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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Hamilton Leads Mercedes One-Two as 2014 season gets underway in Melbourne
Posted By:   |  14 Mar 2014   |  9:24 am GMT  |  431 comments

As 2014 Formula One got down to business in Melbourne today, Lewis Hamilton bounced back from an on-track stoppage in the first session to set the fastest time of the day in Free Practice Two and lead a Mercedes one-two ahead of Nico Rosberg, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso completing the top three.

With new regulations causing reliability issues during pre-season testing – for some more than others – it seems that the final two weeks of preparation have allowed for an improvement in durability, particularly for Red Bull Racing, who set the fourth- and sixth-fastest times in the afternoon with Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo respectively. The Milton Keynes squad enjoyed a trouble-free day. Vetted completed 41 laps this afternoon, more than any other car managed in a single session.

At Mercedes, a sensor issue caused Hamilton to stop on his out-lap in FP1. The Briton was then forced to make a long trip back to the paddock where the was rather comically stopped from entering the paddock by a security guard, who presumably upbraided the 2008 champion for not having the correct – Hamilton’s race suit and helmet not being clue enough. The brief halt there didn’t do much for his mood following his on-track stoppage.

Things brightened considerably in FP2 and Mercedes quickly established themselves as the pacesetters on both the medium and soft tyre. Rosberg held the top spot in the first half of the session, the German becoming the first to break the 90-second barrier and in the process establishing a 0.350s lead over Alonso.

Hamilton completed a handful of laps on the medium tyre before a soft tyre run took him to the top of the times, 0.157s clear of Rosberg. He then turned his attentions to a long run on the soft tyre.

“It really was a day of two halves today, ” said the 29 year old. “While it was disappointing to not get any track time this morning, these little hiccups are going to happen with the new cars and we’ll have to get used to that. It felt like I was on the back foot from there but then we got up to pace quite quickly in P2 and found the balance relatively fast. I feel quite comfortable in the car so overall it’s a positive start.”

The Mercedes also had the best race pace, Hamilton doing a 15 lap run with times in the mid 1m 33s and low 1m34s. In comparison the Red Bull did a 15 lap run in the mid 1m 34s, Ferrari a 15 lap run in the mid 1m 34s, McLaren high 1m34s and low 1m35s, Williams in the low 1m 35s. It looks like Mercedes has a healthy advantage in race pace.

For Alonso, too, it was a decent outing. After setting the pace in FP1 he was the best of the rest this afternoon, 0.5s adrift of Hamilton’s time. The sister Ferrari F14 T of Kimi Raikkonen ended the day in seventh place, overcoming an ERS issue in the morning session to complete over thirty laps and have his blushes spared as a close shave with a wall on the entry to Turn 11 did not punish the Finn.

Sandwiched between the Red Bull pairing was the McLaren of Jenson Button, the three-time Australian Grand Prix winner ending the day 0.9s slower than Hamilton after taking second place in FP1. Interestingly he was the only driver to not run the soft tyre, maintaining a 0.5s buffer over team-mate Kevin Magnussen, who did.

Magnussen ended his first competitive day in Formula One in ninth place, supported either side by Valtteri Bottas in eighth and Nico Hulkenberg completing the top 10. Magnussen was a shade slower than Button over the 15 lap long run, but that’s to be expected for a driver on his first run at Albert Park compared to a three time winner here. Magnussen’s consistency was again impressive.

The woes suffered by Lotus in pre-season testing showed no signs of abating today, with Romain Grosjean failing to complete a lap in FP1, while Pastor Maldonado managed just two. In the late afternoon running Grosjean got 12 laps under his belt before a suspected brake issue pitched the Frenchman into the gravel, Maldonado failed to complete a lap however.

Another Renault team, Caterham, had a difficult day, the Leafield squad completing a combined three timed laps across the three hours of testing. Kamui Kobayashi was sidelined all day with a fuel system problem and Marcus Ericsson’s running was halted by an electrical issue. However the fourth Renault team, Toro Rosso, covered plenty of laps.

Australian Grand Prix, Melbourne, Free Practice
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m29.625s 37
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m29.782s +0.157s 31
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m30.132s +0.507s 28
4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m30.381s +0.756s 41
5. Jenson Button McLaren 1m30.510s +0.885s 33
6. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m30.538s +0.913s 38
7. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m30.898s +1.273s 32
8. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m30.920s +1.295s 38
9. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1m31.031s +1.406s 34
10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m31.054s +1.429s 33
11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m31.060s +1.435s 35
12. Felipe Massa Williams 1m31.119s +1.494s 31
13. Sergio Perez Force India 1m31.283s +1.658s 36
14. Adrian Sutil Sauber 1m32.355s +2.730s 36
15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m32.468s +2.843s 26
16. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1m32.495s +2.870s 36
17. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m33.486s +3.861s 29
18. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m33.646s +4.021s 12
19. Max Chilton Marussia 1m34.757s +5.132s 29
20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1
21. Pastor Maldonado Lotus
22. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham

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Rb sand bagging in bahrain? Car looks reasonably quick... I did see a pic showing the RB bodywork bulging so they may still have some thermal issues

Oh dear lotus


They were the surprise of the day. One must be wary of knee-jerking, of course, but equally the trouble-free runs look ominous for the rest of the season. They may not win in Melbourne, but if they can limit their losses early doors we all know they can make hay once the sun starts shining for them. Rivals will need to have yet another long, hard look at themselves if this happens.


Not sure about sandbagging, but it's at least time for hyper-sensitive RBR fans to step back from the ledge!

They look decent, and again one of the best through the corners.

Lotus, oh man. Doesn't look too good for them, but still, you never know.

H.Guderian (ALO fan)

I really hope they have a good car.

This way, there will be no excuses for Vettel.


It was never a doubt for me that they would at least improve to be in the neighborhood.

Well, whatever happens I hope at least the WDC winner doesn't have a cakewalk. And if RBR aren't going to win, at least they will go down fighting. I'm relatively pleased that we'll have a multi team fight.

Christos Pallis

Not that I'm RB fan but sandbagging they were not. RB showed good chassis balance and aero balance in Bahrain but running the Renault power unit considerably under full power left their times looking slow. They will be quick especially in qualifying trim but on fuel consumption and energy recovery reliability they will likely struggle to Mercedes, this will have a greater effect on race pace than one lap pace!


As for Lotus, if this isn’t resolved quickly this year, it may be their last.


for what reasons make you think this?


Bad finish means less funds from FOM, they can hardly afford another reduction in funding after being 100m GBP in debt - that was the number, right?


Well looking at the speed traps it just looks like are running their full power which they didn't at Bahrain, also Melbourne is not a power circuit like Bahrain so on them 2 aspects alone Redbull should be closer, but still on average 0.7sec slower over one lap in low and high fuel is a good buffer to have for Merc, and ir'd be over 1sec if we were at Spa or Monza. Hamilton looks impressive in that Merc and seems to have the legs on Nico, its his championship to lose.

Im sure Redbull is a excellent car but that Renault PU seems to have poor drivability and probably still lavk outright power.

Final note I was saying Williams will flatter to deceive and its proven to be the case, who'd imagine they're slower than RBR and Mclaren after Bahrain eh...


On Autosport's analysis Rosberg's long run pace averaged 0.4 faster over ten laps than Hamilton. I'm not drawing much from that, but it is more relevant than one lap pace in P2 as the pace gets turned up by the car and driver in qualifying in a way that it won't in the race.


Still far too early to draw conclusions re: Williams vis-a-vis Macca or RBR.


Williams have not done any true quali simulations yet.


As for Lotus, if this isn't rresolved quickly thianyear, it may be their last.


Well, well, well. RBR surprise. Whar a surprise.


On balance it was a surprise how good they were today. But I NEVER expected them to look horrible and be 3-4 sec's off the pace. Basically, I didn't expect RBR would do what Lotus did today.

People were getting nuts about how far back they thought RBR were, etc. Pre-season is pre-season. RBR have done a great job in the last two weeks, whatever they've done.

Of course, it's just the Friday of the first race weekend. Things could change tomorrow, and the next day. And of course anyone (the slow or the quick) could have a failure on Sunday, and go home with a goose egg!

On reliability, what would people peg the relative chances (% wise) of a failure in the 2009-13 era, versus 2014? I would say the mechanical failure rate for 2009-13 would be in the neighbourhood of 5-10% in any given race. But for 2014, I think that could be closer to 40-45%. Maybe 35-40%.

Your thoughts, please.


Ok, while those might not technically be mechanical failures, I will lump them in as causes for DNF's that are (usually) b/c of no fault of the driver. Basically, any DNF that isn't due to an off, spin, or collision.


I'm going to be honest with you KRB, I think the whole thing will take us by surprise about how reliable they will actually be.

I think the cars may DNF, but it will not be a "mechanical failure". Preventitive measures to save the PU, running out of fuel, bettery/ERS issue, etc. will add to DNFs, but they will not be mechanical entirely. I'm going to put my guess at 20-25% - and that may be high. But I think that should be the % if we're going to push technology into the unknown.

Tornillo Amarillo

VETTEL should give back the trophies.

HAMILTON was the good one... yeah, almost always.

I hope Massa crashes with Rosberg this year, yeah.



Sebee, if it rains on sunday and RB10 with it's downforce makes it to the finish line, we will win this race.


Wow, if there wasn't enough on the plate, good chance of rain. When it rains it pours, I guess.

Wonder how these electric things will handle a proper wet GP! 🙂


I don't think the thinking was of them having a dud car concept a la McLaren; it just wouldn't run!

However, I am still surprised at their showing today with no major issues.


RE Man On Wheels: Agree with your comments - but the 200 pound lady analogy is a bit confusing, as Formula 1 uses the metric system, as does every country in the world! The UK uses stones as weight, but 1 stone is 6.3 KG, so 63 KG is 10 stone - just add or subtract 6.3 KG to get a higher or lower amount depending on the drive


I didn't read the comments all the way down, so I'm not sure how many people mentioned it but the sound of the cars are so lame, I knew what I was heading for, but my friends couldn't believe that the little noise we were hearing when we jumped out of the tram at Albert park gate yesterday was actually from a F1 car, they thought I was a Formuka Ford car or something.

Thanks god they do the "speed comparison" here in Melbourne, so at least we could hear the RB7 going around the track once, although it only made the new cars sound even more miserable...


I beg to differ. I always found the high screaming V8 unnerving and tiresome after a few minutes. The sound is lower, but richer and complex, you an hear the motor grumbling, the turbo hissing and the tires squeal if they lock up the brakes. What was just screaming like a 200 pound lady stepped on Bernie Ecclestones feet with her high heels, is now a beautiful concert of different sounds from a complex machine, and it still sounds sufficiently powerful. I think it's Lovely!


Are we sure about Button setting that time on the soft? I don't remember his lap on low fuel being shown and judging by both how much the other teams gained from the soft tyre and the gap to his team mate that did do a short run on softs, I as skeptical (would be happy if it's true).


I noticed on the BBC video that Jenson was listed on screen as a medium runner...nice that James noted this. If the McLaren has found some pace with its Oz upgrade (over 1 lap anyway), it will be very interesting to see where he is in quali.


The tyre data was wrong for a few drivers yesterday during FP2 telecast


An interesting day all around and not for all the reasons expected. Do we have the pleasure of your presence in the paddock this year James?


Of course JA is there. From the sounds of it, they (JA and Allan McNish) were situated in a box near the end of the pitlane for FP.


Yes, right opposite the exit of the pit lane - great view of the practice starts and some of them aren't very good!


Didn't you do the team chiefs press conference too?


I do all of them, post quail and post race too


Who had the best if the starts in your eyes?


I've heard that Webber was there running master clases on the subject 😉


Care to share who looked good and who didn't? TIA James!


Any change of a picture of your view? it would be interesting to see!

Also, can elaborate and tell us which cars either look poor/good?

Thanks for the great articles James!


As predicted.


Assuming that the time charts are a reasonably telling indication of the 'order' do you suppose anyone from RBR has thought to express their appreciation to RB for the car's performance?

Has Whitmarsh simply left the planet? Seems that McLaren's apparent improvements might not be the result of Boardroom wrangling, either.

On a related subject, does anyone know if SKY has coverage in the U.S. and if so how/where one might gain access? NBC continues to fail in spite of the positive efforts from Hobbs and Machett.

Thanks to James and Co., good to be back 'in season' once again.


I'd like to add about Hamilton's recent comments about Schumacher's accident being "everything happens for a reason". What a complete utter insensitive thing to say! what has Schuey done to deserve his accident god only knows. Its as if it wasn't bad enough Hamilton tweeting pictures of him and his dog skiing 2 days after Michael's accident!? Now this.

That I have to say was pathetic


U will never stop will u? If u don't have nothing good to say don't say it. It's obvious to everybody on this forum u don't like Hamilton.


Tealeaf, specifically, this is what he is quoted to have said:

"He's a legend in the sport, you know, who has achieved so much, a very motivated individual.

"So I feel like all things happen for a reason, I think that this is an experience that will really show his character and depth and even more so than any other experiences he's had."

I read this as Hamilton stating that adversity will bring out the best in Schumacher. The tweeting is coincidental, not disrespectful. It's being overplayed by people looking to sensationalize anything, and by Hamilton's critics (who for a WC/multiple race winner has a staggering number of critics/naysayers). AFAIK, Schumi's family has requested that their privacy and space be respected.


I'm really glad you added that, it's a healthy contribution to the discussion. After all, what F1 forum would be complete without questioning the personal agenda of each and every driver off circuit after P2?


Twisted all out of context Tealeaf, and you know it.

He didn't mean it as you've (and the British tabloids) have spun it.

Obviously it came out wrong, and he should've steered clear of going all religious in responding (e.g. "this will show MSc's character", etc.). I guess LH wanted to say more than the usual line ("hope and pray he gets better"), but perhaps in hindsight he should've stuck to that.

Anyone who thinks the tweeted pictures of him skiing were insensitive is seriously stupid.


hamilton said this gives schumacher a chance to show the world his true fighting character. he never said schumacher deserved it.

hamilton was not being insensitive at all. you may wish he was but he wasn't. why are you going out of your way to post negative comments about hamilton? what wrong has he done to you to deserve this?


If you object to what Lewis Hamilton posts, then I suggest don't follow his Twitter feed, or read his column. I presume your not a fan of his ?


I think you may only have seen the first half of the comment. He added something like "this will show his great strength of character when he pulls through". What ever you think of the comment, it seems pretty clear that it was supposed to be supporting Schuey rather than against him.


I wonder if LH spends as much time worrying about the drivel that issues forth whenever you comment, as you do when his remarks are quoted out of context 🙂


I believe the sentiment behind Hamilton's comments are clear enough and totally supportive of Schumacher, albeit a bit clumsily expressed. How you could read into Hamilton's comments that he was suggesting Schumacher "deserved his accident" is beyond me. Drawing some connection between Hamilton's skiing photos and Schumacher's accident again seems to point towards a keen desire on your behalf to either take offence at everything Hamilton says, or use any opportunity to bash him. I have no real opinion of Hamilton either way, but, I have no time for anyone keen to use any individuals personal suffering as an opportunity to pass judgement on others wholly unconnected with said suffering, and can only wonder if YOUR motive is what is truly insensitive here.


You wrote what I wish I'd written. Perfectly said.


Sensitive much? Pull the plug already.


Tealeaf: not so bizarre if you consider both men embrace their religious beliefs.

Schumacher as a considerable talent knew what it was like to win again and again.

On his return he himself recognised that of all the things he learnt when he came back was "how to lose" or in other words how not to win.

Therefore, Hamilton's statement seems less bizarre and more empathetic for whatever the next phase in Schumacher's life, Schumacher will embrace it with the religious conviction he has as a Roman Catholic.

And seriously! Was the dog skiing?


Oh come on, all believers trust in Providence, therefore, believe everything is for a reason. That doesn't mean that it was your fault, but often good comes out of evil. With your guide, we should be afraid to say anything, just in case someone else relates to another incident and finds offence. Give Lewis a break!


have you actually seen the full interview?the whole thing has been blown out of proportion as usual.


He was implying that Schumachers strength of charachter would help him in his recovery. I agree he could have worded it much better but there was no malace in it if you watch the interview.


Really? That is in poor taste.


Do you have a link to comments?


With all due respect Schumacher's driving ethics left something to be desired. He was a dirty driver. He should've have been disqualified in 1994 like he was in 1997.Despite his enormous talent there will always be a stain on his achievements.


Even more so was Senna and he is still regarded a super hero. So what?


What does his driven ruthless dedication to winning have to do with anything?

Mike from Colombia

What could any person say when put on the spot and to be made to comment on a very difficult situation.

The world is full of haters who seize on words or soundbites with the only purpose being to take delight in their vitriol.

Why do journalists ask such silly questions in the first place to drivers or celebrities..what us there to gain by it? When the Queen dies, what will there be gained to ask David Beckham of his thoughts? Pointless.

Hamiltons comments are jumbled but it is clear that he basicslly means that this accident is bewildering and we have to struggle to understand the concept of fate. That Schumacher is a fighter and if anyone is going to make it, it will be him.

If the Schumacher family was upset about this and responded negatively then fine...ho ahead and savage the driver. If not, then this is just another example of haters liking to hate and feigning oversensitivity.


Yup, what an idiot. I hope Nico beats him now because it's VERY insensitive regardless of your religious beliefs.


You guys have some serious issues!


So everybody's life has to stop because MS had a skiing accident? What about the thousands of other people that have skiing accidents? Should everyone else stop posting pictures of skiing because of them? Dude, relax! You're a Hami hater just looking for a reason to hate. SMH!!


What is, and when did you predict it?


Are you sure about that?

That P4 car is as expected?


Dear James,

Could you (or someone) please tell me which times were set on soft compound and which on mediums.

Personally I was surprised (even though in the back of my mind i was expecting it) of the pace of the of the RBR (and lack of pace in the Williams)

Quali seems like a Merc first row lock-out, but let's se how the race will be!!!


Pat Symmonds said in an interview with Sky Sports something along the lines of "I don't think our low fuel runs showed the actual pace of our cars" so there may be more to come from them tomorrow.

I have to say the Williams livery unfortunately doesn't look *nearly* as good on track as it does in all the glossy photos.


agree it just looked white


Indeed, too much empty space.


I totally agree James. The livery is definately lacking something.


I'm with you on the Williams livery. Bland in comparison to the photos previously shown on this site.

As for the droop noses, not as bad as expected.

I don't think any of the cars look as bad as expected from that point of view.

Good to have F1 back and good to see James on 1/10's coverage. As for the engines, I guess we'll eventually get used to the new noise but truly disappointed.


Unfortunately I agree. The ribbon needs to be on the sidepods or something to give it some more colour


I actually think it is average- a non paint scheme black wing, and an almost totally bare white car, especially side pods. It could look good, but at mo is a bit kit car a la recent Williams' appearance.

Funnily enough I've fallen for the McLaren.


All the headline lap times were set on softs

Jonathan Cooper

Jenson's was set on the medium? (or at least the official FOM timing screen, shown on Sky's coverage, showed him as being on the medium)


No, I rewinded as soon as the commentators mentioned that Jenson's time was on the primes to confirm, and Jenson's best time was actually on the options. 100%, no doubt about it.


James is right (as you would expect). I checked the replay and at the end of Jenson's stint in which he set his fastest time there is a shot of him being pushed into the garage with softs on.

David in Sydney

Yes, Button was on M in P2 - taking 1s off his time puts him right up there I suppose.


David, are you sure that Button was on medium tyres in FP2? I would me more than happy if that is true.


I caught the last 10 minutes of FP1 today morning, live on TV. The thing that struck me most was the sound factor. Must say there was hardly any sound. V6 seems to have turned F1 into a silent series. The cars sound like high revving motor bikes. Anyone else has something to say about the sound factor?


I think on Sunday we will hear cars in fuel saving mode turning 10K RPM. with the Turbo Mufflers and low RPM the dominant sound will come from the tires and gearbox. Agree w/ Toby above, a shocking disappointment


My brother is at the track. He said the TV audio was totally different and the cars sounded quite good. Not as loud as last year but good. Check Rubinho's instagram post:


The raw footage we were hearing from trackside during testing gave a much better indication of the sound...which was quite good. Hope they get that fixed for the race.


I knew the new engine sound would be complained about by TV viewers. They do sound different, but James and Allan McNish didn't seem to mind the sound from trackside, even though stating the new engines are considerably quieter.

With regard to how sound is perceived, keep in mind a couple of points (warning: some science lays ahead):

-When something like an F1 engine is so loud you have to wear ear protection to be anywhere near it, most ear protection changes the sound a lot anyways, killing much of the mid and high frequencies where the famous "scream" comes from, and this lowering of volume also works in tandem with reducing the effect of the "Fletcher Munson Curve", a phenomenon related to how human hearing works. The lower and higher frequencies that are most pleasing to our ears become relatively more pronounced as volume levels get higher (this is why loud music usually sounds better than quiet music).

-How the sound is recorded also has a big impact on how it is perceived. Every microphone sounds a bit different...very few have a "flat frequency response", meaning they will inevitably accentuate some frequencies while muting others. And where the microphone is placed in relation to the origin of the sound also has a huge bearing on how the sound is reproduced. Recording engineers will spend hours trying to find the right spot to place the mic near an instrument amplifier speaker cone, since moving it as little as half an inch one way or another can make a drastic difference. Most microphones are also prone to the "proximity effect" where low frequencies become more pronounced when the mic is very close. Since low frequencies contain more energy than high frequencies do, the proximity effect can either make something sound better by boosting the bass or worse by masking the higher frequencies (that scream I referred to earlier).

To sum up, maybe the audio engineers have yet to figure out the best way to mic up and record these new beasts to get them to sound their best. It was only the first day of an entirely new formula after all.

Just my two bits as a musician and audio recording enthusiast.


Very enlightening. Thankyou 🙂


The online camera should reposition its microphone closer to the exhaust pipe to amplify the sound. As is, it sounds like a vacuum. The trackside sounds are much better.


They sound like screaming scooters 🙁


They sound like modern technology should. F1 finally drags itself into 21st century technology and lack of noise is the complaint. I've heard screaming engines for decades; it's old school. The noise was the inefficiency barking at us. My those glorious years remain memories cherished.

I bet none of the "anti racing" crowd will be complaining about the lack of ear piercing sound or the move to cutting edge hybrid engines.


This sounds so much better. Noticed the whistling similar to Ferrari.


Can barely hear them


Whose bright idea was this again?! A change in governance is needed so someone wakes up and realises what F1 is meant to be


They sound terrible, these new engines. It's not FOM mics or TV signal - it's just bad live. Been to a winter test and I have to say they killed Formula 1 with new regulations. Cosworth DFV sounds like a rocket ship compared to 2014 V6. Not a fan of the new Formula 1, refuse to follow it, hope the others will do the same.

There's nothing on a Formula 1 car that can be used in a normal road car, so Totonator's recent comments are disappointing, I'll gladly go back to V10 and have no car manufacturers involved in the sport at all. Cosworth V10 sounded amazing. Throw out Mercedes, Honda and Renault, get someone like AER build more proper engines.

Paying insane amounts of money for the tickets to watch silent vacuum cleaners with x-rated noses is a no-no. Bernard was right.

TERRIBLE. Cancel the show.


The sound is ok but not for an F1 car. I have a vacuum cleaner that sounds more like a race car than what I heard at the track today. I think most people will get used to it but it will be challenging for the F1 purists. Then again, if the incredibly stupid double points rule has managed to find its way into the sport then perhaps the engine sound is the least of the sport's concerns..


I was watching from the pit straight stand today.

I'm very disappointed with the pitch and lack of noise these engines make, sorry 'power units'!!

No more of the spine tingling, hair raising sound most of us loved.

You can hardly hear them coming, they just wizz past with very little impression.. The single biggest appeal of F1 for most was the distinctive scream, it's dead....


I was sitting in the braking zone at turn 1. To be totally honest, the cars sounded like I expected Formula E to sound. I knew they'd be quiet, but I was shocked. The turbo was the loudest part of most cars. Under braking, the Ferrari sounds like a monorail. Most other cars make a small engine noise when down shifting and braking but the Ferrari just has the noise of the tyres turning for the last 50 meters. I've sat in the same seats for 5 years and it is like night and day. The V8's, the Porsche cup, and the historic cars are all way louder than the F1's. You no longer need Race Radio to hear the loudspeaker commentary so sales will be down on those, and you can easily have a chat with the person next to you, even sitting on the front row. I know I might sound like I'm exaggerating, but other than when several cars are going by in close succession, it is honestly very quiet. No need at all for ear plugs any more, let alone ear muffs. I've been going to races for 25 years and am a massive fan of the sport, but this is shocking. 🙁


Thats interesting about the Ferrari lack of engine sound heading into a slow corner. Perhaps the fuel cut off technology on engine braking leads to this lack of engine sound.


Yes I agree. I don't think people will really get how different it is until they hear it themselves tho.

I thought people were exaggerating at testing and txts I got during fp1 but it really is that quite.


They kind of sound like 'unsettled' Porsches at the moment (the torque these thing generate perhaps? Porsches do seem to sound smoother when they run), with seemingly different turbo setups that give varying sounds in addition. Kind of like an LMP1 diesel engine wouldn't sound out of place. Maybe in the future they can get these things to 'scream' a little more. Very much missing that from F1 right now.


Yeah I was there for fp2 and it was quite confronting how quite they were. It's really disappointing.

In the past you can hear them coming at least 4 corners away but today I didn't know they were there until they were right in front (and sometimes past ) my eyes.

I haven't watched any tv coverage yet so I'm hoping it's not as noticeable there.

I think addressing the sound issue is no1 priority - not how they look.

Tornillo Amarillo

They should put mics and speakers all around the circuit... What a disaster!


Yeah, it's way down. Not sure what it sounds like trackside, but watching it on TV it's instantly noticeable. Maybe FOM has to change where they put out their atmospheric mic's ... put them closer, different angle, etc.


All the cars to be provided SoundRaces by Bernie since the next round....


They sound like old Honda XR75's.


Classic! Scalextric cars are louder.


All the field to use SoundRace since the next round!


All through free practice people were talking about the sound. There must be something wrong with me; they didn't sound nearly as mute as everybody was making out. A little quieter, yes... but not a massive amount.

At least the V6 has a moody grunt to it, unlike the "angry-swarm-of-wasps" sound of the V8s before them.


I agree. I never liked the high-pitched scream of modern cars, preferring the sound of 80's and 90's engines. Now we're back there and I couldn't be happier.


The cars sound hollow as if they're misfiring every time they accelarate. I'm sure we will all get used to it but for now it all sounds very false

Christos Pallis

Veejay Mallia the team owner of force India had his head over the pit wall and when he turned back towards the pits he said "this is not formula 1, bring back the noise" that pretty much sums it up I think.

I personally don't dislike the sound just the volume of it. Could the FIA not do some technical rule to make the exhaust louder or something to that effect?


Agreed - on the TV at least you can't hear that much. Shame. No doubt we'll get used to it though.


Yes I do, to be polite and kind I'd say the sound is on the quiet side and to be quite honest I'd say these cars actually sound LAME and like a motor thats used to cut grass. The distinctive high pitched F1 sound is lost probably forever and its almost a tragedy in itself.


I think it will take a while for the TV techs to sort out sound levels, and I think this is actually where the problem is - not enough gain on the microphones.

I love the fact that the different engines actually sound different, and that you can hear the tyres squealing, the turbos spooling up etc.

Its not worse, its just different, and I like it now I'm used to it


Agree about the interest of the extra sounds - tyre squeals in particular - but I could break wind louder. These cars should be screaming, not mumbling.


I wondered if the FOM mics were still tuned for the V8's. The FP2 sound seemed quieter than some of the track side recordings during testing. There must be some more sound there that is being filtered out.


Most live TV is audio compressed and the bass levels are filtered out, it's why when you watch a band at a festival on tv you can hardly hear the bass or drums compared to the transparent mid range/treble - part is to do with TV broadcast regulations and equipment/part is just the sound directors expecting people to want an 'easy' listening experience.

Although these power units obviously ARE vastly quieter, it's true that the sound mixing/capture is not optimised for the low end grunt and will always accentuate the 'scream' of the old V8s more.


I think the sound mixing of the TV signal could be better. It's surely possible to make the noise from the track louder.


Exactly my feeling. It was too silent. But probably they will get it right in the race or in a few races.


I found the audio mix quite spotty - the new engines are quite rumbly, so quite frequently they were swamping the commentators voice overs.

The old V8's higher pitch didn't have that problem.

Mike from Colombia

You cant polish a ... you know what


am glad hamilton put all those prejudiced journalist and ex driver turned reporters who constantly claim romberg is more intelligent than he is and make false claims that rosberg has an engineering background with the only evidence, his offer to study engineering at imperial college. in fact rosberg never studied engineering at imperial he was simply offered a place to study. hamilton on the other hand works closely with his engineers, making the most contribution to improving the cars he has driven and worked closely with the worlds best engineering students at harvard and cambridge. i hope this stops them from making such prejudicial comments about him in the future. they all simply wished he wasn't intelligent and simply reported their wishes. unfortunately for them hamilton is the most intelligent f1 driver ever to have stepped foot in the sport and the best driver to have ever stepped foot in the history of the sport. i don't think we will see another as good in our lifetime, including the 5 year old f1 fans.

he will demonstrate this on track this season and I wish his engineers would come out and testify.


Aveli - my comment was both in response to and attached to Tommo's comment on your thread.

I hoped those who read it would realise I was establishing a possible source from which journalists could reference a fact then choose to 'romance' Nico's engineering acumen.

Unfortunately, I'm at a loss to establish a source as to the occupation of the those who lived opposite Lewis's Dad and Step Mother in Stevenage that you referred to in your reply to me.

In future, could you show the source of pertinent details using a variation on the Harvard reference style:

Author name, Book/Periodical name, Chapter title, page number, etc, etc

For Example: Idiot, I AM; Tenuous F1 Facts Monthly, It's a Definite Fact, Page 3, Column 5


are you serious? hamilton said this weekend that he grew up in a single bedroomed flat opposite drug dealers as he talked about visiting kids in hospital in melbourne. if you are willing to pay me for my services, I'm more than happy to teach you.

watch the race.


I think people are confusing intelligence and intellect. Intelligence is a measure of what you know. You can increase your intelligence by learning. Nico chooses to learn more about his car than perhaps Hamilton does. Hamilton learns what he needs to learn to make the car do what he wants. Nico learns everything about the car to see how he can maximise its potential. Intellect is different, it's more about the speed at which you can assimilate information and act upon. Hamilton is renowned for his improvisational approach, and his overtaking ability. Both things which show that his brain can compute things quicker than most, especially on a race track. Hamilton may not concern himself with as many details as some of his contemporaries, but that by no means makes him stupid.



That is either prejudiced nonsense or 100% made up.

What proof do you have for any of what you said?

...And you cannot increase intelligence by learning. Knowledge is what is increased by learning.


you make me smile. hamilton is as great as I say he is. did schumacher not win 7 championships? did rosberg not show him the way? is rosberg able to show hamilton the way? did hamilton, in his rookie season now show the then youngest ever back to back double world champion, who won his championships in a highly contested competition with schumacher, they way?

the evidence is abundant!


there we go again! another with the same blindness. hamilton said himself that it is not true! accept it my friend.


What difference does it make anyway?! He's clearly got enough brain power to drive a formula 1 car. Whose on pole? Oh yeah


Calm down dear, you can watch your beloved Lewis anytime now


he even makes the commentators ooooh and aargh with accentuated rhythm!


10/10 I laughed.


"hamilton is the most intelligent f1 driver ever to have stepped foot in the sport and the best driver to have ever stepped foot in the history of the sport."

Ah, a typical Hamilton fan. I'm not sure what the poor lad has done to attract people like you, but you're his biggest liability.


A "typical" Hamilton fan? That's harsh.

aveli is clearly in the tank for Hamilton, but I think in terms of that type of fan (let's call them Drink-The-Kool-Aid fans [DTKA]), there's just as many that support Vettel and Alonso, as there are that support Hamilton.


Ok, this is critical now ... you're talking in the 3rd person. Next is speaking in tongues. 😉


only difference is aveli is not joking, very serious with tangible evidence which support my opinion.


If he's so great how come he's only won one drivers title? Wait 'til he pushes the car so hard it breaks or runs out of fuel while he's running away from the field. Then we'll talk.


he has only driven 6 seasons and his statistics for strike rate shows his greatness. schumacher has won 7 yet rosberg showed him the way. how is rosberg coping with hamilton now?

not a single driver has demonstrated what hamilton has done in the car.


Wow! You must be on magic mushrooms! I am a Hamilton fan but that's just bla bla bla. I really don't care. Just drive the dam car faster than teflonso. Simples.


is that how you behaved when you went on magic mushrooms?

if you don't care, why comment?


Your making my day with this comment haha. The best ever? please not even by a long shot.


out of all the who have driven in f1 in the past 6 years hamilton has pulled more g force under breaking. does this ability have anything to do with his brain?


yes best ever! hamilton makes his car dance in a way i haven't seen any driver do. He overtakes cleanly, up front, on the edge in a way I haven't seen any other driver demonstrate. there are videos of his drives from karting through to gp2 and f1 and they are all consistent with my claims. there are no videos of any other driver doing as consistently as he has done. if that is no proof that he is the best ever I don't know what is. i have searched all the champions and none of them is able to do what hamilton does with his car. the only interesting battle is one, yes one, between rene arnoux and villenurve and that isn't clean at all, they hit each other several times.

hamilton's overtaking in spa 2008 was so good that they had to invent a new rule to penalise him on an overtaking he had already completed. yes he took them back to the future and back. name any driver you think is the best with such consistent evidence.


Amen to that! I just hope Mercedes are able to keep Red Bull and Ferrari at bay in the development race.


I hope they're not...


Ok whoa ... yeah I think the whole "who's the more intelligent driver?" angle is totally cheap and overplayed, but it doesn't serve anyone - least of all you - to then go overboard the other way.

Spending some time in an engineering degree program is just that ... some time. Doesn't make you an engineer; not even close.

Rosberg's job is not as engineer; it's as driver. It all depends how they approach it. There are people who have a little knowledge in a subject, who when working with people with vast knowledge in that same subject, always have to make their limited knowledge known. These are cases when a little knowledge can be a bad thing, and actually be counter-productive.

If he uses his knowledge to help him understand concepts faster, but in the end trusts his engineer to take care of his work, then it can only help him.


i don't think i have gone overboard. i have seen consistent video evidence on you tube from hamilton's karting days through to gp2 and f1 and there isn't a single driver who has ever shown such consistency, overtaking cleanly, on the, up front the way hamilton has demonstrated. if you name a single driver you think is the best, i can show you evidence that he isn't. hamilton is the best f1 driver to have stepped foot in the history of the sport.


Dude, calm down! I am a Hamilton supporter. But I'm not a slavish supporter of his. No driver is perfect, all have their strong and weak points. It's ridiculous to believe otherwise.

I love to watch quick drivers in action, and there is no more naturally quick driver IMHO than Lewis Hamilton. He instinctively knows the best lines to take, etc. He's a pleasure to watch.

So now that we have that out of the way, I'd advise putting down the keyboard, going out for a walk or some other outdoor pursuit, and just pull back a little bit.

Or is there some posts/hour record of GazBoy's that you're trying to beat? Jokes GazBoy, just jokes!! 😀


if hamilton wins this season, will you describe him as being more intelligent than rosberg?


man on wheels, you are the bearer of the message and if you wish for me to understand it. then make sure i do.


aveli: another moment where you don't seem to get what I'm saying, although I think I'm being very clear and since I don't think that you are stupid, I have to conclude you're trolling. Please stop it.


man on wheels hawking and brawn are in different professions, both world beaters but not fair to compare their intelligence. all prejudiced!


Why should someone do that? One could admit he was wrong on the "who drives more intelligent wins" part and still call Rosberg the more intelligent driver. This discussion is going nowhere, people act like saying that Rosberg is a "more intelligent" driver would mean that Hamilton was a dumb idiot, which he is most certainly not. Stephen Hawking is probably more intelligent than Ross Brawn, but that doesn't make Brawn a retard. Will you guys now please calm down a bit?


6 munce ago I coodnt eeven speel injunear, now i are wun...


I'm not sure I can follow you completely regarding Hamilton's status as "the most intelligent f1 driver ever", but I agree with the gist of your comment.

Most people who assign intelligence to drivers don't have any concrete basis for such an assessment, so what follows is informed more by prejudice than by actual evidence.


intelligence is about driving wisely to win. a simple comparison of intelligence between drivers. nothing to do with others who are not f1 drivers.


they said rosberg would win this season because he is more intelligent than hamilton, as this season would required more intelligent driving. which is a whole load of rubbish. i have said this all along until hamilton himself said it directly to the press.

will they all say hamilton is more intelligent than rosberg if hamilton wins this season?


Looks like it's not just the journalists and ex-drivers that have an issue with Lewis, but the guards too......


and if he pulls a stunt like that on my gate tomorrow he'll get more of the same. Everyone knows that if you stop on track you just wait for Alonso to come around and hitch a ride on his sidepod. DFE 😉


He got a police citation for doing a burnout on public roads last year, wasn't it?


he has a lot more than that.


when will they learn? he will not evaporate.


All hail Lewis! The best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be. Lewis is God.

H.Guderian (ALO fan)

So, you MUST see this.....

P.S.: Ron's (and his wife) face - PRICELESS!!!


because hamilton was mature enough to let a raging teammate passed?

i didn't understand how the youngest back to back double world champion could resort to sabotage over a rookie teammate.


you said he's god.


Oh good god here we go...... its going to be a long 9 months of this rubbish.


is there a bad god?


Yes, here we go again. This is ridiculous. None of these guys will be mistaken for Scientists. They're just racing drivers!!!


they are not just racing drivers, they are f1 drivers. can you name anyone more intelligent than them and earns more money than they do?



OK, we'll just forget about the 3-4 guys that have finished in front of him every single year in the championship for the last 5 years than shall we?


and we'll just forget the fact lewis has beat alonso,button and nico over a season,when they were his team mates,and 2 of them are world champions.and this thing about nico having more finesse,comes from where?and he doesnt have an engineering degree,he was offered a place to study for one,but whats that gotta do with driving a f1 car?its funny coz the same things ppl are saying now,are the same things ppl said when lewis was buttons team mate.i remember ppl writing lewis off after 2011,saying button will get the better of him in 2012,,,,,


no, don't forget! why forget? hamilton is as great as i have said he is. don't forget that either.


It's too bad there you don't have an offer from Imperial College, or any college, to learn about objectivity and join us all in reality...


it's too bad it's illegal for you to express those feelings you harbour inside.


No offence intended, but as a Hamilton fan, i have to say most of what you wrote is rubbish! There are better ways to articulate your support for your favourite driver than blatant fanboism.


you don't need to tell me you're a fan because i know you're not by what you write. and i don't care why you feel the need to insult me because i write the truth. i hope you're not the guard who tried to stop hamilton from entering the paddock area during first practice. like it or not hamilton exists.


It will be interesting to see. No one has said that lewis is not fast - quite the opposite - but I expect that Rosberg will beat him over the season using a combination of skill and finesse rather than raw speed. As far as intelligence goes Rosberg speaks 5 languages fluently and is mastering a 6th while lewis often struggles to make himself clear in English.


... which surely helps Rosberg out on the race track?

Maybe he talks to Costa in Italian back at base.

Rosberg was brought up in Monaco, the son of a champion race car driver. He obviously has never had no want for money.

Hamilton, on the other hand, came from council estate housing, got signed up by McLaren at an early age b/c of his talent, and knew that if he ever let up in his progression, or if his talent wavered in anyway, that he'd be out on his ear.

I don't begrudge successful people the spoils of their success, but I know which driver's backstory I more easily relate to!


if rosberg beats hamilton over the season then those with that style of thinking may claim that rosberg is more intelligent without a complaint from me.


One of the funniest posts I've ever read on this board, the word "sycophant" springs to mind.


am glad to introduce happiness into your life. ever?

Colombia Concalvez

Absolutely agree, most want to see Hamilton fail, that's why these ''sudden'' Rosberg fans support Rosberg. They are no true fan of Rosberg, they just want Rosberg to own Hamilton so they can down talk Hamilton.


i don't think any of that behaviour will influence the results.


Oh dear! Keep taking the tablets.


are you on tablets? no wonder!


are you on tablets too mike? Or are you just harbouring something inside?


Why ask a question and then answer it? Your thought process is very odd!


Well, I think the reputable motorsports journalists are not making up stories, but they've got it from somewhere and that's probably people within the teams. So I do believe there's something to it that Rosberg is more one of these guys who try to adapt the car to his needs technically, while Hamilton has more of an ability to adapt his driving to the car and doesn't need to fiddle around with the settings that much.

But I also think that the difference is more subtle than it sounds. A lot of people tend to exaggerate, when they read "difference" they thing "in contrast to", while it's really "a little bias towards".


They got it from prejudice (and I'm being nice with choice of words).


are you suggesting that any of your so called reputable magazine journalists know more about how much more intelligent hamilton is than rosberg, than hamilton knows? hamilton he is not less intelligent than rosberg and i believe him over those so called reputable magazine journalists.

even security officers are wading in, when will this stop? it's taking over 6 years for people to accept!


man on wheels, lauder, brawn and totto all described hamilton as very intelligent, not a single engineer from mclaren or mercedes has claimed that romberg was more intelligent than hamilton. hamilton made several claims to his design input to the cars he has driven and not a single

engineer has denied it. because of all this i know that hamilton is the most intelligent f1 driver to have stepped foot in the sport.

for all those who are upset by my posts, those reporters have claimed rosberg would beat hamilton in 2014 since hamilton announced he was to join mercedes. hamilton be at rosberg in 2013 although he wasn't used to the car and rosberg had been with the team for 3 seasons. what is it that has changed to give rosberg a better chance this year? show me the logic. they have said it for 18 months and no one got upset, i say hamilton is the most intelligent driver to have stepped foot in the sport and you get upset? what exactly are you harbouring inside?

watch the race.


aveli: I'm sorry, but if you don not understand simple logic (reporters ask engineers, engineers who know data give their opinion, reporters report what they have got from their sources, usually not disclosing them), then any further discussion is useless.


man on wheels, please quote anyone who used data from any part of f1 to suggest romberg is more intelligent than hamilton. i am confident that hamilton spoke directly to the cameras and said it is not the case and sited many references to confirm that rosberg is not more intelligent than he is. fact!


To judge your own intelligence is never going to give any decent result. Look up the Dunning-Kruger-Effect for a reference, it happens to everyone, also those who are on the smart end of the scale.

One should really leave the judgment, if you are more or less intelligent than others to the smartest people around one self. And there are a lot of damn clever people in the teams and they know best if their drivers are doing their job in a smart or less smart way, they see data, they hear the questions, they see how the driver approaches a problem and which conclusions he draws and they see if the driver understands what they are talking about, they are closer to the drivers than anyone else here. So who are YOU to say how intelligent he really is? Shouldn't you leave that to those who actually know him in person and work with him on a daily basis, or at least those who are talking to those who do on a regular basis, like journalists in the paddock, team principals, etc.?


Why bother? it's all blah blah blah...


So Aveli - you a BIG fan of Hamilton or just like him a little bit?


i haven't met hamilton but i am a fan just like you are.


Ahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, this is a brilliant comment. It's pretty obvious from Hamilton's interviews he's a bit of a thicko unfortunately. I think those are some pretty rose tinted fan [mod] glasses you're wearing there aveli.
Does it really matter about his intelligence as long as he's fast on the track though?
Regarding Nico Rosberg how could you possibly know that??


Thomas Alva Edisons teacher specially picked him out when an education inspector visited his school. The teacher described Edison as "somewhat addled," leading the poor child to drop out of school out of indignation.

You know who Thomas Alva Edison is? He turned out to be the greatest inventor of ALL TIME. Today, every year the lights are switched off in remembrance of the "Wizard of Menlo Park"... No one remembers the teacher, except derisively.

That's a lesson to those unwise enough to "know" how intelligent others are by telepathy or whatever other wacky powers.


Tommo, have a look at the well known online encyclopaedia:

Nico Rosberg: "Offered a place on the Aeronautical Engineering course at Imperial College London"

However, if you look at the course content - - you could conclude that Nico should excel in aerodynamics - move over Adrian!

Alas, he turned down the offer to become a professional racing driver.

Nevertheless, the two Mercedes drivers seek different information from the pitwall when they are driving and you can see this by comparing their pit boards.

Has anyone done a compare and contrast of these?

Oh and as for Nico language skills, I wish I was educated in an establishment where I was exposed to a variety of languages on a daily basis - and not just from a bunch of books in a language lab.


rosberg is a son of a millionaire f1 champion while hamilton grew up in a one bedroomed flat with his dad and step mum living across drug dealers.

he made it into f1 because he is that great, against all odds.


“A bit of a thicko”, well that seems a little harsh, how do you know by the way have you personally measured his intelligence and then compared it the other drivers? Or the general populous, but like you state, not that it matters. What I find interesting though is, the way pundits and other commentators seem to raise it as often as they do. It's like the old myth of Hamilton unable to manage his tyres until he proved that he could, just as well as the next driver, that one seems to have fallen out of favour. I suspect this one will too soon enough.


i go by what hamilton says. in the history of the sport, only hamilton has said he would design a car in the future. now, designing a car requires a lot of intelligence and no driver has felt confident enough to suggest they could design a car except hamilton.


you and your friends are all at it. hamilton has recently spoken about designing a car in the future and said it would be the best handling car because he will set it up himself. i have never heard of any f1 driver designing a car nor wanting to.

by the way a security guard with the same mentality stopped hamilton at the gates to ask for his pass while he was in full race suit and helmet on. this kind of behaviour should not be tolerated in sport. hamilton had to tell the security driver that he was a driver to be allowed in.

the only problem is that people find it hard to accept that hamilton is as intelligent as he is and as great a driver as he is.


I hope I'm wrong, but what happened with Williams?

I said during the Bahrain test that Williams seems to be chasing headlines. They were fast and reliable and now are back in the midfield.


Martin (England)

Bottas long run pace on the options was pretty good actually and Massa spent most of FP2 on the primes, lets see where they are after qualifying.


Maybe it's not that they were glory runs, but some of the teams who'd dropped back made a comeback? When you see that Red Bull really do have a great aero set-up and when the Renault unit is pushed to full, they can compete, Williams are back in a set place.


They didn't look to have any decent pace on the Option tyre. They looked more solid on the Prime though.


Perhaps Williams were trying to impress Martini, so did a lot of low fuel/high engine mode running?


1. Free Practice is not conclusive of qualifying/race pace - though it does give an indication.

2. According to the team, Williams used FP2 to conduct long runs and pit stop practice - so were unlikely to have been doing short, low-fuel runs.

3. As for conspiracy theories about "glory runs" in testing I think James has said elsewhere that the Martini deal was signed long before Bahrain and their race pace looks genuinely good.



A couple of questions.

1. Kimi down to 7th place..was it due to some issues in the car?

2. why Vettel had to stop towards the end of FP1 and how was he able to recover quickly?

3. What happened to William's and Mclaren's pace in FP2? Domeniciali was saying that some cars were hiding their speed in FP2.Do you think that is the case?


Vettel was called to the weight bridge at the end of FP1, hence why he had to stop. There was no car issue.



I have been surprised by Kimi's lack of pace as compared to Alonso, right through testing. Alonso's fastest lap in testing was about a second faster. Also today, the gap was seven-tenths. I would expect the gaps between them to be no more than two-tenths in whomsoever's favour.

Do you have any further info? The cars & the technology are equally new to both. Is it that Kimi is just taking longer to readjust being back in Ferrari?




Alonso got nearly twice as many laps as Kimi in pre-season testing, so that could be a major factor.

If we look through Raikkonen's career, he's tended to be quite particular on what he wants from a car for qualifying. Alonso has shown himself to be quite adept at adjusting to cars with all sorts of handling characteristics. In the race Raikkonen has generally been fine regards of the car characteristics.


the true difference will be in qualifying. raikkonen has just moved over from renault or is it lotus? and still getting used to the car.


did alonso not make inputs to the design of the car?

H.Guderian (ALO fan)

Nope. Car is totally new for BOTH.


Yes he didn't have as good a day as Alonso


I read from another source that Kimi suffers from massive understeer, as the tires are pretty much the same as the second half of 2013.

Can you fix something like that with a proper setup?


Depends what you mean by proper.

In qualifying the teams would ideally have a neutral to slight oversteering bias if neutral cannot be achieved as drivers want to hit the intended apex as this tends to be where most time is lost.

In the race an understeer bias is sought to preserve the rear tyres.

Ideally you'd achieve those two states with tyre pressure and front wing adjustments.

Overall car characteristics come from the aerodynamic performance and the suspension geometry. Apart from minor camber setting adjustments, these are pretty much fixed for the weekend as teams don't normally have multiple floor types or suspension wishbones at a race meeting.


My concern for Kimi is that he really suffers if he can't get the car set up the way he likes. In the second half of 2013, RG started to get the upper hand on him and the same happened in 2008 when he couldn't use the front suspension as well as Massa.


He's not as 'good' as Alonso either. Maybe he doesn't like the power steering.


how so James ?


In respect to the camera on the nose on the RB10, how is that powered?

If RB10 has a crash and the wing needs to be changed, does it mean that FIA needs to install cameras on all RB10 spare wings?


From the pictures I've seen I'm not sure if the camera is actually fixed inside the nose cone, or if it's a bit further back and the nose cone just has a panel that sits in front of/over the camera. Have we had any pictures of the front of the chassis with the nose cone off yet?


Details, details.

They're P4 at first true test, isn't that worth a few cameras?


And Sebee is feeling very relieved.


Sebee, Sebastian, Seb, everybody is relieved!


Won't the first true test results be known after the race on Sunday ? Methinks you might be getting a little bit ahead of yourself 😎

james stringers

I was at Albert Park today. Lovely sunny day, relaxed atmosphere. Lots of comments about the lack of noise - the V8 cars were louder. Ferrari has the sweetest engine note & Merc are spookily quiet. High pitched teapot whistles from the turbos. Williams couldn't hold their form through FP2, they looked fast in FP1 but twitchy in FP2, Massa was fighting the wheel through the final corner. Should be a good race, F1 is back!!


Even on TV the lack of noise added a hollowness to the event. I wish F1 stream varied engine noises from their servers so fans could choose what to listen to.


Sound is a form of energy and in a noisy car it's being wasted; so we can assume that quieter cars are more efficient cars. Those turbos are turning the sound of combustion into electricity to feed back into the power train. And by the sound of it (excuse pun) Mercedes are leading the pack.


"so we can assume that quieter cars are more efficient cars"

There is a hell lot more determining the efficiency of a car (or even the engine) than the amount of noise.


Red Bull a huge surprise. I was hoping that this season will start well, but looks good for Red Bull:-)

Merc as expected. Ferrari also as expected. Williams suddenly looks slower than Red Bull and Ferrari.

I hope Maldonado is happy. His arrogance was beyond comprehension. Humility is always good.


williams set those fast times during winter tests for their sponsors. they how to seal deals.


Hope you put down a bet on Vettel's 5th before odds makers adjusted their odds. 🙂


Have you? 😀


Very true, as long as reliability won't be a huge problem then Vettel and Newey will find a way to overhaul these Mercedes pretenders. I for one am actually shocked at how Redbull are not even 1sec slower than Merc I thought even at Melbourne they'd be over 2.5sec slower, though saying that at a Tilke trome the Merc is probably still the best part of 2sec slower than Merc, their saving grace is the car is nowhere near mature and from now till the end of the season there's probably 3-4sec to find from this car and I doubt Merc can find anywhere near that.

Sure Hamilton has this race in the bag but Merc will be watching their backs now.

Now it just proves how much Williams were probably running underweight at the Bahrain test it amazes me that they're behind RBR.


Get off the Vettel wagon Sebee. Rosberg is the future 😉


So another WDC for Germany to add to the 11 and put pressure on GB leader at 14?

Now I get it. This German domination can only be stopped by Hamilton. Wow, the pressure!


But didn't you hear? going to Lotus was the best thing he's ever done!



Looking good for Mercedes after all the pre-season hype...


The Mercedes, like the Brawn in 2009, appears to be the quickest machine in Melbourne with a combination of a well integrated, refined concept and good downforce in slow speed corners - but it is a bit too early for supposition and qualifying will give everyone a better chance of analysis in regarding the pecking order at this early stage of the season.


RED BULL Hats off!

With limited mileage they had in pre season testing they find themselves sandwiched between the two Ferraris!!!

Vettel's long run pace in FP2 was faster than both the Ferraris!

For Ferrari, they seem to have good car, but it looked very twitchy under Kimi. Under Alonso, it looked far more stable.

Williams, same as Ferrari, Massa's car very twitchy under braking, Bottas's car looked very stable.

Overall I guess most of the driver's are still struggling to come terms with "braking by wire" stuff,it seems to catch people out in corners with tight turns and add to that neither Maldonado or Grosjean has had much running so far. First lap incidents???


Lack of running time may cost them dearly.


After watching parts of the TV coverage I'm a bit disappointed by the sound mixing that doesn't seem to have been adapted to the new engine sounds.

Is it possible to lower the commentary's volume and ramp up the overall volume so we can hear a bit more from the cars? Can't be that hard, really.


Yeah, I think FOM has to re-work where their trackside mic's are set up.


My thoughts exactly... Loving the turbo noises and squealing tyres 🙂


Q. What does 30m of PDVSA sponsorship money buy?

A. 🙁


Regardless of anything else, he is quick and a winner, unlike most of the field, both past and present.


True, credit where it's due.


Well, the team put together MAL's car first and sent him out towards the end of FP1, while GRO was left waiting. I think MAL got team's No1 driver tag with the 30m. He was very very lucky to not bin the car twice in his limited outing in FP1.


Maldonado might be no.1 driver on paper, but I reckon they'll be looking to Grosjean to bring in the results.


Will cost them double replacing all of the bodywork he knackers up.

Never forget what he did to Perez at Monaco. Should have been thrown on the scrapheap then.


What does PDVSA stand for anyway? Is it Pastor's Driving Venture Sponsorship Arrangement?


Pastor Driving Vehicle Straight at Adversaries?


Pastor Does Very Silly Accidents


Pastor's Dedicated Venezuelan Sponsorship Agency 🙂


Well, at least it keeps him warm


PS Is that 30 million in Euros, UK £ sterling, US $ dollars, AUS dollars or what? Presumably as Lotus are UK based, pound sterling? I checked this morning, and the exchange rate of Venezuela Bolivar to UK sterling is 96 pence to 1 Bolivar - whatever, turning down a big wedge of dosh is not to be overlooked at a team with apparently £160 million of debts!


Not sure, although I would assume it was Euros or pounds - I'd be very surprised if it was US or AU dollars 🙂

Apparently a new front wing cost 100k now, so by my calculations 30m should buy 300.

Hmmm...not sure that's going to be enough... 😉


A very poor results to expenditure ratio!


It's the car 😉


And Newey 😉


Sorry guys, the sound is crap!

Just does not do it for me!!

Vijay was on live TV saying the same thing.

Bring back the scream of the V10.

Looks like race could be close though, a redeeming factor!


Sound is nice and clean, and we hear the tyres squealing, it's a trip down memory lane!


I've just been listening to some of the onboards from the BBC F1 website, and quite liked the throaty guttural growl of the new V6 turbo. The problem onboard is probably due to bad mixing from the FOM soundboard, but it is literally early days, so it may take a few sessions or even races to fully maximise the sonic aspect of F1.


I quite like it really. However, On TV it didn't sound as if they know how to mix it yet (i.e. sound equipment at races isn't fully adjusted yet).

But the tyres screeching is great. Will probably mean that we hear the crowd a lot more too. For example, I can imagine hearing the Spanish crowd chanting Alonso's name, overtakes being cheered etc. Could really add something to the atmosphere of the races.


Top tip for enjoying F1. Make sure your eyes are open. If the racing is good nobody will be talking about the noise at Sepang.

Colombia Concalvez

Not the V10, the sound note is too high. i prefer the V8.


I suspect the 90 degree V10 had uneven firing spacing to create part of the sound as it tended to have more base tones to it. The V8s just seemed to have a pitch that rose with the rev range.


Martin, I think Renault in 2004-2005 had a 72 degree V10, which had a much more bassy, grunty sound than its Ferrari and Mercedes 90 degree V10 rivals.

It's a pity with these new turbo engines the angle is fixed. During the 80s turbo era any angle was permissible, which led to a lot of different ideas. Ferrari originally had a wide 120 angle,Renault opted for a right angle 90 degrees for its V6, TAG-Porsche had an unusual 80 degree angle for better packaging, and I think the Williams FW11 had a Honda engine angled at 60 degrees. All very different solutions - and F1 in the turbo 80s era was better for it.


No way. The BMW V10 running at 19,000rpm echoing off the forest at the trees at Monza reminds me of the best sound F1 has ever heard, its the memory I will always remember those 950hp cars screaming down the Monza home straight at close to 230mph, most impressive N/A engines ever made and just happens to be the best sounding, makes a Moto GP bike sound like a scooter.

David Selway-Hoskins

I think the racing will be ok, if the cars last, but the SOUND.........................

To sum it up DC's run in the RB10 in the Performance Comparison (F1 vs Aussie V8 Super Tourer vs AMG Merc) was the highlight of the day!

I watched FP1 from Brocky's Hill, by turns 11 & 12. This is one place inhabited by enthusiasts and when the 2013 cars used to come out on their installation laps, the mood changed, it was electric, and everyone stood up.

To-day when this lot of hybrids came out, there was a stunned silence as we all could not believe what they have done to our sport.

I was standing right by the fence at the exit of Turn 11, making a phone call and talking to the marshalls as the cars came by - not possible last year.

The hairs on the back of my neck did not stand up when the cars started up - bad sign.

The saving grace is that the cars do appear reasonably evenly matched, and very twitchy coming out of corners.

Massively Disappointed from Barwon Heads


I agree. The noise is so underwhelming. I love how the sky presenters try to cover it up by saying 'it's not better or worse it's just different'. No it's much worse. Being back V10s


Agree your comments,I always remember at the track when you heard the sound in the distance, you cannot help but stand up in anticipation! What a rush.

Oh well we just have to get used to it I guess it is the future!!


Why would you want the sport to go backwards?? Surely it's much more interesting seeing how new technology is bred into the sport instead of going back to times of old?

As for the noise, if it bothers you that much just turn the telly volume up a bit. Simple


Not watching the telly Trackside!


What does matter is that the racing is exciting. The cars can only go faster from here. They seem to be no more than 5 seconds slower that last year as of now. And this generation of cars is just starting out. Last years cars were at the end of a 5 year development cycle.

Yeah, no doubt the sound was good earlier. However, if hybrid technology and environment friendlier rules are the way forward, then we just need to accept that and move on. This sound will also grow on us.

Frankly the only rule that irks me is the fuel limit. If it means the drivers are going to trundle around the track during the race - it would mean F1 has well and truly become an endurance racing series. That will be sad.


Agree I guess it is my initial reaction!Yes the fuel limit can become a problem hope not.

We will see what happens today in Quali.

Rain on Sunday will be good, spice things up a little!

David in Sydney

Impressed by Hamilton after missing out on P1.

Impressed by Red Bull for seemingly fixing their reliability - let's hope the Renault ERS KERS TERS gremlins don't creep in during qualifying or the race.

Alonso. Classy.

Button. Classy although it looks like the McLaren does lack outright pace.

Lotus. Letting down the drivers.

Caterham. Letting down the pay drivers. I hope they get a credit for poor pace or unreliability.

David in Sydney

Oh yes and surprised that Williams doesn't seem to want to be pushed after looking OK in P1.


Alonso seems to have the upper hand on Raikkonen. Looking at preseason testing, Kimi seems to have trouble getting his car setup. He had the same problem when he started out at lotus but the problem was masked by having Grosjean as a teammate. He will not have the same luck with Alonso. Their time gap in FP2 was the largest of any of the front running teammates.


@ Brett

Kimi himself confessed that different tyre compunds behave very differently with the current F14 T. Also kimi had to tweak himself and work with a car which have very little Trun-In at front and with rear end grip was very poor. Overall Ferrari have disappointed fans with their pace again.

Ferrari again start way behind Mercedes and little closer behind Williams / Mclaren and RBR are not that far behind Ferrari. Ferrari have to improve thick and fast with car developments otherwise game over. It does not really matter how well Kimi / Alonso performs if the car is poor as it turned out to be.

H.Guderian (ALO fan)


Just hope Alonso is already signed with Honda/McLaren for 2015.

Ferrari is a joke as usual.


When he started at Lotus, he had the excuse of being away from the sport for two years. And to be fair that was a good excuse. But now no more excuses, if he doesn't improve it could be painful for him, and specially for all his fans in this site!


His car is not working properly they have issues, glitches. Hilarious how you say, 'if he doesn't improve it could be...' When we have not even had the first race or even the first qualifying


You guys make the mistake of confusing practice with the race.

Over the past few seasons how many times did Kimi start way down the field only to mysteriously end the race at the sharp end.

Allow him to get comfortable in Alonso's team.


at the end of the season.


I agree, but also want to mention the fact that Kimi is know to just get in the car and drive, get out and go home. I am sure is not that bad, but I can't really see Kimi working as hard as others to understand the car and how different components work independentely or together with other.

Because of this I tend to agree with you Brett that Alonso will have the upper hand at least at the begining of the season over Kimi.


Read that the RB looks pretty impressive on corner exit, very stable and quick on the power....beware of the bull

....hope merc can do a "brawn" in these early races


They need to be if the speed trap times are correct. Still a good chance of winning at Monaco and Hungary.


We'll see if they still chew tyres


Yes Mercedes have to take advantage of the early season pace advantage with they have over other teams. There should be no complacency in terms of operations (Strategy) and reliability.

Hope we will see a great duel between Lewis and Nico. Any of these two can win WDC. I see lewis as a slight favorite.

Yes RBR do look a lot better than they were expected to be.


And now for a taste of things to come...


Looking good for Button then. I assume this means McLaren will definitely be taking part in FP3. Hope all teams do as I have tickets for tomorrow! Good to see you back on Network 10 too James.


Yeah that was great joint analysis with Allan on the Beeb radio... I used a proxy to hear it, even though I'm in Australia 😉


You can hear our commentary on official F1 app now, the Soft Pauer one.


No way Button did his time on prime tyres. That's impossible. I think that's a mistake.


It was on medium tyres. Eric Boullier said that Button was only on medium tyres: ""Moreover, and encouragingly, he appreciates that there’s more to come – particularly when attempting to draw the full potential from a set of new Option tyres – but he’ll get there."

So Mclaren is ahead of the Ferraris


Maybe you could get a ticket for Lewis


Lol 🙂


Exciting Friday!!

Was a little disappointed with the sound - But glad that the difference in speed / lap time is not as bad as i anticipated.

Review of earlier predictions:

1. Lewis / Nico on the front row with Massa/Bottas right behind --- second row looks rather doubtful already!! guess its going to be Fernando & Seb?

2. None of the Renault cars in the top 10 in quali (again - Redbulls might be there)

3. More than 30% attrition – expecting a maximum of 14 cars to finish with half of them at least 2 laps behind - Will still happen

4. Red bull to start from the pit lane!! - Doubtful!!

5. At least 2 safety car - still on

6. Few incident of cars to spinning out of the track - still on

7. Williams to outscore their 2013 points haul in just 1 race - still on

8. We will have a surprise winner – Not Lewis, Nico, Seb or Fernando - let's see!!


James what happened to williams today ?

They looked like a real deal in the second bahrain test, yet they were way down the field today (Yes fuel loads may be different). Still there did not look close enough to top 5

Does this mean RBR have improved vastly from bahrain and Other teams have developed the car whereas williams did not make up any ground between Bahrain and Melbourne?


I think they will be right there on Sunday, behind the Mercs


Yeah I think so too James. They are still pretty much bullet proof as well which will come in handy over the next 4 races.


Looking from what 1st Friday testing day was, double points in the last race could serve for SV for his 5th in the row ))


The new season is looking promising action-wise for with this much action during the free practice, we can only expect even better things when the lights go out.

It's true, the cars sound weird and the noses look weird too but if the show if first class, the fans wouldn't care.

First and foremost, it's encouraging that the times between the teams are close especially for P2 downwards. This means we can have a battle between the two Mercedes drivers up front and then another battle for the podium places and then another battle for the points places.

The biggest surprise was Red Bull and seeing them up and running, more importantly competitively. This is good for in a couple of races they will be joining the party at the front.

Another surprise is seeing Williams sliding down the timesheets, lets hope they're just hiding their hand.

Congrats to Ferrari in FP1 for breaking the Mercedes lock out of the time sheets for just like in winter testing, they're the only engine expect Mercedes to do so.

It's sad to see Lotus haven't fully recovered performance wise since Allison left the team.

Overall, considering were the number 2 drivers ended FP2, I reckon our grid looks something like this


Red Bull




Force India


Torro Rosso





Agree on the grid! Only thing I think Williams will be there with Red Bull and Ferrari. It seems like Merc is in a league of their own, then comes Red Bull having the edge over Ferrari due to superior aerodinamics, which traduces also in superior driveability.


You're so wrong about Williams pace...

Based onto stints of FP2:

Rosberg - Lewis - Bottas – Button – (Massa or Alonso) - Vettel – Ricciardo – Hulkenberg – Magnussen – Perez – Kimi



I watched both sessions, and somehow contrived not to go to sleep in between. I'm knackered, and have somehow to get through work. Anyway, my thoughts...

Seems to me the Mercedes are indeed the clear pacesetters, with the Williams not quite as fast as expected. Both the Red Bulls look well balanced (hm hm) and appear to be within shouting distance of the Mercedes, which is ominous. That is definitely the surprise of the first day.

Up there or there abouts seem to be Alonso and Button- they both looked competitive, more so than their teammates. Button looks dialed in to the car, and the McLaren is noticeably a better car than that of this stage last year, notwithstanding the increased twitchiness (a noticeable thing) of the current crop. Button's time without the softs is impressive. Similarly Alonso was consistently near the top through the various phases.

I also thought the Force India looked solid.

The Lotus (smoking battery, multiple brake induced spins) and Caterham (did very little) are all at sea getting their cars running at the moment, so their pace is unclear. As is the Torro Rosso, which has major braking problems- the new brake by wire system on their car is not working, with lots of trips into the gravel, and Kyvat looked (understandably) like he was having a difficult first day (not least in noticing blue flags!). The Marussia looks solid, similar to last year, as does the Sauber (I.e.middling, as it did at this stage last year).

Having seen long and short runs, I'm confident the Mercs will lock out the front row. Beyond that, more guesswork than anything- I would then go with Button and Alonso, then the Bulls, and (if perhaps they were sandbagging just a bit) the Williams, with the Force India not far behind. Then perhaps Sauber. I can't see Lotus getting their car running on full power at the moment, so they are in effect a midfield back marker with Torro Rosso until they do.

In terms of who will finish, funnily enough the Red Bull looked reliable (they managed a race distance, as did other teams). McLaren look solid on that front, as do Williams. I have slight concerns re Ferrari and Mercedes, There is no way either Lotus or Caterham will finish on current form, nor do I expect the Torro Rossos to do so. The Sauber, Force India and Marussia look to have a reasonable chance of getting a car across the line. But I'd be surprised if we had more than 12 cars at the finish. A great time for the small teams to capitalise, just turn it down and cruise a la Minardi tactics of old.