What the Jerez test showed us and What the Formula 1 teams will be doing next
Posted By: James Allen  |  02 Feb 2014   |  9:37 pm GMT  |  226 comments

The first test session at Jerez last week threw up some major surprises and interesting talking points, including the failure of Renault and the innovative aerodynamics on the McLaren.

Here JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan, former chief operations engineer at Williams and Toyota explains how the F1 teams approach the pre-season tests and analyses what they will be doing now, back at base, to get ready for the next test in Bahrain.

What the F1 teams were aiming to achieve at the Jerez test
The 2014 energy recovery system (ERS) boosted F1 cars are extremely complex systems so it was undoubtedly with a lot of trepidation that the Teams and engine suppliers turned up at Jerez for the first test. Clearly Mercedes and Ferrari power units have had a good start to the season having proven to be generally reliable, allowing their associated Teams to do pretty good mileage, whereas Renault have had a difficult V6 turbo era inception, leaving their Teams with limited running.

One typically wants to complete a minimum of 1200kms and ideally over 1600kms on a 4 day test. The first test generally has the least mileage as you get to grips with the new car and complex systems, which normally require a little debugging. However by the second test you want to be doing high fuel long runs, typically of 15 to 20 lap stints to get an understanding of the car’s general behaviour and tyre usage. By the third test the whole test matrix should be finished with a full race simulation successfully completed.

Looking at the mileage completed at Jerez only Mercedes (1368kms) , Ferrari (1111kms) and McLaren (1084kms) will probably be happy. Williams, Sauber and Force India managed 774km, 721kms and 646kms respectively which is less than ideal, but still OK for a first test. However Caterham, Toro Rosso, Marussia and Red Bull only completed 336kms, 239kms, 132kms and 92kms respectively which means that very few of their test matrix items will have been ticked off.

Before the start of the season each Team will have created a complex test plan, listing a large number of test items to be accomplished. This list will include a prioritised set of important systems checks such as fuel run out tests (i.e. checking the ability of the car to pick up the last millilitres of fuel and to carefully study the collector pressure as the fuel runs out), to reliability checks which need mileage, to process checks such as race start simulations and pit-stops, to performance items, such as understanding the new car’s aeromap and general handling and tyre usage characteristics. It is imperative that each Team completes as much of this test programme as possible; this clearly needs the car and general team operations to be reliable.

Renault’s troubles not down to a single issue
Renault’s Rob White confirmed at the test that he was confident that they will get on top of the issues that had proved problematic throughout the test and which had limited their associated Teams running.

When one gets problems on a car it is rarely a single issue, and more normally a collection of problems which are interrelated and need fixed in an efficient and rigorous manner. With the complexity of the new V6 engine, larger battery pack, new power electronics, bigger MGU-K, new turbo and innovative MGU-H one should not underestimate the difficulty of this task. It also looks like Red Bull are having to rethink their cooling strategy as a result of certain components getting excessively hot. [Editor’s Note: MGU-K is the motor generator unit – kinetic i.e. the KERS motor (enlarged from last year) and MGU-H is the all new motor generator unit – Heat and is the electric motor associated with the new turbo and tasked with recovering heat from the exhaust.]

Do the lap times tell us anything about who looks quick?
With regards to analysing lap-times this is ‘fraught with danger’ even during a standard test but with this test effectively acting as an extended shake-down for the new power units one should not read too much into them. Having said that the McLaren and Williams do look to be a relative ‘step up’ from last season and the Ferrari looks pretty strong too, along with the Mercedes. We’ll get a much better feel for relative pace in Bahrain.

Eye catching innovations on the F1 cars

Every year something excites the F1 engineers about someone else’s design and this year was no different with McLaren’s rear suspension aero profiled geometry (above) , which acts probably as a pseudo split rear lower beam to energise the diffuser and upper rear wing cluster (the lower beam has disappeared in the 2014 regulations), causing a stir. The Teams will have got as many high definition pictures of this feature as possible, checked the regulations (and with the FIA), and then will test this feature in the next few days (if not already done so), to see what benefits, if any, it can bring to their car.

McLaren were also sporting a nice 32 channel automatic traverse Kiel Probe rake for measuring the pressure field aft of the front tyre. This test equipment will traverse vertically during a run (in quais-steady state conditions) to capture the complete wake off the front tyre for correlation with wind tunnel and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) data – this is crucial to make sure that the development process is working efficiently. (Note: With front wings 150mm narrower this year, moving the air cleanly around the front tyre is more difficult)

These probes are used in conjunction with standard flow viz paint (see Williams rear wing above) to ensure that the tunnel and CFD are correlating. For instance you can see the unwanted loss around central separator region on the Caterham’s rear wing upper cluster (i.e. the v shape on the flow viz).

What the F1 teams will be doing now ahead of the next test (Bahrain 19-22 February)
The Teams will now be ‘flat out’ analysing their own data and reacting to any issues encountered in the test and also analysing pictures of their competitors. The Power Unit suppliers will be doing the same, with Renault clearly having to react to what happened during the 4 days testing.

The issue for Renault will be repeating the problem on the dyno/bench – if they can do that then they will have a mechanism to fix the issue, if not, then the fix will be significantly more difficult.

From a personal perspective I have the greatest respect for both Rob White (Deputy Managing Director (Engine)) and Remi Taffin (Head of Track Operations) who are both extremely intelligent and tenacious engineers and whom will no doubt be back at base directing their staff and ensuring that the problems receive the appropriate attention

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Why has Bernie Ecclestone slammed that the Jerez test this week proves the radical 2014 rules have produced "a total farce"? Why is he against the "Turbo-Era"? Red Bull bias?


Bernie is Bernie.

I've found it better to sit back and watch what he does, and the outcome, rather than hang off every word he says, analyzing it too much is not likely to be clarifying.

If one looks at how it has been steered, it has arrived aa a global branding juggernaut of unequaled proportions.

I still hate the last race double points boondoggle.

If you look at the past, then you'll see that he has often criticized, even when he himself is responsible for the change! What!?!

I, echoing something I read about Stephano on the same topic, believe, well, we're into it now; it's too late to go back; so let's see how it goes.

It was stagnating with the inevitable Vettel-RB domination anyways; we needed a shake up.

Also, more importantly, the sport needs to have (at least some) relevance to road cars.

Through the history of F1, the development did drive road car technology.

Why can't we see a Ferrari and McLaren F1 approach road car, with the same energy recoup/deployment approach?

Now that this concept has been broached by the best minds in the world, why couldn't we see it employed at the road car level?

The future of the automobile must necessarily change, one way or another. The new 2014 formula is a reasonable hybrid change in direction.

I think it's going to be great.

The worst thing is the front ends of the cars, which look like they will not actually meet the intentions of the rules that allowed them to happen. So it's bad enough the ugliness, but if it doesn;t functionally accomplish the intention of the rules, they should scrap it asap.

For example, the Marrusia (quite nice looking, actually) for having a ramming point at the end of the nose; it looks like it will be more dangerous than the rules last year for protecting driver safety.

I'm looking forward to the battle at the red team; views are so polarized, they'll be a lot more sparks here concerning Ice vs. Fire.


He is losing it.. Stuck in the past.

Do we really care about the decibel level of the current engines? Last time I checked 99.999 of the viewers were watching on a TV, with a VOLUME CONTROL

I've been on the verge of stopping watching F1 for a few years (faithful viewer since 1985) and I find what they are doing this year to be fantastic! welcome to the real world Neo

Bernie is done.. don't worry about what that senile ole fart says..


Like it or not, the teams need the big, global companies to sponsor them, the new regs have a better chance of of being compliant with many of these companies policies.

Bernie doesn't like it because that money doesn't come to him.

FWIW, I don't like the new regs but a good shake up was needed to try and reset the bar a bit.


Well... he is almost a father to F1, so in many ways he is like a parent and inother ways he is just like the most of old-time F1 fans - he doesn't like such big changes.


Bernie's making noises for publicity purposes. He's been around for almost a century and knows bad or good people will notice. Anyway for those of us who can't switch off to new rules have to bear with it and hope for the best this season, I'm one of them I have to admit.


He never liked the idea of 'downsizing' to V6 engines, I guess it dilutes the buzz the attending fans get from the old ear-shattering F1 cars, and might reduce his $$$ from future foot traffic to races!

I am surprised he's complaining though, as there must be many, like me, who find this new chaos refreshing and fascinating! I'll now be more keen to follow this season!


I think Bernie likes big relatively uncomplicated engines rather than complicated powertrain unit we've got. I have some sympathy with that view because they will not reduce costs by making the formula more complicated as it has the reverse effect. I think a lot of the ills in F1 could easily be sorted by aero reduction, simplified powertain with durable tyres, wider ones on the rear.


I doubt Ecclestone has any bias towards any team. He only cares about money and revenue.

What he criticise is perfectly legit. The lack of beautiful sound; and lack of cars on track.

If Renault continues to suck, then we could have non-Red Bull champion. hehe... I am sure that will bring in some Ferrari fans if Ferraris happen to win. Mercedes powered cars look pretty strong too.

Ugly nose and lack of noise aside, I am still interested in this season.


Bernie is right. I don't think his comments are about turbo's but the whole stupid idea of the car manufacturer's using the sport as a test bed for road car's and pandering to the minority tree huggers of the world. F1 is no longer a sport that race's cars but spend two hours saving fuel and tyre's. That is not racing! The cars have completely lost the sound of an F1 race car and now sound like road cars, even the pit lane reporters at Jerez did not need ear defenders. If the lap time's are anything to go by its been reported they could be up to 10 seconds a lap slower on some tracks. So how are they going to complete the current race distance at that rate? He is right a V6 1600 engine F1 car is a joke. Let's see how the attendance figure's at tracks hold up and the TV ratings this year.


Grand Prix racing had ways been a test bed for manufactures for over 100 years, thats how it started.


Let's see you manage to use an apostrophe correctly first.


I disagree with Steve, but that is slightly harsh. Many of us have english as a secondary language (myself included). So playing the grammar police strikes me as a cheap way to dismiss someone.


Boom! YES Lindsay.


The lap times thus far is nothing to go by. Last years cars had drivetrains that was the very essence of mature technology, and with minimal regulation changes. To come this close with power units nowhere near their max is very impressive.

The majority of fans have spent the last 4 years complaining that the sport is too aero dependant, with one team dominating. Now they do something to remedy this, and people complain about this huge change.


I guess Bernie can just go and cry into his billions. Meanwhile, it's the most interesting start to a season in years.

We should do this more often.


Although to Bernie's credit he also said it would be an interesting start to the season. It seems that the "farce" comment has grabbed the most attention.


He is just staying in the news.


Noise is not the same / slower laps, bernie is maybe concerned this could act against promoting the sport

Personally i really like the sound


It's just the usual Bernie smokescreen, this time to divert attention away from his ridiculous double-points garbage.


Not really, he is merely stating the obvious. Nothing to do with diverting attention from anything else.

Absolutely baffled how anybody can say they enjoy this new sound but each to their own.


Agree. But just put mximun boost on the turbo, get thoes engines go to 1000 bhp, AMD i can guarranty you the sound would be lovely. But they couldnt afford the repair bills. But they have 400 people working at some teams. What does that for the regular fan. Like war, absolutely nothing


What i see is fans unhappy by diferentes aspects of how f1 is turning into.

Sound, lack of power, gyzmos like drs, artificial points system.

They have been trying to destroy f1 since 1980, And they couldnt achieve that because of a very loyal fan base, And the new generation of fans.

Bernie once said he was a firefighter, putting out the fires others started. Is he acting now as a firefighter or piromaniac?


Or his court case, ha!

Everyone will settle down eventually. Not many liked the idea of rev limited v8s either when we went from 22,000 rpm 1000hp v10 monsters but that turned out ok. We had turbos in F1 before, everyone just needs to chill, can't blame Todt and the FIA, in a world where energy saving is the zeitgeist, he has to keep F1 from becoming an elitist irrelevance. Personally I don't think they went far enough.

Time will tell how right or wrong we all are, let's enjoy the journey, should be a cracking year!


The highest revving F1 engine never revved to 22k rpm. 20k was the maximum ever achieved with meaningful reliability. And it was a cosworth V8 from 2006.


Bernie is against this latest generation of F1 cars because:

1. The cars sound awful...they're like a washing machine on a spin setting

2. The cars look awful - Force India's nose!

3. The cars are more expensive, heavier, more complicated and don't resemble what an F1 car should be

4. The cars are just pimped-up Toyota Prius's

5. And 'saving fuel' is not what racing should be about in F1

Oh...and before some left-wing, tree-hugging, vegetarian type harps on about how 'relevant' the new 'power train' technology is to the motor industry...I doubt you'll see a major product line of Lamborghini's, Aston's or Ferrari's with these hybrid engines anytime soon. The car industry gets more 'trickle-down' technology from the aerospace industry and satellite communications industry than it ever does from F1.

V12, V10 and V8 engines (normally aspirated and turbo) are still the mainstay of the exotic supercar car and hypercars (which do incorporate some F1 tech).


Well put...a f1 racer should be loud,should have a huge amount of cylinders and complicated mechanical grip systems...sod fuel economy, this sport is not green in any way and should stay that way. Let them use nitro methane if fossil fuels cause a stir,think drag racing at monza,spa silverstone and thats my race


I've been lucky to experience the V12's, V10's and the V8 era of F1...and every time I've taken family or friends (including girlfriends) to F1...they've been blown away by the noise - its something that is exciting and adds to the whole drama and excitement of what becomes a very memorable day for first-timers to an F1 Grand Prix....it get's them hooked on F1. My partner was never interested in F1 when I was watching it on the TV - she'd say the usual thing about "it's boring...no one overtakes...and they go round and round like goldfish in a bowl"....but all that changed when I took her to the British GP about 6 years ago and we sat in Pit Straight 'B' grandstand....and she's been back to Silverstone every years since!!!

Sadly...we won't be going this year to Silverstone for the first time in many a year!...we're just not interested in quiet, fat, heavy, ugly, slower F1 cars...


NASCAR will always have pushrod V8s. Ppl who are so offended by the new tech-heavy F1 could always watch that.

I for one like the idea that I can go to a race and have an actual conversation. A lack of deafening noise doesn't hurt other sports.

Beyond that, all super car manufacturers are looking at hybrid tech. Williams supplies hybrid tech to bus companies (trickle down). I quite like the look of the Ferrari and the Merc, and the Macca ain't that bad either - despite finger. Did you prefer the picnic table front wings of the past few years? Oil IS running out, and while there may be some under the ice, there are agreements preventing exploitation of the Antarctic - and we all saw Greenpeace at Spa over the arctic. 3 million Prius' have been sold all told, so they obviously aren't horrible evil trojans. As for 'heavy' supercars, the next NSX will be a hybrid. Honda is back because of the new regs. Lastly, I don't mind at all the idea that a driver will have to actually think during a grand prix, better than watching a fast car on pole lap a field. There's a few hours well spent.


If Lewis wins 5 races by the time the circus arrives in Silverstone, the grandstands will be packed - 'toxic' batteries, heavy, slow, ugly cars or not. They could race pack-mules and that race would be packed if Lewy is on a roll.

You're a staunch supporter of internal combustion, which is great. F1 over the past 50 years has been awesome. But in another 50 years you'll struggle to find a road car with internal combustion (unless its hydrogen or bio-diesel), F1 will have to change accordingly. But what if F1 changes first, becoming the tech driver for hybrid, turbo, and battery technologies? I don't see how that is a bad thing.

Things change. Engines used to be in the front, wings used to belong on aeroplanes, and team tech was limited to a guy with an abacus and a slide-rule. F1 cars are now rear-engined, have more wings than a fighter pilot, and there's more computing power in a team than in most universities. This year, add in big giant batteries and tubros. In 3 years, there will be something new and everyone will forget to complain about the batteries and engines. E.g. after DRS, how many ppl still complained about KERS?


I don't care for NASCAR...and their engines have nothing to do with it.

If you like the idea of going to the British F1 GP and having it nice and quiet with these wonderful, tranquil hybrid F1 cars - then good luck to you!...at least there will be one good thing to come out of it - you'll soon have plenty of seats to choose from when sitting in the different grandstands as the numbers of people attending year on year is likely to drop.

I liked the Mclaren MP4-4....but then I'm just an old dinosaur I guess


Shane, I would say that F1 is slightly behind the 8 ball when it comes to turbo-compounding hybrid technology. Both Ford and Vauxhall have developed a tiny 1 litre 3 cylinder engine with turbo compounding that can produce at least 100 Bhp and 120 lb ft of torque, and produces so little emissions that it is exempt from car tax. Fuel consumption is superior to a petrol and diesel as well. So basically, you're getting more power, torque, efficiency and fuel consumption with less capacity. I think this is the way forward, and I think its right F1 takes this lead.

I take your point on exotics such as Ferrari, Lambo and Aston, that's true, they will always have big massive engines, come what may. However, one beneficiary of the new small capacity turbo compounding technology maybe the lightweight british sports cars such as Ariel, Morgan, Ginetta and Lotus. I'm sure they are investigating using turbo compounding engines for the near future as a small, light weight engine would work well in a light weight, agile, nimble chassis. Exciting times!


I agree with your general comment - but I'm sure I read somewhere that the FIA Technical working group made a conscious decision to deliberately limit the amount of Turbo compounding / compression...but I don't understand why as it would be a good technical area to explore and give engineers the freedom to develop and enhance further...a good performance differentiator that would be usefully transferred to every-day mass production cars.


Just to chip in...

New Jaguar F-Type too. Plenty of ERS. Perfect direction to be taking F1.

If the sport was totally unregulated, we'd have 20m long cars with three engines and 6 axles, so much downforce, the track could be upside down!! There would be plenty of noise, but no overtaking!


I'm not saying the sport should be 'totally unregulated'...

A Toyota Prius (all 3 Million sold apparently) has extremely heavy batteries (full of toxic / poisonous chemicals that are not very environmentally friendly)...and the manufacture of such batteries and electric generator motors consumes a huge amount of fossil fuels in the process and gives off all manner of chemical discharges into the environment.

The FIA Marketing people like the simple message of saying the cars are more energy efficient because they will only have 100kg of fuel compared to the previous 160kg of fuel, however, vast amounts of energy are consumed in the production / manufacture of all of these energy recovery systems, heavy batteries (containing many environmentally unfriendly chemicals) and heavy electrical motor units....I guess it all depends on what metric you're basing energy-efficiency on.

For example, it could be argued that a normally aspirated 2.4L V8 engine is far more environmentally friendly overall as it doesn't require toxic batteries, electrical motor units, motor generator units, inverters, turbo units and all the electrical wiring to combine it all...hence it takes much less 'energy' or 'fuel' to actually manufacture a 2013-spec F1 V8 engine...


Their not especially sophisticated, no. You used the 21st century political technique of implying that someone who disagree with you as being abnormally radical (the direction is completely interchangeable), instead of having a valid position. You use your strawman characterisation of them to dismiss their opinion as less worthy than yours.

A couple of weeks ago, a big shot at the SEC American collage football conference said that it would be 'Un American' for there not to be a team from his conference in the national championship game, dispite none of their teams being undefeated. He basically dismissed all opposition as too radical, or alien, to be legitimate.

I don't know if it is possible to count the amount of times someone was dismissed, explicitly or implied, as either socialist/communist or fascist/racist in the last American presidential election.


I agree, I'm not very sophisticated...I know nothing of American college football and don't care much for American presidential elections either..??...However, I do like loud V12, V10 or V8 engines...I could even live with a high-compression, direct injection, 2.5L, V6 Turbo all be it without the heavy, toxic chemical batteries and electric motors.


Dude, haven't you read any auto news lately?

Check your information again. Ferrari Laferrari.

I understand the powertrain completely, the only thing that bothers me is the fact that they are not able to drive flat out. That is the most absurd thing I have heard since a long time. F1 racing on half throttle.


Dude...its so uncool to start off a sentence with the word 'Dude'

Please see my previous comments further up the thread about the LaFerrari and the McLaren P1...(and the Porsche Panamera)


umm. The P1 is a hybrid and so is LaFerrari


Again, Shane, there have been over 3 million Prii sold. There arent many cars out there that can claim that. Especially over the past 16 years. (Number of new beetles sold? or new minis? comparable)


Why do you think that's heavy? 1255 kilos is not heavy considering it has 950 bhp. Quicker than a veyron to 186mph


Why you would willingly throw away the energy lost during braking and turn down an extra 180 HP is beyond me.

I'm interested in both new technology and open wheel racing. If all I cared about was NOISE! then I'd follow top fuel drag racing.



La Ferrari…it weighs over a tonne (1,255kg dry weight)!!…only 500 will ever be made…and each costs over £1Million…so much for nimble, brilliant power-to-weight ratio…

…And the McLaren P1 uses a 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine…(with a little battery / electric motor strapped to it)

Obviously, both of these exotic hypercars will be driven by the mass populous of millions of people around the world - selling more units than the VW Beetle and the Austin Mini due to the 'relevance' of F1 hybrid technology....(irony...its a bit like goldy and silvery, except that its made of iron [BlackAdder])


Ferrari already have a supercar with a hybrid KERS system on it in the LaFerrari.

I don't expect to see a Ferrari with a 1.6 V6, but the general idea of similar power output from a smaller turbo charged engine with electric assistance is likely to be a mainstay of a lot of cars, so it definitely is relevant.

Not saying I want it in F1, but the relevance is there.


Aparantly the new California will be a turbo.


As much as it hurts me to say, you are correct.

I've been to Silverstone every year for the last decade and one of things I look forward to most is the roar (more of a high-pitched scream to be honest) of the F1 engines....the sound waves vibrating through your whole body....RIP F1 sound...(you don't even need ear plugs according to Ted Kravitz).


Although I agree with much of what you say, I think hybrid engines/power trains are a sign of the times with much investment from high profile manufacturers. The BMW i8 is not far off supercar looks and is apparently going to be produced in numbers (5000-10000 pa).



Agreed...unfortunately, hybrid engines are a sign of the times.

Reminds me of the airline industry scrapping the gorgeous supersonic Concorde for a fat, slow A330 airbus...because the airbus is somehow 'greener' and hugs more trees.

...its 'progress' so I'm told....


'Vegetarian type'

Err... I'm a vegetarian & I love a loud F1 engine as much as the next guy. Take your preconceptions elsewhere (Twitter or Facebook perhaps?).

Also, the new McLaren P1 (pretty damn fast & exciting by all accounts) has a hybrid engine. The switch to this technology started years ago and will continue for the foreseeable future. Manufacturers will either adapt or be left behind, simple as that.


1. I disagree. It's subjective. I quite like the sound. Also, bear in mind we haven't heard one flat out yet - all the comparison videos show cars from other eras at full pelt.

2. Most cars look bad, but some look OK. The Merc looks quite nice actually. Take a look at some of the cars from f1 pat - not pretty. This is not a reason to stop watching.

3. Shouldn't the pinnacle of motorsport have the most finely engineered vehicles? F1 has always been expensive and always will be. They are heavier, for now, but what has that got to do with anything?

4. How can you say this and then later say that there will be trickle down of technology? At some point fossil fuels will run out (or become too expensive) - what will supercars run on then? Perhaps they should be looking more at synthetic fuels or running hydrogen or something, but alternatives are necessary.

5. Finally, a point I agree with. They could save more fuel by looking to make savings through the crazy logistics of the f1 circus.


With optimally chosen and spaced upper gear ratios the computer says that a shift point of 11,550 dropping to 10,450 after the change gives best acceleration. However the one set of ratios have to be run at every circuit which imposes a certain limitation.

Also whatever ratio is chosen for 8th for the fastest straights (say Monza) it can't be perfect for all situations i.e. DRS use, slipstreaming, fuel load burning off so there will be a need to rev higher when there is no further higher gear to select hence the 12k or slightly over rpm usage I indicated.

It just begs the question, as I expanded on in the posts linked to above, why did the FIA specify a 15k rpm limit that no one will ever use or could they not understand the implications of the fuel flow limits they also mandated? My computer simulation models are quite sophisticated but obviously nothing like what people actually in F1 have available to them. If I could predict all this long before the engines were actually built one would hope they could have too.


>James Allen Reply:

>But I’m also hearing that they won’t be >using the full 15,000 rpm much this >year. I’ll post on it soon

Hi James,

I did detailed computer simulations of this a year or two ago to calculate the engine bhp and car performance compared to 2013.

The new engines won't need to rev beyond about 12k to 12.5k in normal use. The following usenet threads explain why plus technical evaluations of the likely base engine bhp this year.




Sorry, it's a lot to plough through but the brief summary is circa 510 bhp from the base engine before ERS and no need to rev any higher than to let the revs drop back to 10,500 after each gearchange. With an 8 speed box this indicates about 12k normal upchange but the ability obviously to extend the rev range for DRS use, slipstreaming etc.

I don't tend to get into any of this very technical stuff on the web, just Usenet, but by all means email if you want more info.



I've now learned that it's more like 11,000 rpm for most of the time


To clarify, then. They have been run at full speed, but not much and certainly not together (i.e. starting grid.) For me, when you have 5,4,3 red lights and the revs go up, 2,1, lights out and floor it, is the moment I look forward to most on a GP weekend. It will be interesting to see how I feel about the noise after the lights go out at Melbourne!


Interesting that you've heard the engines at full chat as all of the teams have admitted to not running them anywhere near their limit yet


Not true

One or two Mercedes teams have run them at the limit, I understand

But I'm also hearing that they won't be using the full 15,000 rpm much this year. I'll post on it soon


To address your points:

1. Agreed, it is 'subjective'...but I've heard the engines at full chat down the back straight at Jerez....and they sound very dull indeed - not what F1 should be about.

2. As you say...'Most cars look bad'...

3. As you say...they are 'heavier'...but they will also be slower...about 5 seconds slower...{What AMAZING progress the pinnacle of motorsport has made!}

4. Fossil fuels won't be running out anytime soon...(still got the Antarctic to exploit - and it will be exploited regardless of people's opinions...hence probably another 200 year's worth of hydrocarbons available)

5. We agree!


And to add, how very post modern political of you to demonise all opposite views from yours so thoroughly, because anyone that has a different opinion than yours must be a radical 'lefty', they can't possibly be reasonable people that disagrees with you with valid facts.


Lots of big, sophisticated words….[mod]


Please be careful with the tome of your posts. We ail delete ones which cross over into rudeness to other posters


The reason for the new power units is to attract more manufacturers to the series. Major manufacturers are much more demanding, about money and power, and much harder to intimidate than privateers. As in, leaving the sport does not mean shutting down your whole company, it just means some egg on your face. More manufacturers also make a breakaway series more viable, as seen in 2009.

Basically, the old engines ment keeping Ferrari, Merc and Red Bull happy and then bullying the rest into submission. Now he has at least one other big boy to placate, and maybe more to follow.


@ Shane Pereira

Wow this is interesting... I've always wondered why VW aren't interested in F1. When designing a bus or truck, its then that one can not fuzz about aerodynamics a lot, but if you build bugattis and lambos you should know aero is as important as the engine. Shame on VW for being cowards!


You might be right in your assumption about attracting motor manufacturers....but never 'assume' as it makes an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me'....

...and Porsche / VW motor group (including Audi and Seat) won't join F1 because F1 is too aerodynamically orientated...(the words of the Head of the VW / Porsche motor group!!!)


Hehe, note that latest Ferrari and McLaren supercars have kers like boosts and batteries. Similar can be seen from Porsche.

Companies that do not have strong race teams rearly provide inovations like this hence Lamborghini and Aston are lacking what McLaren and Ferrari have.

Still I have to agree slow quiet cars are not appealing, turbo engines of the past produced 1450 bhp in quali trim? Why not unleash these turbos to produce something like around 1000 in race pace? Give it full boost and only give teams 100kg of fuel to complete the race.

Havomg 10 year old lap records from Schumacher era is nothing to be proud of. Slowing racing down is not racing.


Those were quali only engines - not expected to last more than 100 miles. Don't blame the engine builders - it was the regs that demanded they be less powerful so they could last 3-5 race weekends.

A race is a race if 2 or more cars/ bikes/ boats compete to complete a race distance. A racing driver is one who makes an effort to get to the finish line as fast as his equipment will let him.

Practically any team can build a faster car - it takes skill and ingenuity to build a fast car within a set of rules. Not least of these rules is that the car needs to stay on the track! The fastest car simply cannot do that - it needs to be run on salt flats without any other car near it. So there have to be some restrictions.


Maybe that's the plan? Let's make the engines run and reliable, then turn up the RPMs or the turbos? Should be easy.


I agree with your comment about the regs. If sustainability is something of importance to the rule makers, limit the fuel to 100kgs and let the manufacturers decide on the technologies to be used.


I agree with your overall vibe...good comments


Really...? McLaren P1 doesn't count? I'd say that was a pretty exotic supercar...


@Shane: That's a 173 bhp electric motor strapped to it.

Even Clarkson has admitted that the P1 is fantastic and that hybrids are here to stay.


...And the McLaren P1 uses a 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine...(with a little battery / electric motor strapped to it)


"I doubt you’ll see a major product line of Lamborghini’s, Aston’s or Ferrari’s with these hybrid engines anytime soon. "



Your agrument is invalid.

Nuff said.



Mclaren P1

Porsche 918


You forgot the McLaren P1.


@ Shane Pereira,

Still, it is invalid.


Panamera hybrid...lol...(what a fantastic F1 pedigree that has!)

La Ferrari...it weighs over a tonne (1,255kg dry weight)!!...only 500 will ever be made...and each costs over £1Million...so much for nimble, brilliant power-to-weight ratio...


Because he believes that F1's appeal is partially due to the speed and noise of a roaring V8 or V10. A slower, quieter F1 is not the right move for F1 at this point in time in his opinion. Time will tell if he is right. Are the fans in the stands who bring in the cash going to spend their hard earned money to watch these new cars. The racing had better be hugely exciting to make up for the lack of noise.

F1 without earplugs is wrong in my opinion. At least Gp2 will still be savagely loud.


When it come to sound the quieter formulae certainly lack interest except when: the cars are right in front of you, you are a lap chart frea..sorry enthusiast, you are a race team talent scout or you are related to the driver. F1 cars, at least up 'till now get your attention and keep it even when they are out of sight.Can't see formula E being anything short of a snooze fest unless they keep it on short circuits(pun) and allow contact.


To me it's just it:


A matter of sound and speed...

And after I saw that all grid passing by back straight at Interlagos 2012...well V6 aren't noise enough. Let's see with 15.000 rpm.


The fans in the grandstands don't bring in the cash. The pay tv audiences do. Most won't ever hear a screaming V8 at home anyway...


Bernie and co. make money from TV but the venues themselves make money from ticket sales. And if there are no ticket sales...you can guess the rest.


Yes, it is a lot of money. But the track owners pay big sanctioning fees (reportedly about $35 million for Australia in 2014). Also, the track owners don't receive any of the advertising monies generated by track signage, and don't receive any broadcast money. Bottom line is that the track has to cover expenses from the gate; a very dicey deal. Sanctioning fees also have built in escalators, somewhere in the 5%/year range. It's tough to just break even on an F1 race, let alone make money. Just ask Silverstone.


Not really - it may be a lot of money to you and me but it's not to the sport, a majority of tracks are struggling to meet their fees to Bernie. He doesn't care how many turn up in the regular stands. He charges the fees, the race promoters either cough up or he awards the race elsewhere, who will subsidize the race. Very few ever make a profit. That's why they have so much local or national government support.

Bernie may take money from the Paddock club tickets but these are almost always corporate sponsors who couldn't care less about the fans concerns and are bought as part of a marketing budget.

The number of races held with abysmal attendance should tell you how concerned Bernie and CVC care about loyal fan attendance. They want pay-tv deals and lots of media eyeballs on their product in as many global territories as possible.

Personally I don't mind the new engine sounds - I will miss the V8's high pitched scream, but I only generally get to hear it inbetween TV commentary which blanks out most of the ear splitting screech anyway.

The fact is fans have been turning off their screens for several years now and the V8 sound didn't keep them watching. When there is dominance or limited racing the viewing will drop (whether it's perceived or real). If the new formula brings lots of teams closer together - the majority of fans will watch more often. True the hardcore fans and more in-depth motorsport fans may hate the new sound but they are not the ones bringing in much money to Bernie. He is concerned with the casual millions of viewers who will watch on their pay TV packages if it looks like a 'close race'. Bernie doesn't care if the grandstands are empty. In the scheme of the multi-billions pouring through the system - the race promoters troubles are just not his concern.

This suggests his opposition to the new engine formula is not a moral stance on enhancing the show for fans, but either misdirection to any bad news on his legal woes, a power play against anything the FIA say, a tantrum or a blend of all three.

Anyone who thinks Bernie is concerned because the sound (or lack of it) might drive the hardcore punters away doesn't get the man. If nobody shows up at the stands, he still gets paid by the promoters - and if they go bankcrupt or the race fails, he has 10 new locations begging to be on the calendar with (often) Middle-Eastern funds willing to prop up some dull Hotel PR exercise of a track.


It can cost 400 pounds sterling for a weekend ticket in a good grandstand for most GP's. The VIP tickets can be over a thousand. When we are talking over 100,000 spectators for a weekend on average.... that's a lot of money.


Something has to be wrong if F1 is quieter than GP2, which seems to be the case... or if the Safety Car is not only louder than the F1 cars it's herding around, but nicer, too... unless they're planning on replacing that AMG with a Lexus or something.

Personally I'm very happy to see engines coming to the fore in F1, after so many years of nothing but boring, barely comprehensible and utterly inapplicable aero: blown diffusers, engine maps, coanda-this and raked-floor-that. Racing is fun, as long as we understand what's going on!

That said, if the powers that be really wanted to make F1 a test-bed for road car engines, I think they're going about it the wrong way. If the cars are going to be quiet, why not go the whole way and make them Turbo-Diesels, say 2.1lt V6s, so they would translate well to a 4-pot 1.4..?


@Sebee: sometimes I wish they would.

At least the new cars are turbos, so the technology is transferable, we hope... although the speeds these turbos use, sounds a bit unreal.


Bacause Audi/VW would come in after years of LMP and destroy the field in a blink.


Tbf, I've been to many GP's and have never had to wear ear plugs :/


I've been to 15 GPs. I have never worn earplugs, but today I do wear hearing aids.

Loudest and best ever was either Jean Alesi or Gerhard Berger in a V12 Ferrari, 1993 on the backstraight at Montreal. The sound echoed off a couple of crossover bridges. Wow.

The sound is one of the best things about F1. I'm concerned about the new cars.


I agree with Anil, I have been to all motorsport events since 1982 and I have chosen not to wear ear plugs at any.

That's part of the experience





*(Sorry cheap joke)


What's that you say ?


ANIL maybe that's because your'e already going deaf. (I'd recommend a good ear specialist)


I'm not sure on the characteristics of every GP circuit but my guess is, you have weird ears.

Try going to Monza without earplugs and see how long you can last.

Well, don't do that, you'd be deaf pretty quickly. Actually, you wouldn't now that we've got hair-dryers instead of V8s...


Well, most people were complaining tyat the sport was too aero dependent (where the old cars got their speed) and that one team was too dominant. The sound of the aighties turbos were much worse than these, imo, and the new engines won't cause permanent hearing damage.


But you had danger and death back then in true gladiator manner.

Who cares about the engine sound when you can see the driver's hands from the grandstand?



Can you do a piece on other new changes to the technical side, for instance not many realise that the kers push to overtake button has gone.



Here's a good preview of the power units: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVPQ3hu7ssw


Thanks Fireman, very interesting video. I wasn't aware of the control display unit.

Let's hope Martin Brundle learns a bit more Italian over the off season so as the pit to driver coms is going to be essential listening during the races this year.


Here is more from the same guy @ScarbsF1: http://scarbsf1.com


The times are meaningless as presumably the engine manufacturers want a certain amount of data before they increase the engines potential.

Even then, Bahrain will be another issue because of the increased temperature.

The first race will be the only real test. What isn't known yet is fuel consumption or who has the best Energy Recovery System.



In other seasons, Melbourne qualifying was the first real performance indicator. This year, qualy will tell us something interesting about outright pace, but on its own, this will mean very little if the fastest car can't finish the race, due to an inefficient ERS, which would effectively make the basic V6 too thirsty.

So really, we won't know what's going on until maybe five laps before the chequered flag... and even this is assuming that all the big players are reliable enough to make it that far, which seems somewhat unlikely at the moment.


I bet you any money, if you finish the race in melbourne, you'll be on the podium.


"What the Formula 1 teams will be doing next"

The Mercedes powered teams will be Rubbing their hands together, the Ferrari powered teams will be quietly confident while the Renault powered teams will be bricking themselves.


I think Ferrari is at least as happy as Mercedes.

If you compare the total mileage per engine/power unit manufacturer, AND factor in the number of Merc-engined cars or track Vs the Ferrari engined ones (plus the fact Marussia only ran one day, effectively), I think you'll find that the men in red have plenty of reasons to feel quite chuffed right now.


That is until they all get to Bahrain and the heat makes the Merc and Ferrari engines go BOOM and all that confidence is out the window.

Renault teams wont be bricking themselves till the end of the 3rd test if problems keep popping up, sure they missed out on a lot of running...but there is still a while to go yet and plenty of time for things to go pear shaped with the other teams.

I dont think anyone is truly confident at this stage.


I'm pretty sure Merc-Benz and Ferrari will be way more confident at this stage than Red Bull/Renault. Red Bull have a fundamental packaging/cooling issue, literally back to the drawing board. That's not even taking into account the problems with the Renault engine itself. Yes we don't know the relative performance between the teams, but I think it's fair to say missing 1000+km testing is pretty damaging when you consider how little they know about these engines and when track time is absolutely crucial in order to learn. Red Bull could have even more problems that they don't know about because they barely ran


It would be a switch if at the next test Renault have it all sorted while the other two are falling down, but hopefully everyone gets to do some decent running.


It could mean Merc and Ferrari get complacent and Renault comes back with a gem...

I doubt it, but it would be great to see three relatively equal power units in terms of performance and reliability by Australia.


Yep that would be nice 🙂


There are 5 weeks till all teams have to pack to travel to Australia.I have a bad feeling in my stomach that Australia will be about poor racing, one third of the cars stopping by lap 30, other 6 running out of gas and some third tier car winning because it went so slow nothing could go wrong. I bet 10 to 1 that average speed will be 5 t0 10 km per hour slower than last year winner. I hope there are some good football matches to watch.


I understand your pessimism but that actually sounds a lot more exciting than Vettel gets pole pulls out a 10 second lead, nothing happens.


On average that would be around 3 seconds a lap slower than last year, meaning that at the end of the year we could be seeing an even narrower differences as cars will gain performace faster that previous years. You don't even feel that on screen.


That to me shows that the cars are on the limit of the technology. Ultra reliable V8's just showed that nothing was being pushed other than aero.


"Ultra reliable V8′s"

cough, renault, cough


Max Chilton has a chance!


It's a sad day for F1 if Max Chilton joins the F1 winners club.


"some third tier car winning because it went so slow nothing could go wrong"

That's a win for Max Chilton then. 😀


surely it is better to have good racing at slightly slower speeds than the utter borefest we have suffered in the last 4 years. When you know the chances are the guy on pole will simply disappear into the distance there is little point in watching.

The rate of development is such that the cars are never slow for long when regs change.


And with average speeds of (about) 160km/h you won't actually notice any external difference. The only thing you will notice is that there is suddenly a little more uncertainty... Unless you liked the races when Vettel won every race?

F1 has historically been about balancing speed with reliability, with many top drivers "nursing cars home"- look at 1991, for instance. Ayrton Senna won the first 4 races, despite the fact that in the first 3 he was having gearbox maladies- and in fact at Brazil drove the last 10(?) laps in 6th gear...


I've lost count how many times vettel retired from the lead last 5 years, or how many times he had to nurse numerous issues to home.


Hey James,

Great insights from Mark as always.

Certainly the most interesting test in recent years... Which hopefully translates into an interesting, mixed bag of a season. Tickets to Melbourne quali burning a hole in my pocket!

Keep up the great work with this website, and look forward to hearing your insights on Channel 10/one HD this season!


All most interesting. Thanks. I have a request too!

In the "old days" the CPUs, engine management units, were all the same - made by McLaren. But what's happening now? I presume the control systems must be far, far, far more complicated if they have to correlate not just the engine management but the turbo, boost, wastegate, energy recovery, energy boost from the energy recovery etc etc. The mind boggles! A technical (in layman's terms) of all that and whether they are all still an FIA "don't touch" part would be most informative.



They ran 2014 ECUs already in 2013 cars, so they could avoid additional start up problems.


But how could you really test a component like that when the majority of the sensors, let alone the bits they were meant to monitor, were missing?


I guess they simply weren't connected. I don't know if you remember this, but during 2013 pre season testing and even troughout first races many teams had problems with the new ECUs. DRS for example, would always be available for all drivers and it was purely up to them to use it when they were allowed to and things like that. Most notable example was alonso passing rosberg in bahrain GP, when he opened his DRS before the actual DRS line, only to then immediately let him trough when he realized his mistake. I'm sure there were lots of other stuff going on but this was the one TV caught on cam. This was before his DRS failure.

Also onboard telemetry showing speed was very slow to update it self compared to 2012. There was quite a lot of issues at the start and teams were right to implement it last year already.

Most problems were solved by spanish GP if I remember correctly.

Fernando "150%" Alonso

Is the same ECU for all the teams. I think Ferrari was using this 2014 spec ECU since 2013. It was possible.


They are still all the same...

8.2.1 All components of the power unit, gearbox, clutch and differential, in addition to all associated actuators, must be controlled by an Electronic Control Unit (ECU) which has been manufactured by an FIA designated supplier to a specification determined by the FIA.

The ECU may only be used with FIA approved software and may only be connected to the control system wiring loom, sensors and actuators in a manner specified by the FIA.

Additional information regarding the ECU software versions and setup may be found in the Appendix to the Technical Regulations.


Thank you dren. You're obviously au fait with the regulations. So is the homologation of the control system set for the end of Feb, same as the engines? If Renault hope to go on developing theirs for a bit longer under some FIA dispensation I would've thought that might cause a major problem.


I will have to look at the regulations again but I am guessing the sensors are included with the homologated power unit package.


I think this is where Honda may get an advantage for next year.

With McLaren Technologies making the ECU they will have had 3 engine builders asking questions about what the ECU can or cannot do. Honda can now take that information and use it in their new engine.

I guess the first thing they will do is make sure that the vibration harmonics do not force the ERS to shut down like a Renault engine!


There is no wastegate in these turbo engines, the reason is in the name... far too wasteful to make sense. These turbos are 'harnessed', so they don't rev any longer than necessary.

Otherwise, a very interesting question, though.


There is a waste gate so that the gases can escape if there is failure with the turbo/hybrid system


I've read that some of the power units may have waste gates as backup safety incase the MGUH fails. The turbines are sized to power the compressor -and- the MGUH acting as a generator. Looking at the power unit report from the Cosworth unit (that isn't being used by anyone) it suggests the MGUH will harness around 100kw or so. The MGUH will act as a waste gate when it generates, or adds a load to the turbine to keep it from overspeeding. The MGUH will also act as a motor to spool up the compressor to reduce lag.


There is a wastegate. It has been officially confirmed by renault. It's there as a safety measure to prevent engine from blowing up in case of MGU-H malfunction.


No, it's not used regularly. It's a safety measure only.

And it is a wastegate. Renault said it themselves.


There's a whole section just for wastegates..


OK so it's not to be used regularly, i.e. whenever a driver goes off-throttle?

It sounds more like the secondary (safety) valve in a pressure cooker, than a wastegate.


Yes, I understand where you're coming from. But surely a wastegate does harvest energy - exhaust energy. Imagine the Fiat twin-cam in an integrale. You stick your foot down, the wastegate CLOSES, the exhaust is diverted to spin up the turbo, you wait 10 seconds, you get hit in the back! Bliss.

So really a wastegate is to stop waste which is what these new engines are all about.


Yes, but these guys won't wait 10 seconds! Of course turbos have moved a lot since the Integrale days, but even so, we're told that there is no lag in these turbos at all.


Cant wait to see who is quick

Must say RB car from an aero perspective looks pretty clean, without many surfaces breaking down the airflow, unlucky for them having renault problems

Also get the feeling macca could be a contender especially as they threw in towel early last year

Other than that the usual suspects should also be a force


The RB is very clean but have you seen how slimmed down it is at the rear? It looks like a starved models waistline! No wonder it's overheating! The mclaren and Merc look about twice as wide. I think Adrian Newey may just have to accept that beautiful aerodynamics don't always work with packaging so right everything melts...although if they figure out a way to cool the power train and retain that level of packaging they probably deserve that fifth title tbh


Yeah, it looks so nice. IF ONLY it worked haha ^^


Good points but... reading about some of the cars it would seem that Adrian Newey insists on the engine being as far forward as possible. It is said RB have the longest gearbox meaning that, with the engine further forward he can make the rear of the car that much tighter.

With gearboxes being homologated and the chassis restrictions he may not be able to fix the fundamental engine installation issues they are facing. Renault will fix their vibration problems but RB have a lot of basic packaging problems that need changes they might well struggle to make.


I have a sneaking suspicion that RBR's aero for Jerez was effectively launch-spec. No reason to reveal all your tricky bits, when all you really need to know is that the basic car underneath runs properly... which, in RBR's case, it didn't.

By the same token, I'm a bit surprised McLaren didn't bring along a more subdued version of their rear suspension, for the first test... why show their hand so early? Of course they would have wanted their aero to be relevant, so they could get representative tyre-usage data from their long runs, which I'm sure they got... sort of, because Jerez in January isn't really representative anyway.

Development in F1 is constant but involves quite a lot of lead-time, so if McLaren waited three weeks, by the time others saw the suspension in the second test there would be no time for them to test and build a similar setup, until a few races in...


They are all launch spec. No one is chasing performance. All the teams (even small teams) will have dramatically different cars by Melbourne


OK we agree... so why did McLaren reveal something like the suspension, so early?

Perhaps they thought others would have thought of the same thing... which may well be the case, except they plan to show it at a later test.


I'm guessing that some of there issues are also to do with the tight packaging that Adrian Newey always insists on. So how ever clean the cars aero is, they may have to change to allow cooling etc of the engine!


Bernie seems to be out of step, it's not clear what he is trying to achieve from recent remarks, is this because he is retiring soon? Justin King is leaving Sainsburys in July with no announcement as to his future plans. 2+2=?




Bernie's comments are often nonsensical - he's a master at giving nothing away & diverting the media's attention, so I'm sure he's got some agenda.

I thought the same with Justin King's departure from Sainsbury's. It's been rumoured for so long, surely it's not just a coincidence that he's become available just as Bernie is having his powers reigned in with the court case etc?


Thanks James, Love the factual insites into this magical world of F1, Very early days yet, engine wise, and im positive that (the guys who brought the turbo to F1 in the 80's) renault will sort out any issues, exciting times ahead indeed.


Thanks Prof Gillan. Looking forward to your lap / long / short run analysis for the next tests.


Is Renault handicapped for not having their own team (like Ferrari and Mercedes) or is their relation with RBR essentially the same?


Red Bull is the Renault works team, but it can't be the same as having the engine and chassis teams on the same site like Ferrari, or within 30 miles of each other like Mercedes. Red Bull is based in Milton Keynes, and Renault Sport F1 just outside Paris - not ideal even if the engines are supposedly tailored to Red Bull's requirements.

Having said that, it has worked fairly well over the last four years! However, now there is no longer technological stability in the engine department, maybe the logistical issues will become (or are already) a bigger factor than before.


Red Bull is the works Renault team. So similar. They will be like Mclaren-Honda.


Although stories about an argument between Newey and Renault's Rob White suggest they probably don' t work as closely as the works teams do!





If the new MGU-K is basically the old KERS (kinetic energy recovery system) than the new MGU-H could be called HERS (heat energy recovery system). Now what a team like RBR seems to need right now is some sort of heat inversion system.

If they can figure that out then they can have a HIS and HERS 🙂


MGU-H is driven off the turbo (not the engine) .... When the driver is off throttle, the turbo continues to spin and drives a generator that charges the battery.

When the driver hits the throttle agin, this generator turns into an electric motor to help turn the turbo up to max revs.

MGU-K has NOTHING to do with the brakes,

Same deal as above... It's a belt-driven generator mounted beside the engine ... When the driver is off throttle, as the engine loses revs it turns this generator ... So it actually helps with engine braking.

Again, when extra speed is required, the generator becomes an electric motor, running on the charge in the battery and helps spin up the revs of the motor.


All well put - bit it goes further.

In a standard turbo engine when the boost pressure gets too much for the engine to handle the excess pressure is dumped through a waste gate or dump valve. In these new F1 engines the excess pressure is prevented by allowing the MGU-H (motor generator unit-heat) to load the turbo. So generating electricity slows the turbo or prevents it from spinning faster. They are also saying this electrical power can be put straight into the MGU-K or through to the energy store.

Also the MGU-K has a great deal to do with the brakes. Engine braking is the slowing effect induced by lifting off the throttle. When the KERS units failed last year the drivers had to change the front/ rear brake balance as the energy is only recovered from the rear wheels. With this years ERS being so much greater they decided that the difference from both down to only the physical brakes would be so big it would cause crashes. The effect of ERS is to increase the effect of engine braking - but this happens by pressing the brake pedal. So the balance of the brakes and the braking effect of energy recovery is now managed by an electronic control unit - hence "brake by wire".


MGU-K is the motor generator unit - kinetic i.e. the KERS motor (enlarged from last year) and MGU-H is the all new motor generator unit - Heat and is the electric motor associated with the new turbo and tasked with recovering heat from the exhaust.


K - like last year's kers system but much more powerful.

H - connected to and used to harvest energy from the turbo.

Think of it like this. K for kers. Energy harvested under braking.

H for heat, harvesting energy from the hot air coming from the turbo


I think one harvests the energy from the brakes and one passes the energy from the battery to the power train for extra horse power. There is also another element that spools up the turbo to eliminate turbo lag.




So the first refers to energy recovered from braking (as was the case with KERS previously), while the second refers to energy recovered from the heat, mostly around the turbo.

Now I wonder how many times you'll get nearly identical replies to this one...


MGU-K - energy recovery system that harvests wasted energy from the drivetrain.

MGU-H - energy recovery system that harvests wasted energy from the engine.

Think of H as Hot = Engine and it might help 😎



Great article, Mark/James.

Anybody who count Renault/Newey out because of one flat like this, especially in perspective of the ramped up value of the final race, is likely judging too hastily.

Yes the Mercedes power looks strong and reliable, right out of the box, but it is a long engineering race, and it will be decisive this season.

Of course we're all hoping...

...for some real competition.

McLaren look to be back.

I'd love to have got another analytical dimension on the McLaren 'suspension', specifically, prospects on adoption and incorporation on competing squads.

How could it be considered legal?

In that lies the real innovation of this system, and if a team was to invest in it, I would assume its 'copiability' might be a challenge (for other teams).

But then again, we definitely haven't seen all of the toys out of the trunk yet?!?

I read Red Bull, in line with historical trend, that they're trouble is in bringing their starting mule, competitive, but far from fully equiped, up to minimal competitive capability, and stable. Then, apply the upgrades, more easily copiable ones, later and later into the season.

They have been the most advanced in the engineering wars; so we shall have to see if Mercedes reaps the strategic design/build/implement benefits, finally, from their ridiculous investment in engineering, or not.

McLaren and Ferrari look to be in the fight this year; so it's looking good, so far.


James/Mark: I remember Jacques Villeneuve commenting (with disdain) on the braking by wire, when he returned with Sauber, how it was like 'being a passenger'.

Here on these pages, I've seen various descriptions, and it seems as if the brake by wire will apply only to the back brakes, and the fronts will still be by direct hydrolics.

Could we have a brief history of brake by wire, and then what it means for this season, and how it operates hand-in-hand with the power distribution and recoup?

Alberto Martínez

Fascinating report of the Jerez test. Great great to read.

I think it would be interesting to explain the new 'brake by wire' system to the fan. I´ve read several quotes from drivers and engineers reporting is a massive subject to get to grips with.

There is also the rumour that fixing the Renault issues could take around 15 to 20 weekends. Have you heard something throught the grapevine about that?



rumours... if true, will immidiatelly neutralize all renault powered cars. let's just wait and see.


Renault have more than one problem. Heat and such problems will be relatively quick. I have just read/listened to more that suggest the bigger issue is the vibration. Scarbs has suggested that the harmonic vibration point of the Renault engine is at 15k rpm. Personally I would doubt that as is is also suggested that the engines will rarely hit the rev limiter - and also that it is doubted whether the engines were really stretched last week.

Harmonic vibration is like a musical instrument - get the right note and it will simply get louder as the vibration effect is aligned. Henley bridge has a plaque stating that soldiers must break step over the bridge as the harmonic vibration is the same. Staying in step would make the bridge bounce and possibly break. If this is Renault's problem they will have to make some dramatic changes - possibly to the crankshaft. This could well take 20 weeks to get right - as such a fundamental change has to be adequately researched and implemented on 20 units. It is rather unlikely this will be ready by the homologation date.


Wow, thank you very much for that. That's better information about a test session than I think I've ever read before. Both about the process and the results of this specific test. Very cool


I can't wait to see/play F1 2014 for the first time!

It should be pretty easy to pass the initial testing (normally the Young Driver's Test) - "You completed a whole lap with a Renault engine, well done!" *Gold medal*

And the scenarios should be interesting - "After a horror start where you lost your extended proboscis in Button's rear aero flaps, you've re-entered the race in 19th. Luckily, all the Renault-powered cars are in front of you, so you'll only have to overtake one car to get back into the points. Push hard!"

And it's going to be awesome seeing how the game developers interpret and recreate all the new noses - mind you, by the time the game is developed, they'll probably all look the same, which is a bit of a shame.

In all seriousness though, I'm keen to see how noticeable the difference will be between F1 2013 and F1 2014 in terms of acceleration, braking, downforce, (K)ERS operation, etc. For 99% of us it's the closest we'll ever get to driving the real thing...


So let's just throw this out there as a "what if", and pretend the issues with Renault are really worst case, and they simply have problem on problem and don't find a solution:

How long would teams stick through an engine ... I'm sorry, power unit supplier having problems which completely prohibited them from doing any running whatsoever?

Let's say it gets to March and they can't even keep the cars going long enough to wear through a set of tyres: What then?


Then chaos theory will become something more than just theory for some teams.


I wondered this too. I think it would be impossible to do anything about it this season in terms of sourcing an engine from elsewhere. Not only have you got the technical chassis/engine integration issues to overcome without any testing or time to manufacture significant new components, but I am pretty sure the teams currently supplied by Merc/Ferrari would block any deal anyway.

Also think of the ramifications for sponsors and other commercial factors! Could Infiniti, and possibly even the wider Red Bull corporation bring a suit against Renault for supplying an engine that isn't fit for purpose? There are also all the sponsors of Lotus and Caterham that wouldn't get the exposure they paid for. It would be a mess!


It would be hard cheese for them 😎


Christian Horner will be crying like a stuck pig about how unfair it is and that they should be allowed to use last years engines!


All this week d Ive had one question, don't teams have rolling road dynos? Cant they test the cars+engines at the factory?


I've wondered exactly the same thing. If you've got a wind tunnel, you surely want the car on a rolling road to see how the turbulence from the wheels turning and the exhaust gases coming out the car effect matters?

I think this season could be one of the most boring on record. In recent times the Red Bull has proven to be the fastest car over a season, but rarely in the last couple of years was it massively faster than it's rivals. Take Spain last year for example (it's a good benchmark as the car setups are perfected their given testing etc). In qually was a Merc on a 1:20.7 then down to 8th place the time set was a 1:21.3 - so 6 tenths. That's close racing in F1 terms, very close.

A season of someone driving off at the front with ease perhaps more so than 2011 & 2009 is not good entertainment, especially when the cars aren't that loud and have silly noses.

As an F1 fan for 30 years or so now, this season is one which I hold little hope for. Fingers crossed I'm wrong and the cars are somewhere close so driver differences can count...


I would imagine they do have rather advanced dynos. But it now seems highly likely that they don't all conduct their tests the same way. Perhaps Merc and Ferrari spent a lot of time with the entire package rolled up the way it is in the cars, and Renault, along with RBR and the rest of their teams didn't... but all we can do is just speculate, I'm sure it is much more complicated than most of us can understand.

Anyway... they got it wrong!


of course they do.

Dynos are great for setting up gear ratios and tuning an engine.

What they cannot do is recreate the effect of driving around a race track. They say a lot of the Renault issues are about vibration. On a dyno everything can be fine but add the bumps and jolts a car goes through on track and a slight flex in a mounting bracket becomes uncontrollable so that the next bump adds to the effect and it can break or vibrate too much.


Hi James,

what's the story behind Toro Rosso switching to Renault's power unit? I thought they were running the Ferrari engine previously as a hedge for exactly this situation..

Did Ferrari end the partnership to protect their intellectual property from RBR??

More broadly I just don't see the point in TR for RBR anymore, surelly Dr Marko could get his latest wiz kid a drive with Caterham as a condition for their technical partnership..


Continuity with RBR, I think Red Bull hope that the list of prescribed parts will change so that there will be more transfer of important parts


James, while this makes a lot of sense... isn't it also quite likely that Ferrari would also be happier if nobody in the Red Bull camp had information on their engine programme (as Sharm pointed out), at a time as sensitive as this?


Especially in the case of, horror of horrors, a budget cap with teeth is enforced next season. Nice that RB Tech has the option to double any cap amount if they desire.


You know what is the most unfair thing to me? You can skip the first race and win the last one and be good with points as it would be the same as winning 2 other races.

How absurd is this? Instead of rewarding people for doing the job right and showing up in Austria with a strong car, people are rewarded to skip first races and win the last.

Formula 1 is going from bad to worse.

Fernando "150%" Alonso

Excelent point!


Not Austria, Australia (mistake).


There are no kangaroos in Austria


Have you ever been to their

zoos or courts?


Everyone should go on planet f1 and read the article about what rosberg said about this years racing. F1 is going in the wrong direction and it'll damage the sport.


You mean where he said

"There are so many variables that my expectation is that it will be a very thrilling season."

Sounds OK to me. Hope he's right.


Great story on the first test. Interesting comments about the change to new engines etc for 2014. It's about time as the past few seasons have become boring with the same old thing and just a few aero changes. I have seen F1 go through many changes over the years from the 'amazing noise' of the BRM V16 to the 1500's, then turbo etc .... all were great eras. We now have a new era and it has already bought interest back to F1 ... which it needed.


Hi Mark,

Thanks for the overview of the test. I'm interested to know how long you think it will take the other teams to copy the rear aero suspension on the McLaren? I imagine it is quite challenging to incorporate it into their new cars, especially since there is so much other stuff to be worrying about and it is quite a fundamental component on the car. Didn't it take half a season for the other teams to copy the double diffuser on the Brawn cars?

Also what potential is there for off throttle turbo blowing on the suspension? I read somewhere else this is an area that can potentially be exploited but from the pictures that I've seen the exhaust doesn't look like it's directed at the suspension enough to create this effect!?

After last season a lot of people had written off McLaren as just another midfield team - going the way of Williams - but it is great to see that they've still got some great ideas and innovations. I hope they've got more tricks up their sleeves!


interesting that a technical article gets hijacked by the bernie lover/hater brigade like he is some sort of blofeld mastermind. You only have to hear him in an interview to see he is really just a mascot for the sport these days and probably hasn't even bothered to read anything about the new designs. life is too short for that.


Maybe because James is a bit selective about news items and did not report on BE comments.


James could we have a more considered in depth look at the McLaren rear aero. It seems that they might have stolen a march on other teams including Mercedes with this innovation.


It seems that many would like to write RBR and Renault off (especially in the JA Renault article). I think that is not wise. Of course it is not ideal to run just installation laps or the Jerez video with the spitting TR.

However, just as many thought that Merc were way before everyone else, Renault could catch up. Normally it's the last test (normally in Barca, this year in Bahrain) that will tell us the picking order.

I can imagine while Merc and Ferrari is checking data and fine-tuning ecerything at this moment, the Renault guys are working their ass off day and night.

I am looking forward, especially to the internal Ferrari cat-fight and hopefully to see Macca and Williams back to glory-days.


I agree, lets give the Bulls and Regie the benefit of the doubt. Bull have the facilities - and finance - to put in lots of over-nighters at Milton Keynes to try and resolve any issues. Perhaps it's better to have the problems exposed now than at the first practice in Melbourne.

I think you are correct on a potential bust up at Ferrari. Two very egotistical men into one team is combustible, to say the least. Fernando vs Kimi is a mouth watering prospect.

Finally, yes, it would be great to see Frank and Macca at the sharp end of the grid. I'd be surprised if Frank was contesting the WDC, but you know what, stranger things have happened. That Merc V6 is potentially the class engine of the field in 2014, so Frank and Macca could do some serious business this year.


Why did Force India struggle whereas all the other Merc engined cars got in a lot of mileage?


Looks like Lotus may have had the right idea. They've not missed much by not attending, though they'd have hoped that the other teams would have ironed out the engine glitches by now.



Force india is a highly intelligent team compared to williams.when you compare williams' facilities with force india,you will see that force india looks nothing more than a small workshop,they dont even have a 60% windtunnel.but the force india's are simply known for punching above weight.

Dont worry darth hulkenberg and sergio skywalker will be kicking ass this year with FORCE INDIA!!!!!"


I would say that on aero perspective we saw some pretty interesting cars. To me, besides the very clever McLaren rear solution, that can be a major factor, the two most interesting are RB and Ferrari fronts. Both cars are not just separating the fluid and channeling to the back but also creating aimed depressions on specific sections of the bodywork. Of the two actually Ferrari is the most extreme (I am quite surprised that someone said that they were conservative) and they have must spent (or shall I say I hope they did spend) a lot of time on the wind tunnel at different pressure gradients to make sure that the effects are truly progressive, otherwise they will be very fast on high speed and low speed but not on medium corners (which has been their problem in the past). RB uses impact air from the little opening on the nose and creates a depression right after, using a solution that Toleman used back in the days. At Jerez all big teams they were mapping and gathering data they had at least couple seconds in the pocket. Will see in Barhain....


I would say that on aero perspective we saw some pretty interesting cars. To me, besides the very clever McLaren rear solution, that can be a major factor, the two most interesting are RB and Ferrari fronts. Both cars are not just separating the fluid and channeling to the back but also creating aimed depressions on specific sections of the bodywork. Of the two actually Ferrari is the most extreme (I am quite surprised that someone said that they were conservative) and they have must spent (or shall I say I hope they did spend) a lot of time on the wind tunnel at different pressure gradients to make sure that the effects are truly progressive, otherwise they will be very fast on high speed and low speed but not on medium corners (which has been their problem in the past). RB uses impact air from the little opening on the nose and creates a depression right after, using a solution that Toleman used back in the days. At Jerez all big teams they were mapping and gathering data they had at least couple seconds in the pocket. Lotus idea can be interesting it all depends what they do after the fork, but that solution creates some other problems and you want to have a very drivable car with new rules... Will see in Barhain....


Thanks for the insight James. It's articles like this that set your website apart from others. I hope the comments pages dont degenerate into personal slanging matches like some other websites have degenerated into as there are normally some good points made.

And for what its worth I like the turbo engine sound. Sounds similar to the first gen turbo F1 engines and we certainly haven't heard them at full chat yet too.


There's been a lot of discussion on the forum about the thermal discharge problems that the teams (especially Bull) are facing. That is a legitimate discussion, but I also think another area worth investigating is going to be the gearbox, rear brakes and rear axle. Just think: these new turbo/electronic units are going to pump out a huge amount more torque than the old V8's, so that inevitably will put a lot of extra strain on the gearbox, driveshafts and rear axle. Apparently, back in the old turbo era, the drivers complained about "axle tramp", where the 1.5 litre bi-turbo engines produced so much torque on full boost than even in third, fourth gear the rear axles was squirming, practically unable to take all the load from the engines. Also, with the extra electrical harvesting, the rear axle could possibly be overloaded and counter-rotate, locking the rear axle and causing the driver to spin off. Is this a possibility, or is it just supposition?

Also, the new fly by brake technology used at the rear brakes could be very interesting, swapping the old reliable hydraulic system for an electric one. Hmm, what happens if there is some electrical infidelity amongst the sensors and acuators? I'm a bit concerned about this. A rear brake failure could be catastrophic if a "bug" gets in the electrical system. At least if the ERS fails, the driver still has the petrol engine for forward motion. Can anyone reassure me that this new fly by wire braking system will not have meltdowns?

Lastly, rear suspension is an interesting area. With the exhaust being mandated to one outlet in the centre, doesn't that mean the rear suspension is less prone to being "cooked" by the hot exhaust gases, and that the air-flow and therefore efficiency and aero balance will be significantly better?

Any insight greatly received


Thanks for the analysis, looking forward to Bahrain. Bernie has a point, regarding engine sound and economies of fuel, but f1 is also to do with new technologies and having a stagnant v8 doesn't fit that much into this idea. As such its up to the team's to develop a fast downsized v6 turbo engine. Oxymoron FIA asks for budget cuts. I guess that every party will have to sit down again and come up with a vision at least for the next 10 years, simply to put it...what f1 do we really want!


Hi James, any idea how much of an advantage Mclaren will have if the others cannot implement a rear suspension setup like theirs?

I read/heard somewhere that Ferrari's design seems a touch conservative. And that a reporter heard the car scrabbling for grip, more so than Merc/Mclaren. I wonder if theyre in for the usual 'not enough downforce' issue. I hope not!!


Ferrari have had problems with traction for a while now

I'll find out more about your specific questions


Thanks James 🙂

Ferrari have said their wind tunnel correlation seems to be a success this year so heres to hoping they can provide Kimi/Fernando a car capable of fighting for the titles.


Wow, there is such a bunch of whining going on.....I love the technology and change, engineers have new toys to learn and play with and the hybrid powrtrain is fascinating stuff. NA is NOT the state of the art anymore and supercars are joining the hybrid train (or else will be run over by it).

For me F1 is about the state of the art pinnacle of motor racing and whether or not my ears bleed makes no difference. Yes I think the V6's sound cool!!

Everything has it's place in time, let's relish the developmental years of the hi-tech and embrace the change to a more engine/power unit oriented race program.

Love it

Love it

Love it


I bet if that RB10 could last a few laps in Vettels hands it would be bloody quick.

So when it does start to last and it will, they had all better watch out.


I've been a faithful watcher of F1 for way over 2 decades, but one thing that annoys me, is that F1 always blatantly fiddled with the rules if someone did their job too well.

Nobody would get the idea of mandating lead shoes in track & field in hope to make Usain Bolt lose. Nobody mandated that cyclists have to have 2 testicles after Lance Armstrong won 7 Tour de Frances on the trot. (Even if that turned out a massive scam later)

But in F1 it seems to be acceptable to mandate tyre suppliers to deliberately build crap tyres in an effort to disadvantage high downforce cars. In 2005 they fiddled with the tyre rules to forcibly stop Ferrari from winning. That has nothing to do with real life.

In real life the smart kid gets the best job, it doesn't get dumbed down so that the dimwitted kid feels better about himself.

Now we will see it all over again. Renault dropped the ball and I'd bet my bottom dollar, they'll get a 'special permit' to change their engine past the freeze date to have them keep up with the competition. It's wrong. They should suffer a crap year for failing to build a functioning motor after a bloody 2 year development period.

What's the point in having a competition, if you punish those, who are too good at it or coddle those, who are too stupid to make the cut?

That's broken with F1, not the sound.


The Merc is looking in good shape, Aldo Costa has done a great job. Ferrari were mad to let him go.


Ferrari have not got the results under his reign. In fairness Ferrari have been very poor ever since 2009 to 2013.

Yes this season again show plenty of early promises. Mercedes have stepped up and Mclaren are back in it. With Ferrari not too far away from these teams.

I will still not bet against a RBR race victory come the Australian GP, only time will tell.


Ferrari's last championships were Costa cars, 2007 and 2008.

Once again, Ferrari were mad to let him go, he has made Mercedes a great car.


In other news, Kubica is 7 to 1 to finish on the podium in Rally Sweden : )! GO ROBBIE!!!


since mark webber left F1 for the new and exciting world of WEC/LMP1 racing i have been boning up and this series really looks as though it has a very bright future insofar as it is a true development series.

i have absolutely no problems with the integration and acceptance of new technology and the pursuance of engineering excellence. i love that. where i lose interest is when we have the application of manipulative issues such a DRS and pirelli trash tyres.

F1 has, IMO, degraded its once proud heritage of being the ultimate in motorsport competition. by all means introduce innovation but at least let us get back to all out racing.


With Formula Hybrid,formerly known as Formula One, on the wane, it is being reported that GP2 lap times at some circuits could be fastest. Does that mean that GP2.will now be getting the increased TV coverage it deserves..


Ahh progress. F1 gets uglier and slower each year. More techno-babble, more weight and tyres made from chewing gum. Last year at Melbourne we had Historic Group C support races. A 9L V8 March being chased by a 3L V12 Matra. The most entertaining and enjoyable races of the weekend!


I live in Fremont California, home of the Teslas. I am used to low sounding vehicles. I was extremely disappointed that I stayed up after hours when I should have been sleeping to hear the roar of F1 cars in the Australian GP. I own cars with V12 engines even though Tesla pays my bills. I am a race enthusiast. I am very sorry that F1 has lost me as a customer. I will continue to ignore Napcar and Indy. However I will miss the oasis that F1 was. Thank you F1. Bye now.

Sorry, I will not lose sleep over the small sample product I encounter and I will never approve my company to ever sponsor anything F1 related. Sorry for the vent but I can't exactly write a letter to F1 executives I don't normally talk to.

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