The end is near
Yas Marina 2017
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Magnussen on top as Red Bull Racing make progress
Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  20 Feb 2014   |  5:05 pm GMT  |  196 comments

Kevin Magnussen posted the fastest time of the second day of testing in Bahrain as Mercedes-powered teams once again set the pace.

The McLaren rookie’s best time was set late in the afternoon on the super-soft Pirelli tyres. The Dane’s late run dropped yesterday’s fastest man Nico Hullkenberg to second on today’s timesheet. The Force India driver posted a best time of 1:36.445, 1.5 seconds adrift of Magnussen. Third quickest was Fernando Alonso, the Spaniard continuing Ferrari’s solid performance in testing with a time of 1:36.516.

Nico Rosberg was fourth for the works Mercedes team, finishing four tenths off Alonso’s time. The German, who was concentrating on race simulations, stopped twice on circuit in the morning, however, with unspecified issues. Nevertheless he managed to rack up 460km.

Afterwards, Mercedes Executive Director Paddy Lowe said: “Our day today was slightly troubled compared to other recent days; however, we still managed to get a lot of mileage done. We experimented with the medium tyre and found this to be a slight improvement on the harder compound, with more consistency.”

Red Bull Racing, meanwhile, at last enjoyed a profitable day, with Sebastian Vettel completing 59 laps in the troubled RB10.

The champion only managed 14 tours of the Sakhir Circuit yesterday before a mechanical issue halted progress. According to the team’s Race Engineering Co-ordinator Andy Damerum that issue hadn’t hindered the team’s overnight progress.

“We had a very good day,” he said. “We were able to fix the problem we had yesterday very quickly and there were no lingering issues, so we managed some good running today.

“We’re not out of the woods yet and we still have a lot of work to do but the direction we’ve taken is looking like the right one,” he added. “After a successful morning we tried some new elements late in the day, which we had been waiting for. Sebastian felt those were a big step forward, so overall a very encouraging session.”

It was a better day too for Williams. Yesterday, Felipe Massa had been restricted to just five laps by a fuel system problem but the Grove team made up for lost time today, with Valtteri Bottas logging a massive total of 116 laps in the FW36. The Finn finished fifth on the timesheet with a lap of 1:37.328.

Behind Bottas, Kamui Kobayashi, taking over from Robin Frijns at the wheel of the Caterham CT05, finished sixth, though his 66 laps weren’t without problems.

A telemetry issue held the Japanese driver back in the morning but despite the problems Kobayashi, who will hand over to Marcus Ericsson tomorrow, branded it a “useful day’s work”.

“It was good to be back in the car and even though we had quite a few interruptions in the morning with a telemetry issue, we still completed 66 laps which is another useful day’s work,” he said.

“Reliability is going to be so important this year, and it’s good that the issues we’ve had here have been fixed well enough to allow us to keep running. It’s also good to finish the day with a relatively quicker lap, but even though everyone knows lap times don’t really mean anything in the tests, it’s good for the team to start to see us unlocking some of the car’s performance.”

Toro Rosso, meanwhile, look to have overcome some of the problems that have plagued it. Jean-Eric Vergne completed 58 laps today, though the Frenchman did bring out the red flags just before 1pm and then completed only a handful more later on.

Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez also halted proceedings in the afternoon, the Mexican driver being stopped by an electrical problem with his C33.

It was a tough second day in the car for Lotus’ Romain Grosjean. The Frenchman had a troubled first outing yesterday and the gremlins struck again today as the E22 completed just 18 laps.

Finally, Max Chilton also hit trouble. After a solid start to the day a fuel system problem led to extensive work in the garage, although he emerged for three more laps just before the end of the day’s running.

Bahrain Test 1 – Day Two Times
1. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:34.910s 46 laps
2. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:36.445s  +1.535s 59 laps
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:36.516s  +1.606s 97 laps
4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:36.965s  +2.055s 85 laps
5. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:37.328s  +2.418s 116 laps
6. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:39.855s  +4.945s 66 laps
7. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:40.340s  +5.430s 59 laps
8. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:40.609s  +5.699s 58 laps
9. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:40.717s  +5.807s 55 laps
10. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:41.670s  +6.760s 18 laps
11. Max Chilton Marussia 1:42.511s  +7.601s 17 laps

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McLaren qualified with a 1:33.7 lap last year so those scaremongering about running slower than GP2 are hopefully sufficiently chastened.


At least the blame is off the new engines, Bahrain is a relatively low downforce track, not a lot of twisty mid - high speed corners. So the difference in times at Jerez is more down to the new aero rules than the engines I think. That and the teams not running flat out

I have said before and I will say again, we will not know the true running order until the end of qualifying in Melbourne. We may see an indication on the last day of the test in Bahrain but some teams sandbag and others go for glory on low fuel so its impossible to tell.


Lets see a race distance time first. Fred Flintstone may prove faster yet.


True but also this run was on super soft, the qually time last year was set on mediums, i hear this years tyres are approx 1 grade harder so that would make super soft equivalent to roughly the 2013 soft

I agree though i think the scare mongering is false, it wont be long before they catch up, raye of development this year will be steep


doesn't that take it all back to 2012? if i recall 2013 was one step forward of the 2012 compounds?


It was Button that said F1 2014 as slow as GP2. LOL...


Yes, it was. Button putting his foot in his mouth once again. lol


Well if race pace was measured then GP2 pace is what these cars are doing, also the main problem is straight line speed, do you think these cars can even top 210mph at Monza???


They're supposed to be faster in a straight line this year, b/c of reduced drag. Lower traction, and hence a lower power curve could hit those straight line speeds though.


Quali laps were never going to be the issue, its the saving tyres and trying to manage the 100kg's of fuel in the race is going to be the problem. Nobody ever said that GP2 was going to be a quicker car, but that the F1 cars on full fuel at the start of the races would be running around slower than GP2 drivers would be qualifying.

GP2 quali was 1.39's last year in Bahrain, already we are seeing that on heavy fuel loads, F1 is in the low 1m40's. I'm sure it will improve and I'm delighted to see that time of K Mag's today but we've never had a situation before that even the quickest of GP2 laps could compete with the slowest of F1 laps... that will be the case this year. And GP2 is going to sound better as well.


If the fuel limit is the cause of "slowness" in races, and it looks bad on TV, then yeah I hope they up the limit in the interim, with a scheduled drop or drops back down to 100kg as the engine manufacturers progress with the tech. Who knows, they might all be comfortably within the limits right now. But if not, F1 should act to save the spectacle.


I would wait to see what times are posted in more aerodynamically demanding circuits (Malaysia=fast & Hungary=slow) before passing a guilty verdict on the scaremongers...


Even so, the times couldn't be blamed on the new power units then. If the issue is aerodynamic then the scaremongers need to be talking up the new aero restrictions and not harping on the change from V8's.


Teams usually go faster in winter testing than qualifying, cooler conditions means the engines run much better. Last year at Catalunya they were faster in winter testing than in qualifying that year.


Very impressive milage from Ferrari; reliability has always been a strength of theirs and it looks like it's about to continue. That said, with so many mercedes teams producing so many laps, Merc will certainly have a lot of data to play with.

James, do you know if Renault teams are running at reduced power? I've heard some rumblings from Scarbs and other sources but nothing concrete..


"This red flag was brought to you by Renault. "

A sponsorship deal perhaps?


Looks like Scarbs is correct along with the other reports and even by what Renault says. Basically:

- MGU-K is delivering power too quickly causing failure in the crankcase and ICE

- Kamui say they are 20-30km slower than the Mercs

- All the Renault powered teams are 2-4 seconds off

- Taffin says all the Renault powered teams can run as they like but not at the level they want

- TheJudge13 initial report where he says it will take 20 wks to fix the problem

I'd be expecting the Renault teams fighting for scraps until the Euopean season hits. For all the optimism and press propaganda Renault put out, they screwed up. Hopefully they find a fix sooner rather than later for everyone's sake.


This 20+ weeks rumour would seem to indicate that they need to cast and machine a whole new block design.

Any other bits could be machined up in a matter of days.

If that's the case (no pun intended) they've got serious issues!


There is apparently a shaft in the MGU K that hadn't managed more than 100 kms on dyno before Jerez


Wow. Thanks for that James. And to Jato for the comment before!

Renault might be able to get away with it at Australia, a track where top speed isn't too important, but China, Malaysia and Bahrain all have huge straights and it could get very embarrassing.


It seems both Renault and Mercedes are going to be protesting the ferrari engine as they don't have a protective cover over their turbo... Hope ferrari use their position and clout to nullify it.. Really want them to win this year


Yeah, throwing their weight around would be uncouth. If the cover is unsafe, then it needs to be made safe. From what I've heard, Ferrari is using the "we have fail-safes that mean the turbo could never rev high during a failure, so our cover doesn't need to be as sturdy" defence. I believe they used the same sort of line in Bahrain last year with regards to their DRS wing flap (i.e. "it shouldn't be able to go back"). They were wrong then, but it only hurt them then. If their turbo fails spinning at 125k rpm, and pieces fly out, they'll be lucky if it doesn't injure a driver, marshals or spectators. A bunch of spectators getting shrapnel to the face, all to save 2-3 kg's of weight, will do wonders for attendance at races.


the FIA has issued clarifications on both Lotus' fork nose and Ferrari's turbo. Both are legal. Ferrari's argument was that the particular construction of the turbo they use meets the regulation's requirements


I hope Ferrari will use a proper technical interpretation of the rules to nullify it. Another demonstration of gaining advantage by 'position' and 'clout' is about the last thing we need...


Me too, I hope we see a fantastic battle between Ferrari and Merc 🙂


Quick suggestion for McLaren if they're listening:

Why have a big MP4-29 on the side on your car when you could have a big "JENSON" or "KEVIN", as in the old West sponsorship days?

It's not super important I know, but it would be nice to see 🙂


How about "MP4-12C" and P1. Why waste the marketing opportunity- or is that not allowed ?


No reason I can think of that they couldn't - that is there's nothing I've seen in the regulations that says a team can't promote their own brands / products.

Imagine it would be the same as VJ taking the opportunity to put some Kingfisher branding on his Force Indias.


I think this is just a testing livery. There's got to be something better lined up for when the real action starts. Hasn't there? Anyone know?


Not sure what they'll be using come race day, but I agree that the current livery has a definite testing only look to it.


It's sony grey apparently but sony have internal board issues and sponsorship isn't getting to go ahead. Mclaren's deals with Honda and Sony were spearheaded by Whitmarsh so I imagine there's a lot of restarting conversations given both Sony and McLaren are undergoing radical board changes.

There's been a lot of rumours that Honda are filling in some sponsorship money already but you'd have to think they are all waiting for Sony to sort things out.


I wonder if the F1 teams read comments from this website?????


Given that Ross Brawn (whilst still in F1) and Christian Horner have both contributed to booked written by James, i'd say yes. Not to mention the access that James has been given by McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes in recent years along with competition prizes.


Maybe if we all chipped in ten quid each they could put the whole lot of us JA readers on the side of the cars ... Except for Seebee of course!


Agreed - he'd have to chip in twenty 😉


Not sure, but I'm pretty sure that the FIA don't.


Yeah, you know what Parisians think of the rosbif language - they refuse to speak, write and read English in an act of wilfulness, so unlikely they are reading this anglais website!


I agree, they did look good when they had that


Or how about the HRT trick of "this could be you", just to make it clear that you have no title sponsor!


Mclaren already did that for the Indian GPs during the Vodafone days.



And they actually hired a professional artist / designer for that one 🙂


That could be difficult in testing when there's one car and two drivers. Do they have both names on the car, waste time changing it twice a week?


Come race day though, I agree wholeheartedly.


I think there will be a big sponsor name there on race day.


Easy: For testing just put JENSON on one side and KEVIN on the other side, maybe with AND on the nose 😉


I suspect the team has better things to do overnight than change the stickers on the side of the car.


Not if JENSON and KEVIN stickers end up being more aerodynamic than an MP4-29 sticker 😉


Lol, they would be some stickers!


Or how about BRUCE and DENNY as a loose tribute to their founders? I've also said on this website Macca should paint their cars in orange to remember their iconic Kiwi founder.

Actually, what about another suggestion being: RON and ERIC?


oh yes come on redbull ...keep fighting ..dont give up 😛


By the time RB sort out their issues with Renault, the Infinity sticker would have been sucked into the airbox & Vetts finger would be suffering major cramps from not being able to extend it because of his winless streak. Bye bye Newey, I know you had no choice because you were pushing to wrap up last year though I really admire the bulls domination but the wind has changed. Make a face before it does Vett & i hope its a real smug one too.


no problem with infiniti sticker ....redbull will return with blue livery and same old domination of 2011 oh yeah ...vettel finger will again be up in the air and jeolouse people will again feel the pain somewhere....newey vettel rock ..


When looking at that picture of the McLaren I can't help thinking about how stunning it would look......if it weren't for that preposterous proboscis.


Still, I think in general these cars look more like racing cars, the way they used to look. Low noses, aggressive 'stance'... I think we'll get used to the noses and the cars will look better later too... maybe.


Agree. McLaren are monkeying around with their design a bit too much, but there you go.........


I think McLaren and Force India are in headline grabbing mode, although I have to say the McLaren seems fast, but where they are compared to Mercedes and Ferrari remains to be seen, and I think the latter teams are sensibly concentrating on long runs. Red Bull are off the starting blocks which must be a relief for them, but I feel they still have issues which need to be knocked down before the next test.


I get the feeling that Ferrari and Mercedes are following a much more in-depth testing program than the other teams, and aren't as interested in pushing the engines to the limit (since they presumably did that on dynos already).

Watching the interviews, Alonso and Rosberg still seem to be coming to terms with the 2014 cars. Hamilton for some reason seems very confident and cheerful-- whether that's because he's discovered the torque monsters suit his driving style, or because of his recent trip to Rome, I have no idea.


Dangerous to jump to conclusions just yet. Ferrari, Mclaren and Merc seem pretty evenly matched in terms of reliability and speed. Alonso was setting purple times before backing out. So the 1.6 sec difference between him and Magnussen doesn't tell us anything useful.

Best to sit yourself out of the speculation games, still long way to go 😉


Whilst I agree that no-one is showing their hand yet, you need to keep a closer eye on what's going on. McLaren and Force India were the teams that had fitted softer tyres going for the HEADLINE times rather than longer runs than say Merc and Ferrari were doing.


I don't think McLaren are just out to grab headlines. After last season they would want to be confident that the pace is genuine, and they are too professional to behave the way the likes of Jordan used to in winter testing.

As for Force India, I'm not sure. It wasn't too bad a season last year for them, maybe they have made some good developments.


It's true they are.. They both used the super softs with those times.


By capturing the top of the timetable, I somehow think its McLaren's was of giving a confidence boost to the Dane. It also serves a dual purpose of telling potential sponsors that we are available for your millions.

However, on the other hand the pace is nothing to sneeze at with the top teams yet to show their hand.


Why is the Ferarri or the Mercedes the benchmark? because merc make the engines don't suddenly make them good after all they might not be faster than Mclaren!


Read what I say, not what you think I've said!

Undoubtably Mercedes have done a good job with the engines, but I also think McLaren may have stolen a March on the field with their innovative rear suspension. That said reliability, and fuel conservation is going to win races this year so the fastest car may not actually win the title. As to relative pace it still remains unclear, and will do so until qualifying where it will count.


Rockie: Nothing to do with benchmarking, it's what's in your own head. As I've said many times we will not know where anyone is until Melbourne qualifying. At the moment Mercedes, McLaren, and Ferrari seem to be the ones that have most got there act together, but as to where they are relatively is anyones quess. - Although Mercedes are looking strong today following Lewis's performance, but it is merely a perception and not reality.


I read it and you said if am not wrong!

"but where they are compared to Mercedes and Ferrari remains to be seen"

That is setting a benchmark if you don't understand what you have written,, you could have worded that its still testing and we don't know where anyone is!


Its quite a normal thing, Merc since they brought Brawn in 2010 they've always been slower than Mclaren apart from last year's pullrod Mclaren derailed them, but its hard to say whos the fastest right now but yes all the Mercedes powered cars look fast.


Of course that should read that Macca had the better driver lineup from 2010-12.


Tealeaf, I thought I addressed this point already. The short strokes, AGAIN.

- Brawn GP was a sick team at the end of 2009 when Merc bought them

- Merc was hoping for the promised cost-cap

- Merc was still supplying McLaren with free engines

- Merc had the better driver lineup

All of the above points cover 2010-12.

Now ...

- Merc has been pouring in the money, and specifically for this regulation change

- Merc now has the requisite manpower on board

- McLaren are now an engine customer

- Merc have the better driver lineup now

- McLaren are in danger of being treated as an engine competitor by Merc, b/c of their move to Honda next year

Not many times is a customer team faster than its engine maker's factory or works team. Brawn was faster than McLaren (Merc works team then) in 2009, and only in the first half. That was down to the regs change, the Honda team's massive investment in the 2009 reg's, and the some-with-KERS-some-without provision that season.

RBR was faster than Renault from 2009 also. That seems to be it, at least recently.


Mercedes engines are looking amazing... other than Ferrari hanging there or there abouts, but the Mercs are dominant!


I suspect Ross Brawn is sat at home looking after his grandchildren at the moment, but I wonder what he thinks of everything unfolding in F1 2014 so far? Ross has left a solid base at Merc for which Nico Ros and Lewis can springboard to championship glory. After seeing his team being routinely beaten by Adrian/Sebastian axis the last few years, he must be looking on at Bull and Regie's problems with wry amusement.........

I suspect Ross is thinking well Adrian and Sebastian you've had your turn, now it's Mercs..............


Wait till Nov the same was said of the Mclaren in '12 after laughing at Redbull all through pre-season and come Nov it was same old story!


I found kobayashi's comment interesting "at the moment merc engine cars are 20-30 kmh quicker on straights" this would be pretty hard to recover if true


It just means when the Merc powered cars come to lap the Renault teams they'll just breeze past on the straights like they're in a different formula.


yes... Most of the day the top 4 teams were all Merc powered until Alonso snuck in there...

If it was Mercedes and McLaren only I would say who knows, but FI and Williams are super fast too...


Glad to see the majority of the paddock had a productive day with a lot of running.

Impressive performance once again from the rookie MiniMag, he sure has the speed and with speed in your pocket, the rest comes easy with experience.

Good mileage by Ferrari but for their sakes they better hope they have a couple of issues during testing so they can iron them out before the season gets underway.

Yes today we saw Mercedes get their first real problems and for sure, if the Mercedes could break down, nobody is safe >>> however, it was ominous that Horner reckons Mercedes are favourites for the titles.

A very encouraging day for the Red Bulls with 59 laps on the board but it remains to be seen whether the changes to the car have made them lose out aerodynamically.

Good work by Williams for racking up the most laps and thus making up for lost time yesterday but 116 laps in a single day was rather pushing the envelop reliability-wise

I see Lotus are still having labour pains with the new regulations which is weird considering their 100km filming day went without a hitch.

All in all, things are headed in the right direction for an all time classic season.


@ goferet

'if the mercedes could break down the nobody is safe! six years ago i had three oil coolers blow up on my mercedes coupe in six months. gave the car back to mercedes and they gave me a new one........nobody is safe hahaa


@ kenneth chapman

Lol... Nice story.


"an all time classic season."

This looks like being an all time dismal season, one where the drivers will be largely irrelevant and where the championships will be decided on the basis of who breaks down the least.


Your prediction that next season the "drivers will largely be irrelevant" does not in fact mean that drivers will be irrelevant. It just means that your favorite driver will not win.


So like last year then?


where the drivers will be largely irrelevant...

It's just too funny - a comment like that, from a staunch SV fan such as yourself.

The irony is so thick you could spread it on toast and eat it 😉


Perhaps, but it should still be better than some recent seasons - 2011 for example 🙂


Drivers have been pretty much irrelevant during the last 4 seasons of RB dominance. As well you know.


Interesting to hear Magnussen's comment that the driving had become "a little too easy" recently with the EBD benefit, and that 2014 would present more of a challenge to drivers.


Your unhappiness that your favorite driver has not won does not in fact mean that drivers have been irrelevant. It just means that your favorite driver did not win.


Not all of them...


@ SteveS

No, I experts believe the reliability issues will

mainly be an problem in the first couple of

races maybe the first 5 races or so.

From then on, it will be plain sailing.



Your first clue might be that he typed "I experts" 😉


Who are these so-called "experts"?


haha, i hope you're wrong but i fear you could be right. funny comment tho. g'man yourself.


just like f1 in the old days then.


Ha ha just like the old days then


...without a hitch...You've seen thru that bit of PR spin by now, surely?


@ Peter Scandlyn

Lol... Yes I now see the light




Hello James from Portugal,

Is it possible to give us an insight about the lap times per driver and tyre compound?

Thank you.


The Mac was set on super soft, most of the others on soft I believe.


This McLaren just looks stunning. And Magnussen looks like the young Steve Mcqueen.


Young Steve Mcqueen! Lets hope Mr Mag uses the metric system unlike his American lookalike otherwise he'll get into a lot of confusion.

Alexander Supertramp

Already a pretty impressive time,albeit on supersoft tyres. Pretty sure the teams will find quite the amount of laptime by the first race.

Ferrari and Mercedes are always close in the timesheets, but does anybody know whether Ferrari has done any impressing race simulations yet?

What's the news on the legality of Mclaren's butterfly btw?


Despite MiniMag's good showing and great adaptability to F1 and new rules, am not sure if the lad is in the right team to become a success in the future.

Yes for some reason or the other children of former drivers/athletes/entertainers have had a torrid time trying to make it or follow in their parent's footsteps.

The only two examples in F1 who made it to the top of the tree also happened to have done so with Newey equipment i.e. Damon and Jacques.

In addition, with the exception of Prost and Senna (both of whom were infact number 1 pilots) I don't believe the sport has witnessed a scenario were a number 2 driver went on to clinch the title.

So in a nutshell, MiniMag should try and get himself the Red Bull seat if he's to become champion.


Given his dad smoked and drank and was so overwhelmed by F1 he blew his chance, it's not like comparing the offspring of a world champion. Kevin is going to be the Magnussen name that gets remembered at McLaren (hopefully!)


I read an interview with Jan Magnussen who said up until recently, Kevin has been referred to as "Jan Magnussen's son"... but lately, he's been hearing himself referred to as "Kevin Magnussen's father".

Also says Kevin is far more focused and organized than he ever was in F1.


@ AuraF1

Oh I see.

Yes, it might be all down MiniMag now to bring honour to the family name.


People seem fond of Jan at McLaren but he himself admits he wasted his opportunity, had no physical fitness and was mentally overawed by it all. He says Kevin is nothing like him personality wise - he's insanely dedicated, organized, structured and totally fits the McLaren atmosphere of strictness.

He also said mclaren have been very fair and protective of him. Interestingly it was Martin Whitmarsh Jan singled out as being the real 'patron' for his son. That's the only fly in the ointment I see - though I'm sure Ron will keep him if he turns out to be fast as his dad but better suited to modern F1.


Mac doesn't do the no 1/no 2 driver thing. If they did, Fernando's 2007 season would have been much easier.


@ Robb

True Mac doesn't have a clear number 1/2 driver like other teams but also like other teams, there has to be a driver possessing the number 2 car.


And you don't think Nico is following in Keke's footsteps?


@ SteveH

No, am afraid not but of course I could be wrong.


Why not if I ma ask? afterall he won Monaco 30yrs after his father won it so could be on course to win a title and as a stats man you know after a dominant period only a new champion stops it not a previous champ!


I think McLaren believe he could be the next Hamilton. He looks set for a better McLaren career than his father at the very least.


Well that wouldn't be hard, would it?


I think Mclaren believes and hopes he is better than that...Hamilton did beat MAS to a title a single point and a lot of luck. Apart from that did not achieve much, and certainly did not overachieve in any way, despite having had very fast packages in majority of the seasons he spent at the team...


Hamilton made mistakes in 2008 for sure, but he beat a faster car. Massa was unlucky at points (HUN, SIN) but also made his share of mistakes (AUS, MAL, GBR, JAP). He was at fault for his DNFs in the first two races. Of course he also got the BEL benefit.

Hamilton's 1-point "lucky" win in 2008 remains the last time the DWC won in a non-WCC car. Other "lucky" drivers to do that include Prost, Schumacher, Hakkinen, Piquet and Fittipaldi ... amateurs. 🙂


Re Jean Christophe: I agree, 2008 for Lewis and Felipe was snakes and ladders, both made personal mistakes while their teams messed up in certain races so I think on balance everything evened itself out in what was a bitty year for every driver.


I guess Massa got lucky to be only a point behind. The spa race that year is a perfect example


@ Matthew Taylor

I guess, we wait and see.

Some people perform better in the pressure-free environment of testing.


At last Bull have managed to go a whole day without breaking down!

Problem is, Merc and Macca have been doing that practically every test day, so in terms of mileage and knowledge Bull's are still behind the 8 ball. Still, some progress better than none I guess.

Also, just to comment on this years calender: it seems to me to be lopsided. This year kicks off in Melbourne as usual, but instead of flying a week later to Malaysia, there is two week break. Eh? To compound things. after Malaysia F1 flies north west to the desert of Bahrain, before another two week break and then flying back eastwards to China.

Bit bizarre eh? Melbourne on its own is alright, but why not have Malaysia and China back to back, and then fly westwards to Bahrain?

Common sense you say? Obviously in short supply at the cheese eating confusing monkeys of the FIA.

Also, wouldn't it be better to have Singapore and Japan a week apart? Then a two week break and then fly westwards to Russia, not a mad dash air-flight from Nogoya to Sochi.

Ah mentioned, common sense a bit short in Paris.


Dont ask!

The calender organisers have to prove they have no common sense or they will never get promoted to rule maker.


I think Bahrain gets hotter and hotter as we move further towards spring/summer (of higher latitudes). Even now it is 25C. In more than month, according to your schedule (April) it would be 40C+. Remember it is a desert region. Also there could be other scheduling issues local to each country that we are not aware of (clash with a popular sports event, govt. permission etc.). But your comment on FIA still holds good to some extent.


Yes indeed, I remember the 2005 Bahrain race when the air temperature was a roasting 42C and track temperature an incredible 57C! This year I think its switching to an evening/night race so should be somewhat cooler.

How the drivers got through the 2005 oven roast is a tribute to their fitness and stamina, although as you say the fact that it is dry as a bone desert heat and not the swampy, muggy jungle heat of Sepang makes a difference.


Yes, I forgot that it was an evening race this year.


Your schadenfreude attitude towards Redbull judging from majority of your posts since testing started may lead to plenty of tears for you once the season starts!

If any of the Merc drivers fail to win the title it would just be too hilarious!


Ah c'mon Rockie, don't be a grumpy pumpy face. You have spent a fair proportion of the last few seasons telling all the non SV fans just how great SV is. 'It's not the car, it's him', 'he could probably win a race (in the wet) in a Marussia', or was that your partner in crime, Mr Tealeaf.

Well, if things continue as they are, you are about to discover what every one else knows. It doesn't matter how good the driver is, unless he has the right set of wheels, he is not going to win races and championships!


That was Tealeaf with the ludicrous Marussia-in-the-wet comment.

Nothing that's happened to date is terminal to RBR's season. They could still turn up and be great. Or they might putter around and take the flag while all others blow up in front of them. We just don't know ... they don't race on paper.

But if Vettel finds himself in a bad car to start, it will still be important to see if they (VET/RBR) can develop and win. Hamilton won twice in 2009 in a car that was a dog at the start, and once last year in a car that chewed its rears and propelled them backwards in races. Hamilton has also taken at least one pole in every car he's driven, even in 2010 & 2011 when the RB was lightning quick.


Also if you say what everybody knows why then do people want to see Vettel in a bad car?...

Schadenfreude 🙂 You said it yourself.

On a different subject, do you think Vettel will start screaming 'what is he doing' when he is being overtaken for 5th place by a Force India? You have got to admit it will be compelling viewing 😎


Best to wait till the season starts and see the response to the setback first before you make you make all the assumptions you have.

Also if you say what everybody knows why then do people want to see Vettel in a bad car?


Horner and Vettel frequently come off as unlikable. The "finger" grates with all but die-hard Vettel fans, and when you add the "crazy-uncle" comments of Helmut Marko, you have a team that people enjoy rooting against.

Red Bull is a formidable team, but you've got to have a formidable car... and so far, because of the damp squib masquerading as an engine, Red Bull doesn't appear to.

Of the four drivers I think have a reasonable shot at the title right now, only two of them have Mercedes power (Hamilton and Massa). The other two drive Ferrari's.

Until the Renault engine is fixed, I don't see any of the Renault powered cars making a serious challenge. I expect they WILL be fixed, but I don't see it happening quickly. if it was a quick fix, it would have been fixed by this week.


Rosberg is very fast, but he seems to get rattled-- If anything goes wrong early in the race, he doesn't seem to bounce back as well as say, Alonso, or Hamilton.

He's also up against one of the strongest qualifying drivers on the grid, in an identical car, and there's no disparity in experience with the car like there was last year.

I'm not saying he can't-- But I think he's got an uphill fight.


"The “finger” grates with all but die-hard Vettel fans,"

Jenson Button does the same celebration but does not win as often as Vettel

"Horner and Vettel frequently come off as unlikable."

This nauseates me Vettel and Redbull are like Messi and Barca they are serial winners hence instead of enjoying the moment people are busy hating.

Lets see how the season pans out!


James I agree with you, rosberg is my tip to win


Why does the finger "grate", there has to be something wrong with you to get upset about that.


Nothing against Bull and Sebastian, but a bit of competition and a shake up of the grid order is a good thing. I feel F1 2014 could be like 2005 and 2009 when a new F1 order came in.


it should be about everybody performing to their best ...

That's the point though, they are. All the teams/manufacturers were given the same set of rules/regulations and specifications for the 2014 season at the same time. Red Bull and Renault have simply failed to produce (thus far) as good a car as their competitors.

In all honesty I am finding your attitude a little difficult to understand. When the boot was on the other foot, you were always saying it's up to the others to raise their game [to match Red Bull]. Now that they have, you are crying about how unfair it is. Clearly, the new power trains are a very difficult proposition, both to manufacture and integrate in the car, surely you should be applauding what a good job Mercedes and Ferrari have done, as you would so often beseech us all to do when Red Bull were on top .

Just imagine, if Ferrari or Mercedes are on top for the next few seasons 🙂 :-). That will be just like your Messi and Barca example, then you will really be able to enjoy it 😎


If you want a bit of competition it should be about everybody performing to their best not wanting the best not to perform.

That is wanting to watch a second tier championship!


The FIA doesn't sort out the calendar, thats Bernie, and maybe you haven't noticed but there's a considerable distance between Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur.

Still, a very tail heavy season with so many races in such a short space of time to finish off the season.


In 2011 Malaysia and China were back to back and it seemed to work well enough. In 2009, 2012 and 2013 we had Oz and Malaysia, and then China and Bahrain back to back, and that worked well, and made sense in terms of transportation, so why Mr E has meddled with the calender I don't know.

Like I said, common sense is in short supply when it comes to the organisation of F1....................pity


How does the paddock feel about that McLaren laptime? Is there any concern, or is that around about where some of the teams feel the pace should be?


"How does the paddock feel about that McLaren laptime? Is there any concern, or is that around about where some of the teams feel the pace should be?"

Daft question really, you're not gonna get a qualified answer just armchair experts opinions.


Macca went on a glory run, it was a short run on super soft meaning low fuel, now they dont have voda they need sponsors, im sure the other merc cars will be in same ball park


Do you really think that a perspective sponsor would have their decision swayed by fastest lap times in pre-season testing? McLaren have plenty of sponsors (all visible on their website), what they don't have is a title sponsor. I'd suggest that a title sponsor will look take cost, duration of contract, exposure (TV, image and history before considering whether or not to sign on the dotted line.


It was you get with current fans they don't understand the difference between a title sponsor and a business buying space on the car!


Yeah, was a glory run.

But they don't need sponsors as Honda is paying some amount of money (100 mi EUR and half salaries of drivers) this year.


I think we need to wait until next week, I expect the leading teams to crank it up on days 3 and 4.

What we don't know yet is the comparative fuel consumption for the 3 power units.


Low fuel super soft glory run, 3 lap stint it was reported, they did this last year also, are they really this desperate to attract sponsors ?


McLaren were running the supersofts for the fastest lap time so imagine how quick the Merc would have been.

I don't think most are concerned other than for themselves


Would be nice to know if McLaren are biasing the car to achieve the days fast time, supporting their Rookie or the novel rear suspension is actually an advantage. This year is going to be interesting.


They could just be testing out all the tyres - mclaren always like data and given Kevin is a rookie he might want to experience every form of racing in his new machinery. I don't think it's chasing headlines, after last year, if they even get a podium or two it will be considered an upswing - the weight of expectations is on Mercedes, mclaren are pretty safe now.


Renault seems to have got on top of their hard and software problems but their engined teams cannot as yet use their power unit at 100% because one problem still remains to be solved and it will take some time to put right, maybe even a couple of races time wise.

And again like Hulkengerg yesterday Magnussen was on soft rubber today.


The Dane was not on soft, he was on new super soft rubbers, Hulk on new soft and Alonso on used softs


Magnussen was on Super Soft, Hulk, ALonso and Rosberg were all on softs.


Well, it is nice to see Red Bull finally put on a descent amount of laps. I hope they will come around in time to be a contender for the WCC as well as the WDC. Lose or win is not what matters most, but having as many contenders as possible does to me.

Still early days but McLaren look handy. I would really enjoy seeing them back to the sharp end comes the season, and it would seem that they won't be far from it.

Mercedes... to be fair I am not so sure. They have put down more laps than any other team. Lots of people seem to think that reliability is going to be primordial, so they seem well placed. Do they have the speed?

Ferrari is looking to be as always, or almost always, a serious contender. Yet this year it seems they are more up to it, if you know what I mean.

Lotus is still an unknown factor. Their first two days of testing were not very encouraging. As with Red Bull, I hope they are able to be as competitive as they were last season comes Melbourne.

If I had a wish, it would be for Williams to be back with the best. I still see them as part of the big three, with of course McLaren and Ferrari. At the least, they look much better off than they were last year. Lets just hope it happens for them.

Having those five teams fighting it out all through the season would be...I don't have the words for it. Marc


That's my hope for the season too. 5 teams fighting it out at the front would be great. If Renaults engine is so poor it really does dimish some of the achievement in winning the title though.

Everyone on that grid wants to beat Vettel, but it's not the same if he's hobbling round in a car which is 2+ seconds slower. That'd be like beating Usain Bolt in the 100m when he's running in flippers. Likewise I think Grosjean had a good chance this season, the Lotus wasn't that far off late last year, he's another driver that will simply not figure irrelevant of driver talent.

I want to see the best of the best going head to head in fairly equal machinery.

It's one thing a team having a car which is a little faster, but potentially the difference in speed between the Renault and Mercedes powered cars will be like the difference between Red Bull and Caterham last year - and that isn't good for the sport.

So my fingers are crossed that Renault sort it out so that RBR and Lotus can have cars that are somewhere in the region of the Mercedes & Ferrari powered cars.

No one really enjoyed the latter part of 2013 or 2011 in F1 because the RBR was so dominant, and in 2014 I really hope no one has a dominant car so we can have a really close title battle with multiple drivers in the mix.


Or Sauber or Force India, would be great to see either of them take the title, I would pay good money to see that.


May your wish come true 🙂


Strange day for McLaren, they spend most of the day in the garage and then mid afternoon they bolt on a set of super softs and go for some quick headline laps.

Who were thy trying to impress, potential sponsers or Ron perhaps?

I seem to remember them posting some fast times in testing last year. Perhaps they are trying to convince other teams that their rear suspension is something they should spend resources on developing whilst they already know it will be banned.


"whilst they already know it will be banned"

The relevant bit being "has been cleared as legal by the FIA".


The reliability of even the "good engines", the Merc and Ferrari units, continues to be marginal at best. Alonso and Rosberg both broke down today. This season, or at least the start of it, is going to be like F1 in the 1970's, where simply reaching the finish line was a great achievement. We may see some GP's where only half a dozen cars complete the race.

162 it possible for redbull and Renault to turn the power down on the recovery and kers systems? I bet i am not alone in thinking that this could be a PR demo as i do believe they have more serious problems. Ones that cant be 'fixed' overnight


I'm sure it is, and they probably have. If the problem is really in the MGU-K, then they'll have to (or stay under 100km per unit).

Problem is, the MGU-K provides significantly more power than it used to, and while the MGU-H can capture energy, all it can do for power output is reduce turbo lag-- all the electrical motive power has to go through the MGU-K.


The heat on the units must be un believable. Adrian does like a very tight car and i wonder if he has just pushed too far. The red bull is really pinched in the rear however,have a look at the ferrari and its tiny, i wonder if the running in 24hr racing and road cars has brought in some new system of cooling. They have done something pretty clever in that covered area,same as thought is that the teams gaveup last year and must have focused on the 2014 cars, no wonder alonso and co had a smile on their faces


They don't have any problem turning the wick down... their problem is turning it up!

I find it very hard to understand how they can have arrived at this point with the MGU-K shaft not having survived more than a 100km sim on the dyno. What have Renault been doing for the past year?

It would seem that for the Lotus film day the Renault engine must have been running without any ERS.


Nail on the head! They have some serious work to do before oz. I didnt hear anything about a shaft failing, i just thought it was a software and heating issue but your explanation brings a new light on the matter. If it is a failing of the entire pack then they do have some work on their hands. I wonder if they are running at min power so that the chassis can be shaken down


go Williams!! love to see pastor's face right now.


I want to see Ferrari FINALLY producing a car worth Alonso's 5 year investment.


yes Rod even i wish they same for 2014

Atleast this seson Ferrari should go toe to toe with RBR / Mclaren & Mercedes for WDC. The car in terms of pure pace alone, not just reliability.

If Ferrari can sustain the pace and car development thoughout the season. I am cert Fernando will bag the 2014 WDC.

Forza Fernando...


Damn right!!, i have alittle alter set up praying it is so


What is interesting is the amount of time some teams are taking to fault find and solve problems, particularly software/electrical. Come Melbourne, I can see a few missing entire sessions.


No, they find them now, they figure out why they happened, and then they don't happen in Melbourne. That's the whole point of testing. Test 'til something breaks, find out what broke, fix it so it won't break again, repeat.

With these cars being essentially brand new designs, I'd be more worried if they weren't breaking down.


That's true, but come Melbourne when they really start to crank it up, more gremlins are sure to appear, and the complexity of the new power trains suggests some repairs aren't going to be that quick to do in the early part of the season.


could be a case of lacking expertise. Alonso hinted at it in an interview today, f1 is full of fantastic mechanical engineers and aerodynamicists and i imagine they have some pretty great electrical engineers but perhaps they're lacking the software engineering expertise to really get on top of coding and programming problems quickly. Boullier said he would have to make some personnel changes already at mac so maybe that's what he meant.


I am going to be at the clark stand.. I hope to atleast see a few cars race pass... or atleast conk out infront of me 🙂


Just as important as lap time and reliability is fuel consumption. As we all know as more HP is required from the power unit, consumption will go up. And with the 100 kg limit, are we looking at economy runs?

So one has the fastest car, but it won't make it to the end of the race.. Any thoughts on this James and Co??


It means the 160 or so HP from the ERS system is absolutely vital if you want to complete the race in the points. For most tracks with heavy braking zones, keeping the ERS full won't be a problem. Silverstone, Spa, and Monza are the three where I think the teams may have problems.

Still though, the torque band is so huge that short-shifting won't be the end of the world, and they do have that extra top gear now.

I think on the "economy" runs, what you'll see is the cars topping out around 12k RPM, instead of digging into the redline.

If it's too bad this year, they'll increase the fuel limit to 110kg or something, I expect.


Ferrari look a dark horse be interested in any comment on thier long run pace???


I want to see in Malaysia, that's where we will see who has cooling or not? When the cars have to run full chat at any weekend I reckon there is going to be a lot of fragility, so if a solid but slow running arrusia or caterham play the game they could be in for first ever points even if they are 2 laps down!!


Early daze.

But the McLaren trajectory has been a steady, consistent line upwards, from the beginning of last season, and the steepest amongst the teams.

Also, this is a team that knows how to win, and has a long history of achieving that.

I like them better than Mercedes Team, for these two reasons, and they should be considered favourites for championships.

That being said, it is too early to devine anything meaningful, yet, and even the spread between the last test and the first race may well be decisive.

Add to that the long season with double points for the last race, and the season remains completely open to championship outcomes.


Hi James,

Question on the pecking order. Who do you think even at this early stage has the edge? surely it is one of the Mercedes powered engine teams either McLaren or Mercedes themselves.

Even with Redbull running longer today it seems that the engine side of things is quite under powered at this stage, 20 -30 km down on straights is what we are hearing and that is quite a disadvantage!

Cant blame Ricciardo if the car is slow..


You have to wait to the second Bahrain test when all the development parts come on the cars

Clearly the Mercedes powered cars look strong, in reliability terms, but the performance differentials are far from clear at this stage

Be patient!


P.s Is everyone as excited about this F1 season as I am? Just so much unknowns love it! lets hope the racing is good this yr.


@ SteveS

No, I understand the reliability issues will mainly be an issue in the first couple of races maybe the first 5 races or so.


Gotta love pre-season testing with all of these new regs. The chatter is fascinating. I find myself spending hours on this webiste everyday James, keeping up to date with all the latest news and hearing what other fans think.

It's utterly fascinating!!!

Bring on Melbourne


If the cars can't do a full race distance at something approaching racing speed F1 will be a laughing stock.

It's a big ask on 100kg so It will be quite an achievement if they can do it.

We don't want to see drivers touring round at 7/10ths to save fuel and/or tyres. Or in Renault's case engine shafts !


If teams are not using the maximum power and posting these fast times then there's hope the cars will be as fast as 2013 or even faster which is good eh.

Watched Crofty sticking out the microphone for the sound of some cars on track and am still not convinced about the sound. But if the cars are faster and we have good close racing I can live with that. Some say you don't need ear plugs…...we shall see when at the circuit.

Has McLaren found their key sponsor? If not then I can understand Kevin's fastest time set on supersofts. Next test will unleash the true speed. Melbourne will be interesting and Sepang will be hot so we'll know the true reliability form.


Mclaren looks quick and Magnussen has certainly looked impressive so far ..Even though the time was set on a supersoft, i dnt believe Mclaren will give the exact benchmark to rivals, they should have atleast 1-1.5 sec more in hand, might just be practicing quali simulations with the rookie on a high fuel mode with supersofts...Atleast Mclaren looks to be in a position to fight for podiums consistently and Magnussen already looks quicker than Button

Ferrari and Mercedes are the two teams who look to be in a very strong position. They were hardly perturbed by the Mclaren or the Force India timings and have been focussing and doing good long runs. Red bull might get handicapped inspite of a good car, if the Renault powerunit is down on HP as kobayashi was mentioning



Can the teams do any of the drivability and setup development work with the driver in the car and running on track? Do communications between the car and engineers allow for that?


They can do whatever can be done by the driver using the controls on the wheel etc, which is quite a bit - differential adjustments, brakes, fuel mixture etc

They can't do anything with suspensions or wing angles, obviously


Ah OK. So no wireless softwared upgrades from the pits. Thanks for the clarification.


Hi James,

Off topic.. Are you employed by our Channel 10 here in Melbourne?

If so, is Rusty's head actually out of proportion to his body as it seems on TV?



Today Hami is even more faster than K Mangussen yesterday, fascinating. is there different cars' top speed data available?


So the points rule that was invented to keep SV and Red Bull from winning another set of titles will backfire spectacularly. The first six races will see one or two non-RB winners and they will build up a nice championship lead, only for the Bulls development work to come good mid season. Then from a low position thanks to the double points fiasco SV will dominate again. Who says RB have not planned these 'difficulties' from day one to throw others off the scent...


Hamilton just did a 1:34.263 on Softs (not Super Softs, which is impressive regarding the fact that this test is not over yet.

Currently they're just a second away from 2008 and 2009, fast than 2010 and about two seconds apart from the times of 2012 and 2013.

And since is not over yet, I think there is some more to come. I guess they'll gain another 0.8 seconds in qualifying on a Banzai-lap.

Here are the qualifying times of the past:

2013: 1:32.330 (Nico Rosberg, Mercedes)

2012: 1:32.422 (Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull)

2010: 1:54.101 (Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull)

2009: 1:33.431 (Jarno Trulli, Toyota)

2008: 1:33.096 (Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber)

My best guess is that we'll see something like a 1:33:400 lap in qualifying 2014. That'd be just 1 second slower than last year, which I'd find impressive regarding the higher weight, the loss of the exhaust blown diffuser, the beam wing, the smaller front wing and the shallower rear wing. (For sure the time loss wold be greater on more winding tracks.)

Take that and Rosberg's statement that he had wheel spin in 5th gear on the straight and I think we have a recipe for some spectacular driving.


2010 was on a different track configuration, the "Endurance" layout versus the "Grand Prix" layout used the other years.

Will the reduced temp (presumably, 'cos it's at night) help or hinder the quali times?

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