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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

McLaren vs Mercedes vs Ferrari for the title?

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


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


they sound like Porsche Carrera’s …

They don’t sound like my C2S!


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


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


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


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

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


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


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

Brawn 09/McLaren 14. The comparisons are striking.

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


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


Very droll, ha ha.


Cheers 🙂

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


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


It’s getting downright scary.

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

What was the FIA thinking???

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

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


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


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


Looks more like a Salvador Dali to me…


Lol the lotus is more Dali to me


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

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

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

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


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

…and I’m not particularly a McLaren fan.

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

…if he can handle his new teammate of course.


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


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


Not that is funny +1


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


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


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

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


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

Adrian Newey Jnr

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


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


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


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


No, because Newey will invent a Flexi-Gear.


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

Pedantic bellcheese

James, you’re getting sloppy!

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

Othervthan that, ntertaining as ever 😉


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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


Rosberg or Button for title if mecedes keep going like this. 🙂


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


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

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


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

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


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


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


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

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


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

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

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

Keep up the great work James.


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


Ah. That explains it then.

Adrian Newey Jnr

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


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


Behind Caterham?


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


Behind USF1.


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

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