Spanish GP: Some changes in the pecking order as European season gets underway?
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Posted By: James Allen  |  06 May 2014   |  10:39 am GMT  |  157 comments

For once, the Formula One teams have not covered thousands of kilometres of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya prior to the Spanish Grand Prix.

This year’s pre-season testing was in Jerez and Bahrain, so with these new lower-downforce, hybrid turbo cars they will be tackling blind this enigmatic circuit, which always changes with temperature and wind conditions. A car that flies in the morning can be uncompetitive in the afternoon without anything being changed on the car itself.

There is, then, plenty of scope for teams to go the wrong way on set-up this weekend and that could cost them.

As is traditional after the initial flyaway races, we can expect to see significant upgrades on all cars this weekend. The power units from Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari have become significantly more reliable since the opening race two months ago and we will see some large steps in performance, up to 10-15bhp (even though development of engines is not allowed) due to manufacturers making fixes to mapping and other areas such as torque delivery in order to optimise performance.

Aerodynamically, updates on cars will be part of a package that has typically taken 10-12 weeks of wind tunnel time. Expectations inside teams will be high and unlike previous years we could see some changes to the pecking order as a result. It’s unlikely that any team will have caught Mercedes, which has a significant advantage, but behind them there may be new contenders for podiums and points.

The Circuit de Catalunya has a bit of everything in terms of corner types and is a very good test of a car’s aerodynamic efficiency. The most important sector of the lap is the final one, which features low-speed corners. The most lap time gain and loss is here. Performance in the final sector is often taken as an indicator of how well a car will go at the next race in Monaco.

The Pirelli medium and hard tyres will be used this year. Last year saw the winner Fernando Alonso do four stops, due to high tyre degradation. This year three stops is more likely with some two stoppers.


Track characteristics – click on map to enlarge

Circuit de Catalunya; 4.65 kilometres. Race distance: 66 laps = 307 kilometres, 16 corners in total, considered the best test of an F1 car’s aerodynamic efficiency due to combination of variety of corner speeds.

Aerodynamic setup – High downforce. Top speed 317km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 305km/h without.

Full throttle – 60% of the lap (2013).

Time spent braking: 13% of the lap (quite low). 8 braking zones. Brake wear: Medium/low.

Total time needed for pit stop: 21 seconds.


Form Guide

The Spanish Grand Prix is the fifth round of the 2014 FIA F1 World Championship.

So far the season has been dominated by the Mercedes drivers, with Lewis Hamilton winning the last three races and Nico Rosberg still leading the championship due to a win and three podiums.


However Spain always sees significant upgrades and development parts on the cars; the pursuing pack, led by Red Bull and Ferrari, appear to be making progress and this weekend will be a crucial test to determine whether either is on track to mount a serious challenge. The Constructors’ Championship already looks a forlorn hope, with Mercedes almost 100 points clear of Red Bull, but the Drivers’ championship is still attainable if Red Bull or Ferrari make a step change in performance here.

Qualifying has historically been critical in Barcelona. Eight  of the past 10 grands prix here have been won from pole position. However in 2011 the race was won by Sebastian Vettel from second on the grid and in 2013 Alonso won having started fifth.

The arrival of DRS rear wings has meant a significant improvement in overtaking, which was always a problem at this circuit.

Normally a good Barcelona update should be worth around three to four tenths of a second per lap, but with large advances possible on the power unit side as manufacturers fix problems with this immature technology and allow teams to exploit more of the potential, we could see bigger gains than that; over half a second in some cases.

As far as driver form is concerned at Barcelona, Felipe Massa (2007), Jenson Button (2009), Pastor Maldonado (2012), Kimi Raikkonen (’05 and ’08), Alonso (’06 and ’13) and Vettel (2011) are all previous winners. Lewis Hamilton has never won the event.

Nico Rosberg was on pole for the Spanish Grand Prix last year.

Weather Forecast

The forecast looks good, with temperatures around 20 to 21 degrees , sunshine and a low chance of rain.

The wind is often a significant factor at this track, sudden gusts and crosswinds can upset the balance of the cars, particularly in the final sector.


Likely tyre performance and other considerations

Pirelli tyre choice for Spain: Hard and Medium.

Catalunya is a tough track on tyres, with the long Turn 3 the most difficult corner. It is taken at 240km/h and the corner lasts for four seconds, which puts a heavy load on the left-front tyre. The surface generally is also quite abrasive.

Last year there were changes to the Pirelli tyres at this race after problems in the opening races and higher than expected degradation here meant that many teams did four stops.

This year’s tyres are more stable and more durable, so we are likely to mainly see three-stop strategies. Practice running on Friday will determine the relative pace of the medium and hard tyres and the likely pattern of usage of the two compounds for the race. It’s likely that most will start the race on the faster medium tyres.

With some high energy right-hand corners, the limitation will be with the tyres on the left side of the car, particularly the front; when their performance starts to drop off it will be time to pit.


Number and likely timing of pit stops

Although last year high degradation pushed teams into doing four stops, this year we are likely to see three-stop strategies and perhaps some teams doing just two.

The first two stint lengths are vital for setting the strategy. If a car is not able to run the desired stint length at the target pace then a Plan B comes into operation.

To make a two-stop work a team needs to be able to get to lap 14 or 15, while a three-stopping driver will come in for the first time around lap 10.

Three stops is likely to be the preferred route, with stops around laps 10, 26 and 44 one possible strategy.

Chance of a safety car

There have been five Safety Car periods in this race since 2003, and four of those were for first lap incidents.


Recent start performance

At 730 metres, the run from the grid to the first corner at Barcelona is the longest of the season. This leads to quite a few changes of order on the opening lap and represents a significant opportunity for cars which have qualified lower than expected to make ground.

Starts are crucial for race strategy and can make or compromise a race. The table below is intended as an indicator of trends. Where a car has a problem on the opening lap it is noted below, while other cars will clearly benefit from its absence on the opening lap.

As far as 2014 start performance is concerned drivers have gained (+) or lost
(-) places off the start line this season, on aggregate, as follows:

Gained places
11 – Ericsson
9 – Maldonado
8 – Massa
7 – Bottas, Hulkenberg
5 – Kobayashi, Gutierrez
4 – Sutil [See notes], Chilton
3 – Bianchi, Perez [See notes]
2 – Alonso
1 – Ricciardo, Grosjean

Net Held position
Rosberg
Raikkonen

Lost places
13 – Vergne
3 Vettel
2 – Button, Kvyat, Hamilton, Magnussen

Melbourne Notes: Kobayashi, Massa eliminated in a first corner accident; Perez, Gutierrez pitted at the end of Lap 1; Bianchi, Grosjean started from pit lane.
Malaysia Notes: Perez started from pit lane, Bianchi pitted at the end of lap 1
Bahrain notes: Vergne pitted at the end of lap 1 after contact
China Notes: Sutil lost power at start and dropped 8 places, retiring soon after.


Pit Stop League Table

Of course good strategy planning also requires good pit stop execution and we have seen tyre stops carried out in under two seconds by F1 teams. However this season teams are more concerned with consistency than outright speed, so times have dropped off by half a second or so.

The league table below shows the order of the pit crews based on their fastest time in the UBS Chinese Grand Prix, from the car entering the pit lane to leaving it. Worth noting is how close it has become with just over a second separating the top seven teams.

1. Red Bull 22.246 seconds
2. McLaren 22.408
3. Sauber 22.734s
4. Force India 22.764
5. Ferrari 22.776
6. Mercedes 22.968
7. Lotus 23.022
8. Toro Rosso 23.521
9. Williams 23.639
10. Caterham 23.677
11. Marussia 23.781

 

For a useful at a glance info graphic with all the key considerations for the race, click here Infographic

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157 Comments
  1. Warren Buys says:

    Here is hoping for some sort of step forward with Mclaren, othewise it might be another tough and bitter season in supporting them. Lets hope there is plenty of varied gains amongst the teams and a reshuffle and not have everyone move forward but nothing really changing like in previous seasons…

    James any news on a new sponsor for Mclaren or the mysterious new position between Bollier and Dennis being filled?

    1. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

      I think McLaren supporters are in for a long wait. Surely they would be writing off this year shortly and focusing on next year’s car. Next year might also be tough with an unproven engine supplier. It took Mercedes three years to get to this position, so its hard to see how McLaren will be a winner next year, particularly against stable teams like Mercedes.

  2. Anil says:

    Hi James,

    Do you think there’s a chance we might see the silly chicane disappear at one point? It causes such a big field spread going into the straight and makes it difficult to overtake. It also got rid of an incredible final corner.

    Also, DRS is most effective when the drivers are at top speed; getting rid of the chicane would mean that the final corner is faster and that they’d hit top speed much earlier on the straight, so DRS would be more effective. DRS along the straight isn’t as effective compared to say Spa because most of the drivers time is spent accelerating, not at top speed.

    Bring back the epic final corner, I say :)

    Hoping to see a closer pack and some neat aer innovations at this race. Who’ll have the first ‘double diffuser’ or f-duct, I wonder?

      1. Anil says:

        Thanks James!

        It really was a brilliant final complex. It might not produce classic races but this is a fantastic little track..fast sweeping corners and a great sector 2. Like Hungary, it’s a fantastic track to watch cars on, whilst not necessarily producing the best racing.

      2. David in Sydney says:

        Yes, it is a pretty track.

    1. RobertS says:

      I miss that final corner, shame they changed it, can see the reasons why though

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        I posted below agreeing with that sentiment, it was one of the most daunting corners in F1. The key word being “was”………….still, at least the likes of Copse, Eau Rogue, Maggots/Becketts, 130R et al are still in their daunting configuration…….

      2. Martin says:

        Not one of the corners you mentioned is quite like it was in 1990. Track widths have been widened, walls moved, etc. In the case of two of them they were easy flat in the race. I did see a suggestion that drivers would have to lift for Eau Rouge this year.

  3. kenneth chapman says:

    given that mercedes were approx 2.0secs down the road before anyone else starts it would be a brave man to bet against them having another one/two.

    for the others to catch and pass they will have to find some gold somewhere simply because mercedes have also been touted as bringing substantial upgrades as well.

    roll on…..

    1. Ahmed says:

      I like th idea of mercedes holding so much in hand but it is also true tht in Bahrain when they were pulling away at 2secs per lap, perez was defending his position with tyres tht were near the end of thr life…. Or m I mistaken?

      1. Andrew M says:

        True, but on the flip side the Mercs were fighting between each other for the lead.

      2. Yak says:

        Even if Perez was holding the others up, the two Mercedes were going hard at each other too. All the defending and attacking going on between those two would have slowed them down a fair bit.

    2. All revved-up says:

      Don’t mean to hijack this forum, but:
      (1) Marc Marquez has won the first 4 Moto GP races; and
      (2) the Citroen works team is dominating WTCC

      So having one manufacturer getting things “more right” than the opposition isn’t a uniquely F1 “weakness”.

      One might even think Its quite right to reward the engineers who have worked hard and got things right with F1 success.

      1. David in Sydney says:

        +1

  4. goferet says:

    So the arms race has officially begun and when it comes to development, we have seen Newey turn water into wine many times more recently in 2009 after the huge rule changes.

    Mclaren too used to be good at in season development so they’re worth keeping an eye on this weekend.

    Will be interesting to see what inspiration the new Ferrari boss has been on the team so far with the performance of upgrades as an indicator.

    Hopefully, the surprise of the season in Force India has a couple of rabbits still in their hats to give the big teams something to think about.

    As for Mercedes, will be keen to see if they still hold an advantage in the twisty 3rd sector just like 2012 and 2013.

    Regards the tyre situation, thank heavens that has been resolved for the 2013 Spanish race was memorable for all the wrong reasons.

    P.s.

    Are Ferrari slated to win 1 race this season???

    We have seen Ferrari struggle in the past after rule changes & went on to win one race e.g. 1988, 2005 and 2009 >>> each of which were won under special circumstances like when Kimi used his short cut at Spa 2009

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      I always think Indy 2005 wasn’t a win for Ferrari, more of a gift…………..god, what a shambles that was.
      Mind you, I can talk – I couldn’t believe my eyes what was happening at Silverstone right in front of me and my fellow spectators last year! Lets hope that never happens again…..

    2. JF says:

      Redbull will definately make a big technical jump I think, and if Vettel finally gets in tune with the car, then Merc will have something to worry about.

      Will it be enough? Merc will likely take a fair jump themselves, and already have effectively a years worth of development in reserve compared to field.

      Not sure that it is still true about Mclarens ability to develop a car in season. That has been fading the past few years.

  5. goferet says:

    Some Barcelona stats:

    Been racing since 1991

    a) Schumi 6 wins, Mika 3 wins, Mansell + Alonso + Kimi = 2 wins

    b) Ferrari 8 wins, Williams 6 wins, Mclaren 4 wins

    c) The only back to back winners are Mansell, Mika and Schumi

    d) The only drivers to have won in different teams are Schumi, Alonso and Kimi

    e) 17 out of 23 have won from pole

    f) A none pole sitter has never won the race back to back

    g) The only drivers with back to back poles are Mika, Schumi and Webber >>> however not only did Schumi have back to back poles with Benetton but he also has a record 5 back to back poles.

    h) Schumi is the only driver to win the race having first failed to convert his first pole in 1994 >>> Berger and Damon failed to convert their first pole then went on never to win the race.

    i) The only driver to have beaten a dominant car is Schumi in 1996 >>> a wet race

    P.s.

    It would appear Barcelona is somewhat of a Vettel bogey track for despite having a good car the past seasons his best results have been a win and 3rd but no pole.

    Now supposing Lewis didn’t crash out in 2010 with 2 laps to go, this would mean Vettel would currently have 1 podium to his credit.

    1. mixmeister73 says:

      Like the stats but who hold the record on this circuit and why is James not mentioning the lap record. Its not like it doesn’t matter…

      1. goferet says:

        @ maxmesiter73

        Kimi holds the lap record for the Circuit de Catalunya – 1m 21.670s set in 2008

      2. Andrew M says:

        Very surprised at that, assumed it would be 2004 like virtually all the “old” circuits.

    2. Gaz Boy says:

      I’ve noticed that as well about Barcelona being a Mr Vettel boogieman track; in the last couple of years Sebastian and Red Bull have been both off the pace in race trim and somewhat poor results, relatively speaking, for them anyway.
      Also worth noting, stats wise, that a car starting from the second row has taken the lead at the start of the race three times in the new millenium: the Trulli Train rocketed into the lead from 4th on the grid in his Renault in 2004; Rubens made a bullet start to head the field from 3rd on the grid in his Brawn circa 2009, and then of course Fernando was like a missile in 2011 from 4th on the grid to lead the race in front of his adoring public!
      And weird stat – and partly related to the above comments – is that the pole sitter in 2004, 2009, 2011 and 2012 has failed to lead the first lap.
      Another weird coincidence is that, at Barcelona, the 2nd placed man on the grid has sometimes made a stinker of a start. In 1997 – Frentzen, dropped to 6th I think – , 2004 Montoya, probably heavy with burgers dropped to 4th, Fernando in 2007 – oh dear Fernando, win or bust at the 1st corner??? – and Lewis last year, reasonable start but then passed by Sebastian and Fernando before the first few corners.
      Stats, where would F1 be without them

      1. Random 79 says:

        “Stats, where would F1 be without them”

        In withdrawal therapy with goferet ;)

      2. goferet says:

        @ Random 79

        Lol… Quite right.

      3. goferet says:

        @ Gaz Boy

        Interesting stats.

        Quite odd how somethings repeat themselves.

        And Lol regards old boy Montoya.

    3. Juzh says:

      barca vettel bogey track? what? outqualified web in 2009 but then got stuck behind kers equipped massa for nearly entire race. he was racing with a broken chassis in 2010 in barca and monaco. In 2011 he had no kers for Q3 but then destroyed webber in the race and kept a much faster mclaren at bay with no kers at times. in 2012 red bull lacked pace in quali but was then very strong in the race and could have possibly battled for podium if not for penalty drive trough and broken front wings on BOTH RBs which failed on their own. we know 2013 story and pirelottery.
      If vettel has a bogey track then it’s nurburgring.

      1. goferet says:

        @ Juzh

        I think Hungary is more a bogey track for Vettel seeing as it’s the only track he is yet to win.

      2. Juzh says:

        Vettel has good pace on hungaroring but circumstances have prevented him from winning. On nurburgring though, despite having a win, he was visibly slower than web in years gone by.

      3. Gaz Boy says:

        You’d have to say Red Bull and Sebastian have been rubbish at Barcelona in the last couple of years: 4th last year (and massively off the pace of Fernando) and 6th the previous year. Hardly world beating performances in Spain!

      4. Juzh says:

        they’ve been off the pace in 2013, previous years various circumstances played their role.

      5. Kingszito says:

        Vettel’s result in Barcelona is lesser than expected, though not necessarily his own fault.

    4. KRB says:

      “Now supposing Lewis didn’t crash out in 2010 with 2 laps to go, this would mean Vettel would currently have 1 podium to his credit.”

      … and 1 less title. Wheel rim failure on the penultimate lap. 18 pts would’ve been good enough to take the title. But if’s and but’s, and all that.

  6. Gudien says:

    I suspect fewer spectators will show than at the MotoGP event held last weekend. Go Marquez!

    1. Richard says:

      I doubt it, ever since Alonso won his two titles it seemed there has always been plenty of people to spectate the Grand Prix. Unlike MotoGP, Formula One isn’t a Spanish Championship though.

      1. Gudien says:

        Spanish Championship? Valentino Rossi may differ.

      2. Richard says:

        When was the last time he was a threat to Marquez? Rossi has the same problem as Schumacher, getting old.

      3. Gudien says:

        Valentino Rossi finished 2nd 3 days ago at the latest MotoGP event, 1.5 seconds behind the winner.

        Rossi is still competitive unlike Schumi’s last 3 years at Merc.

      4. Krischar says:

        @ Gudien

        Marc Marquez is unbelivable talent and classy. They way he won championship last season was superb and marquez has amplified himself this season as well. 4 in a row is fantastic and i wish to see more spanish talent in F1 as well. Alonso has been the lone warrior for the last 12 years.

      5. Gudien says:

        *Krischar* you’re so right. Marquez is fantastic and great for the sport. I hope he stays healthy and can reap the rewards of his bravery and skill on 2 wheels for many years to come.

        The only rider I see challenging him this year is Jorge Lorenzo after Yamaha gets their machine performing. Best of luck to both men!

  7. Sujith says:

    People say Kimi has a narrow setup window! But here, where setup work is more important and crucial, he’s triumphed from pole 2 times both with a McLaren and a Ferrari. And of-course last year he finished a commendable second to Alonso who is a few tenths faster than his usual blistering pace in front of his home crowd!

    Therefore, if Ferrari do make a huge leap forwards, I am expecting great stuff from Alonso and Raikkonen. Hoping Kimi gets on top of his issues as quickly as possible!

    1. Elie says:

      I hear you brother. Im praying Kimi gets a clean weekend. Once he gets a good feel for the car it will be On!. Its a circuit both he & fernando enjoy so – if ferrari find decent step up they should finish strong, but I think Red Bull will be fighting Mercs because this circuit will reflect the brilliance of that RB10 chassis.

      1. Sujith says:

        Yes indeed! The RB10 Chassis is something to watch out for. I heard, the F14T’s narrow side pods are to blame for the lack of downforce they are having! (Source Grandprix247.com) That is gonna be hard to fix. It is a design flaw. But again new wider side pods are on for Spain so we’ll have to see. Things are not looking that great! Surely the Mercs are not gonna be standing still too! But yea.. if they do make a good step, we have 2 drivers that can deliver the results!

      2. Kingszito says:

        I think that Mercedes setup their cars to gain the best lap time depending on circuit configuration. I know that RB10 has been the fastest in fast corners so far, but Mercedes might have compromised fast corners lap time for a straight line speed which gave them the best overall lap time in the races so far. After all RB10 was not mighty quicker than W05 in second sector in China. Let’s wait and see the result of Barcelona before we conclude that RB10 has a better Chassis than W05.

      3. All revved-up says:

        I’m a Kimi fan – but sadly we are reduced to praying and hoping.

        Alonso is killing him on track.

        Kimi and his side of the garage need to up their game and show results soon. After a while no one’s going to pay much attention as to whether it’s his style, the car set up for understeer, cannot get heat into the tyres, braking not calibrated to his liking, parts being designed and produced back at the factory, insufficient opportunity to set up the car during the race weekend etc

        All that’ll stare us fans in the face is:

        Alonso 10 – Kimi 0

        Once it gets to this situation in the season, I suspect his Ferrari career will be over.

        Like what happened to Kovalainen. His 2013 end of season Lotus stint killed his F1 career.

      4. Elie says:

        You should change your name to “All broken down”. Kimi has only 4 races back with the team. Two of those hes had incidents and another a severe pu issue. Gosh most drivers need 6 months to settle in. Kimis engineers are mostly new people whilst Alonso has Andrea Stella – Kimis 2007 wc engineer. There is an experience gap there, and with these cars thats a real handicap. I think starting this weekend we will see Kimi much closer if not challenging- give it time “Rome wasnt built in one day”

  8. Kingszito says:

    I have never been this excited for Barcelona. Too many questions to be answered.

    1. Has any team closed the gap or caught Mercedes?
    2. Will Nico Rosberg or any other driver break Lewis Hamilton’s winning streak?
    3. Will Daniel Ricciardo continue beating Sebastian Vettel?
    4. Can Kimi Räikkönen beat Fernando Alonso?
    5. Will Force India, Williams, McLaren, Lotus or Toro Rosso challenge for podium?

    You may call this season boring, but for me it can’t get more exciting than this.

    1. H.Guderian (ALO fan) says:

      1. No
      2. No
      3. YES!!!
      4. No
      5. No

      1. Random 79 says:

        Apparently it wasn’t too many questions to be answered…I particularly like No. 3 :)

      2. Elie says:

        1. Yes
        2. No
        3. No
        4. Yes
        5. No

    2. Dave Emberton says:

      No, to all of the above.

    3. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      1- Closed the gap? Yes, Red Bull and especially Ferrari. Caught? No, at least not yet.

      2-Maybe Nico, and if its wet Fernando has an outside chance, otherwise impossible for the rest.

      3-Red Bull will bring some things that should make the car more suitable for Seb’s style, lets see.

      4-He can, but will he? I don’t think so, even if the (huge) improvements Ferrari is bringing suit Kimi, Alonso is incredibly strong here. In front of his home crowd is where he has scored more points and has been more times on the podium.

      5-No, the first two spots are still locked, and the 3rd one is for a Ferrari or a Red Bull.

    4. thinktank says:

      if no rain and warm weather

      1. Yes, reasonably close
      2. Yes, tyres management
      3. tie
      4. Yes, upgrades
      5. Yes, Williams and Force India

      1. Joost says:

        Tyre management has become a strength for Hamilton this year, not a weakness.

      2. thinktank says:

        In wet or cold conditions (China, Malaysia, Bahrain – night race) HAM was extremely good (like ALO) because his aggressive driving style. But hot and dry Barcelona track is going to have different effect on tyres.

      3. KRB says:

        Malaysia race was hot and dry. Temp was 31C, track temp 50C.

      4. KRB says:

        The better tire management this year is down to the car and the tires, just as it was down to the Merc eating its rear tires last season.

    5. AlexD says:

      Easy to answer….you should have asked earlier, no need to torture yourself for so long.
      no
      no
      yes
      no
      no

    6. deancassady says:

      1. If you are Mercedes, a long way ahead in the technology wars, I would keep building the armoury, only showing what I have to, to stay ahead, keeping some in the bag, as the rivals, i.e. Red Bull (the only real challenger, and not quite there, yet). When the power comes on at Renault, Red Bull has the best chassis. But 2 seconds per lap?!?
      2. My guts is telling me surprises at the traditionally all too predictable procession; I’ll predict another driver, who knows, but, nonetheless, a different driver will win. Lewis looks like he’s on track to win at least half of the remaining races, maybe much more. Even though he is behind on points, he is pulling away!
      3. I’m not convinced about Ricciardo, yet; but the statistics are beginning to get statistically significant, in significant advantage by Ricciardo. I believe when the car comes good, we’ll see Vettel put it into another gear; but who knows, if Ricciardo can stay ahead for the, he’ll have made it (in my books).
      4. Hard to say on Kimi v Alonso; I’m a big Kimi fan, but in the den of the dragon, the dragon is king, and this is Kimi’s move. I expect it to be much closer when the car comes good, but will the Ferrari come good in 2014; the trajectory is not very strong.
      5. As indicated in 1., above, I expect variability, and surprises, so … maybe, Lotus, Grosjean to win!

    7. Andrew M says:

      Question 1 is a bit misleading, I think it’s likely teams will close the gap (maybe to as much as 1 sec/lap ultimate pace!) but I don’t think anyone will have caught them by the end of the season, let alone now.

    8. Krischar says:

      1.NO
      2.NO
      3.Yes for sure
      4.Impossible, NO chance. People (kimi fans) need to find new excuses this week. Car setup issues are boring now
      5.Yes, there is a chance

      1. thinktank says:

        4. What kind of excuse are you going to tell us when your god ALO fail to win with RAI?

      2. Krischar says:

        @ Thinktank

        Alonso will never fail against kimi. I am even more cert than Alonso that he can easily see off kimi. I will be never in position to give any excuses in favour alonso. On other hand people like have given enough of tiresome excuses already this season. Also do not forget Kimi was beaten by massa and ousted by Ferrari already once now SD has resigned and kimi’s days are numbered in F1 as well. Whereas Alonso sttill receive offers and attraction from other teams always

        Alonso will wipe the floor with kimi Period.

  9. Martin says:

    One of the comments that came out of last year was that the tyres weren’t lasting the full qualifying lap and so the drivers who conserved tyres early in the lap in the high speed corners had more more traction in the last sector, and in particular the last corner.

    Mercedes worked this out from pre-season testing in Barcelona, where the team noted the cars were slow in the last sector. I remember speculating about FRIC suspension advantages on the forum prior to the race. But I was wrong, it was just that Mercedes had so much one lap pace at that stage of the season that it hid the fact it was coasting in the first two sectors.

    Clues on tyre strategies may come out during qualifying. Ferrari has on occasion avoided running on the prime tyre in qualifying when a three stop race has been planned. Ideally it is one run in Q1 with one lap with the least tyre wear so those tyres can be used again. Of course if the medium is a viable race tyre for a few stints, as it was in 2011, then those ideas become irrelevant.

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      Ferrari and Fernando seem to be very competitive on front limited circuits such as China, Barcelona and Silverstone. I wonder if this related to their use of pull rod front suspension where as most other teams use push rod front suspension? Does pull rods at the front have an aerodynamic benefit on the front axle on “understeer” tracks? Does seem a bit of a co-incidence on circuits with fast corners and high speed loading on the front tyres Ferrari are more competitive.

      1. Elie says:

        Fair point. I think pull rod is S$&t . Its probably slightly favoured the aero / chassis engineers but required a very perculiar driving style & it hasnt worked very well for Ferrari of Mclaren the last few years.. I bet anythjng thats why Kimi is struggling with it.

      2. Gaz Boy says:

        I saw a picture of the Ferrari chassis without its body work and thought the front suspension/axle looked a bit “droopy”…..of course, this is normal with pull-rod suspension as the struts from the outer edge of the wishbones runs diagonal to the lower edge of the chassis, pulling a rocker to operate the springs and dampers (inboard I presume).
        I would imagine also that pull-rod suspension has an advantage in terms of centre of gravity, so that’s why I assume Ferrari has persisted with it. The downsides I would imagine is access, and also that “droop” may cause aerodynamic clutter.
        Perhaps someone can elaborate, but I’m convinced that front suspension on an F1 car should be push-rod, what you loose in centre of gravity you would gain in compliance and adjustability (I would imagine pull rod suspension is difficult to access because it is mounted lower).

      3. ManOnWheels says:

        I don’t think that the pull rod suspension is the problem. If you think about it: Ferrari was not that bad last year and they had a podium lately, you don’t achieve that if your car is rubbish.
        Regarding suspensions: The teams have pretty good test rigs for that, these things have been refined for for decades, I’ve seen videos from a Marlboro McLaren on a damper test rig simulating a Grand Prix. This is nothing new. Also Computer simulations to check the exact kinematics of a suspension are no rocket science anymore. Now one can even pretty much calculate how much material you need where about so the parts will cope with the dynamic stresses (Finite Element Method/Analysis).
        The only thing that you can hardly simulate is what the driver will feel and Kimi is said to pretty sensitive to that, but in the end this will be something to be sorted out by power steering and the damper setup.

        If you take a look here:
        http://www.autogaleria.hu/autok/mclaren-f1/mercedes-mp4-29-2014/mclaren-f1_mercedes-mp4-29-2014_r13.jpg
        You can see that McLaren have reverted from pull rods to push rods in the front, but apparently it didn’t help a lot for this year, if any.

        Caterham on the other hand, are going for front pull rods this year:
        http://fotos.autozeitung.de/938×704/images/bildergalerie/2014/01/F1-2014-Lotus-Test-Jerez-Formel-1.jpg
        It doesn’t seem to make a difference whatsoever.

        I think that it is rather a coincidence that Ferrari and McLaren both had problems the year they started using pull rods. It appeared together, but that doesn’t say that there is a causal relationship. These teams were also in the middle of making internal changes (Ferrari overhauling their wind tunnel, changing staff, McLaren restructuring the company, etc).

      4. Elie says:

        @ Gaz/Manonwheels- pull rod is very tidy aerodynamically you can see that the suspension is lower and almost parrellel to the steering arm which creates a clean air flow and less foil along the chassis and rear of the car – along with the lower centre of gravity as you rightly mentioned. This is the why they use it.. But I wholeheartedly agree that it cannot be an easy thing to engineer in terms of complaince or feel due to the geometry ( or lack thereof) where as the slight incline of the push rod & response seems to have some semblance of vertical support & travel. This must manifest itself in how a car feels or responds on tight bunpy circuits like Monaco. Im sure Fernando has adopted really well-but I have not forgotten how long Ferrari struggled with this through 2012.

      5. Mocho_Pikuain says:

        Ferrari lacks traction, and has been that way for some time. China, Barcelona and Silverstone have almost no traction corners, and thats why they suit Ferrari so much. Suzuka is also very good for them.

      6. Martin says:

        I favour Mocho’s answer over Elie’s. The aerodynamic advantage of pullrod suspension is to my understanding more about cleaner airflow to the rear of the car.

      7. Elie says:

        No one is doubting the aero benefit- along with lower centre of gravity .this is why they use it.

  10. Matthew Cheshire says:

    2012 was the last time Williams and the only time Maldonado won a GP. It’d be fun to see Williams do it again. But I’d eat a Pirelli if Maldonado repeats the feat.

    I’m thinking the pit stop league table needs to mention Red Bull cost Ricciardo a race and ten places in the next. It probably puts them dead last if we were ranking effectiveness in the pit lane.

  11. neilmurg says:

    And what will be the ERS efficiency? low / med /hi power available; easy or difficult to harvest a full load in 1 lap?

    1. Juzh says:

      all those.

      1. neilmurg says:

        Yeah that’s what I thought you knew. James’s analysis is a useful heads up to the characteristics of the track, but this year the cars have changed. I would like James, and his analysis guys to give us a heads up on the new bits of the power units and how they might contribute to performance in the race. Then we might be able to judge the different units not just on their power output, but also efficiency under different track conditions.
        Similar to the way you can expect RBR to be better on hi speed corner/hi downforce tracks, or Merc at hi torque tracks. That’s part of the point of the new regs isn’t it, to give you something else to think about?

        4th order low pass butterworth, anyone?

  12. Phenom says:

    Surely Hamilton leaving the line on 5 cylinders is worth a note under Melbourne start statistics?

    1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      And the Ferrari powered cars had no ERS. I think James only puts the accidents or first lap retirements.

    2. KRB says:

      Totally, if Sutil losing power on lap 1 in China is part of the notes. Same with Vettel’s engine in Australia.

  13. KRB says:

    Well, hopefully Lewis takes the win, and can scratch another GP/circuit off the “to-do” list. I really need a result to cheer for, after having a horrible two weeks. LFC have well and truly blown in, that result last night was just simply nightmarish! I popped in to check the action at work every now and then, and saw it was 1-0 just after half, and then 3-0, so then I’m thinking “ok we can make a dent in City’s GD possibly” … go back to work, get caught up in stuff, then I check the final result and I was literally beside myself in shock!

    The loss to Chelsea was one thing. I knew it was a possibility, but I thought LFC would get at least a draw there. It’s been sickening.

    Then the Raptors (they didn’t collapse, they played well, but just came up short), and TFC (back to same ol’ mediocrity) just make it a horrible fortnight of sports for me. C’mon Lewis, cheer me up son!!

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      This isn’t a good year for the Crimson brigade, sporting wise!

  14. Random 79 says:

    Just a note on the pit stop times:

    It’s no good having the fastest pit stop time if you also happen to have (IMO) one of the worst records for botched pit stops.

    Is it just my wacky thinking, or is it worth taking the extra .2 or .5 of a second to make sure all the wheels go on properly?

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      I’m going to open a can of worms here………….but to make pit stops safer, and also reduce the potential for a botched stop, why not have the rules mandated that just 6 mechanics allowed to change all 4 tyres? In other words, the same mechanics would have to change the fronts and the rears on each side. It would be much slower, but a lot safer, no?
      Hair-brain idea? Possibly. Safer? Almost certainly. I think in sports car and touring car racing this rule is mandated.
      It is very impressive seeing a bunch of tyres changed in an eye blink, but at what cost to the mechanics nerves and health????

      1. Dave Emberton says:

        It doesn’t necessarily make it safer. If the driver is told to go before a wheel is properly attached, the result is the same whether it’s taken 2 seconds or 6 seconds.

        I’m surprised they’re not talking about this as cost cutting. If you watch WEC, they only have two mechanics allowed. F1 pitstops do seem a little extravagant, even though it is part of the spectacle.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Interesting, but two immediate problems spring to mind:

        First, I think having the load split between 6 mechanics with many tasks each rather than approx 160 mechanics with one single task each would just put more pressure on each individual mechanic.

        Second, the pit stops would take forever which is not a bad thing in itself, but the cost of a pit stop would then become so high that every team would opt for a one stop race every race with would remove a large part of the strategy.

        I think a good idea that has been mentioned in the past would be to set a minimum time for pit stops – even saying 3 seconds as a minimum for a pit stop would ease some of the pressure and so make things safer for everybody.

        It would also hopefully eliminate some of the silly mistakes.

      3. Random 79 says:

        PS – before anyone says it 160 mechanics = hyperbole :)

      4. Gaz Boy says:

        It will probably take 160 mechanics this season to repair Pastor’s chassis if he continues his, er, interesting deviations………amazing to think a couple of years he was THE man in Barcelona……..

      5. neilmurg says:

        but with fewer mechanics, there are fewer wheels at risk. The first 2 are secure and only the second 2 represent a flight risk, therefore twice as safe.
        Nice suggestion Gaz Boy, keep that up and I may remove you from my no-fly list…

      6. Spectreman says:

        Agree with Random 79:

        “I think a good idea that has been mentioned in the past would be to set a minimum time for pit stops – even saying 3 seconds as a minimum for a pit stop would ease some of the pressure and so make things safer for everybody.”

  15. Dan says:

    Looks like just UNDER a second separating the top 7 teams :)

  16. Gaz Boy says:

    I like the Barcelona track. It reminds me a bit of Estoril in its layout, a long pit straight, mega fast corners, a few tight hairpins, and long, constant radius curves. Its great to go to a proper track with character, not one of those dreary Tilke-dromes with their endless run offs, stop start, stop start layout and uninspiring backdrop.
    Turn 3 is one of the best corners in grand prix racing, and very incumbent on a car’s ability to generate downforce cleanly and efficiently. High speed stability and mid range torque are the order of the day at Barcelona – in a way, a bit like Silverstone really. Also like Silverstone, Barcelona is not very hard on brakes, aero efficiency is important and both are front limited tracks, so expect lots of drivers moaning about understeer – so what’s new!
    My only gripe is that silly chicane before the last corner. The last corner at Barcelona was one of THE great corners in F1, requiring lots of downforce from the car, and plenty of commitment and courage from the driver. I know there wasn’t much run off, which is probably why the chicane was put in, but all drivers worth their salt like fast corners, don’t they?

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      PS I wouldn’t read too much into the bluster coming from some of the teams about upgrades, insofar the likes of Merc and Red Bull are hardly going to arrive in Spain having spent the three weeks twiddling their thumbs and taking it easy – and also those two aforementioned teams have the biggest budgets and facilities to help them with the Euro/Canada development stage.
      Having said that, you never know, perhaps Ferrari and Macca have found a miracle tweak on their car to challenge the Bulls and Mercs on race pace………..and maybe, just maybe, Pastor go on one weekend, just one weekend with binning the Lotus into the barrier?

  17. Jeff says:

    I just want to second the kudos to the pit teams. 1.5 seconds seperating them all? Apparently they are not lacking in drive and commitment (see post about Marko’s driver comments).

  18. Pkara says:

    Has to be Mercedes still ahead as tge track still has a long straight & Mercedes will bring something in aero to grip around corners. Think they would have learnt the lesson from last year. Still a mid range track for diwnforce.
    Then its Red Bull & Mclaren & Force India then Williams.
    Followed by the rest.

    1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      Ferrari wont be behind Red Bull here, their aero is very good and have improved top speed, plus the big amount of new parts coming for this GP. McLaren and Force India will suffer more, especially Force India, they will be outdeveloped.

    2. dren says:

      If Mclaren don’t figure out the tires, they will be at the back again. I don’t see anyone catching Mercedes, or even making much ground relatively. Mercedes will have a rather large upgrade as well.

  19. ManOnWheels says:

    Hi James.
    You say: “(even though development of engines is not allowed)”

    But the Formula 1 2014 Technical Regulations in Appendix 4 seem to suggest otherwise.
    Can you clarify this?

    1. James Allen says:

      Performance development is not allowed. The units are homologated

      Fixes for reliability, safety and cost (where a supplier has raised prices knowing the units are frozen) are allowed but all manufactures are told what the fixes are by FIA and can object

      1. ManOnWheels says:

        Well, James, that’s what the sporting regulations says in their Appendix 4, but these sporting regulations refer to homologated engines according to the technical regulations (also Appendix 4, other rule book) that give a pretty detailed description, which changes are allowed in which years, weighting every change and giving a maximum amount of “weight” for each particular year to change.

        See:
        http://www.fia.com/sites/default/files/regulation/file/1-2014%20TECHNICAL%20REGULATIONS%202014-01-23_0.pdf

        See Page 89

        Seems the following things are fixed starting with 2015:
        “Upper/lower crankcase – Cylinder bore spacing, deck height, bank stagger.”

        “Crankshaft – Crank throw, main bearing journal diameter, rod bearing journal diameter”

        “Air valve system – Including compressor, air pressure regulation devices.”

        While the following might be changed until the end of 2018:
        “Combustion – All parts of parts defining combustion. Included: Ports, Piston crown, Combustion chamber, Valves geometry, timing, lift, injector nozzle, coils, spark plug Excluded: Valves position.”

        But maybe I’m totally wrong in my interpretation and unfortunately I can’t ask any Formula 1 engine guru, but maybe you could?

    2. dren says:

      The engine maps are not homologated, the hardware is. There are probably still rather large gains in mapping and most importantly the energy usage.

      1. ManOnWheels says:

        Well, that can’t be true, because Renault’s engine Guy, Remi Taffin, said there were hardware-changes:

        “While there are not many visible hardware upgrades, there are significant improvements to the software that should further enhance driveability” [Remi Taffin]

        See: http://grandprix247.com/2014/05/06/taffin-we-have-worked-hard-and-go-to-spain-more-confident-of-a-good-performance/

    3. Juzh says:

      performance upgrades are often masked in so called “reliability” upgrades. Other manufacturers know it, but they allow it (to an extent) because they know they might need it themselves in the future. That’s why remi taffin said renault finished V8 era with just 5% of the original parts when engines were frozen back in 2007.
      Ferrari supposedly gained 8bhp in their pneumatic valves “reliability” upgrade for spain 2010.

  20. Brett says:

    I look for Raikkonen to get on top of Alonso this weekend. The weather should be warmer and qualifying should be dry. Raikkonen had better pace than Alonso in Malaysia and Bahrain. The only thing holding him back has been problems in free practice and cooler temps. I look forward to hearing from all the Alonso fans when he beaten in his home grand prix.

    1. YesMan says:

      No Kimi wasn’t faster than Alo only in Malaysia and Bahrain but also in Melbourne and China..Alonso was just lucky and will be fo the 15 remaining races…

    2. Elie says:

      Mate lets hope so !

    3. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      Unless Alonso has some reliability issues, I think you will have to wait until next year. From all the tracks on the calendar apart from the urban ones, Barcelona is the best for Fernando.

    4. AfterLife says:

      Dream on.

    5. AfterLife says:

      to Brett: Dream On.

    6. Krischar says:

      @ Brett

      “I look forward to hearing from all the Alonso fans when he beaten in his home grand prix” – Like how kimi has beaten Alonso in the last four races? Hilarious at best your notions and expectations are. Alonso will completely destroy kimi like he did in china and finished a minute ahead of the Finn

      These are getting tiresome and boring. Set-up issues, Practice woes, Pull rod suspension, Cooler tempratures, Driving style, Brake by wire system, Motivational troubles, Team favours Alonso. All the drivels are old and enough has been said and heard about these umnpteen times here

      Can you people (like Brett & Co kimi fans) can find some other new excuses for your lead driver come the end of this grand prix. As a pure and devout Alonso Fan i like to hear new and different excuses in favour of kimi

  21. UAN says:

    Normally I hate these 3 week breaks, especially in the early part of the season, but this year, with the gap to the Merc, I’m hoping it gives some of the teams (and engine manufacturers) a chance to tighten things up a bit.

  22. Luis Pastilla says:

    McLaren RAI
    Renault ALO
    Ferrari MAS
    Ferrari RAI
    Brawn BUT
    RBR WEB
    RBR VET
    Williams MAL
    Ferrari ALO

    If mercedes slip up, this is a win for Alonso (if he wants it.)
    He is happy with the car, he is getting upgrades, will be the second fastest car and not the fifth any more.

    Kimi will not be in a position to fight here yet. For this reason Alonso would be foolish to repeat staying behind leading car and wait for a mistake (2012). He must attack attack attack.

    Make hay as the sun is shining. Alonso.
    Kimi may be back as soon as Monaco, so … ..

    1. Random 79 says:

      I’m going to disagree with you here:

      If mercedes slip up, this is a win for Ricciardo – and he definitely wants it :)

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        I’m not so sure Random, Red Bull were a bit weak in China with race pace, they always seem to struggle slightly on front limited circuits, and unless they have had found a new front wing that eliminates the understeer that the Barcelona track usually generates, I suspect Ferrari and Fernando will be the one in prime position if the Mercs falter.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Perhaps, but it’s *just* possible that if Ricciardo had had a better start and if Vettel had moved over straight away then Ricciardo would have finished ahead of Alonso.

        Of course even if everything went perfectly to plan he might still not have been able to pass Alonso on the track, but it’s still worth considering.

      3. uan says:

        I don’t know Gaz Boy, RIC suffered from a poor start due to oil on the track. If he had a decent start he wouldn’t have been stuck behind VET and would more than likely have hunted ALO down, if not been in front of him from the beginning of the race. He definitely had the pace.

      4. Elie says:

        Red Bull chassis is perfect marriage for Barcelona. I think one Red Bull will split both Mercs but I havent figured out which one tbh. Same for Ferrari- 3 weeks and a bucket load of tweaks ( hey it rhymes) and a Senna memorial.. And 3 drivers whos reputations have taken a bit of a hit lately!- this might be the most exciting Barcelona we ve seen in years. I also think Force India might shine if they can do 2 stops & with a step harder in the Pirellis this year

      5. Random 79 says:

        I hope you’re right – I’d love to see Ricciardo split the Mercs, so we’ll see what happens :)

      6. thinktank says:

        Not with renault pu and warm weather.

      7. Random 79 says:

        Disqualification aside, Riccardo had a Renault PU and warm weather when he came second in Aus and since then his Red Bull will have only gotten better, so why not?

        I don’t say he will do it, but I genuinely think he can do it.

      8. kenneth chapman says:

        @ random79 would really love to see ricci take his first win but i fear that vettel and his ‘new’ chassis [maybe with tweaks not available to ricci] will be a spoiler.

        i don’t see red bull allowing ricciardo to continue beating vettel…both on and off track.

        the again one can hope…..

      9. Random 79 says:

        I don’t think Red Bull have been allowing Ricciardo to beat Vettel, but thus far that hasn’t stopped him ;)

        Interesting that you say that Vettel will get the new toys before Ricciardo. I have no doubt that if it came to a choice RBR would still give Vettel priority (for now at least) but then again it seems that Dan is doing fine as is so we’ll see how both handle it.

      10. kenneth chapman says:

        @random79….maybe i gave you a mixed message. i believe that ricci has outdriven vettel on merit and that RB have not assisted him individually.

        my latter comment was a cynical take on RB’s previous form and i would not trust horner et al out of my sight. they need to keep vettel happy and they will do everything they can to see to it that he gets the very very best, irrespective of ricciardo.

        ricciardo seems to be doing fine and so far he is definitely not vettel’s patsy by a long shot. i just hope that he can continue to rack up the great performances and take it to the ‘goldenchild’.

      11. Random 79 says:

        Maybe slightly mixed, but I agree with everything you say there :)

      12. kenneth chapman says:

        @ random79…. just read the red bull pre race comments re vettel’s new chassis. two weeks ago the team, marko & horner said that they believed that the chassis on vettel’s car may have a crack in it and they would be giving him a new one.

        they are now saying that vettel’s new chassis was always planned for and was part of their plan even back as far as march!!!

        that’s what happens when you tell porkies! they forgot what they said just a couple of weeks back and that the decision then was a reaction to ricciardo’s excellent handling of the new car at the expense of vettel. IMO,duplicitous.

    2. Krischar says:

      @ Luis Pastilla

      Kimi will be back for Monaco. Ok so where was he for the first Five grand prix of the season? Was he absent? Or whether his twin brother have drove the first five GP’S of the season instead of kimi like LDM stated once?

      Can you please enlight us?

      1. Luis Pastilla says:

        Amigo Ktischar

        Kimi has not had a car suited him perfectly since the McLaren of 2005. As you know this has not hampered his career or stopped him being champ.
        This year he is also asked to change his driving style to accommodate the new braking system while he is also awaiting his mechanics to provide a more precise steering for him.
        Alonso is fortunate as the new car suits his driving style. He is also the most adaptable of all the top drivers and is able quickly to get a GOOD performance from the new car.
        But for a FANTASTIC performance from the new car, we must wait till Kimi gets the precision he needs from the car.

        I believe there was also an agreement between them that Alonso would win the first 6 races, and Kimi the rest.
        Alonso is unlucky again because Merc have booked all wins for now.

      2. Luis Pastilla says:

        sorry about typo!

      3. Krischar says:

        @ Luis pastilla

        You have answered the question “He is also the most adaptable of all the top drivers”

        Alonso is the best pilot out there in the grid who is quick, versatile and possess plenty of guile. Simply put there is no match for Alonso in this planet

        Also do not just go on with “Kimi has not had a car suited him perfectly” NO car will suit perfectly suit any pilot, notably with new regulations in 2014. Pilots need to adapt more and be versatile enough to grind out the results from given car. Kimi is not versatile nor good enough to drive the ropey cars to poduims and wins reugularly which Alonso does at ease.

        Finally the Agreement bit which you posted is a good wit nothing else, given the Mercedes performance advantage no car/ pilot can think about the win atleast for the first 10 or 12 GP’S of the season.

  23. Ahmed says:

    Anxious to see all th updates, probably a number of nose jobs too. Apparently mclaren will trial their version of th lotus twin tusk. All eyes on RBR, if they can’t mount a challenge thn it will officially be the Lewis and Nico show for the rest of 2014

    1. Random 79 says:

      It would be interesting to see McLaren trying out a new nose.

      Almost anything would be better than the current giant dong (the exception being the Caterham nose).

      1. Ahmed says:

        I guess th best nose design is somewhere between the merc and rbr designs…

      2. Random 79 says:

        Agreed, although based on aesthetics as well as performance I would have to lean toward the Merc :)

    2. Gaz Boy says:

      I agree mostly with your sentiments, but the class of 2014 hasn’t been to a bog-slow tight twiddly track yet so its not completely in the bag for Merc if they dominate at Barcelona: Monaco, Hockenhiem to a certain extent, Hungary and Singapore are all point and squirt, rear limited circuits where low speed torque, good suspension compliance, sharp steering response and a nimble, agile chassis is more important than brute power.

      1. Ahmed says:

        Thing is, once they reach budapest and singapore, mercedes will be pretty deep into thr aero development for the year.

      2. Steven M says:

        Umm… Australia?

      3. Gaz Boy says:

        I wouldn’t call Melbourne bog slow – the average lap speed is about 126 Mph, Hungary average lap speed is about 111 Mph, and Monaco a piffling 77 Mph!

      4. Andrew M says:

        True, but the Merc engine seems to have the best driveability and torque out of slow corners as well.

  24. Sean says:

    Hi James,

    When you say that “we will see some large steps in performance, up 10 – 15 bhp due to manufacturers making fixes…”, are you referring to Ferrari and Renault engines or does that statement include the Mercedes engines?

    Do you also have any insight regarding the scope of improvement of the Mercedes engines compared to the Ferrari and Renault engines? Would Mercedes be looking at substantial improvements for the engines?

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes it applies to all

      Big steps this year

      1. David in Sydney says:

        Gee, those engines must be solo unreliably to require so many upgrades to make them, erm reliable.

  25. goggomobil says:

    Mr Allen, my apology Sir for side stepping your nominated topic,my understanding is that Mr Ross Brown was at Maranello today Tuesday the 6th and late in the day at Fiorano witnessing a Porto-type testing,Sir is there any credibility to this?.Ross Brown was supposed to be fishing,or perhaps he decided a Le Ferrari would be a better catch? be it a Ferrari Le- Mans 2015 P1 entry or F1.
    Your thoughts if any.

  26. AlexD says:

    James, would you know anything about the visit of Ross Brawn to Maranello recently? There must be something to it, no?

    1. James Allen says:

      He says no, he was with friends on a wine tour – he’s a big wine buff

      Knowing Ross he would be aware of the interest and it keeps his name in circulation

      As for a return, Mattiacci clearly is not a racer, but would do well in the CRO role like Toto Wolff at Mercedes with Brawn as team boss like Paddy Lowe. McLaren has gone for the same model. Ross would restore pride but I’m not sure he would do it. You never go backwards in life and wht has he to prove with FERRARI?

      1. Peter says:

        James, I think he has nothing to prove, but beating Mercedes (after he had to leave) and working with Fernando and Kimi might be just enough temptation(?)

      2. Random 79 says:

        At Ferrari: Nothing.

        But if he goes back to Ferrari and then in a year or two they start beating the Mercs then Toto & co might feel some runny eggs on their face ;)

      3. kenneth chapman says:

        i think perhaps ross brawn and LDM would have been discussing the ’2014 vintage with the possible 2015 vintage’, followed by the ‘complexity’ and then the all important ‘nose’ over a plate of pasta.

    2. David in Sydney says:

      We will see Ross back next year.

      Either as a shareholder of Williams, as team principal for McLaren (Honda) or, extremely unlikely, back at Ferrari.

      As the team principal of Haas, I guess.

  27. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    Here’s hoping Williams can get their act together. They were in a position to score a lot of points early in the season with a good car. I fear that through a series of own goals, they will be swallowed up in the points chase as the season goes on.

  28. Ryan Eckford says:

    Mercedes should dominate again this weekend.

    The car is really good on its tyres, meaning that it will be good in Sector 1, where the Ferrari and the Lotus were so good last year.

    The car will also be good in Sector 2, which will show a picture of what we have seen this year so far.

    The car will be awesome through Sector 3, which is not too dissimilar to the Hungaroring.

    The innovation of the turbo parts of the engine, results in a better cooling system for the car, which means much more engine power through combustion, and is an aid to eliminate turbo lag, which allows the ERS unit to be put in better use in terms of performance. The better cooling allows for smaller side-pods, creating less aerodynamic drag. With the air compressor at the front of the engine, the rear is cooler, meaning that the gearbox can be placed just about underneath the engine, giving the car a better centre of gravity, meaning the car handles better, in terms of changes of direction.

    So Mercedes should and probably will dominate this weekend in Barcelona.

  29. aveli says:

    looking at changes in the top speed of the cars, redbull and ferrari are hot on their heels. it’s very likely we’ll see a non mercedes car on pole this weekend.
    are the corners of the cars named alphabetically? front right and right rear?

  30. kenneth chapman says:

    talking to a close friend last night who is in barcelona who has very close to connections to mclaren, after many years with vodaphone, he told me about a discussion he had earlier on in the day.

    it was based on the electronics controlling the PU and that mercedes have devised super software packages that can be tailored to meet almost any circuit they choose. now i’m sure that a lot of other teams have similar set ups but the mercedes package is extremely sophisticated and believed to be ahead of all the others. true or false? who knows but it is interesting.

    in effect he said that monaco will simply be dialled in and away they go. if this is correct then what is to stop them from simply continuing to race away at the front. his contact also said that he was of the opinion that mercedes have still not shown their full hand yet and won’t unless someone gets within close proximity.

    of course all this was tempered with all the unknowns that happen on the day which cannot be either planned for or even pre empted. nevertheless it is all rather ominous for the other teams hoping to close the gap.

    1. aveli says:

      which calibrated instruments were used to measure these rigs, on which day did they carry out the measurements to find out how superior the mercedes’ rig is compared it the rest of the field?

      1. kenneth chapman says:

        @ aveli….que? i haven’t got a clue as to what you are saying. ‘rigs’ and ‘software’ don’t usually go together.

        i have simply posted some information that i received.if you can’t understand the general thrust of it that is your problem. there is nothing more that i can add apart from the fact that i am no ‘code warrior’ and that these new PU’s are only as functional as the software that controls the management of both inputs and outputs of the various energy sources, or so i believe. rightly or wrongly.

  31. GarryT says:

    Can’t wait almost like the start if the season should see interesting results.

  32. aveli says:

    do barcelona race winners go on to win the championship? if not, why is everyone claiming barcelona is the test for pace for the rest of the season?

  33. Arobs says:

    Notes on Sergio Perez

    He did not start from pit lane in Malasya, in fact he had a No Start.

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