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Hamilton Leads Mercedes One-Two as 2014 season gets underway in Melbourne
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Posted By: Matt Meadows  |  14 Mar 2014   |  9:24 am GMT  |  431 comments

As 2014 Formula One got down to business in Melbourne today, Lewis Hamilton bounced back from an on-track stoppage in the first session to set the fastest time of the day in Free Practice Two and lead a Mercedes one-two ahead of Nico Rosberg, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso completing the top three.

With new regulations causing reliability issues during pre-season testing – for some more than others – it seems that the final two weeks of preparation have allowed for an improvement in durability, particularly for Red Bull Racing, who set the fourth- and sixth-fastest times in the afternoon with Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo respectively. The Milton Keynes squad enjoyed a trouble-free day. Vetted completed 41 laps this afternoon, more than any other car managed in a single session.

At Mercedes, a sensor issue caused Hamilton to stop on his out-lap in FP1. The Briton was then forced to make a long trip back to the paddock where the was rather comically stopped from entering the paddock by a security guard, who presumably upbraided the 2008 champion for not having the correct – Hamilton’s race suit and helmet not being clue enough. The brief halt there didn’t do much for his mood following his on-track stoppage.

Things brightened considerably in FP2 and Mercedes quickly established themselves as the pacesetters on both the medium and soft tyre. Rosberg held the top spot in the first half of the session, the German becoming the first to break the 90-second barrier and in the process establishing a 0.350s lead over Alonso.

Hamilton completed a handful of laps on the medium tyre before a soft tyre run took him to the top of the times, 0.157s clear of Rosberg. He then turned his attentions to a long run on the soft tyre.

“It really was a day of two halves today, ” said the 29 year old. “While it was disappointing to not get any track time this morning, these little hiccups are going to happen with the new cars and we’ll have to get used to that. It felt like I was on the back foot from there but then we got up to pace quite quickly in P2 and found the balance relatively fast. I feel quite comfortable in the car so overall it’s a positive start.”

The Mercedes also had the best race pace, Hamilton doing a 15 lap run with times in the mid 1m 33s and low 1m34s. In comparison the Red Bull did a 15 lap run in the mid 1m 34s, Ferrari a 15 lap run in the mid 1m 34s, McLaren high 1m34s and low 1m35s, Williams in the low 1m 35s. It looks like Mercedes has a healthy advantage in race pace.

For Alonso, too, it was a decent outing. After setting the pace in FP1 he was the best of the rest this afternoon, 0.5s adrift of Hamilton’s time. The sister Ferrari F14 T of Kimi Raikkonen ended the day in seventh place, overcoming an ERS issue in the morning session to complete over thirty laps and have his blushes spared as a close shave with a wall on the entry to Turn 11 did not punish the Finn.

Sandwiched between the Red Bull pairing was the McLaren of Jenson Button, the three-time Australian Grand Prix winner ending the day 0.9s slower than Hamilton after taking second place in FP1. Interestingly he was the only driver to not run the soft tyre, maintaining a 0.5s buffer over team-mate Kevin Magnussen, who did.

Magnussen ended his first competitive day in Formula One in ninth place, supported either side by Valtteri Bottas in eighth and Nico Hulkenberg completing the top 10. Magnussen was a shade slower than Button over the 15 lap long run, but that’s to be expected for a driver on his first run at Albert Park compared to a three time winner here. Magnussen’s consistency was again impressive.

The woes suffered by Lotus in pre-season testing showed no signs of abating today, with Romain Grosjean failing to complete a lap in FP1, while Pastor Maldonado managed just two. In the late afternoon running Grosjean got 12 laps under his belt before a suspected brake issue pitched the Frenchman into the gravel, Maldonado failed to complete a lap however.

Another Renault team, Caterham, had a difficult day, the Leafield squad completing a combined three timed laps across the three hours of testing. Kamui Kobayashi was sidelined all day with a fuel system problem and Marcus Ericsson’s running was halted by an electrical issue. However the fourth Renault team, Toro Rosso, covered plenty of laps.

Australian Grand Prix, Melbourne, Free Practice
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m29.625s 37
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m29.782s +0.157s 31
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m30.132s +0.507s 28
4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m30.381s +0.756s 41
5. Jenson Button McLaren 1m30.510s +0.885s 33
6. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m30.538s +0.913s 38
7. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m30.898s +1.273s 32
8. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m30.920s +1.295s 38
9. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1m31.031s +1.406s 34
10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m31.054s +1.429s 33
11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m31.060s +1.435s 35
12. Felipe Massa Williams 1m31.119s +1.494s 31
13. Sergio Perez Force India 1m31.283s +1.658s 36
14. Adrian Sutil Sauber 1m32.355s +2.730s 36
15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m32.468s +2.843s 26
16. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1m32.495s +2.870s 36
17. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m33.486s +3.861s 29
18. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m33.646s +4.021s 12
19. Max Chilton Marussia 1m34.757s +5.132s 29
20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1
21. Pastor Maldonado Lotus
22. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham

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431 Comments
  1. Grant H says:

    Rb sand bagging in bahrain? Car looks reasonably quick… I did see a pic showing the RB bodywork bulging so they may still have some thermal issues

    Oh dear lotus

    1. Craig D says:

      I don’t think the thinking was of them having a dud car concept a la McLaren; it just wouldn’t run!

      However, I am still surprised at their showing today with no major issues.

      1. Wes says:

        I didn’t read the comments all the way down, so I’m not sure how many people mentioned it but the sound of the cars are so lame, I knew what I was heading for, but my friends couldn’t believe that the little noise we were hearing when we jumped out of the tram at Albert park gate yesterday was actually from a F1 car, they thought I was a Formuka Ford car or something.
        Thanks god they do the “speed comparison” here in Melbourne, so at least we could hear the RB7 going around the track once, although it only made the new cars sound even more miserable…

      2. ManOnWheels says:

        I beg to differ. I always found the high screaming V8 unnerving and tiresome after a few minutes. The sound is lower, but richer and complex, you an hear the motor grumbling, the turbo hissing and the tires squeal if they lock up the brakes. What was just screaming like a 200 pound lady stepped on Bernie Ecclestones feet with her high heels, is now a beautiful concert of different sounds from a complex machine, and it still sounds sufficiently powerful. I think it’s Lovely!

      3. Gaz Boy says:

        RE Man On Wheels: Agree with your comments – but the 200 pound lady analogy is a bit confusing, as Formula 1 uses the metric system, as does every country in the world! The UK uses stones as weight, but 1 stone is 6.3 KG, so 63 KG is 10 stone – just add or subtract 6.3 KG to get a higher or lower amount depending on the drive

    2. Sebee says:

      Well, well, well. RBR surprise. Whar a surprise.

      1. Miha Bevc says:

        Sebee, if it rains on sunday and RB10 with it’s downforce makes it to the finish line, we will win this race.

      2. Sebee says:

        Wow, if there wasn’t enough on the plate, good chance of rain. When it rains it pours, I guess.

        Wonder how these electric things will handle a proper wet GP! :-)

      3. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        VETTEL should give back the trophies.
        HAMILTON was the good one… yeah, almost always.

        I hope Massa crashes with Rosberg this year, yeah.

        Yeah.

      4. KRB says:

        On balance it was a surprise how good they were today. But I NEVER expected them to look horrible and be 3-4 sec’s off the pace. Basically, I didn’t expect RBR would do what Lotus did today.

        People were getting nuts about how far back they thought RBR were, etc. Pre-season is pre-season. RBR have done a great job in the last two weeks, whatever they’ve done.

        Of course, it’s just the Friday of the first race weekend. Things could change tomorrow, and the next day. And of course anyone (the slow or the quick) could have a failure on Sunday, and go home with a goose egg!

        On reliability, what would people peg the relative chances (% wise) of a failure in the 2009-13 era, versus 2014? I would say the mechanical failure rate for 2009-13 would be in the neighbourhood of 5-10% in any given race. But for 2014, I think that could be closer to 40-45%. Maybe 35-40%.

        Your thoughts, please.

      5. Sebee says:

        I’m going to be honest with you KRB, I think the whole thing will take us by surprise about how reliable they will actually be.

        I think the cars may DNF, but it will not be a “mechanical failure”. Preventitive measures to save the PU, running out of fuel, bettery/ERS issue, etc. will add to DNFs, but they will not be mechanical entirely. I’m going to put my guess at 20-25% – and that may be high. But I think that should be the % if we’re going to push technology into the unknown.

      6. KRB says:

        Ok, while those might not technically be mechanical failures, I will lump them in as causes for DNF’s that are (usually) b/c of no fault of the driver. Basically, any DNF that isn’t due to an off, spin, or collision.

    3. Sebee says:

      As for Lotus, if this isn’t rresolved quickly thianyear, it may be their last.

    4. Tealeaf says:

      Well looking at the speed traps it just looks like are running their full power which they didn’t at Bahrain, also Melbourne is not a power circuit like Bahrain so on them 2 aspects alone Redbull should be closer, but still on average 0.7sec slower over one lap in low and high fuel is a good buffer to have for Merc, and ir’d be over 1sec if we were at Spa or Monza. Hamilton looks impressive in that Merc and seems to have the legs on Nico, its his championship to lose.
      Im sure Redbull is a excellent car but that Renault PU seems to have poor drivability and probably still lavk outright power.
      Final note I was saying Williams will flatter to deceive and its proven to be the case, who’d imagine they’re slower than RBR and Mclaren after Bahrain eh…

      1. Stephen Taylor says:

        Williams have not done any true quali simulations yet.

      2. KRB says:

        Still far too early to draw conclusions re: Williams vis-a-vis Macca or RBR.

      3. Martin says:

        On Autosport’s analysis Rosberg’s long run pace averaged 0.4 faster over ten laps than Hamilton. I’m not drawing much from that, but it is more relevant than one lap pace in P2 as the pace gets turned up by the car and driver in qualifying in a way that it won’t in the race.

    5. Sebee says:

      As for Lotus, if this isn’t resolved quickly this year, it may be their last.

      1. Tom says:

        for what reasons make you think this?

      2. Sebee says:

        Bad finish means less funds from FOM, they can hardly afford another reduction in funding after being 100m GBP in debt – that was the number, right?

    6. Christos Pallis says:

      Not that I’m RB fan but sandbagging they were not. RB showed good chassis balance and aero balance in Bahrain but running the Renault power unit considerably under full power left their times looking slow. They will be quick especially in qualifying trim but on fuel consumption and energy recovery reliability they will likely struggle to Mercedes, this will have a greater effect on race pace than one lap pace!

    7. KRB says:

      Not sure about sandbagging, but it’s at least time for hyper-sensitive RBR fans to step back from the ledge!

      They look decent, and again one of the best through the corners.

      Lotus, oh man. Doesn’t look too good for them, but still, you never know.

      1. Sebee says:

        It was never a doubt for me that they would at least improve to be in the neighborhood.

        Well, whatever happens I hope at least the WDC winner doesn’t have a cakewalk. And if RBR aren’t going to win, at least they will go down fighting. I’m relatively pleased that we’ll have a multi team fight.

      2. H.Guderian (ALO fan) says:

        I really hope they have a good car.
        This way, there will be no excuses for Vettel.

    8. Rishi says:

      They were the surprise of the day. One must be wary of knee-jerking, of course, but equally the trouble-free runs look ominous for the rest of the season. They may not win in Melbourne, but if they can limit their losses early doors we all know they can make hay once the sun starts shining for them. Rivals will need to have yet another long, hard look at themselves if this happens.

  2. Dan E says:

    Are we sure about Button setting that time on the soft? I don’t remember his lap on low fuel being shown and judging by both how much the other teams gained from the soft tyre and the gap to his team mate that did do a short run on softs, I as skeptical (would be happy if it’s true).

    1. Doug says:

      I noticed on the BBC video that Jenson was listed on screen as a medium runner…nice that James noted this. If the McLaren has found some pace with its Oz upgrade (over 1 lap anyway), it will be very interesting to see where he is in quali.

      1. James Allen says:

        The tyre data was wrong for a few drivers yesterday during FP2 telecast

  3. Warren Buys says:

    An interesting day all around and not for all the reasons expected. Do we have the pleasure of your presence in the paddock this year James?

    1. KRB says:

      Of course JA is there. From the sounds of it, they (JA and Allan McNish) were situated in a box near the end of the pitlane for FP.

      1. James Allen says:

        Yes, right opposite the exit of the pit lane – great view of the practice starts and some of them aren’t very good!

      2. Dan Tyas says:

        Any change of a picture of your view? it would be interesting to see!
        Also, can elaborate and tell us which cars either look poor/good?

        Thanks for the great articles James!

      3. crespo says:

        Care to share who looked good and who didn’t? TIA James!

      4. Glennb says:

        I’ve heard that Webber was there running master clases on the subject ;)

      5. John B says:

        Who had the best if the starts in your eyes?

      6. DonSimon says:

        Didn’t you do the team chiefs press conference too?

      7. James Allen says:

        I do all of them, post quail and post race too

  4. Neshaen says:

    As predicted.

    1. Sebee says:

      Are you sure about that?

      That P4 car is as expected?

    2. Mike says:

      What is, and when did you predict it?

    3. Tealeaf says:

      I’d like to add about Hamilton’s recent comments about Schumacher’s accident being “everything happens for a reason”. What a complete utter insensitive thing to say! what has Schuey done to deserve his accident god only knows. Its as if it wasn’t bad enough Hamilton tweeting pictures of him and his dog skiing 2 days after Michael’s accident!? Now this.
      That I have to say was pathetic

      1. Steven M says:

        So everybody’s life has to stop because MS had a skiing accident? What about the thousands of other people that have skiing accidents? Should everyone else stop posting pictures of skiing because of them? Dude, relax! You’re a Hami hater just looking for a reason to hate. SMH!!

      2. Anil Parmar says:

        Yup, what an idiot. I hope Nico beats him now because it’s VERY insensitive regardless of your religious beliefs.

      3. Kbdavies says:

        You guys have some serious issues!

      4. Mike from Colombia says:

        What could any person say when put on the spot and to be made to comment on a very difficult situation.

        The world is full of haters who seize on words or soundbites with the only purpose being to take delight in their vitriol.

        Why do journalists ask such silly questions in the first place to drivers or celebrities..what us there to gain by it? When the Queen dies, what will there be gained to ask David Beckham of his thoughts? Pointless.

        Hamiltons comments are jumbled but it is clear that he basicslly means that this accident is bewildering and we have to struggle to understand the concept of fate. That Schumacher is a fighter and if anyone is going to make it, it will be him.

        If the Schumacher family was upset about this and responded negatively then fine…ho ahead and savage the driver. If not, then this is just another example of haters liking to hate and feigning oversensitivity.

      5. David says:

        With all due respect Schumacher’s driving ethics left something to be desired. He was a dirty driver. He should’ve have been disqualified in 1994 like he was in 1997.Despite his enormous talent there will always be a stain on his achievements.

      6. Sebee says:

        What does his driven ruthless dedication to winning have to do with anything?

      7. ManOnWheels says:

        Even more so was Senna and he is still regarded a super hero. So what?

      8. Wellbalanced says:

        Do you have a link to comments?

      9. Sebee says:

        Really? That is in poor taste.

      10. Simonb78 says:

        He was implying that Schumachers strength of charachter would help him in his recovery. I agree he could have worded it much better but there was no malace in it if you watch the interview.

      11. matthew says:

        have you actually seen the full interview?the whole thing has been blown out of proportion as usual.

      12. bobba_dwj says:

        Oh come on, all believers trust in Providence, therefore, believe everything is for a reason. That doesn’t mean that it was your fault, but often good comes out of evil. With your guide, we should be afraid to say anything, just in case someone else relates to another incident and finds offence. Give Lewis a break!

      13. MitressofSpeed says:

        Tealeaf: not so bizarre if you consider both men embrace their religious beliefs.

        Schumacher as a considerable talent knew what it was like to win again and again.

        On his return he himself recognised that of all the things he learnt when he came back was “how to lose” or in other words how not to win.

        Therefore, Hamilton’s statement seems less bizarre and more empathetic for whatever the next phase in Schumacher’s life, Schumacher will embrace it with the religious conviction he has as a Roman Catholic.

        And seriously! Was the dog skiing?

      14. danny almonte says:

        Sensitive much? Pull the plug already.

      15. littleredkelpie says:

        I believe the sentiment behind Hamilton’s comments are clear enough and totally supportive of Schumacher, albeit a bit clumsily expressed. How you could read into Hamilton’s comments that he was suggesting Schumacher “deserved his accident” is beyond me. Drawing some connection between Hamilton’s skiing photos and Schumacher’s accident again seems to point towards a keen desire on your behalf to either take offence at everything Hamilton says, or use any opportunity to bash him. I have no real opinion of Hamilton either way, but, I have no time for anyone keen to use any individuals personal suffering as an opportunity to pass judgement on others wholly unconnected with said suffering, and can only wonder if YOUR motive is what is truly insensitive here.

      16. KRB says:

        You wrote what I wish I’d written. Perfectly said.

      17. C63 says:

        I wonder if LH spends as much time worrying about the drivel that issues forth whenever you comment, as you do when his remarks are quoted out of context :-)

      18. ChimpSafari says:

        I think you may only have seen the first half of the comment. He added something like “this will show his great strength of character when he pulls through”. What ever you think of the comment, it seems pretty clear that it was supposed to be supporting Schuey rather than against him.

      19. Dazzler says:

        If you object to what Lewis Hamilton posts, then I suggest don’t follow his Twitter feed, or read his column. I presume your not a fan of his ?

      20. aveli says:

        hamilton said this gives schumacher a chance to show the world his true fighting character. he never said schumacher deserved it.
        hamilton was not being insensitive at all. you may wish he was but he wasn’t. why are you going out of your way to post negative comments about hamilton? what wrong has he done to you to deserve this?

      21. KRB says:

        Twisted all out of context Tealeaf, and you know it.

        He didn’t mean it as you’ve (and the British tabloids) have spun it.

        Obviously it came out wrong, and he should’ve steered clear of going all religious in responding (e.g. “this will show MSc’s character”, etc.). I guess LH wanted to say more than the usual line (“hope and pray he gets better”), but perhaps in hindsight he should’ve stuck to that.

        Anyone who thinks the tweeted pictures of him skiing were insensitive is seriously stupid.

      22. Limelee says:

        I’m really glad you added that, it’s a healthy contribution to the discussion. After all, what F1 forum would be complete without questioning the personal agenda of each and every driver off circuit after P2?

      23. Samir says:

        Tealeaf, specifically, this is what he is quoted to have said:
        “He’s a legend in the sport, you know, who has achieved so much, a very motivated individual.
        “So I feel like all things happen for a reason, I think that this is an experience that will really show his character and depth and even more so than any other experiences he’s had.”

        I read this as Hamilton stating that adversity will bring out the best in Schumacher. The tweeting is coincidental, not disrespectful. It’s being overplayed by people looking to sensationalize anything, and by Hamilton’s critics (who for a WC/multiple race winner has a staggering number of critics/naysayers). AFAIK, Schumi’s family has requested that their privacy and space be respected.

      24. Michael says:

        U will never stop will u? If u don’t have nothing good to say don’t say it. It’s obvious to everybody on this forum u don’t like Hamilton.

    4. Assuming that the time charts are a reasonably telling indication of the ‘order’ do you suppose anyone from RBR has thought to express their appreciation to RB for the car’s performance?

      Has Whitmarsh simply left the planet? Seems that McLaren’s apparent improvements might not be the result of Boardroom wrangling, either.

      On a related subject, does anyone know if SKY has coverage in the U.S. and if so how/where one might gain access? NBC continues to fail in spite of the positive efforts from Hobbs and Machett.

      Thanks to James and Co., good to be back ‘in season’ once again.

  5. Arnie S says:

    Dear James,

    Could you (or someone) please tell me which times were set on soft compound and which on mediums.

    Personally I was surprised (even though in the back of my mind i was expecting it) of the pace of the of the RBR (and lack of pace in the Williams)

    Quali seems like a Merc first row lock-out, but let’s se how the race will be!!!

    1. James Allen says:

      All the headline lap times were set on softs

      1. David in Sydney says:

        Yes, Button was on M in P2 – taking 1s off his time puts him right up there I suppose.

      2. Peres Mircea says:

        David, are you sure that Button was on medium tyres in FP2? I would me more than happy if that is true.

      3. Jonathan Cooper says:

        Jenson’s was set on the medium? (or at least the official FOM timing screen, shown on Sky’s coverage, showed him as being on the medium)

      4. OffCourse says:

        James is right (as you would expect). I checked the replay and at the end of Jenson’s stint in which he set his fastest time there is a shot of him being pushed into the garage with softs on.

      5. crespo says:

        No, I rewinded as soon as the commentators mentioned that Jenson’s time was on the primes to confirm, and Jenson’s best time was actually on the options. 100%, no doubt about it.

    2. James Clayton says:

      Pat Symmonds said in an interview with Sky Sports something along the lines of “I don’t think our low fuel runs showed the actual pace of our cars” so there may be more to come from them tomorrow.

      I have to say the Williams livery unfortunately doesn’t look *nearly* as good on track as it does in all the glossy photos.

      1. Wellbalanced says:

        I actually think it is average- a non paint scheme black wing, and an almost totally bare white car, especially side pods. It could look good, but at mo is a bit kit car a la recent Williams’ appearance.

        Funnily enough I’ve fallen for the McLaren.

      2. Tara says:

        Unfortunately I agree. The ribbon needs to be on the sidepods or something to give it some more colour

      3. John T says:

        I’m with you on the Williams livery. Bland in comparison to the photos previously shown on this site.
        As for the droop noses, not as bad as expected.
        I don’t think any of the cars look as bad as expected from that point of view.
        Good to have F1 back and good to see James on 1/10′s coverage. As for the engines, I guess we’ll eventually get used to the new noise but truly disappointed.

      4. Glennb says:

        I totally agree James. The livery is definately lacking something.

      5. Basil says:

        Indeed, too much empty space.

      6. Rich B says:

        agree it just looked white

  6. Vivek says:

    I caught the last 10 minutes of FP1 today morning, live on TV. The thing that struck me most was the sound factor. Must say there was hardly any sound. V6 seems to have turned F1 into a silent series. The cars sound like high revving motor bikes. Anyone else has something to say about the sound factor?

    1. ManOnWheels says:

      I think the sound mixing of the TV signal could be better. It’s surely possible to make the noise from the track louder.

      1. Mike from Colombia says:

        You cant polish a … you know what

      2. CYeo says:

        I found the audio mix quite spotty – the new engines are quite rumbly, so quite frequently they were swamping the commentators voice overs.

        The old V8′s higher pitch didn’t have that problem.

      3. FerrariFan says:

        Exactly my feeling. It was too silent. But probably they will get it right in the race or in a few races.

    2. AlanM says:

      I wondered if the FOM mics were still tuned for the V8′s. The FP2 sound seemed quieter than some of the track side recordings during testing. There must be some more sound there that is being filtered out.

      1. AuraF1 says:

        Most live TV is audio compressed and the bass levels are filtered out, it’s why when you watch a band at a festival on tv you can hardly hear the bass or drums compared to the transparent mid range/treble – part is to do with TV broadcast regulations and equipment/part is just the sound directors expecting people to want an ‘easy’ listening experience.

        Although these power units obviously ARE vastly quieter, it’s true that the sound mixing/capture is not optimised for the low end grunt and will always accentuate the ‘scream’ of the old V8s more.

    3. Ed says:

      I think it will take a while for the TV techs to sort out sound levels, and I think this is actually where the problem is – not enough gain on the microphones.

      I love the fact that the different engines actually sound different, and that you can hear the tyres squealing, the turbos spooling up etc.

      Its not worse, its just different, and I like it now I’m used to it

      1. MrNed says:

        Agree about the interest of the extra sounds – tyre squeals in particular – but I could break wind louder. These cars should be screaming, not mumbling.

    4. Tealeaf says:

      Yes I do, to be polite and kind I’d say the sound is on the quiet side and to be quite honest I’d say these cars actually sound LAME and like a motor thats used to cut grass. The distinctive high pitched F1 sound is lost probably forever and its almost a tragedy in itself.

    5. Agreed – on the TV at least you can’t hear that much. Shame. No doubt we’ll get used to it though.

    6. Christos Pallis says:

      Veejay Mallia the team owner of force India had his head over the pit wall and when he turned back towards the pits he said “this is not formula 1, bring back the noise” that pretty much sums it up I think.

      I personally don’t dislike the sound just the volume of it. Could the FIA not do some technical rule to make the exhaust louder or something to that effect?

    7. MJSib says:

      The cars sound hollow as if they’re misfiring every time they accelarate. I’m sure we will all get used to it but for now it all sounds very false

    8. James Clayton says:

      All through free practice people were talking about the sound. There must be something wrong with me; they didn’t sound nearly as mute as everybody was making out. A little quieter, yes… but not a massive amount.

      At least the V6 has a moody grunt to it, unlike the “angry-swarm-of-wasps” sound of the V8s before them.

      1. Simon Haynes says:

        I agree. I never liked the high-pitched scream of modern cars, preferring the sound of 80′s and 90′s engines. Now we’re back there and I couldn’t be happier.

    9. Cole says:

      All the field to use SoundRace since the next round!

    10. Glennb says:

      They sound like old Honda XR75′s.

      1. Bruce says:

        Classic! Scalextric cars are louder.

    11. Cole says:

      All the cars to be provided SoundRaces by Bernie since the next round….

    12. KRB says:

      Yeah, it’s way down. Not sure what it sounds like trackside, but watching it on TV it’s instantly noticeable. Maybe FOM has to change where they put out their atmospheric mic’s … put them closer, different angle, etc.

    13. Tara says:

      Yeah I was there for fp2 and it was quite confronting how quite they were. It’s really disappointing.
      In the past you can hear them coming at least 4 corners away but today I didn’t know they were there until they were right in front (and sometimes past ) my eyes.
      I haven’t watched any tv coverage yet so I’m hoping it’s not as noticeable there.

      I think addressing the sound issue is no1 priority – not how they look.

      1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        They should put mics and speakers all around the circuit… What a disaster!

    14. GWD says:

      They kind of sound like ‘unsettled’ Porsches at the moment (the torque these thing generate perhaps? Porsches do seem to sound smoother when they run), with seemingly different turbo setups that give varying sounds in addition. Kind of like an LMP1 diesel engine wouldn’t sound out of place. Maybe in the future they can get these things to ‘scream’ a little more. Very much missing that from F1 right now.

    15. Toby says:

      I was sitting in the braking zone at turn 1. To be totally honest, the cars sounded like I expected Formula E to sound. I knew they’d be quiet, but I was shocked. The turbo was the loudest part of most cars. Under braking, the Ferrari sounds like a monorail. Most other cars make a small engine noise when down shifting and braking but the Ferrari just has the noise of the tyres turning for the last 50 meters. I’ve sat in the same seats for 5 years and it is like night and day. The V8′s, the Porsche cup, and the historic cars are all way louder than the F1′s. You no longer need Race Radio to hear the loudspeaker commentary so sales will be down on those, and you can easily have a chat with the person next to you, even sitting on the front row. I know I might sound like I’m exaggerating, but other than when several cars are going by in close succession, it is honestly very quiet. No need at all for ear plugs any more, let alone ear muffs. I’ve been going to races for 25 years and am a massive fan of the sport, but this is shocking. :(

      1. Tara says:

        Yes I agree. I don’t think people will really get how different it is until they hear it themselves tho.
        I thought people were exaggerating at testing and txts I got during fp1 but it really is that quite.

      2. All revved-up says:

        Thats interesting about the Ferrari lack of engine sound heading into a slow corner. Perhaps the fuel cut off technology on engine braking leads to this lack of engine sound.

    16. Azza says:

      I was watching from the pit straight stand today.
      I’m very disappointed with the pitch and lack of noise these engines make, sorry ‘power units’!!
      No more of the spine tingling, hair raising sound most of us loved.
      You can hardly hear them coming, they just wizz past with very little impression.. The single biggest appeal of F1 for most was the distinctive scream, it’s dead….

    17. David B says:

      The sound is ok but not for an F1 car. I have a vacuum cleaner that sounds more like a race car than what I heard at the track today. I think most people will get used to it but it will be challenging for the F1 purists. Then again, if the incredibly stupid double points rule has managed to find its way into the sport then perhaps the engine sound is the least of the sport’s concerns..

    18. p2pc2e says:

      They sound terrible, these new engines. It’s not FOM mics or TV signal – it’s just bad live. Been to a winter test and I have to say they killed Formula 1 with new regulations. Cosworth DFV sounds like a rocket ship compared to 2014 V6. Not a fan of the new Formula 1, refuse to follow it, hope the others will do the same.

      There’s nothing on a Formula 1 car that can be used in a normal road car, so Totonator’s recent comments are disappointing, I’ll gladly go back to V10 and have no car manufacturers involved in the sport at all. Cosworth V10 sounded amazing. Throw out Mercedes, Honda and Renault, get someone like AER build more proper engines.

      Paying insane amounts of money for the tickets to watch silent vacuum cleaners with x-rated noses is a no-no. Bernard was right.

      TERRIBLE. Cancel the show.

    19. NickH says:

      Can barely hear them

      1. NickH says:

        Whose bright idea was this again?! A change in governance is needed so someone wakes up and realises what F1 is meant to be

    20. JohnBt says:

      This sounds so much better. Noticed the whistling similar to Ferrari.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RhbviNeQ18

    21. Brent says:

      They sound like modern technology should. F1 finally drags itself into 21st century technology and lack of noise is the complaint. I’ve heard screaming engines for decades; it’s old school. The noise was the inefficiency barking at us. My those glorious years remain memories cherished.

      I bet none of the “anti racing” crowd will be complaining about the lack of ear piercing sound or the move to cutting edge hybrid engines.

    22. chins says:

      They sound like screaming scooters :(

    23. Timo says:

      The online camera should reposition its microphone closer to the exhaust pipe to amplify the sound. As is, it sounds like a vacuum. The trackside sounds are much better.

    24. Mark V says:

      I knew the new engine sound would be complained about by TV viewers. They do sound different, but James and Allan McNish didn’t seem to mind the sound from trackside, even though stating the new engines are considerably quieter.

      With regard to how sound is perceived, keep in mind a couple of points (warning: some science lays ahead):
      -When something like an F1 engine is so loud you have to wear ear protection to be anywhere near it, most ear protection changes the sound a lot anyways, killing much of the mid and high frequencies where the famous “scream” comes from, and this lowering of volume also works in tandem with reducing the effect of the “Fletcher Munson Curve”, a phenomenon related to how human hearing works. The lower and higher frequencies that are most pleasing to our ears become relatively more pronounced as volume levels get higher (this is why loud music usually sounds better than quiet music).

      -How the sound is recorded also has a big impact on how it is perceived. Every microphone sounds a bit different…very few have a “flat frequency response”, meaning they will inevitably accentuate some frequencies while muting others. And where the microphone is placed in relation to the origin of the sound also has a huge bearing on how the sound is reproduced. Recording engineers will spend hours trying to find the right spot to place the mic near an instrument amplifier speaker cone, since moving it as little as half an inch one way or another can make a drastic difference. Most microphones are also prone to the “proximity effect” where low frequencies become more pronounced when the mic is very close. Since low frequencies contain more energy than high frequencies do, the proximity effect can either make something sound better by boosting the bass or worse by masking the higher frequencies (that scream I referred to earlier).

      To sum up, maybe the audio engineers have yet to figure out the best way to mic up and record these new beasts to get them to sound their best. It was only the first day of an entirely new formula after all.

      Just my two bits as a musician and audio recording enthusiast.

      1. C63 says:

        Very enlightening. Thankyou :-)

    25. darren w says:

      The raw footage we were hearing from trackside during testing gave a much better indication of the sound…which was quite good. Hope they get that fixed for the race.

    26. DonSimon says:

      My brother is at the track. He said the TV audio was totally different and the cars sounded quite good. Not as loud as last year but good. Check Rubinho’s instagram post:

      http://instagram.com/p/lgT4DJIOfB/

    27. Chuck 32 says:

      I think on Sunday we will hear cars in fuel saving mode turning 10K RPM. with the Turbo Mufflers and low RPM the dominant sound will come from the tires and gearbox. Agree w/ Toby above, a shocking disappointment

  7. aveli says:

    am glad hamilton put all those prejudiced journalist and ex driver turned reporters who constantly claim romberg is more intelligent than he is and make false claims that rosberg has an engineering background with the only evidence, his offer to study engineering at imperial college. in fact rosberg never studied engineering at imperial he was simply offered a place to study. hamilton on the other hand works closely with his engineers, making the most contribution to improving the cars he has driven and worked closely with the worlds best engineering students at harvard and cambridge. i hope this stops them from making such prejudicial comments about him in the future. they all simply wished he wasn’t intelligent and simply reported their wishes. unfortunately for them hamilton is the most intelligent f1 driver ever to have stepped foot in the sport and the best driver to have ever stepped foot in the history of the sport. i don’t think we will see another as good in our lifetime, including the 5 year old f1 fans.
    he will demonstrate this on track this season and I wish his engineers would come out and testify.

    1. Tommo says:

      Ahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, this is a brilliant comment. It’s pretty obvious from Hamilton’s interviews he’s a bit of a thicko unfortunately. I think those are some pretty rose tinted fan [mod] glasses you’re wearing there aveli.
      Does it really matter about his intelligence as long as he’s fast on the track though?
      Regarding Nico Rosberg how could you possibly know that??

      1. aveli says:

        you and your friends are all at it. hamilton has recently spoken about designing a car in the future and said it would be the best handling car because he will set it up himself. i have never heard of any f1 driver designing a car nor wanting to.
        by the way a security guard with the same mentality stopped hamilton at the gates to ask for his pass while he was in full race suit and helmet on. this kind of behaviour should not be tolerated in sport. hamilton had to tell the security driver that he was a driver to be allowed in.
        the only problem is that people find it hard to accept that hamilton is as intelligent as he is and as great a driver as he is.

      2. ReviLO says:

        “A bit of a thicko”, well that seems a little harsh, how do you know by the way have you personally measured his intelligence and then compared it the other drivers? Or the general populous, but like you state, not that it matters. What I find interesting though is, the way pundits and other commentators seem to raise it as often as they do. It’s like the old myth of Hamilton unable to manage his tyres until he proved that he could, just as well as the next driver, that one seems to have fallen out of favour. I suspect this one will too soon enough.

      3. aveli says:

        i go by what hamilton says. in the history of the sport, only hamilton has said he would design a car in the future. now, designing a car requires a lot of intelligence and no driver has felt confident enough to suggest they could design a car except hamilton.

      4. MitressofSpeed says:

        Tommo, have a look at the well known online encyclopaedia:

        Nico Rosberg: “Offered a place on the Aeronautical Engineering course at Imperial College London”

        However, if you look at the course content – http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/aeronautics – you could conclude that Nico should excel in aerodynamics – move over Adrian!

        Alas, he turned down the offer to become a professional racing driver.

        Nevertheless, the two Mercedes drivers seek different information from the pitwall when they are driving and you can see this by comparing their pit boards.

        Has anyone done a compare and contrast of these?

        Oh and as for Nico language skills, I wish I was educated in an establishment where I was exposed to a variety of languages on a daily basis – and not just from a bunch of books in a language lab.

      5. aveli says:

        rosberg is a son of a millionaire f1 champion while hamilton grew up in a one bedroomed flat with his dad and step mum living across drug dealers.
        he made it into f1 because he is that great, against all odds.

      6. Quade says:

        Thomas Alva Edisons teacher specially picked him out when an education inspector visited his school. The teacher described Edison as “somewhat addled,” leading the poor child to drop out of school out of indignation.

        You know who Thomas Alva Edison is? He turned out to be the greatest inventor of ALL TIME. Today, every year the lights are switched off in remembrance of the “Wizard of Menlo Park”… No one remembers the teacher, except derisively.

        That’s a lesson to those unwise enough to “know” how intelligent others are by telepathy or whatever other wacky powers.

    2. Jeff Ashcraft says:

      So Aveli – you a BIG fan of Hamilton or just like him a little bit?

      1. aveli says:

        i haven’t met hamilton but i am a fan just like you are.

    3. Voodoopunk says:

      Why bother? it’s all blah blah blah…

    4. ManOnWheels says:

      Well, I think the reputable motorsports journalists are not making up stories, but they’ve got it from somewhere and that’s probably people within the teams. So I do believe there’s something to it that Rosberg is more one of these guys who try to adapt the car to his needs technically, while Hamilton has more of an ability to adapt his driving to the car and doesn’t need to fiddle around with the settings that much.
      But I also think that the difference is more subtle than it sounds. A lot of people tend to exaggerate, when they read “difference” they thing “in contrast to”, while it’s really “a little bias towards”.

      1. aveli says:

        are you suggesting that any of your so called reputable magazine journalists know more about how much more intelligent hamilton is than rosberg, than hamilton knows? hamilton he is not less intelligent than rosberg and i believe him over those so called reputable magazine journalists.
        even security officers are wading in, when will this stop? it’s taking over 6 years for people to accept!

      2. ManOnWheels says:

        To judge your own intelligence is never going to give any decent result. Look up the Dunning-Kruger-Effect for a reference, it happens to everyone, also those who are on the smart end of the scale.
        One should really leave the judgment, if you are more or less intelligent than others to the smartest people around one self. And there are a lot of damn clever people in the teams and they know best if their drivers are doing their job in a smart or less smart way, they see data, they hear the questions, they see how the driver approaches a problem and which conclusions he draws and they see if the driver understands what they are talking about, they are closer to the drivers than anyone else here. So who are YOU to say how intelligent he really is? Shouldn’t you leave that to those who actually know him in person and work with him on a daily basis, or at least those who are talking to those who do on a regular basis, like journalists in the paddock, team principals, etc.?

      3. aveli says:

        man on wheels, please quote anyone who used data from any part of f1 to suggest romberg is more intelligent than hamilton. i am confident that hamilton spoke directly to the cameras and said it is not the case and sited many references to confirm that rosberg is not more intelligent than he is. fact!

      4. ManOnWheels says:

        aveli: I’m sorry, but if you don not understand simple logic (reporters ask engineers, engineers who know data give their opinion, reporters report what they have got from their sources, usually not disclosing them), then any further discussion is useless.

      5. aveli says:

        man on wheels, lauder, brawn and totto all described hamilton as very intelligent, not a single engineer from mclaren or mercedes has claimed that romberg was more intelligent than hamilton. hamilton made several claims to his design input to the cars he has driven and not a single
        engineer has denied it. because of all this i know that hamilton is the most intelligent f1 driver to have stepped foot in the sport.
        for all those who are upset by my posts, those reporters have claimed rosberg would beat hamilton in 2014 since hamilton announced he was to join mercedes. hamilton be at rosberg in 2013 although he wasn’t used to the car and rosberg had been with the team for 3 seasons. what is it that has changed to give rosberg a better chance this year? show me the logic. they have said it for 18 months and no one got upset, i say hamilton is the most intelligent driver to have stepped foot in the sport and you get upset? what exactly are you harbouring inside?
        watch the race.

      6. Quade says:

        They got it from prejudice (and I’m being nice with choice of words).

    5. Mike says:

      Oh dear! Keep taking the tablets.

      1. aveli says:

        are you on tablets? no wonder!

      2. Mike says:

        Why ask a question and then answer it? Your thought process is very odd!

      3. aveli says:

        are you on tablets too mike? Or are you just harbouring something inside?

    6. Colombia Concalvez says:

      Absolutely agree, most want to see Hamilton fail, that’s why these ”sudden” Rosberg fans support Rosberg. They are no true fan of Rosberg, they just want Rosberg to own Hamilton so they can down talk Hamilton.

      1. aveli says:

        i don’t think any of that behaviour will influence the results.

    7. Diesel says:

      One of the funniest posts I’ve ever read on this board, the word “sycophant” springs to mind.

      1. aveli says:

        am glad to introduce happiness into your life. ever?

    8. Peter says:

      It will be interesting to see. No one has said that lewis is not fast – quite the opposite – but I expect that Rosberg will beat him over the season using a combination of skill and finesse rather than raw speed. As far as intelligence goes Rosberg speaks 5 languages fluently and is mastering a 6th while lewis often struggles to make himself clear in English.

      1. aveli says:

        if rosberg beats hamilton over the season then those with that style of thinking may claim that rosberg is more intelligent without a complaint from me.

      2. KRB says:

        … which surely helps Rosberg out on the race track?

        Maybe he talks to Costa in Italian back at base.

        Rosberg was brought up in Monaco, the son of a champion race car driver. He obviously has never had no want for money.

        Hamilton, on the other hand, came from council estate housing, got signed up by McLaren at an early age b/c of his talent, and knew that if he ever let up in his progression, or if his talent wavered in anyway, that he’d be out on his ear.

        I don’t begrudge successful people the spoils of their success, but I know which driver’s backstory I more easily relate to!

    9. Kbdavies says:

      No offence intended, but as a Hamilton fan, i have to say most of what you wrote is rubbish! There are better ways to articulate your support for your favourite driver than blatant fanboism.

      1. aveli says:

        you don’t need to tell me you’re a fan because i know you’re not by what you write. and i don’t care why you feel the need to insult me because i write the truth. i hope you’re not the guard who tried to stop hamilton from entering the paddock area during first practice. like it or not hamilton exists.

    10. Shaboopi says:

      It’s too bad there you don’t have an offer from Imperial College, or any college, to learn about objectivity and join us all in reality…

      1. aveli says:

        it’s too bad it’s illegal for you to express those feelings you harbour inside.

    11. Bob says:

      Ummm…What?

      OK, we’ll just forget about the 3-4 guys that have finished in front of him every single year in the championship for the last 5 years than shall we?

      1. aveli says:

        no, don’t forget! why forget? hamilton is as great as i have said he is. don’t forget that either.

      2. matthew says:

        and we’ll just forget the fact lewis has beat alonso,button and nico over a season,when they were his team mates,and 2 of them are world champions.and this thing about nico having more finesse,comes from where?and he doesnt have an engineering degree,he was offered a place to study for one,but whats that gotta do with driving a f1 car?its funny coz the same things ppl are saying now,are the same things ppl said when lewis was buttons team mate.i remember ppl writing lewis off after 2011,saying button will get the better of him in 2012,,,,,

    12. Chrisl says:

      Oh good god here we go…… its going to be a long 9 months of this rubbish.

      1. Michael says:

        Yes, here we go again. This is ridiculous. None of these guys will be mistaken for Scientists. They’re just racing drivers!!!

      2. aveli says:

        they are not just racing drivers, they are f1 drivers. can you name anyone more intelligent than them and earns more money than they do?

      3. aveli says:

        is there a bad god?

    13. Glennb says:

      All hail Lewis! The best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be. Lewis is God.

      1. aveli says:

        you said he’s god.

      2. H.Guderian (ALO fan) says:

        So, you MUST see this…..

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZ3zeyz-d4M

        P.S.: Ron’s (and his wife) face – PRICELESS!!!

      3. aveli says:

        because hamilton was mature enough to let a raging teammate passed?
        i didn’t understand how the youngest back to back double world champion could resort to sabotage over a rookie teammate.

    14. Grant says:

      Looks like it’s not just the journalists and ex-drivers that have an issue with Lewis, but the guards too……

      1. aveli says:

        when will they learn? he will not evaporate.

      2. CYeo says:

        He got a police citation for doing a burnout on public roads last year, wasn’t it?

      3. aveli says:

        he has a lot more than that.

      4. Glennb says:

        and if he pulls a stunt like that on my gate tomorrow he’ll get more of the same. Everyone knows that if you stop on track you just wait for Alonso to come around and hitch a ride on his sidepod. DFE ;)

    15. I know says:

      I’m not sure I can follow you completely regarding Hamilton’s status as “the most intelligent f1 driver ever”, but I agree with the gist of your comment.

      Most people who assign intelligence to drivers don’t have any concrete basis for such an assessment, so what follows is informed more by prejudice than by actual evidence.

      1. aveli says:

        they said rosberg would win this season because he is more intelligent than hamilton, as this season would required more intelligent driving. which is a whole load of rubbish. i have said this all along until hamilton himself said it directly to the press.
        will they all say hamilton is more intelligent than rosberg if hamilton wins this season?

      2. aveli says:

        intelligence is about driving wisely to win. a simple comparison of intelligence between drivers. nothing to do with others who are not f1 drivers.

    16. KRB says:

      Ok whoa … yeah I think the whole “who’s the more intelligent driver?” angle is totally cheap and overplayed, but it doesn’t serve anyone – least of all you – to then go overboard the other way.

      Spending some time in an engineering degree program is just that … some time. Doesn’t make you an engineer; not even close.

      Rosberg’s job is not as engineer; it’s as driver. It all depends how they approach it. There are people who have a little knowledge in a subject, who when working with people with vast knowledge in that same subject, always have to make their limited knowledge known. These are cases when a little knowledge can be a bad thing, and actually be counter-productive.

      If he uses his knowledge to help him understand concepts faster, but in the end trusts his engineer to take care of his work, then it can only help him.

      1. Glennb says:

        6 munce ago I coodnt eeven speel injunear, now i are wun…

      2. aveli says:

        if hamilton wins this season, will you describe him as being more intelligent than rosberg?

      3. ManOnWheels says:

        Why should someone do that? One could admit he was wrong on the “who drives more intelligent wins” part and still call Rosberg the more intelligent driver. This discussion is going nowhere, people act like saying that Rosberg is a “more intelligent” driver would mean that Hamilton was a dumb idiot, which he is most certainly not. Stephen Hawking is probably more intelligent than Ross Brawn, but that doesn’t make Brawn a retard. Will you guys now please calm down a bit?

      4. aveli says:

        man on wheels hawking and brawn are in different professions, both world beaters but not fair to compare their intelligence. all prejudiced!

      5. ManOnWheels says:

        aveli: another moment where you don’t seem to get what I’m saying, although I think I’m being very clear and since I don’t think that you are stupid, I have to conclude you’re trolling. Please stop it.

      6. aveli says:

        man on wheels, you are the bearer of the message and if you wish for me to understand it. then make sure i do.

      7. aveli says:

        i don’t think i have gone overboard. i have seen consistent video evidence on you tube from hamilton’s karting days through to gp2 and f1 and there isn’t a single driver who has ever shown such consistency, overtaking cleanly, on the, up front the way hamilton has demonstrated. if you name a single driver you think is the best, i can show you evidence that he isn’t. hamilton is the best f1 driver to have stepped foot in the history of the sport.

      8. KRB says:

        Dude, calm down! I am a Hamilton supporter. But I’m not a slavish supporter of his. No driver is perfect, all have their strong and weak points. It’s ridiculous to believe otherwise.

        I love to watch quick drivers in action, and there is no more naturally quick driver IMHO than Lewis Hamilton. He instinctively knows the best lines to take, etc. He’s a pleasure to watch.

        So now that we have that out of the way, I’d advise putting down the keyboard, going out for a walk or some other outdoor pursuit, and just pull back a little bit.

        Or is there some posts/hour record of GazBoy’s that you’re trying to beat? Jokes GazBoy, just jokes!! :-D

    17. Richard says:

      Amen to that! I just hope Mercedes are able to keep Red Bull and Ferrari at bay in the development race.

      1. Voodoopunk says:

        I hope they’re not…

    18. Dutch Johnny says:

      Your making my day with this comment haha. The best ever? please not even by a long shot.

      1. aveli says:

        yes best ever! hamilton makes his car dance in a way i haven’t seen any driver do. He overtakes cleanly, up front, on the edge in a way I haven’t seen any other driver demonstrate. there are videos of his drives from karting through to gp2 and f1 and they are all consistent with my claims. there are no videos of any other driver doing as consistently as he has done. if that is no proof that he is the best ever I don’t know what is. i have searched all the champions and none of them is able to do what hamilton does with his car. the only interesting battle is one, yes one, between rene arnoux and villenurve and that isn’t clean at all, they hit each other several times.
        hamilton’s overtaking in spa 2008 was so good that they had to invent a new rule to penalise him on an overtaking he had already completed. yes he took them back to the future and back. name any driver you think is the best with such consistent evidence.

      2. aveli says:

        out of all the who have driven in f1 in the past 6 years hamilton has pulled more g force under breaking. does this ability have anything to do with his brain?

    19. Kyle says:

      Wow! You must be on magic mushrooms! I am a Hamilton fan but that’s just bla bla bla. I really don’t care. Just drive the dam car faster than teflonso. Simples.

      1. aveli says:

        is that how you behaved when you went on magic mushrooms?
        if you don’t care, why comment?

    20. Harvey says:

      If he’s so great how come he’s only won one drivers title? Wait ’til he pushes the car so hard it breaks or runs out of fuel while he’s running away from the field. Then we’ll talk.

      1. aveli says:

        he has only driven 6 seasons and his statistics for strike rate shows his greatness. schumacher has won 7 yet rosberg showed him the way. how is rosberg coping with hamilton now?
        not a single driver has demonstrated what hamilton has done in the car.

    21. SteveS says:

      “hamilton is the most intelligent f1 driver ever to have stepped foot in the sport and the best driver to have ever stepped foot in the history of the sport.”

      Ah, a typical Hamilton fan. I’m not sure what the poor lad has done to attract people like you, but you’re his biggest liability.

      1. KRB says:

        A “typical” Hamilton fan? That’s harsh.

        aveli is clearly in the tank for Hamilton, but I think in terms of that type of fan (let’s call them Drink-The-Kool-Aid fans [DTKA]), there’s just as many that support Vettel and Alonso, as there are that support Hamilton.

      2. aveli says:

        only difference is aveli is not joking, very serious with tangible evidence which support my opinion.

      3. KRB says:

        Ok, this is critical now … you’re talking in the 3rd person. Next is speaking in tongues. ;-)

    22. Basil says:

      10/10 I laughed.

    23. NickH says:

      Calm down dear, you can watch your beloved Lewis anytime now

      1. aveli says:

        he even makes the commentators ooooh and aargh with accentuated rhythm!

    24. Limelee says:

      I think people are confusing intelligence and intellect. Intelligence is a measure of what you know. You can increase your intelligence by learning. Nico chooses to learn more about his car than perhaps Hamilton does. Hamilton learns what he needs to learn to make the car do what he wants. Nico learns everything about the car to see how he can maximise its potential. Intellect is different, it’s more about the speed at which you can assimilate information and act upon. Hamilton is renowned for his improvisational approach, and his overtaking ability. Both things which show that his brain can compute things quicker than most, especially on a race track. Hamilton may not concern himself with as many details as some of his contemporaries, but that by no means makes him stupid.

      1. aveli says:

        there we go again! another with the same blindness. hamilton said himself that it is not true! accept it my friend.

      2. NickH says:

        What difference does it make anyway?! He’s clearly got enough brain power to drive a formula 1 car. Whose on pole? Oh yeah

      3. Quade says:

        @Limelee
        That is either prejudiced nonsense or 100% made up.
        What proof do you have for any of what you said?

        …And you cannot increase intelligence by learning. Knowledge is what is increased by learning.

      4. aveli says:

        you make me smile. hamilton is as great as I say he is. did schumacher not win 7 championships? did rosberg not show him the way? is rosberg able to show hamilton the way? did hamilton, in his rookie season now show the then youngest ever back to back double world champion, who won his championships in a highly contested competition with schumacher, they way?
        the evidence is abundant!

    25. MistressofSpeed says:

      Aveli – my comment was both in response to and attached to Tommo’s comment on your thread.

      I hoped those who read it would realise I was establishing a possible source from which journalists could reference a fact then choose to ‘romance’ Nico’s engineering acumen.

      Unfortunately, I’m at a loss to establish a source as to the occupation of the those who lived opposite Lewis’s Dad and Step Mother in Stevenage that you referred to in your reply to me.

      In future, could you show the source of pertinent details using a variation on the Harvard reference style:
      Author name, Book/Periodical name, Chapter title, page number, etc, etc
      For Example: Idiot, I AM; Tenuous F1 Facts Monthly, It’s a Definite Fact, Page 3, Column 5

      1. aveli says:

        are you serious? hamilton said this weekend that he grew up in a single bedroomed flat opposite drug dealers as he talked about visiting kids in hospital in melbourne. if you are willing to pay me for my services, I’m more than happy to teach you.
        watch the race.

  8. MISTER says:

    I hope I’m wrong, but what happened with Williams?
    I said during the Bahrain test that Williams seems to be chasing headlines. They were fast and reliable and now are back in the midfield.

    Strange.

    1. O.S says:

      1. Free Practice is not conclusive of qualifying/race pace – though it does give an indication.
      2. According to the team, Williams used FP2 to conduct long runs and pit stop practice – so were unlikely to have been doing short, low-fuel runs.
      3. As for conspiracy theories about “glory runs” in testing I think James has said elsewhere that the Martini deal was signed long before Bahrain and their race pace looks genuinely good.

    2. Jonathan C says:

      Perhaps Williams were trying to impress Martini, so did a lot of low fuel/high engine mode running?

    3. Multi 21 says:

      They didn’t look to have any decent pace on the Option tyre. They looked more solid on the Prime though.

    4. AuraF1 says:

      Maybe it’s not that they were glory runs, but some of the teams who’d dropped back made a comeback? When you see that Red Bull really do have a great aero set-up and when the Renault unit is pushed to full, they can compete, Williams are back in a set place.

    5. Martin (England) says:

      Bottas long run pace on the options was pretty good actually and Massa spent most of FP2 on the primes, lets see where they are after qualifying.

  9. rohind says:

    James,

    A couple of questions.

    1. Kimi down to 7th place..was it due to some issues in the car?
    2. why Vettel had to stop towards the end of FP1 and how was he able to recover quickly?
    3. What happened to William’s and Mclaren’s pace in FP2? Domeniciali was saying that some cars were hiding their speed in FP2.Do you think that is the case?

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes he didn’t have as good a day as Alonso

      1. spartaco says:

        how so James ?

      2. Glennb says:

        He’s not as ‘good’ as Alonso either. Maybe he doesn’t like the power steering.

      3. Fireman says:

        I read from another source that Kimi suffers from massive understeer, as the tires are pretty much the same as the second half of 2013.

        Can you fix something like that with a proper setup?

      4. Anil Parmar says:

        My concern for Kimi is that he really suffers if he can’t get the car set up the way he likes. In the second half of 2013, RG started to get the upper hand on him and the same happened in 2008 when he couldn’t use the front suspension as well as Massa.

      5. Martin says:

        Depends what you mean by proper.

        In qualifying the teams would ideally have a neutral to slight oversteering bias if neutral cannot be achieved as drivers want to hit the intended apex as this tends to be where most time is lost.

        In the race an understeer bias is sought to preserve the rear tyres.

        Ideally you’d achieve those two states with tyre pressure and front wing adjustments.

        Overall car characteristics come from the aerodynamic performance and the suspension geometry. Apart from minor camber setting adjustments, these are pretty much fixed for the weekend as teams don’t normally have multiple floor types or suspension wishbones at a race meeting.

    2. Vivek says:

      James,

      I have been surprised by Kimi’s lack of pace as compared to Alonso, right through testing. Alonso’s fastest lap in testing was about a second faster. Also today, the gap was seven-tenths. I would expect the gaps between them to be no more than two-tenths in whomsoever’s favour.

      Do you have any further info? The cars & the technology are equally new to both. Is it that Kimi is just taking longer to readjust being back in Ferrari?

      Regards
      Vivek

      1. aveli says:

        the true difference will be in qualifying. raikkonen has just moved over from renault or is it lotus? and still getting used to the car.

      2. H.Guderian (ALO fan) says:

        Nope. Car is totally new for BOTH.

      3. aveli says:

        did alonso not make inputs to the design of the car?

      4. Martin says:

        Alonso got nearly twice as many laps as Kimi in pre-season testing, so that could be a major factor.

        If we look through Raikkonen’s career, he’s tended to be quite particular on what he wants from a car for qualifying. Alonso has shown himself to be quite adept at adjusting to cars with all sorts of handling characteristics. In the race Raikkonen has generally been fine regards of the car characteristics.

    3. Anil Parmar says:

      Vettel was called to the weight bridge at the end of FP1, hence why he had to stop. There was no car issue.

  10. MISTER says:

    In respect to the camera on the nose on the RB10, how is that powered?
    If RB10 has a crash and the wing needs to be changed, does it mean that FIA needs to install cameras on all RB10 spare wings?

    1. Sebee says:

      Details, details.

      They’re P4 at first true test, isn’t that worth a few cameras?

      1. C63 says:

        Won’t the first true test results be known after the race on Sunday ? Methinks you might be getting a little bit ahead of yourself 8-)

      2. Bryce says:

        And Sebee is feeling very relieved.

      3. Sebee says:

        Sebee, Sebastian, Seb, everybody is relieved!

    2. iceman says:

      From the pictures I’ve seen I’m not sure if the camera is actually fixed inside the nose cone, or if it’s a bit further back and the nose cone just has a panel that sits in front of/over the camera. Have we had any pictures of the front of the chassis with the nose cone off yet?

  11. james stringers says:

    I was at Albert Park today. Lovely sunny day, relaxed atmosphere. Lots of comments about the lack of noise – the V8 cars were louder. Ferrari has the sweetest engine note & Merc are spookily quiet. High pitched teapot whistles from the turbos. Williams couldn’t hold their form through FP2, they looked fast in FP1 but twitchy in FP2, Massa was fighting the wheel through the final corner. Should be a good race, F1 is back!!

    1. Quercus says:

      Sound is a form of energy and in a noisy car it’s being wasted; so we can assume that quieter cars are more efficient cars. Those turbos are turning the sound of combustion into electricity to feed back into the power train. And by the sound of it (excuse pun) Mercedes are leading the pack.

      1. Hansb says:

        “so we can assume that quieter cars are more efficient cars”
        There is a hell lot more determining the efficiency of a car (or even the engine) than the amount of noise.

    2. Quade says:

      Even on TV the lack of noise added a hollowness to the event. I wish F1 stream varied engine noises from their servers so fans could choose what to listen to.

  12. AlexD says:

    Red Bull a huge surprise. I was hoping that this season will start well, but sadly…it looks good for Red Bull:-)

    Merc as expected. Ferrari also as expected. Williams suddenly looks slower than Red Bull and Ferrari.

    I hope Maldonado is happy. His arrogance was beyond comprehension. Humility is always good.

    1. Ed says:

      But didn’t you hear? going to Lotus was the best thing he’s ever done!

      HaHa!

    2. Sebee says:

      Hope you put down a bet on Vettel’s 5th before odds makers adjusted their odds. :-)

      1. Glennb says:

        Get off the Vettel wagon Sebee. Rosberg is the future ;)

      2. Sebee says:

        So another WDC for Germany to add to the 11 and put pressure on GB leader at 14?

        Now I get it. This German domination can only be stopped by Hamilton. Wow, the pressure!

      3. Tealeaf says:

        Very true, as long as reliability won’t be a huge problem then Vettel and Newey will find a way to overhaul these Mercedes pretenders. I for one am actually shocked at how Redbull are not even 1sec slower than Merc I thought even at Melbourne they’d be over 2.5sec slower, though saying that at a Tilke trome the Merc is probably still the best part of 2sec slower than Merc, their saving grace is the car is nowhere near mature and from now till the end of the season there’s probably 3-4sec to find from this car and I doubt Merc can find anywhere near that.
        Sure Hamilton has this race in the bag but Merc will be watching their backs now.
        Now it just proves how much Williams were probably running underweight at the Bahrain test it amazes me that they’re behind RBR.

      4. KRB says:

        Have you? :-D

    3. aveli says:

      williams set those fast times during winter tests for their sponsors. they how to seal deals.

  13. Richardd says:

    Looking good for Mercedes after all the pre-season hype…

  14. CC says:

    The Mercedes, like the Brawn in 2009, appears to be the quickest machine in Melbourne with a combination of a well integrated, refined concept and good downforce in slow speed corners – but it is a bit too early for supposition and qualifying will give everyone a better chance of analysis in regarding the pecking order at this early stage of the season.

  15. Harshad says:

    RED BULL Hats off!
    With limited mileage they had in pre season testing they find themselves sandwiched between the two Ferraris!!!
    Vettel’s long run pace in FP2 was faster than both the Ferraris!

    For Ferrari, they seem to have good car, but it looked very twitchy under Kimi. Under Alonso, it looked far more stable.

    Williams, same as Ferrari, Massa’s car very twitchy under braking, Bottas’s car looked very stable.

    Overall I guess most of the driver’s are still struggling to come terms with “braking by wire” stuff,it seems to catch people out in corners with tight turns and add to that neither Maldonado or Grosjean has had much running so far. First lap incidents???

    1. Doobs says:

      Lack of running time may cost them dearly.

  16. ManOnWheels says:

    After watching parts of the TV coverage I’m a bit disappointed by the sound mixing that doesn’t seem to have been adapted to the new engine sounds.
    Is it possible to lower the commentary’s volume and ramp up the overall volume so we can hear a bit more from the cars? Can’t be that hard, really.

    1. Ed says:

      My thoughts exactly… Loving the turbo noises and squealing tyres :-)

    2. KRB says:

      Yeah, I think FOM has to re-work where their trackside mic’s are set up.

  17. Random 79 says:

    Q. What does 30m of PDVSA sponsorship money buy?

    A. :(

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      A very poor results to expenditure ratio!

    2. Gaz Boy says:

      PS Is that 30 million in Euros, UK £ sterling, US $ dollars, AUS dollars or what? Presumably as Lotus are UK based, pound sterling? I checked this morning, and the exchange rate of Venezuela Bolivar to UK sterling is 96 pence to 1 Bolivar – whatever, turning down a big wedge of dosh is not to be overlooked at a team with apparently £160 million of debts!

      1. Random 79 says:

        Not sure, although I would assume it was Euros or pounds – I’d be very surprised if it was US or AU dollars :)

        Apparently a new front wing cost 100k now, so by my calculations 30m should buy 300.

        Hmmm…not sure that’s going to be enough… ;)

    3. Ed says:

      Well, at least it keeps him warm

    4. Sebee says:

      What does PDVSA stand for anyway? Is it Pastor’s Driving Venture Sponsorship Arrangement?

      1. Random 79 says:

        Pastor’s Dedicated Venezuelan Sponsorship Agency :)

      2. Vlad says:

        Pastor Does Very Silly Accidents

      3. NickH says:

        Hahaha

      4. KRB says:

        Pastor Driving Vehicle Straight at Adversaries?

    5. DonSimon says:

      Will cost them double replacing all of the bodywork he knackers up.

      Never forget what he did to Perez at Monaco. Should have been thrown on the scrapheap then.

    6. Joel says:

      Well, the team put together MAL’s car first and sent him out towards the end of FP1, while GRO was left waiting. I think MAL got team’s No1 driver tag with the 30m. He was very very lucky to not bin the car twice in his limited outing in FP1.

      1. Random 79 says:

        Maldonado might be no.1 driver on paper, but I reckon they’ll be looking to Grosjean to bring in the results.

    7. Bryce says:

      Regardless of anything else, he is quick and a winner, unlike most of the field, both past and present.

      1. Random 79 says:

        True, credit where it’s due.

    1. Must be said says:

      It’s the car ;)

      1. Random 79 says:

        And Newey ;)

  18. Leo says:

    Sorry guys, the sound is crap!
    Just does not do it for me!!
    Vijay was on live TV saying the same thing.
    Bring back the scream of the V10.

    Looks like race could be close though, a redeeming factor!

    1. Vivek says:

      What does matter is that the racing is exciting. The cars can only go faster from here. They seem to be no more than 5 seconds slower that last year as of now. And this generation of cars is just starting out. Last years cars were at the end of a 5 year development cycle.

      Yeah, no doubt the sound was good earlier. However, if hybrid technology and environment friendlier rules are the way forward, then we just need to accept that and move on. This sound will also grow on us.

      Frankly the only rule that irks me is the fuel limit. If it means the drivers are going to trundle around the track during the race – it would mean F1 has well and truly become an endurance racing series. That will be sad.

      1. Leo says:

        Agree I guess it is my initial reaction!Yes the fuel limit can become a problem hope not.
        We will see what happens today in Quali.
        Rain on Sunday will be good, spice things up a little!

    2. Tommo says:

      Why would you want the sport to go backwards?? Surely it’s much more interesting seeing how new technology is bred into the sport instead of going back to times of old?
      As for the noise, if it bothers you that much just turn the telly volume up a bit. Simple

      1. Leo says:

        Not watching the telly Trackside!

    3. David Selway-Hoskins says:

      I think the racing will be ok, if the cars last, but the SOUND…………………….

      To sum it up DC’s run in the RB10 in the Performance Comparison (F1 vs Aussie V8 Super Tourer vs AMG Merc) was the highlight of the day!

      I watched FP1 from Brocky’s Hill, by turns 11 & 12. This is one place inhabited by enthusiasts and when the 2013 cars used to come out on their installation laps, the mood changed, it was electric, and everyone stood up.

      To-day when this lot of hybrids came out, there was a stunned silence as we all could not believe what they have done to our sport.
      I was standing right by the fence at the exit of Turn 11, making a phone call and talking to the marshalls as the cars came by – not possible last year.

      The hairs on the back of my neck did not stand up when the cars started up – bad sign.

      The saving grace is that the cars do appear reasonably evenly matched, and very twitchy coming out of corners.

      Massively Disappointed from Barwon Heads

      1. Leo says:

        Agree your comments,I always remember at the track when you heard the sound in the distance, you cannot help but stand up in anticipation! What a rush.
        Oh well we just have to get used to it I guess it is the future!!

      2. NickH says:

        I agree. The noise is so underwhelming. I love how the sky presenters try to cover it up by saying ‘it’s not better or worse it’s just different’. No it’s much worse. Being back V10s

      3. NickH says:

        Bring*

    4. Colombia Concalvez says:

      Not the V10, the sound note is too high. i prefer the V8.

      1. Tealeaf says:

        No way. The BMW V10 running at 19,000rpm echoing off the forest at the trees at Monza reminds me of the best sound F1 has ever heard, its the memory I will always remember those 950hp cars screaming down the Monza home straight at close to 230mph, most impressive N/A engines ever made and just happens to be the best sounding, makes a Moto GP bike sound like a scooter.

      2. Martin says:

        I suspect the 90 degree V10 had uneven firing spacing to create part of the sound as it tended to have more base tones to it. The V8s just seemed to have a pitch that rose with the rev range.

      3. Gaz Boy says:

        Martin, I think Renault in 2004-2005 had a 72 degree V10, which had a much more bassy, grunty sound than its Ferrari and Mercedes 90 degree V10 rivals.
        It’s a pity with these new turbo engines the angle is fixed. During the 80s turbo era any angle was permissible, which led to a lot of different ideas. Ferrari originally had a wide 120 angle,Renault opted for a right angle 90 degrees for its V6, TAG-Porsche had an unusual 80 degree angle for better packaging, and I think the Williams FW11 had a Honda engine angled at 60 degrees. All very different solutions – and F1 in the turbo 80s era was better for it.

    5. DonSimon says:

      Top tip for enjoying F1. Make sure your eyes are open. If the racing is good nobody will be talking about the noise at Sepang.

    6. Dan Hoyes says:

      I quite like it really. However, On TV it didn’t sound as if they know how to mix it yet (i.e. sound equipment at races isn’t fully adjusted yet).

      But the tyres screeching is great. Will probably mean that we hear the crowd a lot more too. For example, I can imagine hearing the Spanish crowd chanting Alonso’s name, overtakes being cheered etc. Could really add something to the atmosphere of the races.

    7. CC says:

      I’ve just been listening to some of the onboards from the BBC F1 website, and quite liked the throaty guttural growl of the new V6 turbo. The problem onboard is probably due to bad mixing from the FOM soundboard, but it is literally early days, so it may take a few sessions or even races to fully maximise the sonic aspect of F1.

    8. Vlad says:

      Sound is nice and clean, and we hear the tyres squealing, it’s a trip down memory lane!

  19. David in Sydney says:

    Impressed by Hamilton after missing out on P1.

    Impressed by Red Bull for seemingly fixing their reliability – let’s hope the Renault ERS KERS TERS gremlins don’t creep in during qualifying or the race.

    Alonso. Classy.

    Button. Classy although it looks like the McLaren does lack outright pace.

    Lotus. Letting down the drivers.

    Caterham. Letting down the pay drivers. I hope they get a credit for poor pace or unreliability.

  20. David in Sydney says:

    Oh yes and surprised that Williams doesn’t seem to want to be pushed after looking OK in P1.

  21. Brett says:

    Alonso seems to have the upper hand on Raikkonen. Looking at preseason testing, Kimi seems to have trouble getting his car setup. He had the same problem when he started out at lotus but the problem was masked by having Grosjean as a teammate. He will not have the same luck with Alonso. Their time gap in FP2 was the largest of any of the front running teammates.

    1. MISTER says:

      I agree, but also want to mention the fact that Kimi is know to just get in the car and drive, get out and go home. I am sure is not that bad, but I can’t really see Kimi working as hard as others to understand the car and how different components work independentely or together with other.
      Because of this I tend to agree with you Brett that Alonso will have the upper hand at least at the begining of the season over Kimi.

    2. aveli says:

      at the end of the season.

    3. Yago says:

      When he started at Lotus, he had the excuse of being away from the sport for two years. And to be fair that was a good excuse. But now no more excuses, if he doesn’t improve it could be painful for him, and specially for all his fans in this site!

      1. Thompson says:

        You guys make the mistake of confusing practice with the race.

        Over the past few seasons how many times did Kimi start way down the field only to mysteriously end the race at the sharp end.

        Allow him to get comfortable in Alonso’s team.

      2. NickH says:

        His car is not working properly they have issues, glitches. Hilarious how you say, ‘if he doesn’t improve it could be…’ When we have not even had the first race or even the first qualifying

    4. Krischar says:

      @ Brett

      Kimi himself confessed that different tyre compunds behave very differently with the current F14 T. Also kimi had to tweak himself and work with a car which have very little Trun-In at front and with rear end grip was very poor. Overall Ferrari have disappointed fans with their pace again.

      Ferrari again start way behind Mercedes and little closer behind Williams / Mclaren and RBR are not that far behind Ferrari. Ferrari have to improve thick and fast with car developments otherwise game over. It does not really matter how well Kimi / Alonso performs if the car is poor as it turned out to be.

      1. H.Guderian (ALO fan) says:

        Agree.
        Just hope Alonso is already signed with Honda/McLaren for 2015.
        Ferrari is a joke as usual.

  22. Grant H says:

    Read that the RB looks pretty impressive on corner exit, very stable and quick on the power….beware of the bull

    ….hope merc can do a “brawn” in these early races

    1. Krischar says:

      Yes Mercedes have to take advantage of the early season pace advantage with they have over other teams. There should be no complacency in terms of operations (Strategy) and reliability.

      Hope we will see a great duel between Lewis and Nico. Any of these two can win WDC. I see lewis as a slight favorite.

      Yes RBR do look a lot better than they were expected to be.

    2. Doobs says:

      We’ll see if they still chew tyres

    3. Martin says:

      They need to be if the speed trap times are correct. Still a good chance of winning at Monaco and Hungary.

  23. Andrew M says:

    And now for a taste of things to come…

  24. TGS says:

    Looking good for Button then. I assume this means McLaren will definitely be taking part in FP3. Hope all teams do as I have tickets for tomorrow! Good to see you back on Network 10 too James.

    1. NF1 says:

      Maybe you could get a ticket for Lewis

      1. Random 79 says:

        Lol :)

    2. Yago says:

      No way Button did his time on prime tyres. That’s impossible. I think that’s a mistake.

      1. Peres Mircea says:

        It was on medium tyres. Eric Boullier said that Button was only on medium tyres: “”Moreover, and encouragingly, he appreciates that there’s more to come – particularly when attempting to draw the full potential from a set of new Option tyres – but he’ll get there.”
        So Mclaren is ahead of the Ferraris

    3. Vlad says:

      Yeah that was great joint analysis with Allan on the Beeb radio… I used a proxy to hear it, even though I’m in Australia ;)

      1. James Allen says:

        You can hear our commentary on official F1 app now, the Soft Pauer one.

  25. Gravity says:

    Exciting Friday!!
    Was a little disappointed with the sound – But glad that the difference in speed / lap time is not as bad as i anticipated.

    Review of earlier predictions:
    1. Lewis / Nico on the front row with Massa/Bottas right behind — second row looks rather doubtful already!! guess its going to be Fernando & Seb?
    2. None of the Renault cars in the top 10 in quali (again – Redbulls might be there)
    3. More than 30% attrition – expecting a maximum of 14 cars to finish with half of them at least 2 laps behind – Will still happen
    4. Red bull to start from the pit lane!! – Doubtful!!
    5. At least 2 safety car – still on
    6. Few incident of cars to spinning out of the track – still on
    7. Williams to outscore their 2013 points haul in just 1 race – still on
    8. We will have a surprise winner – Not Lewis, Nico, Seb or Fernando – let’s see!!

  26. Krischar says:

    James what happened to williams today ?

    They looked like a real deal in the second bahrain test, yet they were way down the field today (Yes fuel loads may be different). Still there did not look close enough to top 5

    Does this mean RBR have improved vastly from bahrain and Other teams have developed the car whereas williams did not make up any ground between Bahrain and Melbourne?

    1. James Allen says:

      I think they will be right there on Sunday, behind the Mercs

      1. Anil Parmar says:

        Yeah I think so too James. They are still pretty much bullet proof as well which will come in handy over the next 4 races.

  27. giorgio says:

    Looking from what 1st Friday testing day was, double points in the last race could serve for SV for his 5th in the row ))

  28. goferet says:

    The new season is looking promising action-wise for with this much action during the free practice, we can only expect even better things when the lights go out.

    It’s true, the cars sound weird and the noses look weird too but if the show if first class, the fans wouldn’t care.

    First and foremost, it’s encouraging that the times between the teams are close especially for P2 downwards. This means we can have a battle between the two Mercedes drivers up front and then another battle for the podium places and then another battle for the points places.

    The biggest surprise was Red Bull and seeing them up and running, more importantly competitively. This is good for in a couple of races they will be joining the party at the front.

    Another surprise is seeing Williams sliding down the timesheets, lets hope they’re just hiding their hand.

    Congrats to Ferrari in FP1 for breaking the Mercedes lock out of the time sheets for just like in winter testing, they’re the only engine expect Mercedes to do so.

    It’s sad to see Lotus haven’t fully recovered performance wise since Allison left the team.

    Overall, considering were the number 2 drivers ended FP2, I reckon our grid looks something like this

    Mercedes

    Red Bull

    Ferrari

    Mclaren

    Williams

    Force India

    Sauber

    Torro Rosso

    Marussia

    Lotus

    Caterham

    1. You’re so wrong about Williams pace…

      Based onto stints of FP2:

      Rosberg – Lewis – Bottas – Button – (Massa or Alonso) – Vettel – Ricciardo – Hulkenberg – Magnussen – Perez – Kimi

      IMHO

    2. Yago says:

      Agree on the grid! Only thing I think Williams will be there with Red Bull and Ferrari. It seems like Merc is in a league of their own, then comes Red Bull having the edge over Ferrari due to superior aerodinamics, which traduces also in superior driveability.

  29. Wellbalanced says:

    I watched both sessions, and somehow contrived not to go to sleep in between. I’m knackered, and have somehow to get through work. Anyway, my thoughts…

    Seems to me the Mercedes are indeed the clear pacesetters, with the Williams not quite as fast as expected. Both the Red Bulls look well balanced (hm hm) and appear to be within shouting distance of the Mercedes, which is ominous. That is definitely the surprise of the first day.

    Up there or there abouts seem to be Alonso and Button- they both looked competitive, more so than their teammates. Button looks dialed in to the car, and the McLaren is noticeably a better car than that of this stage last year, notwithstanding the increased twitchiness (a noticeable thing) of the current crop. Button’s time without the softs is impressive. Similarly Alonso was consistently near the top through the various phases.

    I also thought the Force India looked solid.

    The Lotus (smoking battery, multiple brake induced spins) and Caterham (did very little) are all at sea getting their cars running at the moment, so their pace is unclear. As is the Torro Rosso, which has major braking problems- the new brake by wire system on their car is not working, with lots of trips into the gravel, and Kyvat looked (understandably) like he was having a difficult first day (not least in noticing blue flags!). The Marussia looks solid, similar to last year, as does the Sauber (I.e.middling, as it did at this stage last year).

    Having seen long and short runs, I’m confident the Mercs will lock out the front row. Beyond that, more guesswork than anything- I would then go with Button and Alonso, then the Bulls, and (if perhaps they were sandbagging just a bit) the Williams, with the Force India not far behind. Then perhaps Sauber. I can’t see Lotus getting their car running on full power at the moment, so they are in effect a midfield back marker with Torro Rosso until they do.

    In terms of who will finish, funnily enough the Red Bull looked reliable (they managed a race distance, as did other teams). McLaren look solid on that front, as do Williams. I have slight concerns re Ferrari and Mercedes, There is no way either Lotus or Caterham will finish on current form, nor do I expect the Torro Rossos to do so. The Sauber, Force India and Marussia look to have a reasonable chance of getting a car across the line. But I’d be surprised if we had more than 12 cars at the finish. A great time for the small teams to capitalise, just turn it down and cruise a la Minardi tactics of old.

    1. Yago says:

      Button time could not be done with mediums, that’s impossible. If it was, then nothing we have seen is telling, as they all would be running far from the limit.

      On Red Bull, I think they have had overheating problems during practice, lets see what happens in the race. But pace whise, they probably are already the second force, behind Mercedes.

    2. KRB says:

      Yeah, Kvyat (yes, it is ‘v’ before ‘y’, takes some getting used to) had a problem with a few blue flags. He’s the new kid … he’s gotta get right out the way when they fly.

      No one managed a race distance, at least not in one go. Vettel did 41 laps I believe in FP2, not sure how many of those were in one go (w/pitstops, but no garage visits).

  30. Cedgy says:

    Max chilton already 1.3 sec off Jules bianchis fastest time. Oh but hang on : that’s right he’s holding the record for finishing every race last year so that’s worth giving him a drive. Maybe Marussia could save $ by just running one car with Jules, whilst chilton walks around the racing track! Lol!

    1. Random 79 says:

      I particularly liked this from Hynes’ March 14 article:

      “Last year, paddock runners logged over 28,000km of the world’s F1 circuits, with Max Chilton’s trainer Sam Village taking the title of 2013 Run That Track champion”

      So even Chilton’s trainer is faster than Chilton ;)

  31. sergiu says:

    Hello to everybody!James, on formula1.com I saw that Ferrari brought two different front-wings with 7th and 14th numbers on. Is it possible that Kimi and Fernando will go racing with diferent front wings?

    1. Sujith says:

      In the pictures taken after the practice sessions I compared Alonso’s Ferrari with Kimi’s they both were using the same new spec ones.

      I guess they have both the configs and they were running them to evaluate which one is better.

    2. There are 2 sets for each driver. I saw at f1technichal’s ferrari’s forum.

  32. Ed Bone says:

    Wow. Red Bull.

    It was hard to believe they’d be as bad as everyone was saying.

    Can they improve even further by quali?

    Don’t rule ‘em out!

    Well done Hamilton, good recovery.

  33. Purple Helmet says:

    RB seem to have found a bit of speed and reliability, but the race is another issue. They still seem to have overheating issues. Maybe in fuel-saving mode during a race, they’re figuring that will be easier to manage.

    Either way, Merc really need to bag some points in the first four races, as RB seems to have raw speed if they can sort out the power unit and heat issues.

  34. JAWA hs-f1 says:

    My first post on James’ website, and I’m afraid I don’t have positive words for the V6 engines’ sound.
    I have witnessed the transition from V10s to V8s. But the V6s sound is just, in a different league altogether. It will take some getting used to.
    Some guys have already mirrored my thoughts in their comments by comparing the sound to that of motorbikes.
    Ferrari V6 sounds OK.. Renault a bit tolerable.. But the sound of Mercedes V6s came as a “rude shock”..

    Anway, I’m glad that the season has started. As they say in motor-racing, “when the flag drops, and the bullshit stops”, we will find out who will have the biggest smile at the end of raceday on Sunday.

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks for your post

    2. Sujith says:

      I’m with you on the Merc’s throaty grunt! The Ferrari Engine cars just sounded louder and sweeter! :)

    3. Random 79 says:

      I thought the Mercs sounded okay once they started to put the foot down, but the Renaults less so…

      I suspect part of that might be due to the engine maps they’re using, so there is a chance the sound might improve – it’ll never be a V8 or V10 sound, but it does have it’s own virtues.

  35. David in Sydney says:

    A little envious. My son turned 5 late last year and I promised him I’d start taking him to see F1 live but alas my wife is on a business trip so the whole plan has gone pear shaped.

    1. Glennb says:

      I’ll take him for you mate. Good as gold :)

    2. Random 79 says:

      When your wife is on a business trip that’s the best time to make plans that go pear shaped :)

  36. JohnBt says:

    Am impressed with the speed though, not as bad as I thought. Cars look so much better when they’re moving fast as it’s quite difficult noticing those with the unusual noses.

    But I still don’t like the sound, it’s weird and sounds like the engine is having a bad cold and the tone is really odd. I think there’s no body to the sound too. Martin Brundle said it should be louder and I totally agree!

    Ferrari looks better than expected but Kimi is not close to Alonso. Merc back to the top and Mclaren wasn’t that bad. Williams should be there too. Raceday should be good, I feel.

    Haha! Red Bull is fine, which is great for the fight. But if genius Newey starts improving the car fast…..and then starts to pull away after the halfway point, Jesus help us. No Vuja De please!

    1. James Allen says:

      I agree with Martin. I don’r mind the sound and I quite like the whistling sound of the turbo etc The lower revs don’t bother me either.

      But it’s 10-20 decibels too low. Needs to be louder to make more impression

      But the cars look very exciting on the track, they move around a lot under braking and turn in – they are all action!

      1. Emanuel says:

        Why does racing have to be loud? The sound is very different but I actually like it, as it has lots of different aspects to it, from the turbo whistle to the echo of the walls.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Agreed – that’s what I was hoping to see :)

      3. David in Sydney says:

        Yes, during P2 I did see some cars four wheel drift (probably unintentionally on the part of the driver) out of corners.

        The sound could be fixed by more fuel allowing for higher RPMs.

      4. KRB says:

        What could they do though? Certainly nothing this year, but even when the engines open up again, let more of the exhaust (and its sound) escape?

        Higher revs wouldn’t necessarily mean higher sound. Plus if you allowed it, you’d need to raise the fuel limit so that teams would use those extra rev’s.

      5. ChrisL81 says:

        I would like the engine sound to be louder but I am also enjoying the sound of the skidding wheals when the drivers make a mistake.

  37. Ben says:

    With all the people that are moaning about this new formula: sound etc. I’ve got to say I am really impressed with the amount of stories I’m seeing cropping up on other tech/science websites I visit that don’t normally run anything on f1. People are interested in all of this new technology and it’s relevance to the real world and that is exactly what excites me about this ‘sport’. Ok the engines may not be as loud but the deep throaty noise sounds so much better to my ears – just like when I listen to the music I care about how the bass sounds!

    I’m really annoyed I won’t be able to see the race this weekend but I’m looking forward to see who comes out on top between Hamilton and Rosberg as that’s what appears will be the most interesting battle this year – brains vs brawn! (although I believe they are both pretty quick and both pretty smart!)

  38. fox says:

    So all those waves with Renault engine was a bull shit. Red Bull is quick.

    1. Alex says:

      We will have to wait for the reliability factor, in tests maybe they were running in low specs to avoid more problems, but, looking Hamilton stopped in FP1 that factor will be common, in conclusion, yes the RB is quick and it seems it will fight the championship.

  39. TBP says:

    Hi James, off topic but saw the coverage on One HD today and it looks like you’ve been working out over the winter as well. Great job on screen with expert opinions.

  40. Jonathan g says:

    Hi James was at the track today and I have to say that the new cars sound like a electric lawn mower, what a big let down from the last years f1 cars. Noticed that the cars move around a lot due to the turbos should be some exciting racing coming up. Need the cars to be louder, when walking over the foot bridges last year they would shake when a car went under them, not this year!!!!

  41. Ben says:

    I was at the track today and the cars really are quiet! It was strange not wearing ears plugs and being able to have a conversation :-) The V8 Supercars and the Porsches were much louder. They sound great though and it’s nice that the 3 engines sound different.

  42. Shaboopi says:

    My thoughts from day one.

    1. The engines sound pathetic. Is this a cruel joke?
    2. That Williams has the most beautiful livery. I’d marry it if I could.
    3. I think Red Bull have the best car, not power unit.
    4. Mclaren and Lotus have the most promising cars over the season in terms of innovation.
    5. Get used to being outdone by your team mate Kimi.

    Sadly it looks like we’ll have one team head and shoulders above everyone else which is a pity because the rest of the field immediately behind them is quite tight.

    1. Voodoopunk says:

      “Sadly it looks like we’ll have one team head and shoulders above everyone else which is a pity because the rest of the field immediately behind them is quite tight.”

      Surely people aren’t gonna be happy about that after the last four years!

    2. Random 79 says:

      2. If you bring some cash along I’m sure they’ll let you marry it :)

    3. ChrisL81 says:

      lotus have the most promising car??
      if they can just get it out of the pits.

  43. RichardD says:

    With so many cars not setting times in FP1 & 2, I wonder if the race will start with a full grid?

  44. Stephen Green says:

    Have red bull been helping Renault rewrite the software for the engine James?

    1. Random 79 says:

      They’re using the old code from the RB9:

      EngineStart = true;
      Performance = 100%;
      Overheating = Minimised.

      if (Driver == Webber)
      then Performance = Performance * 0.9 – Alternator;

    2. Miha Bevc says:

      Yes, they said so themselves.

  45. Anil Parmar says:

    Horner claims that Red Bull are losing close to a second on the straight which is incredible given how small the straights are here.

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      Red Bull must have the best car in the corners then.

    2. Tealeaf says:

      Yes imagine how much they’ll be losing on the straights of Malaysia, Bahrain and China.

      1. quattro says:

        There are more corners than straights no matter of circuits – an equation that RB have liked very much in previous years given the results. And if I remember correctly RB has won even at Monza, even though they were claiming that they had a weaker engine also back then…

  46. quattro says:

    - Button
    “The long runs weren’t as much fun as I’d hoped they’d be, because you need to save a lot of fuel. And that’s such a different way of driving – you’re lifting off very early, and there’s lots of lift-and-coasting around the lap. On low fuel, however, it’s really fun to drive.”

    I know it is I suppose early days, but what the heck has “lifting off very early” and “lots of lift-and coasting around the lap” gotten to do with racing, especially in what is considered to be the king of formulas??

    And what is the deal with the sound of the engines? Were I, by mistake, watching Formula E? Seriously, when following a car from the onboard footage perspective, I get almost depressed due to the, to say the least, DULL sound of both engine and gearbox. We have gone from roaring lion sound to domestic cat…a domestic cat lifting and coasting around the lap down under.

    1. Voodoopunk says:

      You could always switch it off and do something else, rather than moaning.

      1. Mike says:

        Why shouldn’t he moan if he feels like it.His views make sense, yours contribute nothing.

    2. kieran says:

      ‘Lifting-off’ and coasting has been the main game since 2011 with the introduction of super degradable tyres. I just hope we don’t see the usual ‘overtking-in-pits’ this year.

      1. quattro says:

        I am aware of that. The problem is that in the past, you could always pit for a new set of tires, if you destroyed your tires too early. Equally you could choose a more aggressive race strategy with more pit stops.
        You cannot do that today obviously. If you do not “lift off very early” & “coast” around a lap, you are obviously not going to finish (unless you push the car for quite some laps).

    3. Carl Craven says:

      Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the world is running out of oil.

      Competing: Achieving an objective within given limitations.

      What’s going round corners got to do with racing? Some racers prefer straight lines. Being able to be competitive given a fuel restriction is still achieving a goal.

      1. quattro says:

        “Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the world is running out of oil.”

        What is the next move – driver with only three wheels? Two? (Oh, I suppose that would be a different vehicle of course…). That is oil as well you know.
        I feel it is rather hypocritical to claim it is for saving oil, knowing that the circus is burning millions if not billions of liters of oil more or less every week for the single purpose of entertainment. Shipping (sea & air) around the globe, transportation of the millions of people involved in setting up, supporting and attending the circus (team members, media personnel, event organizers, sponsors, spectators and probably a lot more of categories of people/professions. We have then not started talking about the energy spent on running all the equipment needed for developing the cars (computers, wind tunnels, testing), and transport the hundreds of people working with it to and from the offices/facilities, each and every day of the year – all for the single purpose of…making money (through entertainment).

  47. Bob Chicken says:

    It is meant to rain pretty hard here (Melbourne) on Sunday… methinks it could be anyone’s race.

    1. Tealeaf says:

      Anyone with a Mercedes engine you mean? The Renault’s drivability is one of the main issues right now and I can see their cars being a real handful in the rain.

    2. Vlad says:

      Yes, got a small side-bet on Jenson, just in case.

  48. Multi 21 says:

    Behind the headline lap times, it is interesting to look at the speeds through the sector timing points. Red Bull was consistently slower than Merc powered cars & Ferrari.

    Across the startline (only halfway down the main straight) Vettel was usually 5 – 9kmh slower than Rosberg.

    The Red Bulls have a LOT of downforce but are clearly lacking top line speed. The short straights and numerous corners are masking Red Bull’s speed deficiency.

    Also re tyre strategy: it is looking like a 1 stop race. The Options were lasting well after 25 laps. That would leave 33 on the Primes which won’t be a problem.

    One caveat on that though – the expected temperature on Sunday is low (around 15°C) and the Primes were taking a while to warm up today.

    Switching from Options to Primes is going to be like coming off Inters to go to Slicks. Timing will be crucial.

    They’ll take an age to heat properly on a cold track and graining could be a problem if these cold tyres don’t like excessive sliding. Drivers also won’t want to be on them during a Safety Car period (Remember Button here in 2006 – tyre heating issues).

    Even if it looks boring on Sunday, there could be late dramas.

  49. Multi 21 says:

    I remembered one more thing about today that I want to share:

    Cars getting away from a standing start looks problematic. Lots of drivers are struggling to get moving properly. My biggest fear is a startline incident where a car stalls and someone comes through from the back of the grid and collides.

    The Ferraris were doing practice starts from the pit lane and Kimi got stuck. Hamilton tried pitstop practice and was especially tardy at departing. There were more.

    There are lots of race scenarios that the teams haven’t perfected yet.

    1. quattro says:

      “Stopping” may prove problematic as well. What may the still far from perfect break-by-wire cause, when 22 cars going att close to full speed start (out)breaking for the first corner after the start?
      Cars spinning, due to instability/locking rear axel, at that moment will cause many tears and random crashes of the sort we saw at SPA 2012.

  50. Grant says:

    Glad to see RBR is actually quite competitive.

    1. TJ says:

      Well at least the indications that they may be competitive is a good thing for racing, but thankfully not dominant.

      And if that is the case for this year, SV may be in a position to demonstrate just how good he actually is.

      1. SteveS says:

        The RB wasn’t dominant in 2010 or 2012. Anyone who thinks SV has yet to show how good he is would not be convinced if he won a GP while pedaling a child’s tricycle.

      2. TJ says:

        Of course you could be correct, however I’m watching Q2 and SV hasn’t made it into Q3 by some way, more telling is his teammate did by a margin of 10-places.

        Maybe that tricycle would have been the bette choice…

      3. Grant says:

        My current thoughts on SV is that he needs the car to be perfect to perform, else he fades away, far away (much like Button).

        This season is poised to prove wrong or right.

  51. dren says:

    I don’t know if I agree with your statement that Magnussen’s deficit is down to not being at this venue before. He certainly has had time in the simulator and should know the track like the back of his hand. Hamilton came out his rookie year and was right in the mix.

    As for Mercedes, I’d bet they have more of an advantage that it looks. They often fueled heavier than others during practice last year. The same for Red Bull. I’m not surprised to see Red Bull turn it around. There was little doubt they would make a quick chassis. I expected Ferrari to be in the mix. Williams looks to be where they usually are after preseason testing top times. Well, they are looking better than last year, but we’ll see once the racing starts.

  52. ian says:

    It may be a case of the PU driveability over the outright speed performance looking at the weather forecast. looks the Mercedes engines have the edge over the other Power Units.

  53. wdf2 says:

    Gentlemen (and ladies), I have some bad news for you: The new motors (sorry, power units) are not going away. Don’t waste your time complaining about the noise and mewing about “brining back the scream of the v10.” Welcome to the new reality.

    And, seriously, would you have me believe that you’d refuse a trip to LeMans? Those Audis, Toyotas, and Porsches could operate near a hospital or kindergarten without complaint.

    And, if we really do want to get all nostalgic for the grand old days of F1, why not bring back the blood-curdling cry of the V12 Lambo? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuyt0C5JhAc Or . . . whoops, the Renault turbo of, say, 1986? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7v4VxBBGjRA

    1. Tealeaf says:

      Actually the Toyota TS030 at Le Mans sounded great and much more throaty than these F1 engines.

    2. Brace says:

      Murray Walker is intolerable in the second video. Will he shut up? It’s like he’s on a radio. Talking about stating the obvious. All that time I could have been listening to the car, but instead I have to listen to him talk about what’s already on the screen. Unless he starts talking about completely irrelevant things, like market stands or something like that.

      First vid is much better in that regard. As for engines, both sound great.

  54. rodolfo says:

    impressive recovery RBR … impressive

  55. krakinho says:

    OT
    Is anyone of you bothered with new striped down live timing on F1 official web site?
    I really miss all the info that was available before.
    Colored dots don’t do justice for me.
    I know they are after profit by forcing us to buy pricey app that apparently doesn’t even work on android platform, but this is ridiculous.
    We should sign a petition to bring everything back as it was (with even bigger window).

    1. Random 79 says:

      Good luck with that – We basically had a petition to stop double points: It didn’t work.

    2. Racyboy says:

      Yes, I agree.
      I actually expected an upgraded version this season, not a downgraded one.

    3. Simple says:

      The app is much more reasonably priced this year, and well worth the investment imo

  56. andy says:

    So its merc ferrari with mclaren red bull williams next just behind?

  57. D17MO.D says:

    So happy that F1 is back!!

    OK OK, so the noise isnt quite right but, even still, I have no complaints. I actually love watching the Mercs onboard and listing to the gorgeous whine of their turbo.

    Anyway, my observations from FP 1 & 2:

    • Merc AMG are quick over 1 lap.
    • Merc AMG appear to have the best race pace currently (both drivers consistently in the 1.33s / 1.34s and the only team to do so). Hamiltons stint seemed to go on for longer than Rosbergs; while Hamilton started off with slower laps, some due to traffic, he ended with a longer string of 1.33s that Rosberg I believe suggesting that Rosberg wont just walk it during the races as many percive that he will…
    • Redbull are way better than expected; decent over one lap and good race pace (consislently in the 1.34s; Ricciardo being slower but consistently in 1.35s)
    • Williams & Force India also impressing; quick enough to MAYBE challenge Redbull over one lap and race pace also impressive with consistency in the 1.34s and 1.35s with Bottas being faster than Massa!
    • Ferrari are looking like the 2nd quickest over 1 lap (behind the Mercs) however their race pace is quite poor, with rumours of a thirsty engine. 1.36s leave alot to be desired.
    • McLaren and their race pace looks ok, with lap times in the 1m34s / 1m35s but their 1 lap pace still seems an unknown. Button being faster than K-Mag but K-mag still was very consistent with everything being in the 1.35s. In general though, they just look rather uninspiring to me at the moment.

    The main thing for me is that the cars seem to be reasonably difficult to drive again. The drivers have to manhandle them so it looks like were in for a good season where the drivers make more of a difference….which is the most important thing for me. Pointing and flooring it, like they have been, just wasnt doing it for me so, I, for one, am enjoying seeing the cars squirm all over the place!

    Bring on qualifying and the race!

  58. Peres Mircea says:

    James are you really sure that Button’s time was on medium tyres NOT on soft tyres? Please answer, because all on this blog are discussing about this problem, about what tyres Button had

  59. Red Rider says:

    Following the 2nd practice session Button is quoted as saying, “… because you need to save a lot of fuel. And that’s such a different way of driving – you’re lifting off very early, and there’s lots of lift-and-coasting around the lap.”

    It’s the lifting off early that got my attention. That’s the way I drive as opposed to driving to the limit. It makes me think of what Montezemolo said about the danger of the drivers becoming taxi drivers.

  60. Steve says:

    Button’s time of 1:30.510 was set on the softs.

    I just watched the video on the BBC website. As Button crosses the line for the time he’s clearly on yellow sidewalled tyres.

    [Unless I'm hallucinating]

  61. Chris says:

    Never understood comments about people liking the noise of the old cars. Do you also like standing at the back of a 747, or the sound of a leaf blower? The quieter cars are a big attraction.

    Love that Red Bull is looking competitive already. If they continue to develop at this pace, they’ll be crushing everyone by Barcelona.

  62. Methusalem says:

    I really like the descent sound of the current cars. The former cars buzzed like wasps — annoying if you follow the races in cafés or restaurants.

  63. Sri says:

    Can anyone let me know how to get sector times in F1 live timing? I only get dots now without specific numbers.

  64. Alexander Supertramp says:

    Still anticipating Red Bull reliability issues..

  65. Nihon1868 says:

    RB have an awesome car. Losing out so much on their PU and just less than a second behind – awesome. The rest must already be scratching their heads as to RB performance once racing in Europe starts.

  66. deancassady says:

    We’re not there, yet!
    A team that can make the apparent improvement from the RB experience to Bahrain to the RB experience in Melbourne, in two weeks! Is a team that can take a similar step between Friday and a much changed set of race conditions Sunday!
    Vettel definitely has the steepest trajectory from the start of pre-season testing; the experienced pundits have been keeping a wary eye on RB, and we see why, now.
    I personally would have no problem seeing them win again, and it would not overly surprise me.
    On sandbagging: Yes, it becomes more and more prevalent. Yes, Red Bull are masters of it. But it would be extreme for them to forgo so much pre-season testing for the sake of ‘sand-bagging’ and I guess it is past the line for believability.
    That being said, it is totally believable that they have had serious challenges that they are well on the way to resolving or have developed work-arounds to enable the continued development of the car to get it to where they want it.
    In considering potential race winners, anyone counting out Vettel now, has just not been paying attention over the longer term, say five years.
    On Hamilton, over-doted upon, and benefitting, in the Brit-o-centric media, (sometimes) by favourable bias, is gaining consensus in the media that he will have the upper leg on Nico: while it is a huge factor, that Hamilton has proven that ‘he has what it takes’ to be a world champion, the comparatives over a long association, and in similar equipment suggests very, very close in terms of performance; it could definitely go down to which one got a pea placed underneath their hundred mattresses, the night before the race.
    Alonso, as ever, garners a headline.
    I’m hoping the Raikonnen is sticking with the program, and will work steadily, with the now trademark superlative (but clean) passes to gain the chequered flag.
    Anything could happen!
    Bring it on!

    1. Sujith says:

      Yes with regards to Redbull I agree. They were not sand bagging. It was Renault fixing most of the issues and now cleared RB into running in Full Power.

      I gather they were not running anywhere close to the edge on Engine power in Bahrain. They came to Melbourne after getting the thumbs up from Renault and had their fingers crossed. And with 2 good sessions they are now breathing a well deserved sigh of relief. They are not the class of the field but yeah they can work on it from here. I am no Redbull fan, but you tend to appreciate the job this team is doing. It is good to see a team improve so much. Hoping it stays this way into day 2.

      Kimi is gonna be considerably slower than Alonso in Quali but is gonna be a little bit better in the RACE and would count on some Safety Cars to mount a comeback drive I believe.

  67. Phil says:

    I think there will be some real traction for a breakaway series this year.

    1. David in Sydney says:

      GP2 chassis with V10 engines built to last a season. I’d like to see that.

  68. Andrew Halliday says:

    Couldn’t make it to Australia but I’ll be at 3 or 4 races this year. At first I wasn’t too concerned about how the cars would sound, but having watched both sessions on TV this morning I’m a little disappointed at the lack of noise.

  69. Harvey says:

    I’ve heard more noise in the lorry lane on the M1 than I heard from these so-called racing cars. Vijay is correct, this is not Formula One. Fans come out to the track to hear the scream of the engines, to see the drivers drive, not sit on their butts in the garage like Grosjean. Add in the talk of several teams foregoing FP3 and the spectacle becomes a debacle. Nursing the cars for fear of overheating, sensor troubles, electrical damage, fuel concerns? Whatever happened to flat-out racing like Clark and Hill, Lauda and Hunt, Mansell and Senna? I’m sure Bernie won’t be offering ticket refunds if half the cars are unable to participate in free practice. And shame on Jean Todt – if the best auto engineers in the world can’t get these cars to run, how in the world could any of this technology be transferred to the masses?

    1. David in Sydney says:

      Someone has pointed out that 2014 F1 sounds a lot like 2013 LMP1.

      I fear the days of hearing V10 engines guzzling as much fuel as they car are gone – perhaps F1 legend days at local tracks will become vastly more popular in the future?

      Or perhaps my 5yo will think Formula E of the future sounds just fine?

  70. Andy says:

    With F1 turned onto efficiency now, what is the point of Formula E? When you think of it, it may be a less efficient concept when you consider they’ll have to use more than one car to finish a race.

    I truly hope the engine’s are released from aural purgatory somehow. F1 gives me the willies now – spooky ghost of it’s former self!

  71. Stephen Taylor says:

    James am a bit a concerned Raikkonen will not be in the Top 6 in Quali or the race ( which was my minimum expectation this weekend and that he will get thrashed by Alonso this weekend. Any ray of hope James?

  72. George says:

    James, your opinion please

    Marussia managed a 1:36.8 in the final Bahrain test, which was .7 shy of their fastest time in Bahrain last year. However, so far they have only managed a 1:34.4 in Oz, when last year their fastest time was 1:29.6. That’s nearly 5 seconds difference!

    Do you believe they have a lot more to come or have we seen the best of them so far?

  73. H.Guderian (ALO fan) says:

    “Domenicali accepts that Ferrari is not the quickest team at the moment, but feels there are plenty of possibilities for the team to recover over the next few races”

    JESUS!!! How many times we heard the same BS over the last four years???

    UNBELIEVABLE

  74. luqa says:

    James,
    Do you have any ideas about the relative fuel consumption on the long runs.
    Fuel economy especially at Albert Park is an issue. Also, to produce more power you need more fuel. Who seems to have the upper hand in over all efficiency- speed and fuel consumption?

    1. David in Sydney says:

      You’ll be able to estimate fuel economy based on how slow race pace is – poorer economy will mean slower race lap times – out right pace will be seen in quali and I’m sure you’ll see higher RPMs in Q2 and Q3 and therefore louder engines.

  75. Rod says:

    Interesting that the difference in time is not that great for the whole field. I expected bigger gaps between the fastest and the slowest.

  76. bob 2 says:

    if you are watching on tv its hard to notice the engine sound over all the claptrap being spoken about ‘rain is due in 30 mins etc etc’ . so not a problem really.

  77. David T. says:

    I’m not one to shoot of at the mouth at the first sign of change. I always give the individual, organization, etc. the benefit of the doubt.

    But man, these things sound horrible, look horrible, sound slow and look slow. Yes, we will all adjust over time but the nose issues need to be addressed for 2015. They look even worse in motion than they did in still photos.

    As for the engines, excuse me, “power units”. Well… let’s just say the racing had better be good. Really good.

    Signed,
    Cautiously Optimisitc

  78. Box Box Box says:

    Great to see RBR looking strong, I don’t see how watching LH cruise to the title would be any better than watching SV do it. Let’s hope for for at least two competitive cars, RBR are great at car development as for a lot of SVs titles he hasn’t turned up on day one with the fastest car so merc need to make hay!!

  79. Bayan says:

    Loved watching the drivers earn their money. The cars were really moving around out there. BUT, i wish the sound of the engines was louder. I’m disappointed about this as the sound of the engines has always been part of the attraction for F1 (at least for me). Having said that, it was exciting watching these cars out there. Maybe they can increase the RPMs from 15,000.

    1. kenneth chapman says:

      @bayan….whilst max RPM is 15000 none the cars yesterday got even close to that number. from an unconfirmed report williams/redbull approx 11000 RPM and the others max out at an average of 12000/12500 RPM.

      from charts produced at an F1 tech site last year it was said that maximum torque is delivered at 10500RPM and that any rise in RPM will only achieve a greater fuel use for no other benefit.

      the cars may sound a bit better if they could actually run at 15000RPM but i do doubt that you will get to hear it.

  80. MitressofSpeed says:

    Am hoping more from the Williams.

    As for the RBR, based on last years time differences during Free Practice, the car that was 7/10th behind the pace setting Red Bull was the Lotus driven by Grosjean.

    However, the Lotus driven by Kimi at only 4/10ths slower and Alonso’s Ferrari which was 8/10th slower produced a podium result that saw both these cars came in ahead of the pace setting RB on race day.

    Nevertheless, at the time (after Australia FP) the RB was described as ‘ominous’.

    Using these comparative differences in speed around the same circuit, what does that make the Mercedes?

    1. MitressofSpeed says:

      Especially since the Mercedes also demonstrated the best race pace!

  81. Kriss says:

    Allan, you should start doing the “Form Guide” regular section before the races, it was a great read, plus an invaluable resource for my Fantasy F1 battles :)

    1. James Allen says:

      I’ve been doing it here for three years!!

    2. MISTER says:

      His name is James. Allen is the surname. Nothing against you, but I just can’t stand people who don’t take two seconds to write someone’s name correctly.

  82. Klaas says:

    Does anybody have An idea about the long run Pace of Alonso? Read Somewhere that even Vettel’s Pace was better.

    1. SteveS says:

      That’s what the data in FP2 showed, yes. Rosberg had the best long run times, followed by Vettel and Bottas. Which doesn’t mean a great deal at this stage.

  83. Paul Mc says:

    Red Bull look really strong….oh dear

  84. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    New season, new engines, but the same blog format… No changes here, and you promised them James, LOL!

    1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      Interactive displays, 3D, girls, “Likes” and “Dislikes” in comments, different colors, “Best comment” note…

  85. timp says:

    With all the pooh-poohing of the new technologies this year and how they were going to take the driver out of the winning equation – I saw the opposite happening during Friday practice. These are very skittish cars with less down force and loads of unforgiving torque. Only the best are going to be able to handle them. To borrow a line from Crazy Horse – Great drivers to the front! Back markers to the rear! Kya-hey!

    1. timp says:

      Actually, the term should be Hoka-hey. My apologies to the great one.

  86. Thompson says:

    I told you guys you cannot right off Renault…… What, you’ve never read me?

    Qualifying should be fascinating.

    Well my other prediction was the dawn of the Vettel-Hamilton rivalry.

    Watch them go this weekend.

    The cars look great too – the sound …. It’ll take time, but once we aclamatise the shrill of the v8 will seem ridiculous

  87. john burch says:

    The FIA have ruined F1..the cars sound awful and are so quiet they look slow..the best sound all day was David Coultard in the 2011 Red Bull..
    As for no changed gear vratios or diffs..I thought F1 was the pinnacle of motor sport..its lost me after 50 years of following an attending over 40 GP’s the spectacle of yesterday is the worst.

    1. David in Sydney says:

      The motors sound like nothing higher RPM and fuel supply won’t fix.

      The motors actually feature real world tech – turbos, ERS and hybrid power – which is amazing relevant and quite unlike V10s or V8s.

      Imagine a 1litre engine slurping 4 litres/100km delivering 110kw/220Nm.

  88. Steve says:

    The sound of the cars is appropriate, F1 has to have all the noises of gear change of tyre squeaking of the drivers attention to detail of driving of wet weather non assistance and of purely making these F1 drivers earn their money and to give the F1 public the excitement of wheel to wheel racing AND NOT a one out team and driver that is always running away with each race which is so boring be it in F1 or motogp. GO DR give them the AUSSIE RAIFE!!!

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