, smarter thing but have never been blitzing pole lap racers.

        Kevin has struggled other than last year to put a season together in lower formulae so while I expect him to out qualify Jenson in much the same way Hamilton did, Jenson will still have a slight advantage over a season.

        But Kevin is growing up and avoiding the mistakes of his dad and others so I think he’ll do well overall.

      8. Richard says:

        I’m not sure Button or Perez necessarily do the smarter thing. What you have to realise is that drivers are lead in terms of strategy by their engineers, a much more of a team thing than is generally realised. Much was made of Button’s care of tyres until it was proven that in some cases Hamilton looked after the tyres better. what does have to be remembered is since the introduction of Pirelli tyres Hamilton’s style has had to be drastically reigned in to protect the tyres.

      9. AuraF1 says:

        Yes it is a team thing but Button has made a lot of calls himself as his engineers have always said – Hamilton doesn’t – he relies on calls being made for him. He just wants to handle the racing. Which is fair enough it’s a very different attitude. But you misunderstand the driver/engineer dynamic if you think certain drivers don’t make more of their own calls than others. It’s fundamental to why mclaren have retained Button despite knowing he’s not in the top 4-5 race speed. This isn’t me saying this btw it’s mclaren.

    2. I know says:

      You cannot say much about the speed of the cars at this stage. McLaren have the right engine in their car, but they could still be a second per lap slower (or faster) than Mercedes come race day. So far, nobody knows.

    3. Quade says:

      Go McLaren! So far, so good.

  6. Doug says:

    Wow 99 laps for the MP4-29!
    Fastest & most reliable, good to see them making up for day 1′s no show. Go McLaren Go!!!

    Great also to see Williams right up there…let’s hope it’s a McLaren/Williams shoot out for the constructors championship! It would make a lovely change from the usual suspects!

    1. Thanks, James — yet another item for the “technical” article list:

      In what has been labeled an ‘ingenious trick’ by German publication Auto Motor und Sport, the Woking team has mimicked the now-banned wing profiles beneath the main wing with a unique design of their rear suspension.

      Will be interesting to find out what this rabbit trail might be about.

      1. Grabyrdy says:

        the Woking team has mimicked the now-banned wing profiles beneath the main wing with a unique design of their rear suspension.

        I’m not sure I know what that means. In fact, I’m sure I don’t know what that means. Help please, James.

      2. Ed says:

        Effectively they have changed the shape of their rear suspension components so that the rearmost arms are in line with (and behind) the rear axle. At the same time, they’ve made these very chubby so they effectively act as an air deflector which helps them drive other aero parts.

        what is particularly interesting is that because they are on the the suspension geometry they will change their position relative to the diffuser etc as teh ride height of the car cahnges, so the teory goes at low speed they will increase airflow to the diffuser generating additional downforce (and drag), but at highspeed, the suspension will compress opening up a gap that will allow the extra drag of these parts to be bled off.

        More here: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/112341

  7. Urko says:

    This McL is damn fast! And i also have a feeling they are hiding their true pace, cos they don’t wan’t to reveal how big advantage that, lets call it “aero suspension”, is. I’m sure other teams are already working on that otherwise we’ll be watching repeat of ’09..if that’s not already inevitable.

  8. Andy P says:

    The McLaren looks to both fast, reliable and driveable if a rookie can jump in and lap consistently at the head of the field.
    I’m not sure we can read too much into the times, but its encouraging Magnussen could get into the the 1:25s and lower almost from the off.

    1. Jonathan says:

      I am largely in agreement however… Magnussen is obviously in a fast car but he hasn’t had to worry about unlearning how last years cars had to be driven.

      1. AuraF1 says:

        Definitely better to start your rookie year in ’14 than the past couple of years and have to unlearn so much as you say. Kevin might be right time, right place…

      2. Quade says:

        He’s just had to unlearn how his last formula was driven. That seems a much bigger step.

  9. Phil says:

    Looks like it was no surprise then that Mercedes were (by far) the first team to release photos, video & audio of their power unit.

    Smug faces in Brixworth (so far). Head scratching and glum faces elsewhere.

  10. Owen Brooker says:

    Suddenly it looks as if Lotus are not going to lose out by missing this test. The other Renault powered teams are indentifying problems to resolve, while Lotus are able to focus on their development.

    1. James Allen says:

      Maybe, but it’s not like they have four days testing at a later date. They haven’t learned anything by not being in Jerez and still have to go through these teething problems in Bahrain

      1. Juzzy82 says:

        Are they just teething problems though, or are they problems for RBR that cut to the core design of the car?

      2. Tealeaf says:

        I just can’t believe Renault have made this dud that doesn’t even work!
        Oh well at least most of the people in the UK got what they want, Redbull has been stemmed well and truly. Magnusson speed frightening, leaving Hamilton and Massa in his wake could be interesting keep an eye on this kid.

      3. aezy_doc says:

        Renault made a power unit that works – as it worked fine on the dyno. The teams who use that unit have not found a way to marry it to their cars in a way that harvests energy without overheating. It’s not like Renault turned up at the test and said ‘here’s your engine, just strap it in, you’ll be fine’.

      4. Grabyrdy says:

        Unless it’s a Renault problem, when we suppose they’ll get the fix before they head for the track.

        Or is it not one problem but many ?

      5. I know says:

        I find it quite astonishing that the rumours about Mercedes having an edge over Renault that started to appear almost a year ago have been proven correct in such a dramatic way. If Renault knew they were behind by this much, surely, they would have been working as hard as possible to catch up? It’s also astonishing that RB in particular would let them get away with it – hundreds of millions of R&D going to waste if the engine really is as uncompetitive as it looks to be.

      6. Richard says:

        Well we just don’t know how competitive the Renault is yet until it is seen to run reliably. It’s quite likely that all will be fixed by the time we get to Bahrain so let’s not pre judge as the Red Bull may yet turn out to be a fast car.

  11. Bruno says:

    So happy for Magnussen and Massa showing their talent!

  12. goferet says:

    Wow, what a great display of speed, learning skills and composure from MiniMag.

    In just half a day not only was he able to set the fastest time but importantly did so without making mistakes >>> Amazing skills.

    Definitely, seeing as Mclaren have topped the times on two different days, this shows the team is back in contention though there’s talk in the paddock that the team decided to crank up the pace in a bid to attract title sponsors.

    Good to see Williams up there too but unfortunately the team hasn’t got a star driver than can bring in that extra performance both on track and sponsorship wise.

    Am glad to see Lewis happy again for sometimes you need to go through the hard times inorder to appreciate the happy ones.

    Because of Lewis and Nico’s optimism, am beginning to understand why the Mercedes team decided to take up on it’s filming day at Silverstone and why Lewis was the first driver to try out the new cars at Jerez.

    Ferrari are looking pretty solid too but Alonso and Kimi’s stoppages on track are perhaps a little worry that the team aren’t 100% there in terms of reliability.

    As for Red Bull, there’s talk that their woes are not necessarily Renault related as Torro Rosso was able to run but rather because of the tightly packed components in the Red Bull car that’s leading to overheating.

    From this we can only conclude that the Red Bull team was pouring resources in the 2013 season and hence the dominant display in the second half of the season.

    As for the midfield teams, Sauber is still looking the slowest which would be a paradox because it certainly has the best looking midfield car.

    1. James Allen says:

      I refer you back to Mark Gillan’s analysis of the Young Driver Test last summer where he picked out Magnussen as the standout performer

      1. goferet says:

        @ James Allen

        Darn, I most certainly missed that article.

    2. Timmay says:

      Yes because teams are going for laptimes right now.

    3. Hendo says:

      I don’t buy into this “RBR’s problem is tightly packaged components” – sure last year they were spreading batteries & capacitors all over the chassis for a weight distribution advantage and to improve the aero profile of the coke bottle section of bodywork.
      But this year everyone has to have one battery that is located under the fuel tank.

    4. Jota180 says:

      Red Bull struggling to keep a handle on the cooling in Jerez with an ambient of around 10°C is one thing, sorting it out for Bahrain in a couple of weeks times where they could face 30°C is going to present an even bigger challenge.

  13. George says:

    This is shaping up to be a very interesting season with perhaps teams in the mix that previously have suffered hard times. Particularly good to see Williams back up there. After all these years I feel I can now give Phillip Massa my full support. Keep the momentum going!

    1. Quade says:

      Its not Phillip Massa, but “Filipe baby”!

  14. Eli says:

    James, is there big difference between Mercedes engine and Ferrari engine?

      1. Eli says:

        In terms of power. I know, early days, but I wonder if you have some hidden knowledge. From the outside it looks that Merc is clearly the best engine…

      2. Anil Parmar says:

        It’s very difficult to tell at the moment as they aren’t really pushing. The Merc engines were faster in the speed trap but that was with DRS…

        Bahrain will make things clearer though, I’m sure.

      3. Quade says:

        Merc has also limited their cars to lower revs than Ferrari, according to paddock gist.
        McLaren is running higher revs than both.

  15. SteveS says:

    Given the general unreliability of these cars (and even the “reliable” ones have suffered many failures) combined with the new more restrictive rules on engine and power system replacement, it looks like we’re going to see a LOT of grid drop penalties handed out this year.

    Thirty laps for the Toro Rosso … that seems worthy of some comment, considering the prevailing “Renault woes” sentiment.

    1. Red Rider says:

      ” … it looks like we’re going to see a LOT of grid drop penalties handed out this year.”

      Interesting comment

    2. Texas T says:

      This is a really good point.

      I think drivers will only have the use of five engines for the season (it was eight last year…).

      Drivers who use a sixth engine will start the race from the pit lane, as opposed to the ten-place grid penalty in previous seasons. So, based on current form, expect to see a train of Renault cars in the pit lane at the start of races!!

    3. Richard says:

      The Mercedes has had no engine related issues, however their nose dropping off stopped play on Tuesday. McLaren had electrical problems, but once fixed they were away. The Renault powered teams will bounce back for sure, but it does not inspire confidence. Mercedes started their powertrain early, soundly developing it for the reliability we see today.

  16. Ange says:

    I hope the McLaren continues to be a good car when the season starts! It’d be nice if they can win a few races this season.

    1. Colin says:

      All the races eould be good!

  17. Robert in San Diego says:

    The various different successes and problems that are raising their heads make the prospects for the coming season the most mouth watering in many, many, years.

    1. Timmay says:

      Not really. Breakdowns and “drive slower” instructions don’t make my mouth water.

      1. Colin says:

        When there’s an element of doubt that a car will finish, you tend to watch the whole race on the edge of your seat. This can be particularly interesting if your man is second while man in unreliable car is first and smoke starts to spew out of the side pod!

  18. Sammy says:

    Very interesting to see various teams struggling while others are making good progress. Curious how Red Bull and co will deal with the issues – let’s hope we’ll see enough cars on the start grid in Australia!

  19. Malcolm says:

    James….Have any protests so far been lodged about Mclaren’s rear suspension blockers, and has Whiting declared them as being legal?

    I wonder how hard will it be for other teams to copy Mclaren’s idea?

    1. Grant H says:

      Seems fia are stating suspension is exempt from the movable areo device rule

      1. Grant H says:

        *aero

      2. Yak says:

        Moveable aero isn’t the only rule that could apply though.

    2. Texas T says:

      Gary Anderson has written an article elsewhere stating that if this does turn out to be a silver bullet it could be difficult for other teams to implement.

      This link was posted on another thread to a previous JAF1 article:
      http://somersf1.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/mclaren-mp4-29-upgrade-wishbone-wings.html

    3. Quade says:

      Yeah, they’ve been declared legal.

      …And will be very hard to copy, because it would require a redesign of the gear box casing, drive shaft and several wind tunnel and CFD rounds (which are much more limited this year than in any previous season).

  20. Stephen says:

    Fingers crossed that McLaren haven’t gone and put a suspension piece on back to front ;-)
    Great to see Williams seemingly making good progress.
    If it wasn’t for that daft double points idea I’d be really looking forward to this season.

    1. MrNed says:

      “Fingers crossed that McLaren haven’t gone and put a suspension piece on back to front”

      What bothers me is that if the MP4 28 seemed so good at its first test but had a back-to-front suspension piece fitted, then why put that suspension piece back the right way around again – maybe McL’s 2013 campaign would have gone better if they hadn’t!

      1. iceman says:

        The problem, if I recall, was that the car wasn’t legal in the configuration they used to set the fast times at the start of 2013 testing. Ride height too low or something I guess.

  21. bernardd says:

    It’s interesting to see Ferrari apparently a little bit slower than the Mercedes powered units, but one of the key things we don’t know yet is how efficient the powertrains are.

    With a fairly restricted amount of fuel for a race it’s not just about who can set the fastest time in unrestricted practice but how much of the power you dare use in the race and still be able to get to the end.

    1. Richard says:

      Good point! We must not forget that they need to get to the end of the race on the allotted amount of fuel. The teams will however be able to see how well they are doing!

  22. Gaz Boy says:

    James, apparently it has been speculated the Mercedes might – might! – have as much as 80 Bhp and 80 lb of torque over the Renault and Ferrari. If that is true – and it is pure supposition – that isn’t that at least 0.6 seconds of a lap advantage for the likes of Merc and Macca already?

    1. Tealeaf says:

      What constant 80hp and 80lb ft!?! That’s 1.5sec and close to 2sec on power circuits like Monza and Spa.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Yes, mind blowing isn’t it? If it’s true. I remember reading Autocourse 2008 the other day, and while reading it there was a mention that the Renault V8 that year was out-grunted by the Merc and Fezza V8 by as much 40 BHP, which explains why Sebastian had so much more straightline speed in his Toro Rosso compared to Bulls of Mark and DC. And that 40 BHP advantage is with a normally aspirated engine! The possibility of getting a power/torque advantage with a turbo engine over your opposition is there because the immense complexities of the new turbo compounding technology. I’m not an engineering expert, but I guess it’s something to do with gas-flow, reducing thermal discharge, and of course good old fashioned combustion. We’ll see, but I do the boys and girls at Brixworth are very, very confident in their engines.

  23. Alexander Supertramp says:

    People jumping to conclusions waaay to early, engines aren’t even running at 80%, teams just working on their system programs, not chasing times. The only first and careful conclusion is that the Merc engines looks to be the most robust one at this stage.

    1. Grant H says:

      Well said

    2. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      Not really. The only engine that hasn’t suffered a failure is the Ferrari. Force India (mercedes engine) has had mechanical isues, but neither sauber nor ferrari have suffered from those, at least for now.

    3. MrNed says:

      Yes – it is early to be speculating too much – but the fact is that one of the engines appears to be only running at about 1%. No doubt this will be sorted out in time for the next test, but nevertheless the Renault teams have lost a lot of testing time, have not been able to work through their testing programmes, and are now massively disadvantaged.

  24. Gaz Boy says:

    James, it has been speculated that the Merc V6 engine might have as much as 80 Bhp and 80 lb of torque more than the Renault or Ferrari. If that is true, then even without leaving the garage, doesn’t that mean the likes of Macca, Merc, Frank and India have at least – at least 0.6 seconds advantage? I must stress that the Merc power advantage is purely speculative, but netherless that is a worry for Regie and Italian stallion powered machines, never mind the reliability problems the Bulls are having.

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      Sorry James, I thought my first comment (No.18) had crashed, so I retyped it, only to find out it didn’t! Sorry to repeat myself, even if it is a worthy question!

    2. James Allen says:

      It would be around that, yes,

      1. Jean-Christophe says:

        So you are confirming the advantage they enjoy or the calculation?

      2. Tony Riley says:

        James, is it speculation or verified that Merc have a considerable horsepower and torque advantage?

      3. Jon says:

        Calm down guys.. he was just confirming that IF they had that advantage it would represent that laptime. Not even the teams know anything at this stage.. and if you are in a hurry for confirmation, you will be waiting a while. Even full race sims are hard to judge.. the first true evidence will be the first race.

    3. Random 79 says:

      I think at point some of the Regie powered teams might be thinking they’d be better off with a Vegie powered machine.

      1. Quade says:

        Yow!!! :)

    4. super seven says:

      Given the fuel limitations, power may be significant for qualifying, but efficiency is what will win races.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        That’s true, but clever engineering can combine power, torque and fuel efficiency. Honda in 1986/1987/1988 had a massive power advantage with its V6 turbo over its opposition yet very clever fuel metering systems via excellent electronic fuel management systems meant it also had excellent fuel consumption as well. Remember that quote from Balestre, that with a 150 litre fuel tank imposed on turbo cars that “I assure you gentlemen, no way for the turbos in 1988.” Um, Honda V6 Maccas won 15 out of 16 grand prix, and the Ferrari won the sole non-Macca victory of 1988! All the engineering brains at Merc, Regie and Italian stallion will have been working flat out to juggle power with fuel efficiency, but it’s likely one of them will have an advantage. My gut feeling is its Merc at the minute.

  25. Brace says:

    Hopefully they’ve assembled it correctly this time.

  26. Gaz Boy says:

    James, my gut feeling tells me if you want to get ahead, get a Merc V6 for 2014. As well as Merc and Macca, what chance Frank and India joining the charge of the competitive brigade? Iroically, Nico Hulk going back to Force India with the huge potential advantage of the Merc V6 might be a seem move. Agree James?
    PS James, do you agree with me and most of the European media that Nico Hulk has consistently outperformed his car over the last few years (think of him leading Brazil 12 – where did that performance come from???) and is a champion in waiting?

  27. goggomobil says:

    Mr Allan please Sir,will it be posible to enlight somewhat? do the manufacturers do the
    homologation on their “power plants” with FIA the same as the teams with their chassis before they can begin testing, if not when to your knowledge is the deadline.
    In regard to McLaren rear suspension, it was quoted that Adrian Newey said its iligal, if anybody knows a short cuts to the rear of the car Adrian Newey know its legalaty.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Newey might think that McLaren’s suspension is illegal, but he doesn’t make or enforce the rules any more than those who always thought that Newey’s cars were illegal.

      Come Melbourne the FIA will either say yay or nay and that will be that.

    2. AuraF1 says:

      Or Newey knows how to lodge a protest against anything he didn’t think of. RBR protested the McLaren f-duct if you recall and it was perfectly legal (if a little awkward for the drivers to use).

      Newey isn’t anyone to ask about legality – he is a genius both if design and media complaints…

  28. Bruno says:

    My prediction for Melbourne, remember you saw it here first :
    - practice 1: Vettel does not leave the pits, engine problem
    - after 45 minutes in practice 2, Vettel gets out of the pits and blows his engine in his 2nd lap
    - practice 3 : Vettel runs 7 laps, 17th fastest time. Webber smiles
    - Q1: Vettel 14th time, Ricciardo 16th
    - Q2: Vettel 9th time, Ricciardo blows his engine
    - Q3: Vettel on pole, more than one second ahead of Mercedeses
    - Race: Vettel leads every lap and wins the race, Alonso 2nd. Hamilton, Rosberg and Raikkonen DNF (engine failures). Webber gutted

    1. Random 79 says:

      My prediction for Melbourne: Bruno got it completely wrong ;)

    2. NickH says:

      Haha You’re probably right

    3. Hendo says:

      Is this really Seebee?

    4. JohnBt says:

      Webber? lol, c’mon give him a break. Or did Webber predict this will be happening?

  29. Ashboy says:

    Do you think anybody will crank everything up to the max Friday afternoon, and get close to the 1.18 laps they where doing last year? For Merc and Mcl with the mileage they have done they will not lose anything by trying. Even if they blow the PU up in the last hour or two. Even Ferrari could lose the last hour crankin her up.

  30. Richard says:

    Red Bull gonna be champions anyway, double points last race yo.

    I quite like this Magnussen dude.

  31. Bruno says:

    Also, I can’t come over the fact that before I accepted Perez was a McLaren driver, he isn’t anymore.

  32. Darren D says:

    James,
    I am curious whether you have seen an estimate of how many points of downforce the new regulations were to have stripped off the new cars compared with the 2013 models and how much track time that might represent in Jerez?

    Also, when teams set their aero targets each year, on what basis do they set them?

  33. sebeecandy says:

    It’s only testing come on!
    Ferrari and Mercedes to whoop some arses this year!

  34. AlexD says:

    1. I cannot say that I am loosing sleep over Red Bull’s problems. This might actually bring a bit more joy into my F1 life. Having said that, I do prefer Ferrari winning on equal terms, not because somebody has a problem. It might be that Red Bull made a mistake with the packaging. They had problems with KERS last year and it is just this year this will prove to be more costly

    2. Is there anything that can be said about Ferrari? Too early? Any observations?

    1. Bart says:

      Interesting what G. Anderson says:

      Q: The Ferrari F1 F14 T sounds a lot different to the other cars under braking. Why is this?

      G.Anderson: “It is incredibly smooth on the downchanges. Everyone else is blipping the throttle a lot more and it’s difficult to say why the Ferrari is so smooth in comparison.
      All the cars have a zero torque loss upshift, seamless shift, but nobody has done that on the downshifts. With the ERS recharging from the rear wheels and the need to downchange under braking, it now might be a good idea.
      We don’t know for sure, but perhaps Ferrari is ahead of the game with such technology.”
      (…)
      “The Ferrari looks like it is missing a bit of downforce. In the medium-to-high-speed corners, especially the one onto the back straight, you can hear a bit of tyre squeal and in the lower speed corners the rear is giving up on corner exit.
      With these turbo engines being quieter, you can now hear the tyres crying enough.
      The difference between Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso is that Fernando loves to leave big black lines on the track, primarily to make a point to the team about where the car needs improving.”

    2. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      They have team, drivers and, by the moment the car looks nice, reliable (red flag today caused by just a caution stop due to a telemetry problem, nothing more) and not slow. Nobody cant tell about speed yet, but listening to Marmorini, the Ferrari engine its over 670hp without ERS.

    3. Voodoopunk says:

      “I cannot say that I am loosing sleep over Red Bull’s problems. This might actually bring a bit more joy into my F1 life.”

      So, you don’t want to win in a straight fight, just through others misfortune, that must be very satisfying.

  35. Ange says:

    How long until the other teams start complaining about McLaren’s clever rear design and the FIA bans it?

    1. AuraF1 says:

      This is why mclaren need to hire Brawn! He’s so great at doing a poker face at the FIA tribunals ;)

    2. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      Not much I hope, its a moveable areo-device, so it’s ilegal. Suspension’s purpose its not to generate downforce, so its out of the rules.

  36. Grant H says:

    Re macca rear suspension, so if i understand correctly (?) i assume this works as follows….at high speed the aero suspension profile is compressed (reducing drag and improving top speed) whereas ‘unloaded’ at low speed the suspension relaxes, allowing for a suspension profile which generates more down force where you need it in the corners and allows macca to be more agressive with the design of body work in this area. I cant imagine this will be easy to copy or tune!!! Rear downforce could be the key this year with all that extra torque available!

    1. SteveS says:

      Their rear suspension looks very obviously illegal. Per the regulations -

      ———————————-

      With the exception of the driver adjustable body work described in Article 3.18 (in addition to minimal parts solely associated with its actuation) and the ducts described in Article 11.4, any specific part of the car influencing its aerodynamic performance :

      a) Must comply with the rules relating to bodywork.

      b) Must be rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car (rigidly secured means not having any degree of freedom).

      c) Must remain immobile in relation to the sprung part of the car.

      —————————

      This doesn’t even seem like a close call, it’s blatantly in violation of the regs.

      1. KRB says:

        Suspension rods will always move at speed. Not sure if there is a deflection test for suspension rods, but if there is, and they pass that, then they’ll be ok.

        Could be the DDD of 2014.

  37. jay dee says:

    I know the times are meaningless at this point but its nice to see massa up there in the williams. Hopefully a sign of good things to come for them both.

  38. Phil R says:

    James, in the same way we know roughly what the budget of the teams is, do you know roughly what the three engine manufacturers spend and if there is much difference between them?

    Also, can the teams bring 2 cars to the test and if one is causing trouble switch to another whilst they fix the first?

    1. James Allen says:

      Good question will find out

      Re 2 cars- it’s not allowed and st this rotate not many teams have 2 working cars anyway

  39. Methusalem says:

    Through the 1st half of the past decade, Ferarri dominated the F1-circus, the second half belonged to Renault, now it looks like it’s the beginning of Mercedes-era. It’s gonna be fun to see how SB handles the coming disasters of Redbull. Which finger is he going to show this time?

  40. IP says:

    I see this as a bit of 2009. Red bull will be quick but reliability will come late. I dare say once they get some running they will be quick.

    Personally I would love to see Williams nail it this season.theyhave a great history of engineering and this year will be very much about excellence in engineering

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      Could be a decent season for Frank. I think they switched to Merc because of the huge potential advantage of the Brixworth units. If that potential can be realised, combined with Pat Symonds shrewd, street wise aero understanding, then yes could be a good season for Frank.

  41. Nick says:

    Ironic that Renault threatened to pull out if this new V6Formula was not adopted. They should have been careful what they wished for!

    I am luck enough to be in Jerez. The new engines sound lovely close up, BUT they are so quiet that they just lack the wow factor of the old V8s. Very disappointing in that regard.

  42. Nige says:

    Mcclaren was quickest last year with upside down suspension so everyone should stay calm. Also Mercedes may have a more powerful engine but with the limited fuel allowed how much of that power can they use? The new kers power in combination with the engine will be the key to completing a race distance quickly and efficiently.

  43. JohnBt says:

    As usual testing will indicate who are the front runners and so on but I’d rather wait for the races to begin. But it sure is a good build up and am enjoying reading the comments from fans.

    Many will be overjoyed with Red Bull being hampered for now but I wouldn’t dare say they won’t solve the issues.

    Oh yes, it don’t sound so bad with the turbos and it’s got that heavy grunt like a huge animal and kinda reminds me a lot during the Senna Prost years.

  44. Warren G says:

    Wow, a LOT of people already handing out the trophies, lol! It’s easy to look the fastest when ALL the teams are running around a few seconds off ultimate pace with engines turned down and interested only in gathering data and racking up some mileage.

    2014 though, appears to be to Red Bull what 2009 was to Ferrari and McLaren. Interesting also to keep in mind that Newey has only ever won with blown diffusers of some sort.

    1. Scott says:

      Newey’s genius is overstated; all that Da Vinci stuff last season was ridiculous. Is he a one trick pony? Is he actually as good as everyone says? He’s apparently created a car this season which can barely complete half a dozen laps. Sure, different technology and all that, but the great designer surely can adapt.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Scott, I wrote a piece on this forum (on the Red Bull launch) and commented that although Adrian is somebody you want in your team, he has sometimes got it wrong and made some lemons. The 1994 Frank was a difficult machine to operate on the limit compared to the Benny/Michael combination. The 2001, 2002 and 2004 Maccas were stinkers that got their faces smashed in by the Italian stallion led by Ross and Michael (and a cameo by Rubens). Adrian is a supremely gifted and talented designer, but we’re all human, and you could be right in saying he could have designed another lemon. I guess Macca, Merc and Italian stallion are hoping so anyway!

      2. SteveS says:

        Of course he’s overrated. God Himself would be overrated if showered with the praise bestowed on Newey, much of it done in an attempt to detract from Vettel. That being said, we don’t have any idea yet how bad (or how good) the RB10 chassis is because the Renault engine is so poor.

      3. Gaz Boy says:

        Also Steve, is it possible that the RB10s’s packaging is compromising cooling? Just a thought.

      4. KRB says:

        Well, let’s give him time to adapt, how ’bout?

        ANYONE would gladly accept a stinker year (and let’s remember, no wheel has turned in anger yet, so it’s very presumptive to say that) to go along with the four magnificent seasons that RBR have just had, which for the most part were down to Newey’s brilliance.

        To denigrate Newey now, after all that has gone before, is just being greedy, and being foolish to the extreme.

      5. Gaz Boy says:

        Dear KRB, agree with your comments. I would never denude Adrian’s achievements, four constructors/WDC is an incredible achievement. In fact, Adrian also designed WDC winning cars from 1996 to 1999, can’t argue with that pedigree. However, he is human, and his Macca cars of 2001, 2002 and 2004 were lemons. I bet Ross took great satisfaction in proving wrong that theory of “who needs schuey when you’ve got Newey.” In all fairness to Adrian, he never really blended in at Macca, and I always felt Macca never got the best out of him. If I were to lay blame at the moment for Red Bull’s problems, I would put in squarely at the Regie, but maybe the Bull is too tightly packaged which is causing the cooling/overheating issues? Anyway, Adrian, Team Bull and Regie have a lot of catching up to do.

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