All quiet on the brand new frontier
Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  28 Jan 2014   |  7:33 pm GMT  |  80 comments

They say you shouldn’t run before you can walk and that’s exactly what happened here in Jerez today. As pre-season testing got underway there was a lot of treading lightly and a few missteps but not a lot of speed on show – at least not straight away.

It was to be expected, however. The start to the first day of a new era was always going to be a slow but steady one despite many wanting to get the on-track party started immediately in order to hear the sound of the new V6 engines for the very first time.

Today was all about patience: waiting for the sun to rise and light up the cold Spanish track. Waiting for teams such as Red Bull, Mercedes and Force India to finally roll their cars out and reveal their designs to the world. A wait that was even longer at Williams and Caterham, where the initial roll out time was postponed due to some last-minute technical gripes.

A few of the new power units fired up in the pit-lane and the lights went green at exactly 9 o’clock. The excitement was building-up quickly, very quickly, with most of the media lining up along the big glass window that runs parallel to the start-finish straight in the media centre to get a first glimpse of the action.

It was Hamilton who broke their nervous silence — something he got very used to doing throughout the day — generating the first comments about that new V6 sound that’s soon going to become very familiar to us: it’s nowhere near as loud as the engines of old and is much lower in pitch, but it quickly grows on you and is satisfying to hear.

Kimi Raikkonen provided more new engine music to everyone’s ears, but not for long as his precautionary stop half way through his first lap meant he was confined to the pits for nearly two hours. Another long, quiet period followed before Jean-Eric Vergne, Sergio Perez and Esteban Gutierrez got their first laps underway, joining an ever-more confident looking Hamilton out on track.

The Mercedes driver was the first to set a timed lap this year, his 1:33.305 resulting in an impromptu round of applause from the press corps in the media centre when it came up on the screens. The countdown to racing had really started.

It’s safe to say its been one of the quietest starts to a test in a very long time. Long periods of silence ruled most of the day but, as Red Bull’s Adrian Newey explained today, this was always expected. Testing and “the opening races will be an engine formula with a focus on reliability over performance,” he said.

He also added that “12 days of testing is a very compressed development schedule and something this complicated can bring a lot of problems, pressures and breakdowns, so reliability will be an issue at the start of the season”.

And that’s just what happened. Teething problems, cars in the garage for hours and breakdowns were certainly a big part of today, instead of the usual long stints and data gathering. It did give everyone plenty to talk about, especially when Kimi and Sergio stopped on track and when Hamilton’s front wing failed, launching him into the barriers at Turn 1.

Drivers have been out on their tip-toes, trying to understand the car while starting to increasing their speed and subsequently reducing their lap times. At least some of them could: teams like McLaren or Marussia have lost a whole day of running due to different technical issues, while Mercedes’ day ended early after that wing failure and Red Bull’s started with only 15 minutes of the session left. Marcus Ericsson finally drove the Caterham out — with a nose design that literally wowed everyone – for the first time late in the afternoon, with Williams’ Valtteri Bottas doing the same a bit later.

It’s clearly an unusual start. A test that’s been unlike anything we’ve been used to in the recent past. Some examples: the fastest time here last year was a 1:18.148 set by Raikkonen. Today, powered by a V6, he was a full nine seconds slower; last year the Finn completed 80 laps in a day, today it as approaching 50 less.

“We wanted to complete more laps”, Kimi said, “but its pretty normal that things don’t work with so many changes.” We can’t forget this is the first day of Formula One’s new era and there’s still a lot to learn. Hello V6’s, nobody said it was going to be easy. Or noisy.

By Tabatha Valls Halling in Jerez

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There has been a lot of misinformed comments on this forum. Mainly about the engines aren’t powerful, the sound is rubbish, cars will be running out of fuel etc, and let’s go back to the good old days of 3 litre V10’s, blah, blah, blah. I adored the old 3 litre V10s, I always look back on the period from the start of 2003 to the end of 2005 with a lot of fondness.

However, although a world championship, Formula 1 is ultimately a reflection of European society and ideas. The continent of Europe is built on the primacy of new technology, hedonism and liberal secular democracy. Europe is the most un-religious liberal, secular, hedonistic continent and society in the world because it believes in the advent of new ideas and new technology to benefit its citizens enjoy a better life. North America believes in the primacy of money and over-consumption; the Middle east believes in the primacy of religious ideology to guide every aspect of life; the Far East has embraced communism (Vietnam and China are good examples) while Australasia believes in the enjoyment of nature. Europe is somewhat at odds with these ideologies (apart from Australasia which has maintained its ideological and social links to Europe) and believes in embracing scientific and technological revolutions. That is why the introduction of the 1.6 litre V6 turbo compounding engines are a great idea: the european car, sports, electronics and technological industries all use F1 as a testing ground so it’s only right we embrace new ideas. (Goal line technology in football was pioneered with the start/finish timing line/s used in F1, while in rugby the intercom between the referee and the television match official can trace it roots back the pit-com used by drivers and driver engineers.)

Remember I said Europe is the most hedonistic continent? Hedonism means enjoyment (in its most basic sense), and if we to enjoy F1 for years to come, then it must be viable for a new age, and not try and blithely ignore it until it becomes bloated and unsustainable. Europeans have always been good at downsizing: Europe is the home of the Fiat 500, the Mini, Fiat Panda, Ford Fiesta, VW Polo, Ford Ka, et al. Smaller doesn’t mean compromise, if anything smaller can be liberating. France is the home of bijou, Italy the home of piccolo, and Britain is the home of mini. All are adjectives associated with fun and fashion, so is a small F1 engine really so bad?

Let’s not forget that Europeans invented gravity, computers, telephones, televisions, the petrol engine, diesel engine, electric motors and tyres. Put all these European inventions together, and what do you get? Formula 1 of course! I’m sure the great Karl Benz, who invented the internal combustion engine would be so proud that his wonderful creation is continually being improved, reinvented and updated by his European descendants. Benz’s vision was to create a horseless carriage to give greater mobility to the European people.

And that is what European culture represents: mobility, not just literally, but in a technological sense as well. Europeans believe in good forward, not staying still. Which is what F1 is about. Europeans used to crouch round open fires in mud huts, worship some strange deity and travel no further than the next town. And yet lurking in the European mind was a quest for travel and expansion: epitomised by the likes of the great Captain Cook. Captain Cook’s ship endeavour was the technological oceanic marvel of its time, and that is the point of European ideology, and ultimately Formula 1. New ideas, new technology, new challenges. Let’s enjoy life and make it better for the benefit of the greater good. I admit the prize money distribution in F1 needs changing, but as for the main attraction of F1 – the cars – the FIA is (literally and metaphorically) on the right track.

Here’s to a great 2014 F1 season!


I love the sound! I was never a huge fan of the screaming V10 or V8 or mega high RPMs. Super excited about the new season now, even if some of those cars are a bit fugly. That said, at least we’ve got some diversity.


nice to read & live again the F1 yet order in 2014

will nit change but between the last year strong teams;

the only that could break the (unwritten) rule is Will


Here’s a bit of fun admist this seriousness: with all this discussion about the new engines, how about an F1 engine sound/dog sound analogy.

3 litre V10: Siberian Husky Howling

2.4 litre V8: German Shepherd growling

1.6 litre V6 turbo: Boxer barking

New ERS system: Yorkie yapping

What about dog/drivers analogies too?

Sebastian: greyhound (very very fast)

Nico Ros: king charles spaniel (centre partyed hairstyle)

Jenson: Westie (agile; good natured; great in slippery conditions)

Fernando: Staffy Bull Terrier (tenacious, growls a bit, gets his teeth into anything)

Lewis: whippet (lean, fast, sometimes bumps into other dogs by mistake)

Kimi: bull mastiff (doesn’t communicate much, growls when he does)

Nico Hulk: golden retriever (reliable, dependable, curiously undervalued)


On a purely visual analysis, I think the Mercedes and Red Bull look really pretty, elegant and refined. Like the 2005 Renault R25 and the 2009 Brawn BGP1 there is a simplicity of line and packaging. Don’t want to tempt fate, but if it looks right and all that………….


James, can you clarify what were the unmarked tires teams used yesterday in Jerez? Cold weather one off, or something else?



James, i think i was jenson button who did a 1.18 on first day in jerez last year and topped the day..


Hi James – Can you kindly explain what ‘Front wing failure’ means? Does it mean that part of the wing is broken and the car becomes undrivable and heads straight wherever despite driver controlling the steering wheel? What exactly leads to such out-of-control situation?




The new cars look and sound like they’ve been engineered past their expiry date already. This is what the FIA has dealt Formula One. They’ve dicked around with this thing so much they’ve just completely ruined it. Formula E will make Formula One look like an engineering Frankenstein. IndyCar will go up a notch to first place, maybe even GP2 on lap times. Certainly all the other forms of racing will far outreach Formula One just on reliability alone. Formula One is no longer about racing, it’s all about how to balance all the artificial constraints that were introduced by a bunch of amateur rule-makers. Twenty- two cars don’t have to be all about fuel economy. Formula One should have upped the ante to big V10 engines capped at about 19000 rpm – then you get a show. Who is going to pay a ton of money at today’s prices to watch a bunch of dinky toys buzz off into gravel traps on fire or just plain busted. Bernie was right – this is all a bad bad bad idea. How much money was poured into development to watch a bunch of underpowered overly complex anteaters stumble their way into smokey oblivion. What an amazing turn of events.


Jim, everyone is entitled to their opinion, including you, but I fear your comments are misplaced. Formula 1 is the confluence of the European car industry, European technology industry and European sports industry. European culture is about reformation, new ideas, new technology, new thinking. If we stuck with 3 litre V10’s then how is that progess? It would also mean a formula that was 20 year old, way past its sell by date. I think it is right and proper that F1 is turning to hybrid turbo compounding technology as the European car industry has already embraced small capacity turbo compounding engines; if anything F1 is behind the curve ball on that one. Indycar overtaking F1 in popularity? That’s pretty myopic. Comparing Indycar with F1 is like comparing a burger with haute cuisine: old world elegance, refinement and charm versus brash, badly dressed overweight vulgarity. Indycar market is North America, that’s it. F1’s market is mainly Europe, Far East, Australasia and South America. I agree in the short term, the F1 teams and drivers will experience some niggles, but it will be worth it in the long-term. There again, when Isaac Newton first explained the concept of gravity he was mocked. Karl Benz was actually derided that his ivention of an internal combustion engine “horseless” carriage would replace horse driven transport. And what do you get if you combine Isaac Newton’s discovery of gravity – and therefore downforce – and Karl Benz’s invention of internal combustion? Why, you get Formula 1! I’m sure Karl Benz would approve of the new turbo compounding F1 engines. I bet he’s looking down “upstairs” thinking well done. The primacy of European ideology is creating new ideas and technology to improve the lives and wellbeing of it’s citizens in the long term. And in the brave new turbocharged world of grand prix racing, F1 is doing exactly that.


We’ve already got Formula E. Now F1 has been reduced to mini-Formula Hybrid. Sounds about as good as a DTM race and maybe a hair quicker than GP2. Watch for 3 things. Not Many people are going to pay big coin to watch a DTM race. Not many race organizers including Bernie and the FIA are going to last long with half the field parked in the dust. Not many people are going to attend a high ambient temperature race to watch less than half the field survive a melt-down. They should have stuck GP2 with it if they wanted to experiment. The Frankenstein they’ve created is not going to work in this particular venue at all. Just watch how many cars make it to the checkered flag in Melbourne. I’ll guess 10.


I think your comments are valid Jim, but a bit misplaced. Formula 1 has the best brains in the European car/technology industry. Europeans are clever people. We invented gravity, the petrol engine, electrical motors, telephone, television, the computer, and have been refining them ever since. Formula 1 represents European society which believes in the primacy of new technology and science to improve the lives of all citizens. You always get a few niggles with new technology; Karl Benz’s internal combustion motor wasn’t exactly perfect at it’s birth. I agree the first few races may have their share of retirements, but by the time F1 gets back to its spiritual home in Europe they will plenty of info on how to refine their products. Keep the faith Jim!


People moaning about the engine noise bugging me I agree its a different noise but no team was fully on it today and not the best track to judge so before we all start moaning lets see and give it a chance. But god the cars are ugly that caterham but you can say they have tried something new that no-one else has but don’t think will be fast! I hope the mclaren gets some laps looks a tidy by ugly car n think the regs will suit jenson driving style n like the look of the Ferrari as weird as it looks I think kimi maybe on it this year


Spot on Sean, totally agree on Jenson, could be another good season for the vroom from frome.


People moaning about the engine noise bugging me I agree its a different noise but no team was fully on it today and not the best track to judge so before we all start moan lets see and give it a chance


Question for James

With the new 100kg limit in the fuel for this year how will teams deal with the installation laps before the race?

Will they be able to top up the tank on the grid or are the tanks big enough to hold more than the 100kg to allow for fuel used getting to the grid (or will they have to drive the car round to the grid on electric power only?)



are the engines they are using for testing not included in the alocation for the year?

and the cars look great in profile, and love the variation (noses) that new regs create.i can remember lambo V12’s at adelaide, turbo’s, V10’s and V8’s …… if petrol runs in your veins they all sound awesome.


No they are separate

5 engines to cover 19 GPs


James, don’t you think it’s a little bizzare that in the first year of a revolutionary formula, the FIA chose to reduce the allocation? YOu would think they would at least maintain it at 8 so teams aren’t so hamstrung and maybe reduce it to five in the 2nd or 3rd year.


James surely the tactics within most teams would be to sacrifice a grid position or 2 for 2-3 races and gain a few more engines? Logically it looks the better option.


Everyone is simply horrified by how the cars look and hate the way they sound. I am happy for the changes, love the diversity and how no two cars look the same. Maybe tv is the great equalizer but the Merc sounds pretty awesome and the new huge center mounted exhausts are killer looking. Can’t wait to see the McLaren and what she can do…


Yes! A lot of people hate commenting on the changes! Nobody’s fed up hearing the same old V8s. We need change!! Formula 1 is more of a “MOTOR” sport now 🙂 What really bends my head is when people compare the new engines with the V10s. Seriously!! I just wanna scream, Get over it!

Love the changes and the sounds. Come Bahrian I am sure the teams will be much quicker and louder.


Bit surprised at the negativity of the new turbo engines. I’d say, folks, give your ears time to re-adjust. For the last seven odd years we’ve had those shrill, trebly, whiny V8’s, and that’s what we’ve been used to. The new turbo V6 will have a guttural, bassy growl with the wastegate clattering off throttle. It will be different, strange even at first, but let’s give the new F1 soundtrack time. A good analogy is like switching from a Catherine Jenkins song to an Isaac Hayes song. One high pitched, the other deep bass, so bound to be different. Give it a few months and we’ll all forget the complaints about the sound as we’ll be used to it.


There’ll always be people who complain. Whether it’s because they’re still whining about how they should be running V10s, or now about the V8s, or whatever. A lot of people thought the off-throttle blowing sounded horrible, but I actually thought it sounded great. The V6s could’ve turned out to be the most amazing sounding F1 engines ever, and people’d still complain just coz it’s different to what they’re used to.

So far I’ve liked what I’ve heard from the new cars. Maybe not as aggressive as the V8s, but then this is the first running of brand new engine packages. I doubt anyone was really pushing it. I’ll reserve my judgement for when I’m trackside at Albert Park.


Agree with most of what you said, keep in mind these turbos have no waste-gates though.


Williams car seems to be the best looker on the track. Hope it fast aswell.


I am glad Kimi and Ferrari seemed to do well, I hope that is a good omen for the rest of the season, as I hope the RB dominance will be put on hold this year.


The show has begun.

Hopefully much higher action in coming 3 days.

Seemed today as if Merc and Ferrari were better prepared.


Personally, I don’t mind the noise of the engines because on Tv they sound the same.

Now considering the fact most teams are trying to find their way with the new cars, I reckon we’re going to see more of the same till we get to Bahrain and that’s when the panic button will get pressed.

As for the slower times compared to 2013, couldn’t the rain have something to do with this. I think the rain interrupted Kimi’s momentum.

Regards Red Bull, I read on the BBC that they had decided a few days ago to miss the first day of running and judging from Vettel’s statements, it appears reliability will be their achilles heel this season.


“I don’t mind the noise of the engines because on Tv they sound the same.”

I think you need to get your TV looked at. I have watched it on Sky today and they sound pathetic and I have been watching F1 for twenty years. They are a complete turn off. BBC sound is always better than Sky but even they will struggle to make these engines sound exciting. Front end design looks like a hoover and the engine sounds the same.


Mr Allan,would I be right to assume the picture on your site suggest the 2014 F1 will be between Ferrari and Mercedes to fight it out,the Mercedes certainly looks good,sleek and one may say in she gender mould,where by the Ferrari bigger, aggressive and definitely he gender mould.

Today we saw two top racers in F1,Hamilton and Raikkonen regardless of initial fragility of the machinery,they just went and done what they know best.


No. It’s just the banner we made this week


Everyone seems to have their undies in a bunch over that Lotus nose.

It is amazing that this team comes up with stuff like this and is so in the hole with debt. Everyone is asking about legality, which to me means it’s likely the best solution. Looks OK too, with no similarity to any organ.

Why did you let the cat out of the bag so soon Lotus?


If anything I would think they’re better off letting it out early, unless they’re certain it’ll be given the OK by the FIA. It’s not like it’s some subtle aero concept that they can run and no one will figure it out for a while. It’s right there on the front of the car. If it’s being questioned now, it’d have been questioned the same if they only first revealed it when they turned up in Bahrain. Only, if they spend all their testing time running that nose to then be told it’s illegal, they’re a bit in the brown matter.

I don’t think protesting it necessarily means it’s the best solution. Maybe it is, or maybe it’s a terrible idea. But maybe there are some who’d like it to be banned pretty much for the sole purpose of throwing a spanner in Lotus’ works. The front wing of course being the first thing to hit the air and then direct airflow to the rest of the car… having to rethink it at any point in a season would be enough of an annoyance. For a team who weren’t ready in time for the first test, putting all their eggs in the basket that is the Bahrain test, I suspect having their front wing design deemed illegal would be no small thing.

That said, I’ve not heard any protests being made, and I’d like to think the Lotus nose is legally along the lines of some of the others. It might be taking the piss a bit with the rules, but surely no more than something like Force India’s ridiculous protrusion.

FIA: “The nose has to be [x]mm from the ground.”

Team: “Yeah we’ve done that.”

FIA: “Uhh…?”

Team: “That little thing hanging off the front. Measure from the end of that.”


Agree completely Lotus are innovators. I think it looks good and more importantly I can see a few development options around it. In the other hand maybe its a “curve ball” & we see a different solution at bahrain.


And so it begins……

I understand the caution, no one wants to blow an engine to bits, these things have Turbo’s now.

How did the cars look in motion?, that shot of the merc looks sweet, pity about the nose.



Are you at the test? What do you mean by quieter and lower pitch? How much quieter in % vs V8s would you say? How much lower pitch – if you can find a way to quantify that change as preceived in person that would be fantastic.

TV feed can always adjust the mic level to make engines seem louder. In any case, F1 engine sound never transalted over a TV due to the sheer db level. Did anyone come with a db meter and measure from the stands by chance?


Seebee, I reckon about 20-25% quieter (can get away without earplugs immediately trackside) but as stated perhaps the cars are not at full noise yet.

The engine note is less of a penetrating scream but sounds pretty good. A little bit more rough. A grid full of cars together will be every bit of the usual spectacle. The turbo whistle is really epic at certain revs and adds an extra dimension.


for someone so keen on details how could you not see this was written by Tabitha?!


I read so much stuff, I tune certain things out automatically. Like “By” and “Posted” I just read the meat. Also, since it’s JAonF1 I assumed incorrectly that it was James. My bad. May I be forgiven?


Tabitha, are you able to answer my nosy questions?


There are a lot of videos online of the cars doing laps today and they are a good indicator, although they probably aren’t running much past 10,000 rpm. Even then though, they sound fantastic.


I need feedback from trusted ears that heard it first person. Not through auto level digital recorder that grabs the sound to low quality MP3, hence my curiosity to have a detailed description of the sound by first person. I guess I’ll just have to go to GP. Hearing is knowing.


Tabitha Valles is there for us

This is her piece


very early doors so place your bets now – how many cars will fail to finish in Australia due to reliability?

I’m guessing 6


I think only 6 will finish! 🙂


Please, not another Indy 🙁


Very sad to hear(or not hear as the case may be) that the new engines are not as loud. I know some people think it’s a bit shallow to care but if you’ve ever been in the presence of F1 cars you will know that everything else pales into insignificance by comparison. If the cars sound too tame the will just become ordinary. Even though I am interested/impressed by the new technology the cars still need something to take ones breath away. Maybe they could make them spit huge flames!


Go watch NHRA Drag racing. Noise and flames no other series will EVER match. I have been fllowing f1 since the early 80s but NHRA wins for spectacle and fan focus EVERY TIME.


Friend invited me to go with him to a Drag race. Witnessing Top Fuel cars, is a must have life experience.

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