New Lotus F1 car finally gets going, but how far behind are the Renault powered teams?
Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Feb 2014   |  4:47 pm GMT  |  276 comments

The Lotus E22, the final car to hit the track in this pre season build up, should finally get a run out today at Jerez, Spain. It is due to be given a shakedown in preparation for the crucial Bahrain tests starting in a couple of weeks.

Pastor Maldonado will drive the car and he tweeted, “Finally back to the track work, planing a filming day in Jerez today. Looking forward to drive the new E22.”

Lotus elected to skip the Jerez group test last week, which in retrospect looks like a reasonable plan given the troubles that Renault powered teams encountered. Most severe was the Red Bull team, which managed only 21 laps of running.

The buzz among F1 teams and insiders is all around how long it will take for Renault to fix the problems, which they encountered with their new hybrid engine when installed in cars.

The engine had undergone testing on dynamometers, but a variety of problems including electrical energy issues, turbo management and cooling issues on some cars, notably the Red Bull, have put them on the back foot; problems concerning the control and operation of the various sub-systems of the power unit within the car. Renault produced some short term fixes in Jerez and promised a more definitive fix for the Bahrain tests, but it’s clear that they have lost time and are continuing to lose time, relative to the opposition.

As McLaren showed vividly last season, losing time at the start of the year is a dangerous game because the other teams move forward at such a pace, you cannot catch up. Even a well resourced team like McLaren stood little chance of making up lost ground.

Estimates of how far Renault are behind range from two months to six months. If it’s the former then they can fix their problems and the leading teams like Red Bull might have a chance of clawing back points, especially with their ability to develop on the aero side and their strong track record in the second half of F1 seasons.

But if it’s more like six months, then the season is lost. This would also be a blow for the other Renault customer teams, Lotus, Caterham and Toro Rosso in their respective midfield and tail of the field battles.

So the onus is on the Mercedes and Ferrari powered cars to get a strong start to the year and rack up the early points.

Early indications are that among the Mercedes powered teams, Williams are set for a much stronger season, McLaren has a better car, albeit with some question marks around the rear end aerodynamics, while all eyes will be on Force India in Bahrain as they did not cover as much ground as the others in Jerez.

Mercedes appear the favourites, but are unwilling to even discuss that notion, preferring to focus on developing their car and seeing where they are in Melbourne and Sepang, the first two races of the season.

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Looks like the double points finish may come to play after all! Ferrari and Merc will lead the way until Red bull catches up and SV wins yet another title at the last race sigh...


I think people are forgetting.. the actual difference isn't 50 points it's actually 14 between 1st and second place.

If driver A leads the WDC by 13 points and finishes second to driver B then the double points decides the title. Same if driver A is 49 points ahead and fails to finish the race whilst driver B wins

But if driver A is 15 points ahead and finishes second, the title will still be won by driver A.

Hope that makes sense!


Thanks to the double-points, Vettel and Red Bull just manage to take the Championship from Alonso and Ferrari...

Backlash, anyone?


Well, I for one think it would be really wonderful to see Seb clinch his 5th WDC this year. In fact, who wouldn't want to see him wagging his index finger for another 5 more years after that?


Not saying that i do or don't like Vettel. Just saying that stupid double points (anti-RBR and Vettel) rule might backfire 🙂


If it's nearer the 6 month mark until they're on terms with Merc and Ferrari engines then double points won't matter anyway for Red Bull


I honestly cant see Red Bull behind 6 months- but even if they do and win 6 races in the trot like they normally do- there still a chance - especially with that that absurd double at Abu Dhabi


I doubt they'll be able to repeat that level of dominance with these regs tbh, they just had last years regulations absolutely nailed.


I beg to differ. If they can win the last race it would leapfrog them over several mid field teams... who would not deserve to miss out on the WDC money that RB would take off them.


True John. I meant in terms of winning


Wouldn't it be ironic if Vettel became champion thanks to a rule change aimed at preventing that? ¦¬)


I said exactly the same when this stupid rule was introduced;)


How is the double points rule prevent any driver to clinch the championship? Is it stated in the rules that the leading driver will not be awarded the double points in the last race? The double points rule was added just to give anyone a good mathematical chance to catch up on the last race, i.e. lessen the chance of any driver to clinch the championship a few races before last. It doesn't prevent anything really.


I was thinking the same thing. This double points crap could backfire very badly if it allows RBR to steal the title in the last race....


Is had nothing to do with stopping vettel or red bull, it's an incentive to make it mathematically more attractive for the teams that are chasing to fight later into the season rather than giving up half way through. If the team chasing is rb, what difference dies it make? ?


Good post, well said F1982


Do you don't care that such a thing would mean championship comes down to the last race as the rule intends. You simply care that Vettel and RBR doesn't win?



If Vettel is to lose after this 4 WDC run, he should be beaten by a better package on track not by being a none factor due to unreliable engine.



He's never been for it. I'm not for it. But reality is that Vettel winning WDC by winning double point race is one of the possibilities. We have to face it.

My point was that I was surprised how some want RBR to fail in 2014, even if it takes away from the show.


You're not now for the double-points race, are ya Sebee? It was and still is a stupid rule. It totally screws with driver's and team's points-per-race stats, etc. It was stupid when proposed as an anti-Vettel measure, and is stupid now. If Vettel is now for it (after coming out so hard against it), then that'll really take the cake.


And you obviously don't care of the intention of the rule as long as vettel has the chance to win. Stop it already. All your arguments in this website are a long winded bunch of pro vettel statements. Nothing wrong with that, but accept that others may not share in your options


With a brilliantly able team like RB being a very definite last but one at this point of the season it has to be very wrong if they end the season on top due to an artificial leg up.

If by mid season they are winning the development race and start to win races it is possible they could deserve to end the season on top... but right now that isn't looking likely. If it was down to them only they should be able to do it. With Renault facing what appears to be some fundamental problems I don't see that happening.

With the way things are right now I would also say it would be very wrong if RB were able to win only the last race and, by doing so, were able to leapfrog several midfield teams by being gifted an extra 25 points nobody deserves.


Good racing is more important than the championship arbitrarily going to the last race 'because it's exciting,'


If it's forced it's not exciting, if a driver who wouldn't have been in contention normally wins overall because of it it will be a disaster, a whole season's racing devalued because the end is the only truly important one. That'll be just as bad for viewing figures as one drive endlessly winning, maybe even worse.




The Formula One championship should be about the best team and driver becoming champions. That said Red Bull and Vettel must be the favourites for 2014!

Go Seb!!!


Thats all it is, people don't want RBR to win....its ridiculous.

I mean if it had been Ferrari winning all those titles, then it would've been "Fernando is just so much better than everyone" and "Oh well Ferrari deserve it, they've done so well"

But just because a "Fizzy Drinks Company" owns the team, its the a completely hostile reaction to their dominance.

I'm not a big fan, but I hope to god he and Ricciardo come 1 - 2 in the championship this year just to spite all the whingers out there.

Alexander supertramp

I wouldn't want ANY driver to win the championship by getting double points at the last race.



Vettel 'thinks' he is the best and shows it - that's bad.

Vettel should learn from others - he should 'believe' he is the best, but sound humble and modest and back-scratch.


If it is six months, then double points will not make a difference as 50 pts difference: for it to make a difference SV should be lagging behind less than that form the leading driver and all drivers above him in WDC should retire in the last race. It is unlikely.

If it is two months, then yes, there are chances for SV winning again if other teams or drivers drop the ball in the mid-season or in the end (I can certainly see that is possible from Merc/Ferrari teams/drivers).

the kiLLing JoKe

Triple points then!


An "anti-Vettel" rule might just give him yet another championship. Ironic.


Or maybe that's exactly why Bernie wanted to introduce it, for his favourite son.


Let's hope for a re run of 1998, with Mclaren leading in Oz by over 1.5 secs per lap! I still get nervous at the start of the season hoping to see that again. ... seems a long time ago.

Mind you the REAL winners in this are...Honda, waiting in the wings listening to feed back making all the right moves, and ready to hit the ground on fire.

I'd like to see JB with No.1 on a mclaren honda, that would be a way to sign off a great career!


Bear in mind that Honda entered F1 in 1983, and were not the dominant force until 1986. Even then they supplied Williams and Mclaren who had the best drivers dominating the sport. When they supplied any other manufacturer, they were not championship winners but Senna inspired victories with Lotus in 1987.

They returned with BAR but hardly set the world alight.

Aero is so important now that an engine manufacturer is not going to dominate like they did in the 80's.


one way or another, I can't see JB as no. 1 at McLaren next year.


Honda may of course literally hit the ground on fire if they don't get cooling under control. While they have past F1 engine experience these are completely different machines with the ERS likely to be the most difficult aspect to be developed. It will be intersting to see how they fair, but they will be in a catch up situation.


"I’d like to see JB with No.1"

I believe Justin Bieber has had

a few numbers 'one' already.

Not certain, mind. Must ask my

teen daughter.


Mr Bieber thought he was a racing driver in Miami recently.............


As much as Honda like Jenson, with whitmarsh gone and Eric here it may be more like grosjean with the number one.


James is talking about how Renault's lateness could impede RBR's chances this year, but at least, they'll be sorted by 2015 for sure.

So it is very unlikely that Honda are the winners in any sense or form given how late they are coming to the game.

Given the cost of the Merc power unit to McLaren, they decided to go for Honda, but it will backfire badly in the first year at least.

Mercedes and Ferrari have been developing their power unit for over a year and will be developing it further and adding mileage all year long, while Renault will resolve their problems at some point in 2014.

Honda will ONLY start seriously in summer 2014, so prepare for a McLaren taking a shower in 2015.


Given that Honda are already running their engine on the dyno, this is complete garbage...


Just like Renault's engine was running "perfectly" fine on the dyno (as mentioned by Remy Taffin) until Renault-powered cars hit the track at Jerez, and we all know what happened next... So please spare me the "goodness" of a unit on a dyno.

Given that Merc have been gathering data from 4 teams, Ferrari and Renault from 3, I just wish good luck to Honda next year having to do mileage with 1 team to make their power unit perform well and be reliable, and catch-up with the 3 existing engine manufacturers.

Just for your info, I drive a Honda, and I know they are good at technology, but being 1 year late would affect anyone, no matter how good they are.


@Ahmad "Given the cost of the Merc power unit to McLaren, they decided to go for Honda". I think Mercedes and McLaren agreed on this transition about 5 years ago in light of the planned McLaren road car (at that time) competing in the Mercedes market.

If I recall correctly McLaren may have been getting free engines from Merc this, as well as the last couple of years as part of the separation agreement.


I think the separation was caused by the fact that Mercedes decided to go it alone by buying Brawn and selling their McLaren share. McLaren were basically a kind of works team for Mercedes before Merc left because they smelt the opportunity to buy "on the cheap" a title-winning team, run by an F1 great that is Ross Brawn, and were able to get Schumacher back, which was great in terms of publicity in Germany.


Don't forget these 2014 engines are homologated soon, so whatever unit Regie has come up with, their pretty much stuck with for the next few years, and while it is not impossible to catch up with Merc and Fezza in the next few years, it will be a huge engineering challenge. As for Honda, they do have a good pedigree - and technological ability - when it comes to forced induction so the Tokyo V6 could be a gem.


I think creating a new engine formula which is homologated from pretty much the start is just daft, and I don't understand the logic behind it at all!

I can understand why they did it with the old V8s which were already well developed, but if a manufacturer develops a turkey of an engine and is unable to make genuine performance enhancements then they're going to have to leave the sport.

Also I don't understand how it works for new entrants. Honda will be developing an engine when all the others have been homologated. At what point are *they* no longer allowed to work on their engine. What if VW wanted to enter? At what point would their new engine need to be homologated?

James any chance on an article clearing this up? It just doesn't make any sense to me!


Yes, will do with Prof Gillan


I think you mean 'taking a bath'!


Yes, thanks for correcting me.


+1 on JB in a #1 Mclaren Honda


Here here to that, I still remember that first race of 1998 and long to see another great season from McLaren. A McLaren vs. Mercedes battle this year between JB and Lewis would be a great season! (and with Jenson winning would be even better)


I fail to see how Honda are the real winners here. We are all uppety about Renault falling a behind in.... well Honda will be starting a full year behind the others.

Yes of course they are going to expect a smoother intro to 2015 than the current teams have had into 2014 but the rest of the teams will have had a year of running under their belt. Reliability, performance and efficiency is going to be significantly improved over the year, all the while Honda are still in their developmental phase. They will learn from the experiences others teams will have had I agree, but it's not like they can skip the same process that the rest of the teams are doing now. I for one, would be amazed if Honda can produce a power unit in 2015 that is capable of competing with the what Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault are going to have in 2015.


Not really. The more time one spends studying, the more likely they are of getting a good grade. I agree they will be behind on the one year everyone else is racing their engines, but Honda isn't new at this game. Turbos literally brought them back to f1. I'm sure their Indy Car R&D program will be an asset. Can't hurt to have all those teams streaming you data.


My understanding is that this year's engines must be homologated early this season. after that time, they can't develop them any more. Honda can run their engine on a Dyno for another year.

They can also stick the engine in a non formula one test vehicle just like Ferrari did, and get thousands of hours of additional track time over the course of this year.

The homologation rule makes a bit of a mockery of the idea that the new formula will result in new technology to filter down to road cars. It may be true for one season, but then development effectively stops.

It all seems a bit silly.


You're completely misinformed, super seven, there is nothing in the rules stating that "development ceases".

Development never ceased on the V8's in spite of identical provisions in the regulations. At the start of that era the Renault engines were the worst and by the end of it they were the best. The rules slow development, but they do not halt it.



Granted, they can modify the engine to fix reliability issues. I just don't see how this allows them to modify if it's reliable, but uncompetitive.

“Such changes will normally only be accepted if they are being proposed for reliability, safety or cost saving reasons"

I suppose if the Honda engine is too good they could force them to make it less efficient, or refuse to admit it? That would look rather bad, wouldn't it?

My point also stands that once these engines are built and reliable, development ceases by rule.


"My understanding is that this year’s engines must be homologated early this season. after that time, they can’t develop them any more."

Your understanding is off the mark.The old V8's were homologated early on, but the engine makers could, and did, introduce further changes to fix reliability problems.

The 2014 technical regs have the same provision. There is nothing in the regs which will require the Renault engine (or any other engine) to be frozen in place if it is more unreliable than the others. From the FIA definition of a homologated power unit ....

"A power unit delivered to the FIA after 28 February 2014, or modified and re-delivered to the FIA after that date, which the FIA is satisfied, in its absolute discretion and after full consultation with all other suppliers of power units for the Championship, could fairly and equitably be allowed to compete with other homologated power units."

"Such changes will normally only be accepted if they are being proposed for reliability, safety or cost saving reasons. Any manufacturer wishing to make a change for any of the above reasons must apply in writing to the FIA Technical Department and provide all necessary information including where appropriate, clear evidence of failures."


My understanding is that they are not covered by the F1 rules on testing and can test their power unit in a race car as much as they like. Restrictions on testing only come in when they join F1. The only problem they have is they can't use the new McLaren which is subject to test restrictions.



The point I was making is that Honda are not subject to the FIA F1 test restrictions.

"Race car" was just a generic term, nothing stopping Honda building an F1 car to test their engine.


Yeah but the complicated part is getting all the new technology to work together in the F1 car. Getting the V6 turbo to run in a race car is just not going to be the same. Realistically, Honda cannot replicate the usage of the new ERS systems in a race car what with amount of harvesting to be generated, the cooling and everything else that goes with these new hybrid systems to the same extent as the teams that will be on the grid racing them for the whole season.

It is just not the same. Running an F1 car for a whole season vs strapping the new power unit in a Honda NSX or whatever they'll be using is incomparable. Of course it is of benefit to them, I understand Ferrari did the same with a LaFerrari but the benefits are surely limited.


That's my understanding too.

I bet Honda have already done more laps than RBR!


You mean No.2?;)


Will never happen since Button doesn't have number two as his permanent number.


Good point about Honda. They can sit back and watch the races, do some analysis over the year and refine their engine on the back of data collected from their rivals. Smart!

As for Frome Flyer, agree, if Macca have solved their problem with over stiff suspension which was plagued them the last few years - which Jenson hated as he likes a supple and compliant ride - then Jenson could do some good business in 2014.


That didn't work with Honda's last entry into F1, so I don't imagine that success is guaranteed this time either.

Mercedes, Ferrari, and Renault will have a years actual racing experience on Honda, that will be hard to claw back - fingers crossed it works out, but it's no certainty.


I have a feeling that Lotus may be in better shape, respective of their financial challenges, than the other Renault teams, and unique in having the twin tusk solution, maybe more a challenge this year than most pundits have suggested.

If the twin tusk concept turns out to be a definitive design advantage, it will be difficult to emulate quickly.

If they can strap on a McLaren-style rear suspension, then they could be a real threat for wins.

A lot of 'if's to be sure, yet... there is this peculiar pattern emerging...

Look for Lotus to sign with Honda, if not already done, thus the late confirmation of the Renault power deal (is it confirmed?)


Honda are in an exclusive deal with McLaren... No-one else will be getting Honda power. Lotus nor any other team could afford the buyout clause that would get them a Japanese V6.


Do you remember the special exhaust exit on Lotus Renault in 2011? It seemed to be also an unique/ revolutionary idea, but failed mid-season. Let's see, how this double tusk solution is working...


@Deancassady from what I have read the McLaren rear suspension aero effect relies on the wishbones connecting as far rearward as possible. In McLarens case to the rear of the actual gearbox.

Apparently this will make it near impossible to copy for other teams in 2014 as it would require changes to already homologated parts on other cars.

Well, not possible to exactly duplicate at the very least.


Thanx four the insight; good comment.

As mentioned by Tim, also above, unless one of us is on an F1 team, there is no way to know how readily adaptable the rear suspension 'concept' is the the other packages.

In other words, it may not be necessary to replicate the McLaren solution, to gain some or more of the downforce.

Because of this innovation, I am liking McLaren ahead of Mercedes for the WCC.


The lack of funds will slow a lotus charge..where is quantum motor sport when they are neededO:-)


If the twin tusk concept turns out to be a definitive design advantage...

Unlikely, as the Bulls and Ferrari have rejected it - remember they have Newey and Allison and they are generally regarded as the top two designers.

If they can strap on a McLaren-style rear suspension..

You were saying, only last week, how difficult it will be to copy the McLaren rear suspension. Now it can just be strapped on! Really?

A lot of ‘if’s to be sure, yet… there is this peculiar pattern emerging…

What pattern, peculiar or otherwise is emerging?


The pattern...

Lotus have never been able to compete against the big $ teams, head-to-head, the way they can throw money at solutions.

Their approach to punch above their head, is to go with comparatively unorthodox, though potentially more risky design concepts to get advantage, in ways that they can do it for a third as much money as, say, Red Bull, Ferrari, or Mercedes (McLaren for that matter).

So, sometimes they get the backwards-facing exhaust, and it clearly does NOT work out. But then 2012 and 2013, they went at a very high strategic level with mechanical grip/tire management focused design, and it paid off in grid standing.

So, it's difficult to predict where they will come in, with some primary design concepts that no one else has.

Have we seen their back end?

Maybe they already have a similar 'geometry' to McLaren (hey, who knows if they even got that far, if they were design-build just-in-time, from front to back?!?).

They are thus truly the black horse of the field, non?

How does that fly?


Dean I think a huge part of Lotus success was their very good FRICS system that enabled them to look after the tyres better than anyone. I recall they were first to try to incorporate it with their braking before that was rejected. Lotus are very innovative and whilst Im not an aerodynamicist I see good potential developments in the tusks both under/ over the opening and either side on the wing-- but it could also be a complex can of worms if they dont have the resources in the wind tunnel. I'm not sure the Maclaren rear suspension solution is good for any of the other cars.It may not be nuch good at fast circuits like spa also.


We'll not know of the pros nor cons of the twin tusk concept until at earliest, Bahrain.

Neither I know how the decisions to pursue various front end solutions and the risks presented by the alternative front end designs.

With the twin tusks, I could see how teams would be frightened off it by the inherent and looming risk of passing the crash tests, which must be one of the niftiest jobs of the beginning designs.

Anyhow, it was a thought; and I am looking forward to actually seeing how it does work.


A new nose cone would be considerably easier to reproduce than the rear of the mclaren so if they can "strap" that on to their car, I'm pretty sure the rest of the field can "strap" on a twin tusk nose cone.


I'm not so sure.

The front will undoubtedly be integral in everything that comes after it.

The back end is the last bit, and I betcha it will be at least as easy to emulate.

We'll see.


Designers have already said the noses will actually make very little difference. I expect lotus to struggle more this year as they can no longer budget to run as a top team and will need to live within their means more in order to survive - hence the reported mass exodus of staff


Would be a turn up if true. However, Pat Symonds has said that because Lotus have been losing staff to other teams over the year, everyone knew all about their designs, twin tusk and all the rest.


Maybe Late confirmation of engine is linked to late confirmation of payment


the obvious doesn't really add to my understanding


Mind you who wants to pay for these dud Renault engines anyway? And the most expensive??? Ok mate...


Change the rules now, Bernie. Lets have Australia double points. Let Red Bull play catch up to Rosberg & Hamilton.



Yes, maybe each team should be allowed to use a "double-point" joker after qualification for one race in the season.

So Merc could use it now, and RBR in Abu Dhabi.


The only reason the double points round(s) are in existence is to prop up the tv numbers at the end of the season. So where someone would normally have wrapped up the c'ship there's still a chance for someone else to swoop in and clinch it. It's either double on the last races, or no races.


Ahmad – This idea has merit. If we must tolerate the repugnant idea of double points then let it be used to actually raise interest – Every team has an option of selecting the next race as “their” double points race, with Abu Dubai the default if a team arrives there without having previously used the opportunity.

I dislike the spirit and intent of a double points rule. It implies TV ratings are the ultimate goal of sport. Isn’t the pursuit of excellence and expansion of possible more worthy of our attention? F-1 could follow the Olympic example seen in Sochi. Human triumph, anguish, excellence and art are often defined by hundredths of a second there as well. Would the drama be enhance by Double points?


I agree with you Chuck that excellence in all its forms (e.g. physical, mental, technological) is the goal of a sport, but unfortunately, there's a difference between practising sport as a hobby where it's easier to follow this ideal, and commercial sport, where audiences, sponsorships, image and money matter far more.

F1, like all sports on TV, is showbiz. So for any sport to survive, it has to attract enough attendance/audience and therefore sponsorship.

The fact of life in F1 is (at least in the last 25 years) that some team or another always starts with a very strong technological advantage, just think of McLaren in the late 80s, Williams in the 90s, McLaren in late 90s, Ferrari in the early 00s, and of course RBR in the last 4-5 years.

So statistically in F1, due to the heavy bias brought by technology, it is always against the odds to have a title fight to the end.

That's why Bernie (being the genius that he is, no irony intended) keeps coming up with "questionable" ideas. The Pirellis' degradation introduced some lottery element in 2012 and it worked really well, but it flopped in 2013.

I also think Bernie will implement (if he gets the opportunity) his old idea of artificial rain to spice up races. I think it could be a good idea if the number of artificial "showers" and their duration during a race would be done randomly under the control of a computer (rather than Charlie Whiting or someone at the FIA). And I'd rather have this rain than double-points for only the final race.

Jose Sanchez kowalsky

James after watchin the silent formula at jerez, And the way most of the british press are avoiding the facts, and the shortcomings of the cars we are going to see this season. Brought me memories of the 2009 season.

I went to Jarama for the martini leyends in 2008, and saw marc gene get the fastest lap ever on that circuit. Watching marc do that lap, was amazing, just the way a f1 should feel like.

A few months lateral i went to istambul park, and was un awe at how slow the then new breed of cara felt. What a dissapointment! I Asked you why the cara felt so slow if compares with the ferrari at Jarama, And your answer was that the Jarama das more claustrofóbic. That to me was just Half the truth, maybe not even Hale. The main problema, like this year was the lack of performance, plus the tilkedroms, where fans are removed from the action on safety grounds. Dont you think telling the truth to the fans is better than

telling them what you considera is better for f1? Remember you are human, and humans use to get it wrong


2009 spec cars were faster than 2008 spec cars on the majority of tracks they raced on (Istanbul actually being one of the few where they weren't), so the perception of speed you had was probably down to something other than car performance.

Jose Sanchez kowalsky

Fans being removed from the action is some of the problem. Tilkedroms are a bit problema un todas f1. I was so far away from 8 córner, i thought it was a joke, that they were trying to sell it like the best córner un the championship. The first córner at Ricardo tormo in valencia is even better, and nobody even mentions it.


Well the V8 days were visibly slower than the late V10 days from 2003-2005 but those cars back then were from a different planet, they made 200hp superbikes look like a scooter in a drag race and those 19,000rpm drown out even eurofighters, god I miss the V10 days. Now we have these jokes, look and sound like a damaged car from the V8 era, and 600hp??? Pfft.


Keep the faith Tealeaf! Don't forget an electrical motor (the ERS) and a turbo engine produces massive amounts of torque - and in combination a collosal amount of torque - so what these new V6 units lack in outright power they will make up for in more twisting force on the rear axle. That will make these turbo cars on the limit.........interesting. I can't wait for the first wet race with these forced induction cars, I'd bet their will be armfuls of opposite lock and skyving revs everywhere!


Agreed. I do like that there is new Tech in F1 engines after such a long spell of this 'engine freeze', but WHY we had the V8's instead of the V10's in the first place is still a mystery to me. However I also would prefer a high revving turbo solution without all this overly expensive stupid 'green' hybrid stuff. "Road relevance" has no place in F1. This is about pushing boundaries in Tech for the sake of speed, not assisting commuting to work etc. Its about the extraordinary, not the 'everyday'. Its relevance is in finding new tech and creating a spectacle like no other. F1 is for F1, nothing else!

Jose Sanchez kowalsky

Agree with you, the v10s were amazing, and they are un term of performance what f1 should aim for.

Muy point is the british media is trying to adoctrinate the fans. They say what they consider is good for f1. Wich is not always what is good for the fans.

The current cars are a joke ir compares with the v10s, un a few years the engineers are going to get the performance back to make them fast, like they always do.

Message to James allen, i need you to tell us the truth, not what you considera is better for f1.


Poor acting by Maldonado.... but still wish he'd give up his Day Job 😉


I thought Maldonado did great in the video and was a very entertaining character.

And if you're going to criticize him for "poor acting", shouldn't you also note that 1) he's not a professional actor and 2) unlike his teammate, Maldonado has actually won an F1 Grand Prix??


Both very good points.

At the very least he did better than another F1 driver who shall remain anonymous but has just left the sport and appeared in an absolutely cringe worthy commercial a fair while back and who's name is similar to a type of BBQ.


@Aussie - I wasn't saying Pastor is a better driver than Mark, but he's almost certainly a better actor.

@Tim - See above 😉


Please can I have another clue?


Who exactly? This appears to highlight Webber, but he's won his fair share of GP's?... So who is this mystery driver you refer to Random79?


Oh, THAT driver in THAT advert. Agree, absolutely ghastly commercial, but, still, bills need paying I suppose.........

102 no! GO PASTOR!!


He looked angry, so you're right - that's not acting at all! 🙂


I've commented on this below, but do you agree that Pastor looks like tin top racer Alain Menu? Perhaps that's where Pastor gets his crash, bang wallop make way for me or we'll both have an accident mentality from!!!


Nah, can't see it...


Unfortunately for Lotus, they had already signed the Renault contract for what happened in Jerez would have been a perfect opportunity for the team to switch engines and thus taken full advantage of their missed test.

Anyway, fingers crossed the Renault people get on top of the issues for the fans would get cheated if we do not have a full assault by all engines but seeing as the Renault bosses said everything will be sorted by Bahrain, am hopeful for a good season.

Regards the Mercedes powered cars, looking forward to seeing what Williams can achieve but with the lack of sponsorship, am afraid they might lose out on the development race.

Mclaren have a better car but with the team having stated 2014 is a transition year, it appears the they are keeping their eggs for the future.

As for Ferrari, I don't think it will work in their favour to only supply one midfield team and a backmarker because with these two teams off the pace, they can't help take points off the other engines and so Ferrari will be left to fight their battles on their own.

Okay, looking forward to getting so more answers at Bahrain.


And who, pray tell, would've supplied Lotus w/ engines if they declined the Renault allotment?

It's not like Ferrari or Merc have spare capacity in their engine production facilities that's unused at present and could deliver what Lotus needs - now! - let alone assist w/ install, running & devo!


It's so ironic that Renault were the main proponents of the new engine formula 😐


@ blowndiffuser

Indeed. But that's life.


Yes, you are making a very good point how Mercedes powered teams have a clear edge over Ferrari (powering weaker teams) and Renault (late and unreliable) because they form such a strong and formidable group who are improving the Merc power unit together.


I really don't think Mercedes will really get any benefit back from supplying engines to midfield team. Mercedes Benz is an enormous manufacturer with huge resources, unlimited budget. Force India and Williams are like tiny minnows in comparison, so I don't see what difference it makes having them part of 'the group'. It is highly unlikely they will dramatically improve their engine because of feedback from force India. More likely MBenz did it themselves. Ferrari the same. Makes no difference who or who they aren't supplying because again, they are a massive manufacturer with unlimited budget, improving 'their own' engine designed for 'their own' car is a job they can do just fine themselves. The 'clear edge' you refer to is held by MBenz (not supplied teams) and Ferrari as they are the only 2 teams who can tailor make all their engines/systems to the exact way the car needs to be packaged.


Understood, good points. I still believe Ferrari are in a good position though, MBenz and Ferrari. James any news/insight on the rumours that Ferrari have the best cooling?


This is Not true Nick. This is probably the biggest benefit any manufacturer can have.A manufacturer gains tremendous data gathering from its customer teams- the more teams it has the more data it has- driving styles, gear changes etc and the resultant impact on its engines - remember also the teams Lease the engines from them- so they own them can pull them apart- analyse them and improve them.


Except for the extended testing and feedback of running under race conditions in an F1 chassis, in a testing limited Formula for a developmental year in engine technology.


Is it easy to switch to a different engine so late? Won't you design and package your car according to the engine that you already planned to go with since last year?


the basic mounting points and many other aspects of size and shape have been regulated to be the same... so, in essence, the engines can be swapped.

However with a bigger array of ancillaries than ever before changing engine supplier is very complicated. Not all need the same cooling airflows and one may have completely different layouts for the so many control elements that also need cooling.


@ Sri

Aah yes, hadn't thought of that.


I don't see the connection with supplying engines to certain teams and the championship.. Williams isn't going to pull over for a Merc just because it has their engine


@ NickH

That's true.

But on the other side of the coin, because of the big number of Mercedes teams, there's a possibility they can take a number of points off the rivals especially if it turns out they have the best equipment.


In the long run possibly but no in the short term these engines are the most important factor


F1 is still aero dependent so Merc being the best engine wont matter much if you lack on the aero side!


Red Bull should have seen this coming a mile off and got themselves a new engine supplier. If you just think of their early problems with KERS in 2009... it's obvious that for years they have been succeeding in spite of Renault, not because of Renault. It's equally obvious that McLaren and Mercedes have been struggling in spite of (not because of) their Mercedes power.

Well... this is the year in which no amount of Adrian Newey brilliance is going to make any difference, because the power units are going to determine everything.


Red Bull would have trouble getting a Merc or Ferrari engine though...

Red Bull should maybe have bought up Cosworth a while back, poached a load of good engine staff, and ploughed in cash that DM has so much of.

Then they wouldn't have the UK, France location problems, the potential blame culture - Renaults fault or Neweys fault etc (remember the alternator blame thing), they could test things sooner, not rely on performance vibration or heat simulation data that may have errors, and get the mounts perfect between chassis and engine for Neweys obsessive heat critical packaging.

There is no way they won't get back into the championship fight this year though, I'm glad aero domination has been reduced but I bet they still have the car with the best downforce and best on tyres.


Get real! There is no alternative engine supplier for them.

Can you imagine ferrari letting RB win with a customer engine? ... and Mercedes wouldn't either - having invested so much in their own team.

This is exactly why McLaren are teaming up with Honda - they couldn't expect to win for more than the odd season as an engine customer. It will be interesting to see what Williams do if they have indeed returned to winning ways.


Well actually Redbull did want to switch to Mercedes after 2009 but was refused by Merc, probably knowing RBR would be unstoppable worh their engines, I suspect Ferrari would also block the move whoch leaves the only option, yes you guessed it: Renault...

F1 is cruel but if only Renault was only slightly off Merc and Ferrari it wouldn't have been an issue but if this reliability and the suspected 100hp defeceit continues then is game over for Redbull, if they can fix it by Bahrain or even the 2nd engine during the season then Vettel/Newey will make fools out of them all yet again.


They tried to change engines. Ferrari said no, Mercedes said yes, but McLaren vetoed it.


Theres NO WAY that Merc or Ferrari would sell engines to Red Bull. Think about it, why sell their engines to a competitor that keeps beating them. A few years back(before Merc became a team) RB tried to get engines from Merc an McLaren vetoed it.


Red Bull has been very happy with Renault, at least since 2011. Their engines had the best cooling, thus the car could be sleeker. Their engines also allowed the best exploitation of blowing the defuser and also had great low rev torque, thus were very driveable.

Also, their main sponsor, and the company most likely to buy the team when they decide to leave, is affiliated with Renault, namely Infiniti. So changing engine manufacturer also means saying goodbye to tens of millions of sponsorship and getting another get out of jail free card. Red Bull apparently get almost all of its budget from sponsorship, and not from direct ownership investing.


As I remember RBR tried to switch to Mercedes a few (maybe a couple of) years ago, but Mercedes refused because they knew they would lose any edge over RBR as they wouldn't be able to defeat the RBR aero team with the same engine on both cars.

Using a Ferrari engine was never an option for RBR.

So I am afraid, RBR didn't and still don't really have a choice. They made best use of the Renault till last year by using its fuel efficiency, engine maps and blown diffuser, but on pure performance and reliability, they know full well the Merc engine is the best out there.

McLaren managed to convince Honda to come back because of the same problem of lack of choice (as Renault favor RBR anyway), but it is unlikely to help in the first year as Honda will be playing a very big catchup.

I think McLaren would have been better off buying off Cosworth and rebranding it or developing their own engine department. If you claim to be a supercar manufacturer (i.e. a British Ferrari), then you should be able to build your own engines.


Honda will already be getting engine feedback from Mclaren after the first test with the Merc engine. I'm not sure how you feel they will be behind next year with all the data they will be getting.


I think Not - highly classified info. Mercedes Benz property only. Mercedes were making sure of that when mclaren announced the switch.


Not sure how much the Mercedes reps assigned to McLaren will be divulging. Mercedes has made a point to make sure IP loss is kept to a minimum. And if your Mercedes, fearing poaching from Honda, which of your staff do you place at McLaren? Your best? Not likely.


Most of the British super/sports car industry buys engines in: Noble uses a Volvo engine (with tuning by Yamaha), Lotus uses Toyota units, Ginetta is a customer of Ford, and actually McLaren had help with their engine from Ricardo plc. It's the same ideology in F1 with British teams: concentrate on making a nimble lightweight aerodynamic chassis and let specialists make our engines for us. There is no shame about not making your own engine; if anything it is an advantage as you don't have to worry about engine development costs.


Agree that designing your own chassis and engine from scratch is a potential advantage, nobody would dispute that. Ferrari's problems over the years are as much human infallibility as they have been aero inferiority: Ferrari lack the operational sharpness and street wise, savvy nous of their main rivals and have, in my opinion, wasted two good chances of Fernando securing WDC in 2010 and 2012 thanks to poor judgement. That's the problem with a big operation: it can be cumbersome and lacking in common sense sometimes.


That can work well by being able to secure a good engine and switch when it is a poor one, but it can also be a disadvantage like it is this year, and in this new era where power units have become important again. Merc and Ferrari have designed their engines around their chassis, the rest have to accommodate.


Actually it was McLaren who vetoed RBR's switch to Mercedes.


Yes, you are right, but now that Merc have their own works team, I don't think they would be interested in supplying RBR with their engines. They also did not want to supply McLaren this year, but since Honda were not ready, they accepted to supply them this year for the sake of getting Paddy ahead of time, and the money won't hurt either.


I agree. F1 got to a point where it was more about the aero-package rather than the engine. Right now reliability will be key to being consistent throughout the championship. I want to see how many DNFs we'll get in the early races caused by electrical problems.


Yeah, F1 became too predictable the last few years, the second half of last year especially. Y'knew that the only way Vettel wouldn't win a race was unreliability, at a time when reliability was at an all-time high.

Now, even if there's bigger spread between the teams, there will be tension 'til the chequered flag, wondering whether a car will fail to finish b/c of reliability or fuel concerns.


Worse yet, much of Newey's aero brilliance usually comes by cutting it VERY close on cooling...and one thing that the new Renault engine seems to have problems with is thermal management and overheating.


Renault Sport are very much behind the 8 ball at this moment in time. It's a rumour - although probably not far off the mark - that the Merc has at least 80 Bhp/80 lb ft of torque more than the Regie, and that is has better thermal discharge properties than the Parisian V6. Also, I've heard that Mercedes has put a lot of effort into efficient water jacket design and the Brixworth lads and lasses have really found a good gas-flow ability - I would say on a turbo engine gas flow probably take priority over combustion, but I maybe wrong. Also heard Merc has a very good oil churning system. Superior gas flow and oil scavenging can also have with efficient thermal discharge properties, so that may be related as well. I don't know much about Ferrari, so I can't give an opinion.

I've just been reading Gary Anderson's reports from Autosport, and Gary speculates that Renault is about two months behind Merc and Ferrari. That is very worrying for Team Enstone, Bull, Torro and Caterham because Merc will doubtless have an aggressive development strategy, so it is possible that this for year at least Regie powered cars may have the toxic combination of being unreliable and lacking in power, torque and good thermal discharge in comparison to Merc. We shall see.

Is it just me, or does Pastor look a bit like Alain Menu in the "Back to School" video??? Is Pastor moonlighting as a touring car driver????????


As Keith Duckworth said, Turbos are for those that can't design engines. What he was partly referring to was, partly, gas flow: it's not vital that you have straight ports with a turbo, although it helps a bit. Combustion is king particularly where we are talking about getting thermal efficiency up to 40%. The new formula is an efficiency one. The big issue with these engines is getting direct injection reliably at 500 Bar and controlling the fuel delivery to avoid high speed detonation during the burn phase.

Not sure why one would want oil churn. Do you mean scavenging?


Re Rob: Yes, sorry, churning was a typing mistake, I meant good oil scavenging. Must have been a Freudian slip with regards to Regie! Actually, perhaps oil churning is one of the problems Renault is having, perhaps with the crankshaft? Possibly.

All respect to Keith, but his comments are a bit 20th century, the production car industry has embraced turbo-compounding/electric hybrid motor technology already and F1 is behind the times, when it should be slightly ahead of them.

I would never denude the importance of good combustion in any engine, of course not, but a turbo engine is fundamentally about ramming the red hot exhaust gas back into the block, so getting a good gas flow has to be of primary importance, otherwise you can't harness the potential extra power of the turbo. With those hot exhaust gases in the block comes greater thermal pressure, which is why oil scavenging is vitally important in a turbo engine, otherwise Mr Piston and Mr Valve - and Mr crankshaft - will just wilt under the greater thermal pressure of a turbo unit.

Actually, could a faulty crankshaft design be at the heart of Regie's problems? A good crankshaft design should do the following: it turns the up and down motion into a circular one; it delivers oil to the bearings, drives gears on the crankshaft and ultimately provides power to the rear. If Regie have designed a stinker of a crankshaft, it will take at least a couple of months to rectify it.

Bad news for Adrian and Christian if it is............we'll wait and see!


If you think I made up the term Regie, read "Chasing the title" by Nigel Roebuck (Haynes, 1999). It's a collection of Nigel's essay's from his Autosport days from the late 70s onwards, and there is lots of mention of the nickname "Regie", as James points out it was a nickname when Renault ran their works turbo team from the late 70s onwards. It's not a pejorative slur, it's just the British media like a nickname or two.


I am well aware of the use of nicknames in all sport, not just F1. However, I have never heard the term Regie used when referring to Renault. You are the only person I have seen using it, so it can't be a commonly used term - are you sure you didn't just make it up yourself 😉


Yes it is a commonly used term. It certainly was back in the 1980s when the yellow Renaults were racing in F1


RE Rob: Dear Rob, your excellent essay on cumbustion is spot on, and as I've said I would denude the importance of cumbustion, my point is because of the complexity of a turbo unit other factors have to be taken into account so the whole unit functions well - not en easy task at the minute I must admit. I would say its the combination of gas flow and combustion is important. With regards to oil scavenging, a good design will reduce friction, power losses and allow smaller bearings - a clever oil system can also minimise thermal discharge, and I suspect Merc have got an advantage with this.

Incidentally Rob, you maybe right crankshafts, it was just a rumour swirling about, and, yes, you are right, it's all supposition at the moment. I think we can all agree that the Renault engine and the Red Bull chassis are not "talking" to each other at the moment, and the reasons why may be very, very complex that even the brains of Adrian may find unable to fix in the short term.

Thanks for the analysis Rob, technical wisdom and insight always welcome. These F1 cars in 2014 are so complex and multi faceted that I suspect the teams are working 24/7 just to understand all the nuances that could give them an advantage.


It's a well known nickname for Renault in Formula 1 and British media circles, the likes of Nigel Roebuck, Quentin Spurring, Simon Taylor, Alan Henry, Tony Dodgins and Mark Hughes have been using the term for years, if you check out the back catalogue of Autosport and Autocourse it dates from at least the late 70s when Renault entered Formula 1 with the "yellow tea pot". Nicknames are common in F1: Niki Lauda was "the Rat", Carlos Reutemann was "Lole", Alan Jones was "Jonesy", Clay Reggazzoni was "Regga", Alain Prost was "the Professor", Ferrari are the "Prancing Horse" and so on.


why do you refer to Renault as Regie?


Sorry but I could not disagree more!

A turbo engine is about ramming as much COOL air (not exhaust!) into the combustion chamber as possible, by using the energy in the exhaust gas to drive a compressor - the turbo. The charge air needs to be cool because cooler( because it is denser so one can get more in) and that why turbo engines usually need an inter-cooler. The cooler charge air also helps prevent high speed detonation. They don't, generally require a straight path because, as you say, the charge is being rammed in at around 60 PSI, and not dragged in under partial vacuum like in an normally aspirated engine (under a heavy load and a fully open throttle a typical non turbo engine has around 4-5 psi vacuum)

I cant think of anything linking oil scavenging (most racing dry sump units use around 4-6 electric pumps)and "greater thermal pressure". Sure, the he higher the temperature, the higher the rate of oxidisation and shearing in the oil. A scavenging pump simply sucks oil thrown out of bearings back to a supply tank supplying the engine driven pump

BTW don't believe everything you hear on TJ13 about crankshafts....I simply don't believe it. They had that engine running 9 months ago and now it surfaces as a problem? Hard to believe.....


Sorry, I meant drives the gears on the camshafts! Damm, these new 2014 generation keyboards with their hybrid technology........

By the way, I love the photo on this forum of Daniel talking to the Regie engineer. A good caption would be of Daniel saying: "Listen mate, are you going to get you're bloody engine sorted out before Melbourne on what!!!"


It's all pure speculation! Without knowing the precise detail of the Renault engine problems, and the engine design in detail it is impossible to say exactly how much time has been lost. The best scenerio is that they know precisely what to change to remove the problems, and that it can be done easily by hardware component replacement, and software revision. That being the case they will be up and running at the next test attempting to get some laps under their belts and by parallel processing what programmes they do in Bahrain will project them strongly into the catch up zone. If on the other hand the problems are deeper requiring further development then it gets far more serious, and it's hard to see them completing races let alone fighting for podiums. What happens at the next test in Bahrain will indicate what the outcome is lightly to be.


Quoting the BBC's coverage on Day 4

''Nico Rosberg is so dedicated to his work, he's spurned the warmth of the Mercedes hospitality unit, where proper plates and cutlery are available, in favour of staying in

the garage and shooting the breeze with executive director (technical) Paddy Lowe while eating his lunch out of a plastic box.''

I believe this type of behaviour is usually characteristic of people that sense their have found something e.g. Vettel and Schumi staying in the paddock well past midnight on race weekends.

Also Jenson sacrificing a huge portion of his salary in 2009.


No wonder Bernie is tipping Rosberg for the title this year!


I am too.


I'd also take a pay cut to save my job


ha! touché!!!!

It's not like Button didn't take Brawn to court to get his full 2009 compensation (speaking of the chassis he was promised)! haha yes, soo noble!

He fought for every penny farthing he was owed, whether in dollars - or car parts!!


@ J. Danek

Lol... Oh man, too funny.


@ pepe-le-pew

Touché mon ami


Seriously, what is an F1 car's towing weight ability? Can it pull a yacht?


I've seen photos of Eddie Jordan's new yacht/ocean liner (delete as applicable) in Poole harbour, so if EJ ever wants to plonk it next to his Thames Valley flat without sailing it the long way round I suppose an F1 car would make a good tow car.

By the way, having seen his ghastly yacht, it reminds of me of that cliche that money can buy you lots of things, but not a discerning mentality. Mind you, that was obvious with EJ's shirts and beard!


I put the question to several teams and got the following answers..McLaren.. We found in tests that our new car has great traction and control however when doing serious towing we found the tyres did wear on the edges and could cause small dingies that the uk teams can tow are nothing compared to the super skiffs we test with,this year in our auto test comp we aim to tow a supertanker however we will be appealing to the fia for clarification on the transformer rule..redbull..adrian has designed a great package,the rear airflow presses down on the rear so we can increase the load as we move..also the rumour of our car turning into a tractor on the track is just not true..honest...lotus..if the funds appear from our deal with quantum then our car is the best,it tows more and with our drivers getting paid per ton moved we feel we are back in business however kimi did have a second job on a building site to sub his income


Depends how heavy the yacht is, but probably not - certainly not if your talking about much over 10 tonnes. Plenty of power but not much traction - depending on how good the tyres are the maximum force is likely to be a bit more than the weight of the F1 car, so possibly about a tonne of pulling force before the wheels slip.

Counter-intuitively, it will actually be able to pull more if you pile more weight on the F1 car to help with traction.

Of course, you have to find a way to attach the tow rope as well...


It's basic maths!

A decent F1 engine can deliver the best part of 800BHP at the engine through the drive train to a set of rear tyres.

Change the gearing and that same power can then be transferred to a tow rope. Power is all about overcoming the resistance of friction and drag.

So how big a yacht do you want to move... and how slowly are you prepared to accept it moving?

A modern large lorry has less power than an F1 engine - so gear it correctly and an F1 engine could easily take 44 tonnes down the motorway at 70-80 mph. ... but the gearbox would need a lot of ratios to get it there - and you can pay for the fuel!


What is this, another episode of Maths with Sebee? 🙂

Jonathan, you should have just given a definitive answer like:

F1 car with Monaco gearing would be able to tow 32500Kg @ 65Km/hr. for a distance of 145km due to on board fuel limitations. If you gave such a direct and "accurate" answer, who could possibly question you? I sure as heck would have said, "That Jonathan knows his stuff!"


From some quick googling, it looks like the torque of an F1 car, and therefore it's towing ability, is quite good. Not stupidly good, but of the same order as typical towing vehicle like a big 4wd.


At the moment the Regie V6 couldn't pull the skin off a rice pudding - ask Daniel and Sebastian!


Skin off rice pudding...I love it!


Now seriously Sebee: What F1 driver is going to have a yacht lying around to test that with?


It's true.

All these pay drivers aren't getting paid enough to buy a boat.


It was a blessing in disguise for Lotus to skip the Jerez test.

Only in Melbourne will be know exactly where everybody stands, till which time is a guessing game with eyes closed.

At present we can only say based on the running they have that Merc engine based teams have good reliability and Ferrari engine teams also seem to have decent reliability. Both are reasonably confident of their approaches.

Renault based teams are 1-2 steps behind and only time will tell if they can catch up in time to others. RB is best placed among Renault teams due to them being the constructors team and having the best available resouces.

Alexander Supertramp

Love the fact that there is a real chance of Pastor getting his ears waxed by Williams drivers.


Doulble points all races is the way And points for quali_flying and points for fastest lap in Arce.


Nah, it would punish way too much for DNFs, which are quite likely this year and I don't want to see a reliable car trump a faster car just on the basis of finishes.

I think each team and each driver should be a given a "double-points" joker for the year, and they can choose before which race to use it.

When a driver (and/or team) wants to use its joker, he has to declare it an hour before the race starts.


Considering that F1 is becoming more and more like "it's a knockout" every season, perhaps the concept of playing a joker is now appropriate .

I hate the double points idea, no matter how it is implemented. Every race should have equal significance.


Quite a good idea but it would just make it easier for a car that is good on a certian track, result could be very boring. Maybe your idea would be a good one if the jokers where pulled from a hat.


"So the onus is on the Mercedes and Ferrari powered cars to get a strong start to the year and rack up the early points."

This comment really makes no sense. Is the logic that when Renault fix's there engine that the Mercedes and Ferrari engines will suddenly become chocolate teapots like the Renault is now. What would suggest they will be any less competitive because Renault fixed there engines. If they are ahead, they will still have that edge.

"Mercedes appear the favourites, but are unwilling to even discuss that notion, preferring to focus on developing their car and seeing where they are in Melbourne and Sepang, the first two races of the season."

Yes Mercedes are smart to do that and think otherwise is going against the data. 1) McLaren were the fastest in the one test so far, completing more laps with the same engine does not mean you will win. Being the fastest with the same engine means you will win. So that would suggest, based on very limited data, that McLaren has an edge. Merc might be remembering that a year ago McLaren had the fastest car with the exact same spec engine. The presently available data may be telling them that they are back in that position. Merc know exactly what the engine was doing when McLaren set those hot laps in Jerez, if the candle was set to the same amount of wick as there car..... maybe they are just a little more cautious than to say most laps = fastest car... Most laps and still not fastest might mean problems. How is that for a headline based on limited data!



1) McLaren were the fastest in the one test so far, completing more laps with the same engine does not mean you will win. Being the fastest with the same engine means you will win. So that would suggest, based on very limited data, that McLaren has an edge.

Seriously? Your argument is fatally flawed simply because the test times in Jerez mean absolutely nothing. Not until the final test in Bahrain before we could even begin to guess who has the quickest car. Secondly with these new regulations having the fastest car over one lap is nowhere near as important as it used to be, there are just too many variables. The car with the right balance of engine reliability, speed, fuel management and cooling will be the car to beat. Pace is no longer the be all and end all!


"“So the onus is on the Mercedes and Ferrari powered cars to get a strong start to the year and rack up the early points.”

This comment really makes no sense. Is the logic that when Renault fix’s there engine that the Mercedes and Ferrari engines will suddenly become chocolate teapots like the Renault is now. What would suggest they will be any less competitive because Renault fixed there engines. If they are ahead, they will still have that edge."

Take your mind back to 2012 and you would understand against Vettel when you have an advantage you take it as he would come back strong and he's a driver who can put a run together!


Would you like to see RBR defeated because engine is unreliable?

I think we all can agree that after such a run this would be a huge let down. If RBR are to be defeated, it should absolutely be in a straight fight. Otherwise, the winner basicaly wins agains an "injured" RBR. Not exactly something to be proud of.


The notion that any team needs to be defeated in a "straight" fight is utterly absurd.

This is F1, it's NEVER been a straight fight, never been fair. Cars, engines, tyres, have all at time given drivers advantages that lead to championships, or cost them championships.

If Vettel (or any driver), suffers from unreliability that prevents them from fighting at full strength, then explain how this is any different to the past?

Kimi was a match for Alonso in 05, but let down by poor relibility, same goes for Prost in 83 and several drivers in 82. Clarke would have won at least one more championship if not for the very fast but unreliable lotus, and lets not forget Jody Scheckter's defense of his 79 title in that woeful Ferrari in which he could only manage a solitary 5th place.

F1 has always been about the haves and have-nots. You play the cards you are dealt with, simple.


I dont care if he gets beat by a low flying sparrow as long -as long as he gets beat- I want someone to stick their gloved up finger up his nostril.

Valentino from montreal

Very true , 2005 was a year to forget and Schumacher stated he was fighting the field with a "blunt weapon" , but hey , "Alonso beat Schumacher" as they say ...

Whatever !


Compared to the 2004 Ferrari, anything would be blunt.

Ok so Alonso's fight with Schumi was closer in 06 than 05 but, things like Imola 2005 and especially Suzuka 2005 were not races to 'forget' 😉


Nonsense. The car is the whole package: mechanicals, aero & engine together as a system. If RBR can't make a car that can get to the end of the race, by definition (best car=car that finishes the race in the shortest time) it's worse than all the others and _has_ lost in a straight fight.


Someone on another thread/post made this point already. But what's the difference between designing a better power train and packaging it so that it doesn't over heat and designing a better aero solution or fiddling with the engine map etc. It's all part of the same game surely!


The same could be said of other teams too when RBR won last few years. They were "injured" in some way or the other: eating tires too easily, poor car updates or aero or strategy or pit team errors etc.


That's what a admitted Vettel funboy would say... You see your boy getting beat and all you can do is say that hes only getting beat because of his engine. Well, I say the only reason he has won is because his car is so much better than the rest, not because hes better.


So according to you others lost by not being innovative. Not by being crippled by unreliable engine. My question is still valid.


We haven't even got to Melbourne! But yeah I do agree that the chances of a Red Bull victory there seem remote.


So, it's all the car no matter who wins?

Unless of course it's the driver you support.


And what about Mark Webber? Hmmmmm?


maybe it is in part due to someone sending them super-tight packaging requirements from their chassis division?!?

could that be the root of the problem, this requirement laxer at the other teams?


This is possible. But so far all Renault teams are having issues.


"No rabbits were harmed in the making of this movie."

That's funny - Hope they can maintain their sense of humor if Renault has a worst-case-scenario. ( I know I will!)


I think their humour will be unfortunately bypassed by Genii after the Winter Olympics tweet.


There is a very noticeable lack of sponsorship on the car and the drivers' race suits. Aside from the Burn advertising, this team seems to be really lacking sponsors.

I have a bad feeling Lotus are going to be in a major tailspin this season. What with personnel losses, driver changes, money top it off with Renault problems. This does not look good.


I'm not so sure: I did notice some product placement during the film, but it was very subtle and tactfully done (read blaringly obvious 😉 ).

Still, I'm not convinced that that was an official Lotus F1 Team teaspoon that Pastor was using...


About the teaspoon, well if Pastor is bring 30 million quid to Enstone I suppose its his own personal top of the range teaspoons he is using.................


Yeah, but no personal coffee cup?

Something doesn't add up here...


go Williams! pastor may regret leaving them


or not.

Go Pastor! Vaya, Pastor! Dale duro, papí!!!


I bet Williams don't regret getting rid of Mad Maldonado!


They liked his money.


Love the video!!

Can't wait until Melbourne 🙂


Pity Melbourne isn't live on the Beeb, but you can't always have it up. Ask Red Bull....


Has anyone seen a detailed explanation of how McLaren claim their car complies with the tech regs? If so where please?

It appears to break three major articles.


And what are they?

Forgive if I don't pay any attention to this comment.


Lotus have certainly lost ground by going to the first test, for a start they would have discovered if they had any packaging or self induced issues such as Red Bull.

As for Renault, as the problems seem to be more electrical related, one would expect them to cure them quicker than if they were mechanical.

What we don't know yet is how all three power units will go when flat out, in the heat and how thirsty they will be. There will surely more fun to come, probably from Ferrari and Merc power units as well.


that's a 2013 renault/lotus. I watched that and got no information, a poor joke and some product placement.



I wouldn't say that: We did get to see the new 2014 Lotus motor home in action 🙂


Yeah and it lacks proper cup holders


And also a bit of a look at the Lotus Enstone base/factory/technology centre in leafy Oxfordshire.


What are the Renault teams saying about the double points now? If it were to change to the last three races it could really benefit them if they can get the problems sorted.


Let's first see who manages to finish first in Australia over a full competitive race distance. And after that who can manage to make his engine last enough races to not run into penalties. Renault appear to be in deep brown stuff, but anything could happen this season.


"Let’s first see who manages to finish first in Australia over a full competitive race distance"

I'd be more interested to see who can finish a full competitive race distance in the first place.


Aren't the power units being homolagated soon? Where does that leave Renault if they are "6 months behind"?


End of this month

In difficulty, although they can change things for reliability and safety and that's a bit of a catch all


Seriously just 1 lap? Any rumours on what the problem was?


What is to stop a company like Porsche coming in to F1 in a few years' time, taking advantage of new technology to develop a more efficient engine? The other engine manufacturers will not be allowed to match it because their engine designs are already locked down.

Isn't this just a recipe for an uncompetitive race series?


A good point James.

As yet we do not really know what Renault's problems are - except for vibration causing electrical issues.

If only Renault are having vibrations issues they must be doing something different. With so much of the engine parameters fixed - 6 cylinders, angle of V etc it would be interesting to see what they have done differently.

It occurred to me that the firing order and angle between each piston reaching TDC is not fixed. If this is where the difference lies I can imagine it could take a long time to fix. This could still be a change allowed for reliability so could we see a B spec Renault engine appear over the summer?

It would be really good if we could have a techie perspective on this.


OK, James. Friday has come and gone. What happened?


Thank you.



That Ferrari fuel economy and cooling package is something special. Their cooling package which allegedly involves fuel flow allows for smaller side pods and greater airflow to the back of the car and thus allowing a lower nose which generates a bit extra front downforce. For me Ferrari are favorites. They have the best driver line up, they have a windtunnel in sync with on track development again. A strong technical team, an unlimited budget. Constructors champions surely.


"They have the best driver line up"

That's debatable...


If we go by 2013 and 2012 points finishes, Ferrari have the best line up. If we go by WDCs also, they are still the best as both their drivers won it unlike other teams'. The rest are all opinions/speculations.


Yes the ferrari's small radiators look like a major advantage/innovation, presumably intercooling with liquid not air. What fuel economy, did I miss a memo?


"What fuel economy, did I miss a memo?"

Yes, it's filed under "Speculation".


Possibly Richard, but Ferrari's operational efficiency isn't as good as it should be, which could hinder them. Remember Monza last year, Seb pitted for fresh tyres and was going a second a lap quicker, yet they left Fernando out with old worn tyres, going slower? Ferrari need to be more street wise and savvy when it comes to strategical decisions. If they can do, then I'm sure they'll do well. If they can do.......


When you have more performance than the cars around you, a team tends to look good on strategy... Ross Brawn's strategic mastery to a large part was due to the characteristics of the tyres (Goodyear vs Bridgestone and Bridgestone vs Michelin).

In Monza Autosport reported that Alonso questioned the teams call, thinking back to Monaco 2012 when the possibility of a race win may have been lost.

Bad calls, such as Abu Dhabi 2010, are rare from any of the teams in normal conditions. Rain and safety cars can give the strategy simulations some pain though.


Thanks for the insight Martin. You'd have to say that Ferrari's strategy decision at Abu Dhabi was a right stinker, and cost Fernando 2010 WDC. It is easy to criticise with the benefit of hindsight, but it remains that that Bull and Macca stayed out longer at Abu Dhabi and finsihed 1-2-3 with Seb, Lewis and Jenson. Ferrari got it badly wrong, but Macca and Bull got it spot on in a pressure situation. You are right though: safety cars tend to make teams mess up big time. Twas ever thus.............


And that's not even mentioning Malaysia.


Its a team sport, all elements have to come together. RBR racing may at this stage have an issue with the engine, but its still the best team. They have been able to develop a car better than the

other teams.

Mercedes and Ferrari may have and edge at moment but will they take full advantage of that and get a good headstart? With both of them having very competent drivers, chances are that will only steal points from each other. So RBR may still pick up the drivers championship, but loose the constructors.


There is no indication to say that currently RB have built a better car than Mercedes, Ferrari or McLaren.


Agree, and the Bull is certainly less reliable at the moment!


Sounds like you're counting out Ricciardo already.


Yeah, a bit harsh to count out Dan, agreed............having said that Random, Bull do have an unfortunate history of unreliability and pit stop gaffes with Australian drivers...............let's hope they can find parity for Daniel otherwise that beaming smile may become a drooping frown.......


This has Richard III written all over it. Vettel is powerless against the multitude of Mercedes teams. Basically, he is Toast*.

This is the year of the Fox. I expect a battle between Alonso, Rosberg and Button.

(*) Renault sure can't charge money from their customer teams as they failed to deliver a properly working power unit?


I expect a battle between Alonso, Rosberg and Button....

Ok, I'll bite! Rosberg has never beaten Hamilton when they have been teammates before (in any category of racing), what makes you think he will start now?


The Brake by Wire system doesn't sound too good for a brake sensitive driver as Lewis … I hope I'm wrong as I am a big fan of his spectacular driving style.

I put Rosberg up there as he keeps surprising me. He was a great match to Hamilton in 2013. He seems to be the more consistent one. This could be an asset in 2014, when mechanical failures are more likely to happen.

Ah, and one more thing. Rosberg is driving the #6 car this year … he needs to beat his team mate for that 😉


We needed a change anyway. RB has had too much success that it was actually harming F1's audience figures and would only do more damaged if they'd continued. It's a circus that needs bums on seats... The double points nonsense must concern teams though since it gives RB et al the chance to catch up later when they overcome their issues and that is unafir on the other teams. But since when was F1 about fairness? So go for it! Mix it up! Make it squeal!


Lets c wat Force India does dis time..

they have hulkenberg& perez.. now let's c how d car works..


Someone learning English from Hamilton's tweets?


James, would I be right in thinking that teams rent their engines rather than purchase, if say Williams, would that include engine men at the factory and races from Mercedes ?


They seem to have a thing for caravans at Lotus...


G'day James, on they are reporting Honda has set up shop in Milton Keynes, isn't that where RBR are based also? You think there could be more to that or is it just a coincidence at this stage? I'm sure with the Renault problems, RBR would not be too upset to know Honda is in the neighbourhood.


No, it's just a very good central spot for logistics, close to Heathrow and the motorway network etc


I would imagine it makes the poaching of staff easier as well.


I guess we will have a better picture after Bahrain, but I'm not about to rule Renault out just yet. They may even have solutions that return them ahead of the Mercs & Ferrari. We have not seen any single teams true speed yet. If they solve their problems it could well be a rocket. I just find it interesting that the manufacturer teams went for a similar design cars- especially at the front. Right now my feeling is that the Ferrari is a great package - especially with the drivers it has, and we saw how quickly both got comfortable with the car.

I really doubt Red Bull will hold ground for 6 months relative to their opponents regardless, if they are in the top7 teams they can still win the championship given the uncertainty of the cars. The last 4 years have shown us what they are capable of that includes working very well with Renault in tuning engines etc for their specific purposes.

I just love the idea that we will have drivers / teams starting at similar positions without any real advantages and see how the season develops. I'm not prepared to rule out Magnussen winning the WDC even if something tells me its a Ferrari year with a particular "lucky" 7 driver.



Is there any detail on how the filming day went? How many laps etc. Good to know if the car ran trouble free or not.



Interesting Question Chris A. – with the Lotus Film day halfway between the end of Jerez and Bahrain it would seem opportune for Renault to learn more.

Were Lotus limited to a single lap by rules, reliability, weather or something else? Interesting they went to Jerez. If planning to run just one lap it would seem more natural for financial reasons to stay local.

Alberto Martínez


Only 1 lap seems pretty bad for Lotus. When you say 1 lap are you taking into account "installation laps"(out then pits) or only "complete laps"?

On the other hand, in Spain a very important F1 reporter claims that Lotus drove several laps without problems and an Italian media (ommicorse) reports that Renault has asked Lotus to share/explain details on the instalation of their power unit on the E22 so that this information could be used for the other Renault teams (RB, Toro Rosso, Caterham). That last one seems really odd to me.

Could you share a little more information on this mess? Thanks a lot.


They might have done better on the second day.


Was this due to engine problems?



Are Lotus/Renault having more luck today.?


Power unit homologation, Unless there is a new updated version which I missed the FIA engine freezing/homologation and development plan are as follows.

8% of power unit components by 2015, 23% in 2016, 33% in 2018, and 95% in 2019.


Except that by 2019 they'll change their minds again and we'll have a whole new formula...again.


Mr. Allen – haven’t read this elsewhere so will venture the question here. If the rules allow 33 sec. of ERS per lap to propel the car will everyone on the grid be able to Harvest a surplus of energy each lap from the available Kinetic and Thermic energy? Qualifying looks to remain a speed contest at least.


As I understand it the MGU-K and MGU-H are constantly harvesting energy as the car makes it's way around the track, and then the ECU automatically decides when and where to utilise that energy - no magic button required - so in theory the battery is never going to be full enough to have to worry about a surplus.

I don't think the rules say only 33 seconds of boost allowed, it's more an estimate of the average duration it will be deployed for around any given circuit; different engine modes might allow for more power but less duration and vice versa.

As always if I'm wrong about any of that then I'm sure someone will let us know 😉


The rules mandate ERS to augment the IC engine power by a maximum 161 hp for 33.3 seconds per lap or any combination of that output and time per lap.

In qualifying the need to conserve fuel does not apply, meaning drivers will be flat-out, but as they can only recover HALF as much energy per lap as they can use drivers will not be able to do two laps with full electric power boost.

“Full boost” can be can be sustained for one to two laps but it cannot be maintained.

If one uses more fuel or more electric energy than one will have to recover afterwards.


Thank you sunny for your informed reply, it was my impression we would see available system energy below what was required to run at "full boost" as you say. This leads me to believe 2014 is going to be an Energy formula race. With direct injection the IC elements should be very similar in fuel efficiency. Heat becomes the variable; who can hold and harvest the most heat without a meltdown. How do you use the heat, spin up the turbo to make the car more drivable or accept the lag and use the heat to drive the rear wheels?


Reply from on the page (brake by wire) “ok will pass that on, James Allen 9th 1.35pm”.

On returning to this page this morning yet again another post disappears. So please you can pass this on too.


There must be millions of F1 fans out there who, like me need to know how Renault are doing with their power train problems.? Only Vettel [mods] are rubbing their hands together in anticipation of RBR having no engine with which to compete. Us real F1 fans do not want to see one third of the cars without a competitive power train. I am astonished that there is so little reporting on this serious issue.!!


Agree that if the Renault problems are not solved before Melbourne the effected 8 cars will impact badly on F1.


Hi James,

Have there been access to telemetry data for the 1st testing in Jerez?

1) Did the teams spin engines up to 15t RPM? there was a highlight that powertrains haven't been charged upto 100% (perhaps this issue refers to ERS?),

2) Not sure about cornering but is the braking capacity as powerful as last year? i.e. roughly 5g.



i have read that lotus' second filming day comprised of total number of laps permitted without any problems. maybe it is all solved after all?


Hi James,

I was on another website today where there are reports that the Lotus test was not in the spirit of the rules for a promotional event.

Could you comment on it?

Please see link for the item in question:


I don't suppose Lotus did much that Mercedes did not do when doing their 'filming' at Silverstone a couple of days before the Jerez test. The presence of Renault engineers would be inevitable and because Mercedes build their own engine their engine team would have been there too. Renault would have to be on hand to ensure that the engine at least ran well enough to do a few laps or it would not have been worth trekking all the way to Spain when Silverstone was just round the corner for Lotus! The very existence of the 'filming and promotional days' is such a potentially contentious issue that it would be far better to allow a couple of limited test days which some teams might use to solve urgent technical or safety issues eg the recent Williams escaping wheel problems and yes why not allow a bit of engine fettling too. Retain the 100KM limit perhaps but removing restrictions would mean that no one need be accused of 'cheating'. There will be plenty of scope for that at the race meetings!


I think that renault will get their act together. It seems like a general flaw in the power train rather than the teams designs.however,loosing a full test session will hurt them,they will be on their back foot for a few weeks. The racing should be close this year as even with the tweeks to the aero and fuel limit,i think it will still come down to reliability and the boogy word TYRES. Remember how close the teams and drivers appeared, it was only after silverstone that redbull could use the full package.up until that point they could not run with major down force and air pressure,they just killed their rubber but once the tyres toughened up we lost our season. Lets hope rules dont get changed mid stream again,it really did fubar the other teams that ran to the specs. I have a major interest in my red team but i do think that merc will have the edge at first. I am banking on the two world champions driving through these major changes. Credit due to lewis and seb but they just have not ever been through a large shakeup of the rules. Experiance will show its head this year


Re Renault track running time, rules wise Renault have exhausted 2 days with 100km each day of track time with one out of their 4 teams so they still have 6 days with 100km each of track time with the other 3 teams that is apart from the official group tests. On these 2 days with 100km each of track time they netted something like 105km out of 200km at their disposal, and all this while claiming their problems are now solved, to me it looks like their problems are far from being solved and they are still giving spins about their problems like they were doing from after their first attempted run with the RB10.


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