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Who’ll be quickest in Bahrain test?
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Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  14 Feb 2014   |  6:54 pm GMT  |  487 comments

The first pre-season test in Jerez was a revelation in terms of who went well and who did not. One of the talking points to emerge was the gap in lap times set by this year’s cars and those set at the Spanish circuit last year.

This year, McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen set the week’s fastest time with a lap of 1:23.276. In 2013, however, Felipe Massa went quickest, recording a lap time of 1:17.789 on third day of the four-day test.

The more than five-second gap raised a few eyebrows but teams were quick to point out this year’s opening test focused almost entirely on getting the complex new cars up and running reliably, with performance hardly figuring in their run plans. Indeed, it was confidently predicted by many that times will drop as more test miles are completed.

“In Bahrain, I think we can start to work on the performance of the car,” said Adrian Sutil in the wake of the week in Jerez. “The temperature will be close to race conditions and we will have a different package on the car.”

Nico Rosberg, too, confirmed that lap time hadn’t been a concern in Jerez. “Nothing was all-out, not even the driver,” he said. “It was just important to do a lot of kilometres.”

So, the big question is by how much the lap times drop next week and who’ll make the most progress in terms of performance? Some teams say that it will only be at the sec on Bahrain test at the end of the month that we will see the real performance parts coming onto the cars ready for the first race of the new season.

So who will set the pace in Bahrain #1?

And that’s the puzzle we want you to partly solve. We’ve got five copies of James Allen on F1 – 2013: Winning at all Costs to give away to five people who correctly predict which driver will set the fastest lap of the Bahrain test from February 19-22. Prizewinners will be chosen randomly from among those who make the correct prediction. 

No need to give us lap times, though your predictions are welcome. Just tell us which driver will set the week’s quickest lap and once the test is over we’ll get the books on their way to the winners. Naturally enough, entries close on the evening of February 18.

For those not lucky enough to win, we do still have a handful of copies of JA on F1– 2013  available to order. It’s a limited edition collectable, so once this run has sold out, that’s it. Copies will be despatched to most countries around the world. To order yours and to be sure of getting one of the final copies click on this link: http://shop.jamesallenonf1.com/Info/Book.html

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487 comments

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1

My guess: Jenson Button

2

I'd agree.

Jenson Button

4

Alonso

5

You've got to be kidding.

6

No. Jenson Button will win Australian GP. Guess who of all active drivers and which team has the most wins there? Button - 3. McLaren - 11.

7

yea JB he has something to prove this year he will be lighting

8

What????? Don't forget in 2009 at Oz Rubens was also driving that "invincible" Brawn and he was outqualified and outraced by Jenson. Also, in 2010 and 2012 Lewis was driving the same car and was comprehensibly beaten by Jenson. Let the car do the job? Er, what about steering, accelerating and braking? I'm sure the driver has some sort of input into that!

Even if you don't like Jenson personally, trying to denude his achievements in Australia smacks of sour grapes.

9

RE Keiran: At the end of the day, the rules and regulations are the same for all cars, teams and drivers, and if Lewis couldn't adapt as well as Jenson then he's obviously missed a trick - don't forget Sebastian and Fernando coped pretty well with the switch to Pirelli's.

I agree Lewis has raw speed, no doubt about that, but he is inclined to barge into other drivers which is a bit misplaced from a driver of his talent and ability. I think I'm correct in saying Lewis, out of all the top drivers - Lewis, Jenson, Sebastian, Nico Ros, Mark and Fernando - has had more collisions with his colleagues in the last five years.

Lewis is at his best in leading from the front, no doubt about that, he is sublime at controlling the race from the front. Jenson meanwhile, is superb at coming through the pack: witness Hungary 2006 and Canada 2011.

Let's just say the two Brits get their results from different techniques.

10

History books don't paint the whole picture. I'd rather watch the races and decide for myself, who's the better driver and who's more likely to win races. In this case I'd place Hamilton above Jenson. 2011 was a great year for Jenson though, he actually drove even better than in his championship winning year. But let's not forget, Lewis had to completely alter his driving style to accommadate the new rules and schizophrenic tyres. For Button's smooth driving style, this was right up his alley. If the formula went back to old school flat out racing (which it should be) Hamilton would annihilate him.

11

RE Nick: with regards to points in 2012, don't forget Jenson had mechanical failures at Bahrain and Italy. Also in 2011 Jenson finished an impressive 43 points ahead of Lewis, and remember, Jenson retirements that year were mechanically induced - Lewis retirements at Canada and Belgium were his own crass stupidity.

Even if you don't like Jenson personally that's fine, but at the end of the day going into 2014 he is still the only team-mate who has beaten Lewis over a full season, and for that he has my respect and admiration.

Having said that, what chance Nico Ros takes Lewis to the cleaners in 2014?

12

RE Nick and Kieran: at the end of the day, the history books show that Jenson won Oz in 2009, 2010 and 2012. As Frank told EJ when Mr Jordan started out in F1 back in 1991: "Who cares how you win a race, as long as you WIN. All history records is WINNERS."

Well said Frank.

13

I seem to remember the Mclaren pit crew making stupid errors during Hamilton's pitstops. Had his pitstop been successful he would have come out behind Button, but instead he was behind Alonso which prevented him from attacking Button. Looks like people have short memories regarding Hamilton's races...

14

Are you sure about that?

Jenson was beaten by Hamilton in 2010 and 2012

If not for unreliability, Hamilton would have been over 100 points ahead of him in 2012

15

Re Rodrigo: The point is Jenson won 2009 Oz and WDC, Rubens didn't. As Martin Brundle correctly says, no excuses in F1.

16

in 2009 Rubens car had that problem in the starts that make the car stall, and that cost him a lot!. Second in the beginning of the championship JB used different brakes than RB, look at australia gp that JB had that cover on the wheel and RB don't. That cover made the car slightly quicker.

17

Exactly, glad some of the british fans agree with me here instead of their head buried so far up Hamilton to see anything, when Jenson is on form and working well with the car he's a match for anyone and in fact to much for Hamilton to handle as Oz 2012 proved, so far Mclaren seems strong even though its too early to tell, Bahrain test will reveal if Renault are in big trouble or not so yes Jenson can win Melbourne especially if its variable weather during the race, the death of late John Button will surely toughen up Jenson further, roll on Bahrain.

18

Indeed, I'm not especially a fan of Button but the same criticism - he either won because the car was good or because other drivers were disadvantaged - could be applied to any driver winning any race.

The fact is he's won the Australian GP 3 times, a good record. That has no relevance to whether he'll win this time out though...

19

One thanks to that unvincible Brawn and another because Vettel had a brake failure and Alonso spun out due to a contact with Jenson. And the McLaren in 2012 was a bullet, he only beat Lewis at the start and then let the car do the job. As long as the cars are on par, both Ferrari and Merc drivers are ahead of him for the win.

20

I honestly think Button will spend a lot of next season trying to explain why he is getting beat by Magnussen

21

Show me a driver that has won a WDC in the least competitive car. That said Jenson only had the most competitive car for the first half of that season.

Which driver has won the most GPs in the last 5 years (ie. since 2009)?

Vettel obviously.

Who's second...?

22

@ tealeaf, no it wasn't a master class, Button had destroyed his intermediates some laps before the others, he lucked into the tyre change before anyone else. thats it.

23

Yes Richard of course even Chilton could win the title in a Redbull...

Also yes only when Hamilton wins a race its down to driver brilliance no one else...

24

Tealeaf: You should understand in recent F1 that there is no such thing as a straight fight. - Pirelli tyres and set up required to achieve good balanced running is fraught with difficulty depending on the car, and engineers. In todays formula comparisons between drivers are pointless and inaccurate. Only when we have a much simpler formula with High deg.tyres, DRS, ERS, and all the other crap can such comparisons have any sort of validity. - It's an artifice!!!!!!!!!!

25

And if Mercedes tears tyres and Ferrari laps fuel and Red Bull burns...? To many unknown things. Relax, I have only pointed out the statistics.

26

Yeah... he still actually won 3 times.

27

Really?!?! 2010 was a masterclass of dry/wet weather driving a Jenson strong point, who's to say even if Seb's brakes didnt seize up he would have won? From what I saw Jenson won that race fair and square with better thinking and a good consistent pace, also 2012 the car done the job??? He beat Hamilton in a straight fight! If Merc and Mclaren are evenly matched Jenson could easily win the race.

28

I'm going to go with Kevin Magnussen (spelling?)

Why? Because the Mercedes engines are strong and both Merc and Ferrari will not be chasing the headlines, Ferrari rumoured to be sandbagging. Renault teams catching up, reliability checks i.e. what everyone else did in Jerez. Furthermore, McLaren are supposedly competing for sponsors with Lotus? Why wouldn't they want to set the quickest time with their wunderkid, causing the media to submit to a pre-season lull and try and liken the new boy to Lewis Hamilton and his debut season

29

Me too: Kevin Magnussen! 🙂 But I hope Kimi or Fernando finish ahead

30

Yes. I'll go for Kevin Magnussen, too. However, it's not a puzzle and nor is that a solution. It's just a wild guess, which is frankly the best anyone will be able to do with the information we have at our disposal.

So the winners will be lucky, not necessarily clever. Best of luck everyone!

31

Why do you think Ferrari are sandbagging?

32

Good post. While we're on the subject of Macca, is it possible for you James or anyone else in the British media to go to Woking and give Macca a couple of tins of orange paint. Why? Well we've got three teams in silver/grey livery and it looks pretty dull. Six bloody cars in silver/grey! Macca were founded by the Bruce the Kiwi, and orange is the national racing colour of New Zealand (Bruce and Denny raced in orange coloured cars during late 60s/early 70s), so why not a return to tangerine for McLaren? Any Swiss viewers of this post, is it also possible to go to Hinwill and give Sauber a couple tins of, hmm, I dunno, yellow? Come on Sauber and Macca, literally put some colour back into F1!

Apologise for the rant, but I think it should be mandatory for every team to have a different colour.

33

McLaren merged with Ron Dennis's team so McLaren is at best only 50% kiwi... Perhaps orange might not be appropriate!

34

How about half orange, half silver? Silver half to keep Ronspeak happy, and the orange half to pay tribute to Bruce.

Go on Wokings lads and lasses, be bold.........go orange!

35

Well compromise then. How about orange primer?

36

You're right about Ronspeak's Project 4 merger.......still, orange would be OK on heritage terms I guess. Come on Macca, lets have tangerine McLaren's back in F1! Won't happen though, Ronspeak's favourite colour is grey................

37

Hamilton

38

Agree hamilton

39

Jenson button

40
Jose Sanchez kowalsky

Hamilton

41

I think Ferrari will step up to the plate at this test and really show their pace. For me the story on 2014 will be Ferrari having the fastest car but failing to land the drivers title because of a meltdown between drivers. Alonso to leave at the end if the season and Rosberg champion. You heard it here first.

42

Mmm, this season will depend heavily on electrical components...Italian cars tend to be weak in this area..will the F14T be frying cables like its namesakes tend to?

I know that the Ferrari engine is meant to have a cooling advantage over the rest of the field, so maybe this will help their wiring! 🙂

43

Yes, so weak that Ferrari has the best reliability of any of the teams..

44

From Gary Anderson's analysis (and Mark Hughes as well) Ferrari are lacking in strong rear downforce; possibly because their design philosophy is shifting the aero balance too far forward so the front axle has lots of downforce at the expense of the rear. At the moment, if I was a F1 driver, I would want a Brixworth Merc V6, and only the British Bulldog kit car teams have one of those.

45

Sorry mate...I was talking about THIS YEAR!!

You know, Turbos (Hot), Bigger battery capacity,

complex wiring.

Yes, Ferrari look fairly good so far...but not as reliable as Mercedes!

I was also making a joke about the F14T name looking like FIAT...a company not known for its electrical integrity.

D13K!

46

LOL It makes sense! But I do believe Fernando has learned a lot from 2007...

47

Not sure he has: but it is a completely different situation. Lewis was a rookie, Kimi is a WDC. This time Fernando will expect a challenge, not subservience, from his team mate.

48

@Messrine

yea, lets recall Kimi's title in 2007.

-Mclaren with full dossier of F2007 design sheet.

-Unlike the mclaren duo, kimi suffer 3 retirements in that year.

-It was revealed Coughlan had ferrari's strategy, setup data, fuel level until the scandal disclose to public.

-Nigel Stepney invade kimi's car with some white powder.

Conclusion, kimi still won despite being handicapped in so many freaking ways.

Fluke???

49

Which begs the question, why did Fernando expect subservience from, all of teams, McLaren? British kit car teams 9 times out of 10 have an attitude of "good luck boys, race each other hard and fast, best man wins." McLaren, like Frank in the past, have always prided themselves on equality in terms of equipment and resources to both their drivers. They should be applauded for that. If Fernando thought he could waltz into Macca and get them to respond to his every whim at the expense of his team-mate he must have been deluded or been given very bad managerial advice.

Fernando is a wonderfully talented and tenacious driver, but he can be petulant if things don't go his way.

Just saying.............

50

Absolutely, I think Alonso's biggest issue in 2007 was that he was the reigning world champion and had gone to Mclaren expecting undisputed no1 status. He was getting a rookie team mate so it's understandable for him to think he was going to be the teams focal point.

The reality of course was different, Hamilton was very quick straight out of the box. The team insisted on equality which riled him a bit given his expectations, but then he got political and probably turned the team against him. So basically I think that Alonso's problem was that he didn't get what expected and had signed up for.

With Raikkonen he knows what he is up against, having raced against him for more than a decade. He is also a former WC and has driven for Ferrari before so is effectively already established with the team.

I am assuming they are going to have equal status in the team until one of them is out of the championship. Kimi is a team player, he has moved aside for Massa for the championship before. Alonso has never been in a "no2" position as he has always been undisputed no1 or been in contention for the championship himself.

51

I rate Kimi highly but lets recall he won his WDC but only one point (if I remember correctly). He was gifted it because of the civil war between Alonso and Hamilton. Although I expect tough competition between the two I think that Alonso will outperform Kimi overall.

52

That scenario has a familiar ring to it.

53

I think the driver will get on OK, they're both, ahem (cough) mature adults. I fear it could be the Prancing Horse turbo system that could have a few meltdowns..................

54

Really?

Fascinating that in 1977 Renault introduced turbo technology and were christened the 'yellow teapot' because it kept breaking down.

It took the best part of two years before they won a race and this with technology thy had run at Le Mans successfully for some years.

Ferrari introduced their first turbo engine for 1981 after a run during practice for the 1980 Italian GP.

By it's sixth race it was a winner.

In 1982 and 1983, Ferrari won both Constructor titles, something that eluded Renault technology until the engines returned to naturally aspirated in 1989.

All last season, I have been told by every journalist and media outlet that Ferrari were the worst of the engines out there, despite no-one having seen them at all.

Renault seem to have dropped the biggest clanger and I'm yet to be convinced by the differences between the Ferrari and Mercedes engines.

Anyway, after the last few seasons, I'm trying to figure out what Pirelli and the FIA can do to give the advantage back to Red Bull like previous seasons.

Anyone who thinks that it won't be a fair title without the holders taking part has an unusual sense of fair-play considering how the rules have been manipulated for them in recent seasons.

55

finally someone who has something under his head,

Yes the rules where manipulated in favor of red bull and will be again.yes bernie ecclestone will not even go to court for stealing and bribing.Finally F1 is a business and not a sport and with an israeli businessman running the show(bernie)an israeli man owning red bull and an israeli man (todt) feel free to make your own conclusion.

Also Rosberg will be champion this year almost on merit.I am a fan(used to be)of Hamilton.but he is at best a has been now,having to worry about his red jets,dogs,gready ex ,still girlfriend ,rap singer he will not be a top driver ever again.Rosberg on the other side is all business and every year at mercedes has made steady progress,if the car holds he will be champion for sure.even the boss (bernie agrees on that and I AM not a rosberg fan.Button will anihilated by kevin magnussen period,.o

56

Sorry Doug, do the maths. Also if you truly believe Bernie wants to help Ferrari after LdM attacked him think again!

57

The only rule manipulation out there is the double points for the last race rule which Bernie openly admitted was done to help Ferrari!

Strangely, it could backfire on them & help the Renault powered teams if they're playing catchup.

58

Yes, Prancing Horse did win constructors title in 1982/83. However, as soon as the British bulldog kit car teams got their hands on a turbo engine they smashed the Italian Stallion's face in good and proper for the remaining turbo era from 1984 to 1988. Remember, Ferrari were humiliated by Macca in 1984, 1985 and 1988, while Frank and Patrick kicked Prancing Horse's face in the dirt in 1986 and 1987. The irony about the turbo era is that the early "FISA" works teams of Regie, Fezza and Alfa who introduced forced induction into F1 were to be humiliated by those pesky FOCA-Bernie-British kit cars teams when they hooked up with the likes of BMW, Porsche and Honda.

Will this new turbo era be history repeating itself?

61

Agree...Rosberg.

62

Yes, "The Other German"

63

Fernando Alonso

64

Nico Rosberg.

66

I'm going to say Magnussen again.

67

Hamilton

68

Lewis Hamilton

70

Rosberg will be the fastest one.

71

It's not a question of who'll be the fastest, it's a question who'll save more fuel.

Seriously, I think Ferrari should do well - they will have a good front wing and plenty of elements on the car

72

Including a slippery-dip 🙂

73

Whaterver it is - a slippery dip or an elephant's trunk or a catfish - I don't mind it as long as it works better than the Renault engine 😉

74

@Random

Would be a shame to race without Red Bull. Anyway, everyone's talking about Mercedes, yesterday Rosberg, when talking about his opponents, did't mention Ferrari. Not a good sign for my favourite team? Hope not.

@Gaz Boy

A good question, will see tomorrow. Yesterday Newey admited a tight packaging problem. Interesting...

75

Indeed. If Regie are having thermal discharge problems in the cool European winter, how will they cope in the heat and dust of the desert?

76

Bart at this stage everything works better than the Renault engine 😉

Seriously though I hope they get it together for Bahrain - It would be a shame to see teams spending another four days sitting in the garage twiddling their thumbs.

77

Lewis Hamilton

78

Valteri Bottas

79

Lewis Hamilton

80

Merecedes are looking solid, so I'm gonna say Lewis Hamilton will be the quickest!

81

Lewis Hamilton

82

Ferrari yet too show there hand my sensors indicate

83

Rosberg will have the fastest lap.

84

Right u r!!!!!

86

Political demonstrations are heating up, and on the rise in Bahrain. I hope that it doesn't interfere with testing, and the later scheduled race.

87

Reminds me of when F1 ignored all the human rights issues in South Africa during the apartheid regime. Obviously the Krugerrand was more important.

Like Balestre decided in 1985, Todt and the FIA need to grow a pair and state that F1 will not return.

88

Just to add to my above comments, amazing to think when Mrs Alonso gave birth to her daughter Lorena in 1978 and her son Fernando in July 1981 Spain had only just become a democratic country................

As for F1 going to Hungary in 1986, I wonder what Maggie thought of that? Yes, I know Mrs T was not massively interested in motor sport, but being as the race in Budapest was effectively a propaganda exercise for the Soviets, but I wonder if her cabinet contacted the likes of Frank, Ronspeak, Lotus et al to warm them about "Soviet tactics?"

Who said sport and politics don't inter-tangle? They do in the strange goings on in F1.

89

The South African issue was VERY hypocritical. I would never endorse the vile apartheid regime, but F1 and sports people have selective memories. Don't forget F1 pitched up in Spain from 1968 onwards - when Franco's brutal fascist regime was in power. Nobody complained about that, even though Franco was a mass murderer who ruthlessly cut his opponents to shreds. And yet F1 still went to Spain. F1 went to Brazil in the mid 70s when it was also being run by fascist dictatorships. Again, no complaints. No one objected. And don't forget in 1986, a year after South Africa was dropped, F1 decamped to Hungary, which until 1990 was ruled by the oppressive and murderous communists of the Soviet Union. Again, no one complained when F1 went to Budapest from 1986 to 1989 that the city and country was run by effectively martial law. And F1 still goes to the one party state we don't believe in democracy nation of China. Again, no one complains about that.

I agree it was wrong to go to South Africa, but as I've explained it was just as wrong to go to Spain, Brazil, Hungary and even China today, but of course, opposition to their brutal regimes was never fashionable so one in the western world complained. As I said, selective memories and double standards in F1 and the sports community. I think that's called hypocrisy.

90

I've just seen a report on the net about that, and I echo your sentiments. It does make you question whether going to Bahrain was wise for pre season testing; maybe Abu Dhabi, Paul Ricardo or even Estoril would have been more sensible.

91

One make series at a circuit for people who don't like 80's Opels, Deplore Rekord?

92

Weirdly enough Dave, I remember reading an Italian publication years ago - can't remember which - which had a retrospective report of Ferrari winning "Il 1990 Gran Premio di Francia al Paul Ricardo!"

Watching that race was a young Yorkshireman called Roberto Smedolio.............

By the way, what about English translations of French/Italian/Spanish/German F1 personnel?

Paul Richard track?

Richard Patrass?

Stephen Dominic?

Luke of Montgomery?

Nicholas Ross?

Nicholas Hulk?

Philip Mass?

Julian Beach?

Andrew Stella?

93

What about that track in an underdeveloped Scandanavian nation, Poor Rikard?

94

What about that track in a small principality, Pau Ricard?

95

Sorry, typo error, I meant Paul RICARD. Paul Ricardo is the Italian track just over the border.........ha ha

Damm, this Red Bull-Renault turbo keyboard is problematic............should of got that new silver Brixworth turbo keyboard instead....

96

What about the track by a Beatle member going solo, Paul Record?

97

Ok, so I'll take the first guess. Alonso to top the charts with the fastest lap in Bahrain.

98

Interesting question. I think Nico Rosberg will ultimately set the fastest lap time of the first Bahrain test. Mercedes have a habit of pounding in the laps at whatever test they conduct. They not only put down the most mileage at Jerez 2014 but throughout last years pre-season testing, they were constantly putting in the highest lap totals.

I think they are only one of three or four teams that will realistically be able to spend some of this first Bahrain test on finding performance as well as building on the already established reliability from Jerez. McLaren, Ferrari and perhaps Williams should also be able to concentrate on finding performance at some stage during this next test.

Meanwhile, the likes of Red Bull, Torro Rosso, Caterham, Marussia, Lotus... (and Sauber and Force India to a lesser extent) have still to put in the required mileage to consider their new car reliable. Particularly, the Renault powered cars need to concentrate first on getting in the laps and getting the engineers the required data rather than finding pace.

I'd be amazed if any team other than McL, Fer, Merc or Williams ends up putting in competitive lap times.

Low fuel runs are still not the priority even in the second test though. It'll be the final test where we'll get a better idea of who has got a competitive package. And as for the lap times compared to 2013........ I dread to see how far off the pace they will be. Forget the lap records of the mid 2000's, a closer benchmark is GP2 quali laps unfortunately.

I'd like to see them break into the 1m35's but I have my doubts. High 36, low 37's my guess.

99

Lap times are about 2001 level at this time, 2004 were most of the lap records are from, but that's got more to do with the tyre war back in those days, these cars will get a lot faster so don't lose hope.

100

Jenson Button

101

Kimi will be fastest.

102

Sutil

105

Hi James

Can't see how to enter. Assuming it is via a comment then my money is on Jenson.

106

Lewis

108

Massa.

110

I reckon Pastor will adapt quicker than RG to the new era!

111

Magnussen!

112

Vettel - 1:37,550 🙂

113

Agree - I believe Seb, Horner and Adrian will throw one down just to give everyone pause. Those guys produced a number of fast laps in 2013 on demand. History proves you should not whisper the "King is Dead" until you see the body.

114

I seriously doubt their patched up car will be anywhere on the time sheets yet again, Renault troubles coupled with Redbull issues will compound them near the back of the field, and why the jealousy Vettel haters? This is Hamilton's chance to shine, if they have the fastest car and he gets beaten by Nico then well... game over.

115

Agree, Vetted. Red Bull will want to make a statement.

116

Finally!!!

I was wondering where are all those VET fans.

117

Well, to be honest I'm not Vettel fan, I'm Renault fan...so I'd like them all to do well. And out of all of them, maybe Vettel is the one who'll be the quickest (although Lotus with their recent Renault F1 legacy is my favorite team of all Renault powered teams and in that perspective I'd love them to do the best).

Actually ever since I've been following F1 (late 70's) I was Renault fan.

And over all these decades I've never pushed for a driver (although I liked some more than others)...they (drivers) come and go, while team, or engine supplier is there at least for some good chunk of time if not all the time.

I see it as the same as if someone is cheering for a single player in a football team. You're either for a this or this team, never just for a guy on the field (track). 🙂

I really hope that Renault will iron out their side of the story from Jerez, before season starts and at the other hand I'm sure Red Bull, STR, Lotus and Catherham will do the same on their side.

Can't wait for Melbourne to see who had done what in all honesty. 🙂

118

I honestly believe that if Vettel is quickest in this test after being slowest in Jerez that he will win his 5th title this year...can't see it happening though.

120

Kevin magnussen

121

Now for real...Groejean 1:38

123

My moneys on Magnussen

124

Seb Vettel, thereby ending the hopes of many that RB are in for a bad year. Sorry friends.

125

What odds on the fastest at the tests not being the eventual world champion?

126

Good odds.

The fastest cars at the test tend to be the ones running light fuel loads to try and attract sponsors, while the real fastest cars sandbag.

Though having said that this year might be different...

127

I think it could be Massa.

129

I go with Kimi.

130

Kimi Raikkonen

131

Hmm.......Vettel. Am I mad? No, just an outside bet!

133

Magnussen I've got a tenner on him for the championship at 40:1

134

That was my tip for pre testing bet too

136

Kimi Raikkonen in the Ferrari F14-T !!

137

just remembered...

I saw a red Fiat 500 last week with the reg number spaced slightly wrong so it read F14T TT

138

Vettel.

Yeah, Sead above and I are going to start a lonely two member club. At least we've shown a sense of humour and limitless hope.

139

If you read down a couple comments he was only pretending...sorry 🙁

140

Once you comment your guess above was a joke it should be DQed. Otherwise you're making a mockery of James' efforts to have a nice contest. Integrity of all serious guesses must be maintained!

141

Agreed.

142

I hope Vettel IS fastest and Sead gets DQed be James. Now that would be funny.

Sead obviously hasn't learned last 4 years that you don't bet against the V.

143

I definitely don't bet against SV and especially on a long run against them...that much (or little) we all know. 🙂

Question was made for next week test.

I'd love to see Renault powered cars do well and above all Lotus.

144

🙂

145

James said that the first five to guess correctly wins, but he never said we only get one guess each 😉

146

Jenson Button

148

Daniel Ricciardo

149

Raikkonen

150

Max Chilton

151

Nice to see Chilton's mum posting under an alias 🙂

152

He's sponsored by Belstaff isn't he? Presumably he'll be flogging some waxed cotton jackets in Melbourne, Sepang et al...............

153

Vettel

154

Don't waste your time boys and girls. Matt is the 5th Vettel vote. You missed the bus.

I guess we just seperated the mice from Vettel fans. 🙂

155

I think the iceman will do it KIMI

156

Fernando Alonso

157

- Teams looking for sponsors probably.

- I am guessing a lot of work will go on high fuel loads and engines will be having higher revs.

- Will be hard to look into lap times at end of 1st test. Guessing game will continue.

158

Button, he'll also win 2 of the 1st 3 races but my gut feeling is that sadly he won't win championship, think Ferrari will nail the car mid season and Alonso will nick it right at the end of the season.

Other predictions: Massa will take an early season win for Williams, Lotus will be the highest Renault powered team, Maldonado will prove he's not just a piggy bank and Rosberg will out score Hamilton!

159

Blimey Phil, Prancing Horse to out-develop their rivals during Europe/Canada? That'll be a first during this slick tyres era since 2009! Having said that, perhaps James Allison influence could give Ferrari clarity of thought and direction to their Euro/Canada development stage, so you could be right. I think its correct to say whoever has the best Euro/Canada development strategy will have a massive advantage. What goes on behind the scenes in the the factories is just as important as what the drivers do on track............if any the two cognate with each other.

160

Lewis

And looks like to me many think so 🙂

161
Aliaksei Kandratsenka

Kimi.

I'd go for Kevin, but I'm not in first 5 willing to bet on him.

162
Alberto Martínez

Quickest: Rosberg.

Off topic James,

As you know, new V6 engines will have to be homologated on February 28. These days there is much talking about the possibility of Renault requesting for permission to make modifications to its engine for reliability reasons.

Could you write an article explaining to the ordinary fan what are the implications for an engine supplier of homologating an engine? I understand the regulations are written in a way that these new V6s will be frozen year after year in an increased percentage but, to be honest, I don´t know what are the outcomes of that decision. For example: If a engine supplier gets permission to modificate its power unit (for reliability reasons) will it have and advantage over one which doesn´t?

It would be great if you could shed some light around this complex technical topic.

Thank you.

163

Yep - I'd enjoy learning more about that 🙂

164

Don't you think this early homologation is daft? At least give the teams/engine suppliers a few months to iron out any potential problems, of which there could be plenty.

Ah well, that's the FIA, to quote Al Murray, those Parisians have never been renowned for being common sense, down to earth people......

165

Mums the words...

mid-range plan :

1. kill F1

2. Glorify Formula-E

166

We are working on one with Mark Gillan

167
Alberto Martínez

Really looking forward to it James!

168

Yes indeedee

171

I'll go for Ferrari and it will be Alonso who sets the pace!

172

The one that will be the fastest is the one with the quickest time 🙂

There I narrowed it down !

173

Felipe, baby.

174

Kimi Raikkonen

175

I think that will be Kimi Raikkonen

You can follow me on Twitter clemen_alonso

176

Kevin magnussen

178

Grosjean

180

Felipe Massa

181

I'm a great Lewis fan, but in this case [and from the perspective of the left side of The Pond] I'm going to chance it with Rosberg

182

I'll say Raikkonen as he's driving the second two days for Ferrari, I believe.

185

Button, hands down.

Jenson won't want Kevin to go faster,so he will probably get Day 4, and McLaren must be quickiest for commercial reasons.

186

Button, Hands down? U must be joking? He won't even beat Magnussen. lol

188

Fernando Alonso.

The number 14 in the F14-T in year 2014.

When he won Junior Karts WDC he was numere 14 as well.

It has to be his year. I bet it will!!!!!!!

189

1st Kimi

2nd Lewis

3rd Fernando

191

Gonna say Alonso.

194

Sebstien Vettel

197

Kimi Raikonen

198

Lewis Hamilton

199

Daniel Ricciardo

201

Kevin Magnussen

202

Jenson

But the real competition should be for who spins the most, especially throughout the season - My money then is on Sutil.

204

Fernando Alonso

205

One on the Iceman Kimi I reckon

207

Kimi Raikkonen, lucky number 7

208

There is nothing to do with lucky number. If we look statistics (historically), then Kimi has in career 39 fastest laps and he is in 3. position after Schmacher (1.) and Prost (2.).

If we compare Alonso and Räikkonen then:

Alonso 216 Grands Prix and 22 fastest laps (12. position)

Räikkonen 193 Grands Prix and 39 fastest laps (3.position)

Probably it talks about something.

209
Alexander Supertramp

I don't think fastest laps mean that much..

210

Finesse drivers will be slow at melbourne. The drifters and sliders will be to the front. Kimi won last year, Alonso and Hamilton will be in the mix.

The championship, Alonso will be hard to beat due to his reliable finish rate and the fact there will be many winners this year.

F1 is not a true test of man and machine anymore, it's dumbed down to something called strategy.

211

Nico Rosberg

212

"Who’ll be quickest in Bahrain test?"

Accompanied by a photo of a shiny McLaren... 😉

213

Alonso cos all the other probables are over subscribed!!!

214

Sebastian Vettel

215

Filipe Massa...

Thanks

216

Sebastian Vettel

217

Nico Hulkenberg

218

Vettel. What are you all thinking?

219

Kimi Raikkonen

222

Ricciardo!

223

Well I can't believe I'm one of the first to say Vettel. Red Bull will have it sorted by the end of the test.

224

Vettel cannot drive without all that down force and blown diffuser. We'll see how good he really is this year.

225

Actually he can drive pretty quick without super downforce and blown diffuser. But he falls behind quite a few drivers after taking that into account.

226

I'm going to say Ricciardo.

Mainly because i think red bull will bounce back, and also cause there is already too many Vettel guesses 😀

229

Ricciardo

230

Ricciardo... Red Bull will have the best package (assuming of course Renault have sorted their side of things out) and Ricciardo has already shown an ability to get the occasional quick lap in

231

Aerodynamically most probably yes, although they did not anticipate McLaren's innovation, however it remains to be seen if Red Bull can run a race distance without their ERS failing, and if not the lack of power will drag them back down the order.

232

only takes 1 lap to set a fast lap time

233

Indeed it does, and that lap may put them on pole, but this year is about getting to the end of the race in the least time within the fuel restriction. - It's asking quite a lot. Reliability will be a massive slice of the final equation. - ERS has to be faultless and it's an area where Red Bull have shown their weakness. First slight indications was that McLaren may have stolen a march on the opposition, and it's going to be exciting finding out if that's the case. Fastest lap in test does not necessary mean a great deal.

234

that is a very big assumption.

With nobody having yet really pushed their power units (with the exception of renault who could have pushed their cars faster if they had left the engines at home) we have no idea what the cars can do yet.

All we do know is that Mercedes and ferrari are going to start looking at performance somewhat sooner than Renault.

235

Sebastian Vettel

Red Bull have something to prove after the disastrous Jerez test.

236

Fernando Alonso

237

Dan Ricciardo

238

Felipe Massa. I look forward to your excellent book James...

239
Alexander Supertramp

Well, apparently Alonso is one of the only remaining intresting bets. So yeah, Alonso..

240

Kevin Magnussen

242

Felipe Massa

243

It will be Alonso, Vettel will struggle

244

Fernando Alonso.... Ferrari didn't have the engine at max power in Jerez, Mercedes did...

245

No they didn't! - The Ferrari also had a looser back end.

246

Do u know this for a fact?

247
Leandro Guimaraes

Felipe Massa!

248

I'll take a stab in the dark and say Vettel... always quick there.

249

Since more than 5 people have said Hamilton/Rosberg/Button/Magnussen/Alonso/Raikkonen

I'll take a guess at Force India's Hulkenberg

250

Romain Grosjean -

Lotus will need to 'showboat'.

251

Romain Grosjean

252

It will be a straight fight between Mercedes and Ferrari...Rosberg or Alonso...definitely Alonso as he is ever so determind to get one more under his belt before age sets in...

253

It will be the fastest turtle...

255

Lewis Hamilton.

256

I'll wag it too and say Sutil.

257

Definitely Kimi!

These new regs are right up his alley.

258

Massa - Williams will be fighting up front again 🙂

259

I'll go with vettel as well. I want to say massa, but five people already did it...

260

Kimi Raikkonen

261

Sebastian Vettel

262

Massa

264

Daniel Ricciardo

265

Ricciardo

267
Adrian Setterfield

Ricciardo

268

Rosberg

And the title at the end of the season.

269

Hamilton

270

I can't believe all these people voting for Button. He's not even the fastest on his team. lol

272

Mclaren has downforce (rear suspension....thingys)

Mercedes has the development edge

Ferrari has a point to prove

Drivers? Magnussen/Alonso/Hamilton.

In my opinion, Button's never been the one for laptimes, he's a racer first and 'laptimer' second, unless of course the Mclaren is glued to the ground

273

Or on rails, leave the comparison of ridiculous downforce up to you

274

Jensen Button to be fastest at next test.

275

Grosjean before binning it on the next lap.

276

Raikkonen

Rosberg

Massa

277

Webber

278

Hulkenburg

279

So wish this competition closed today 🙂

280

Nico Hulkenberg

282

#7 Raikkonen.

284

Rosberg

286

Romain Grosjean in the Lotus

287

Its only a test so Im guessing a rookie will shine again. The instantly quick Raikkonen will fly again on day one with an new upgrade package. But it will be Magnussen thats quickest later in the week- I think this kid is the real threat to the championship hes another Lewis for sure

288
Alexander Supertramp

"For sure"? what are you doing on this forum Mr. Rosberg?

289

As long as you dont call me Mr Grosjean we will get along for...nah cant do it again !

290

Kimi is driving the last two days...

291

Well its Kimi then !- thanks

292

I think the Renaults powered teams will try to make a point pretending that everything is all sorterd and they are read to go and give a good run for others money. At least in the first couple of days, the teams will still be doing checkins, mainly on fuel consuption on high temperatures.

293

Hulkenberg

294

Kevin Magnussen

295

Massa for his new lease of life at Williams.

296

Sergio Perez.

298

JB, I hope.

I think the Mclaren looks good.

Hope he wins the Australian GP too!

299

Sergio Perez

300

Romain grosjean

301

Lewis Hamilton.

2nd would be Magnusen for McLaren.

Anyways, if my prediction doesn't pan, then the fastest driver at Bahrain will be the one. I win, whichever way it goes! 🙂

302

Kevin Magnussen

304

Either Romain or Pastor! Lotus rumored to have something interesting up their sleeves..

305

.. whatever they have up their sleeves will not be hard currency alas!

306

Lulzzz. Nice one.

I am hoping Vettel or Rosberg.

Though I think RedBull and Vettel are very methodical and will plod through the test and we won't see their speed at all (if they have any reliability at all).

308

Got to be the main man Kobayashi, catherham and Renault will throw a spanner in the works!

Well.... Its good to dream, right?

309

Pastor Maldonado of course.

310

Sebastian Vettel followed by Kevin Magnussen. Button will be 3 tenths behind his team mate as normal.!!

311

One of the lotus boys i think. They are both very fast.. and pastor is even insane. So they just might.

312

Fernando alonso

313

Kimi

314

Kevin Magnussen

316

Bottas will be going like a dog shot up the bottas.

317

Kamui Kobayashi

319

Nick rosberg will be fastest

320

Nico rosberg I should say

321

Kevin Magnussen. Mclaren is fastert than Mercedes, you will see...

324

Daniel Ricciardo

325

Kimi Raikonen

326

Romain Grosjean

328

It has to be Felipe Massa!

329
A careful observer

Massa, because Vettel will be sandbagging to hide their true pace

330

Bottas. With the time of 1:35.991 :).

332

Ricciardo. But the engine won't last more than twenty laps. Lol

333

Unfortunately my prediction has been made multiple times so I am out of the comp but I'm going to add my voice to the discussion. For me it is between merc and McLaren, I think merc overall have the faster car but McLaren are going for headline times to try and get more stickers on the car. Although I believe Mercedes might be trying to put down a psychological marker - they were first out almost everyday at the first test trying to show just how prepared they are. Also with the amount of mileage they've already done they may be aggressively trying to develop rather than worry about reliability. I think Ferrari also have a good car but are trying to hide their pace but we'll have to wait till Australia to find out! I would be quite worried for red bull if they go top as they always sand bag more than anyone else during testing and if they aren't this time it makes me think their problems are worse than they are letting on...

So my prediction than is between Magnusson and Hamilton as they are the best one lap drivers of each team but I'm going to pick Magnusson because McLaren are looking for headline times and Mercedes will concentrate on longer runs!

334

My guess is Hamilton, around 1minute37secs...

335

Kamui Kobayashi.

337

L. Hamilton

341

Bottas!!

342

Lewis Hamilton

343

Felipe baby..!!

344

Sir Stirling Moss - or it would be if he was still in his early 20s & driving for Mercedes. Fast, smooth &, if you ever have the pleasure of meeting & speaking with him, a real gentleman.

Garry J.

345

Moss was indeed a driving genius. A combination of his other worldly talent, a well prepared Rob Walker team and the nimble, agile Lotus 18/21 took the massively more powerful sharknose Ferrari to the cleaners at Monaco and the Nuburgring in 1961. Thank goodness Stirling survived his lethal era.

346

Well of course no one really knows, but I think the usual suspects, however McLaren have noticeably come up with something innovative, and it may pay dividends when things start hardening up. The thing to remember though is that fastest may not win the race. The winning car has to be fuel efficient and reliable. Beyond that it will be the team that has managed to recover most downforce, and from that perspective perhaps McLaren have something the others don't. That being the case I think Kevin Magnussen may prove fastest.

Red Bull however cannot be discounted and if Adrian Newey's reputation is to be believed he will have worked hard to recover as much downforce as possible. Lastly I support Lewis Hamilton and I hope Mercedes have given him a car capable of winning the championship. I do however wonder how the fuel restriction will work out in practice at all of the circuits, and indeed may yet prove impractical and require some relaxation of the rules, after all if they end up limping round like a drive out on a wet Sunday afternoon exciting it will not be!

349

Vettel just because Red Bull will be 4 seconds faster than their car last year, 9 seconds a lap faster than anyone else and thus lap the entire field before saying Webber was holding them back 😛