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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Hamilton quickest as Ferrari hit trouble on final day of Bahrain test
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Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  09 Apr 2014   |  5:13 pm GMT  |  323 comments

Lewis Hamilton ended the first in-season test of the season almost 1.5 seconds clear of his rivals as Ferrari were forced to call an early halt to their final day with a damaged chassis.

Mercedes spent the day tyre testing for Pirelli and Hamilton’s best time came in the morning session when he posted a lap of 1:34.136. That was good enough to stand for the rest of the day, with Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne second with a lap of 1:35.557. The Frenchman got through 63 laps of the Sakhir circuit despite bringing out the red flags in the morning when he went off at Turn Four. Hamilton, meanwhile, managed a total of 120 laps.

Kevin Magnussen was third fastest on his second day at wheel for McLaren. The Dane’s running was limited, however. A car problem pitched him into the gravel traps shortly before lunch however and the team spent much of the afternoon repairing damage to the chassis. He emerged late on to record his P3 time but was restricted to just 26 laps in total.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, was forced to call a halt to his day’s work after just 12 laps. The Spaniard was running the chassis raced by Kimi Raikkonen in last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix and the team discovered damage to the chassis that could be traced back to the Finn’s collision with a kerb at Turn Four during FP1 of the race weekend.

A Ferrari spokesman said that the team had repaired “the local damage during the weekend, but it has now become clear that there was also some consequential damage, unseen over the remainder of the weekend. This damage became only apparent this morning, and we stopped running on a precautionary basis in order to fix the chassis.”

The day’s fourth-fastest time went to Bahrain GP podium-finisher Sergio Perez. The Mexican recorded a time of 1:36.586 over his 64 laps.

Red Bull Racing also encountered problems. The team’s morning programme was disrupted by an electrical issue that forced the team to shift the planned mapping work to the afternoon session.

That meant that Ricciardo spent most of the second half of the day on information-gathering runs focused on aero data.

“There were no real performance runs, just pure testing,” said the Australian afterwards. “At the end of the day we got a few medium-length runs in and a few balance changes, like we did yesterday. So, not really a day for the timesheets but one for the people at the factory and the guys behind the laptops.”

Jules Bianchi was sixth fastest, with the French driver also putting in a healthy 93 laps for Marussia. Giedo van der Garde took over from teenager Sergey Sirotkin at the wheel of the Sauber C33 and the Dutchman’s best time of 1:37.623 was good enough for seventh spot on the timesheet.

There were more problems for Renault-powered runners. Caterham got through a productive morning and continued to make progress in the afternoon, but after 66 laps, Marcus Ericsson stopped on track at Turn Eight, his CT05 sidelined with an ERS problem.

Romain Grosjean, though, could only manage 17 laps, Lotus again suffering with power unit issues. A grim Grosjean later said that the issues were “just not acceptable”.

Finally, Williams test driver Felipe Nasr finished in tenth position as the team devoted its final day to tyre testing for Pirelli.

Bahrain Test – Day Two Times
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:34.136s 120
2. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:35.557s +1.421s 64
3. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:36.203s +2.067s 26
4. Sergio Perez Force India 1:36.586s +2.450s 63
5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:37.310s +3.174s 67
6. Jules Bianchi  Marussia 1:37.316s +3.180s 93
7. Giedo van der Garde Sauber 1:37.623s +3.487s 77
8. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:37.912s +3.776s 12
9. Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:39.263s +5.127s 66
10. Felipe Nasr   Williams 1:39.879s +5.743s 64
11. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:43.732s +9.596s 17

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Ohhhh! nooooo it can't be possible.....Ferrari won't give Alo a decent can be possible that mistake in testing?....


I have to say...

2014 is a fascinating season (i.e. not boring) because Ferrari has become a laughing clown!

They were the ones who wanted an engine focused Formula 1; they were the ones who wanted a V6 instead of 4cyl; they were the ones who wanted in season testing

After they got their wish, they are still slow.



Think I will be buying a Mercedes and Not a Ferrari when I win the lottery!! Any good mercedes powered road cars out there?




Mercedes do a wide range of very fast cars typically refined by their partner sports customisation house Brabbuss.


Hi James

I find it odd that no one has really talked about the fixed gear ratios this year with an added 8th gear… Surely this is a big change from previous years… Some cars will inherently have the gearing for fast circuits over slower twisty circuits… I noticed the Mercedes in 7th gear along the straights yet red bull and others were on the limit in 8th… Longer gears ? Could this this give other teams more advantage in Europe? Or why we saw more inter team battles?


next year there will be no mid season ratio changes so why were red bull so wrong that they have to change in the first 3 races.

I have a friend who is currently working on the honda v6 for mclaren f1 and its intresting to think ferrari could be behind mercedes,renult and honda. How long before they look elsewhere to show of there hardware.

I am worried that with the coming departure of Bernie there will be a huge power struggle between some teams and the FIA plus the in fighting that willl follow. F1 could be about to disentigrate.


The teams are allowed to change their gear ratios once/season. According to the sky coverage of last weekends race, the Red Bull cars changed their gears to a lower ratio in an attempt to unlock better performance , ie improving acceleration. That is why the Bulls were getting into 8th gear on the straights. The flip side of this, is they will likely suffer at high speed circuits , such as Monza, later in the season.


Thanks Graham.

I am really interested why BBC / Sky have just ignored the fixed gear ratios. If I'm not mistaken RB have already changed their ratios... So no going back?.... Or is there an obvious work around? I'm no gearing expert and nor do I have any intimate knowledge of the new regs but what I have read is that the ratios are fixed from the crank. So unless the differential is excluded the teams could be constrained from fighting too far up and down the grid and my theory on inter team battles may have more credence...

Find it so weird there's no talk about it?

James it would be great to read your thoughts?


Very good observations there, I agree about the interteam battles. Maybe what we have lost in drivers car setting skills in the garage we have gained with on track racing.


It's such a shame. All the ingredients are there. Two top class drivers, plenty of resources, passion in abundance.... and yet once again Ferrari have come up with a dog of a car that resembles a midfield runner more than a race winning car.

It is no coincidence that the last time there was a major shake-up of the regulations in F1 (2009), Ferrari produced a midfield car as well. They seem to be lacking the innovative genius that once separated them from the rest. I'm sure they will improve as the season goes on but the 2014 championship is already out of reach for both of their world champion drivers. Simply no excuses. Change is surely on the horizon for Ferrari now.


Ferrari (along with Mclaren) performed poorly in 2009 because they poured tonnes of resources into the 2008 championship. This year, I think Ferrari have produced a great chassis, yet an abysmally weak engine.


The biggest reason why it worked with MS abs Brawn is the fact that they had unlimited testing back then, and Ferrari had the advantage of having their own track. MS was constantly testing, thus improving the car


I think we've just got to accept now that despite his world class talent, Fernando Alonso is no Michael Schumacher.


Comments like that aren't worthy of this website!

Michael had an amazing TEAM around him - and he was an important part of that but not an exclusive part of it...

Fernando has come second many a time in a poor car - why is it F1 fans celebrate what G Villeneuve did but not F Alonso?

Damn I find motor racing fans excruciating - sometimes I find it embarrasing to read what people say - Michael was good but UK fans seem unable to accept how amazing Fernando has been too - don't try and compare drivers between different eras :-/


In agreement Peter - Alonso is no Schuey...but then again, it's not liked Schuey liked competitive teammates either, so they both have that in common.

Leaving McLaren at the end of 07, when he had the chance to fight for a third WDC title in 08 and bottled it, then move to an un-competitive Renault team, and then we get crash-gate which he knew nothing about (yeah right).

To me he will always be know has the spineless Spaniard after 07, and I personally hope he wins nothing until he retires.


No- I would say that he us no Todt, Brawn,Byrne & Schumacher.. In that order- nor should any driver Be!- Ferrari had great success in having a brilliant team support a brilliant - engineering focused driver in a time where there was unlimited testing and customer spec tyres- everything about that is mostly gone- You cannot compare them. Ferrari needs to learn it needs a comoletely different approach and a different structure- starting from the top- at the end of the day- drivers drive cars no matter how good they are


This is not the first time Ferrari have produced RED trucks instead of proper race cars. This has been the pattern ever since 2009 and there is no way out for Ferrari team to get back at the levels they were before pre 2009.

As Ryaz have nailed it here, Ferrari are a mid-table team at best and without the Colossal efforts of Alonso for the last five seasons they would have not even finished inside the top 3 in WCC standings. This maybe the last season for Ferrari to keep hold of the top class talents which they have in the team. Any failure to improve or develop the car consistently through out the season means both Alonso and kimi may waive Good-bye to the team, especially Alonso

BIG kudos to Alonso as he wrung every ounce of the performance from poor Ferrari trucks for the last five seasons at consistent levels

The set up itself is really wrong LDM is simply too political and does not bother too much to fire Stefano D and his crew. Instead he fired dyer, costa, and finally the drama combo massa-smedley

Forget the WDC and WCC. Ferrari may not even finish inside top 3 in WCC standings come the season Denouement. Despite the talented pilots they have at their disposal


You wanted to say Red Taxis ? Though taxis would be faster. trucks, right you are.


Ferrari are in the same position they have been for several seasons - they tend to produce a good car aerodynamically, and their V8 engine was very good, but they lack that last bit of something (mechanical grip?) to be the regular pace setters.

Only this year they no longer have that really strong engine to prop them up, so they're struggling (although they were relatively quick in Malaysia).

I kind of expect them to go better in China and Spain, two races that they dominated last season, but then so will Red Bull.

It's pretty painful to see them like this, but even when they have a truly competitive car (most notably 2010 and 2013) they still manage to find ways of not utilising it properly.


Well, you can see LDM had to reassure Alonso after the race. It's not looking good for Alonso staying at Ferrari for long...

As for Massa, LDM has done him a big favour. I am sure Alonso wishes now he had gone to Williams instead of Massa...


They don't have Schumacher and Brawn any more...

They hadn't won a championship for 21 years then they win 5 in a row with Schumacher.

Then he leaves the team and Kimi wins with the car that Schumacher helped to develop the year before, and since then... Nothing, despite having the mighty Alonso, face it, Schumacher was the central and pivotal figure during their only successful period over the last 30 years.


Ed first of all Byrne is still there. Brawn and Todt are missing and I don't think Schumi brings anything Alonso doesn't. What Ferrari is missing is the advantages they had before; they had their own track and vast testing capability. Ferrari were never that efficient, if they were so efficient how did that dream team lose to Renault and Alonso twice? Renault had a much smaller budget and they proved they were more efficient and with a great driver they took 2 titles. Since then testing limits have come in and the most important factor is Ferrari are no longer the sole biggest spending team in F1 as they were with Schumacher. Instead Red Bull have been spending and Mercedes. Throw in Ferrari's history of inefficiency and no serious testing, Ferrari could have the best drivers ever and it won't matter. Ferrari couldn't beat the double champions Benetton so they bought the entire key team and it still took them years. Alonso should leave, he's wasting his time there.. Even Force India are trying smart strategies..Ferrari are predictable even in that area. Oh well.


Fighting talk cheeseypoof but how do you respond to the comment that the hole left by Schumi, Brawn and Byrne has been impossible to fill?


schumacher(best wishes) joined mercedes and didn't win a single race.


Some of the ridiculous claims about Schumacher's effect on Ferrari are just absurd and downright illogical. You talk as though Schumacher was the smartest man in the entire organization. Are you joking? Brawn and Co have him a double championship winning car at Benetton. Get your facts straight fan boys...


When Michael joined Ferrari, he was shocked by the disarray in the technical department. Michael realised he had to get the Sgt R.Brawn and Captain R.Byrne to give Ferrari some discipline and direction in the engineering sector.

It took time - five years - but it did pay off............until the domination was ended in 2005.

You could argue that Ferrari have been in terminal decline since the end of 2006, it was just that the design of the 2007 and 2008 had strong elements of the 2006 car that kept Ferrari up the sharp end. Of course, come 2009 and a huge regulation change that year........Ferrari are back to the bad old days, and have remained their aerodynamically ever since.


Another bang up job from Ferrari. Here's a new game we can play before races; how is Kimi going to damage his chassis this time?


Cry babies the lot of them, they all had the same time to prepare the new hybrids just like Mercedes, tuff! their on catch up and blaming this and that makes them sound, not only underdogs, but unprofessional, these guys earn millions come on then guys 'lets see you race'!! teams that is, I did like Lewis and Nico last weekend but would rather see teams doing that to each other, 'no what I mean' 😉


Hi Hynes,

I guess there is a mistake about Lewis' time see below. Please correct it if I am right or ignore if I am wrong. Don't bother to post this.

"Mercedes spent the day tyre testing for Pirelli and Hamilton’s best time came in the morning session when he posted a lap of 1:36.164. That was good enough to stand for the rest of the day"


Many thanks. Damn typos!!


It's not that new Ferrari V6 turbo-hybrid keyboard that the admin department are using by any chance? Should have got that Mercedes keyboard instead!


Good thing it's not the Renault or he would be blaming it on the fingertip sensor.


Once again proof that Ferrari has become a team with idiots and fruitcakes. Why on earth would they choose Raikkonen's car for the test? He had that shunt on the kerb in FP and was hit by Magnussen in the race. Still they somehow thought it would be a good idea to use this car. Why on earth has the most successful team in F1, the most stupid employers in F1? Not only can they not build an aerodynamic efficient race car, they can't build engines and they have zero innovation when it comes to development or car design. It's time that they sack the entire team with the exception of the drivers, Rory Byrne and James Allison. Forget 2014, just go to the races to try out new stuff and improvements for 2015!!! If Ferrari start now with their 2015 car, then maybe, they can be the 4th fastest car in the field. Forza Ferrari? I think not, Ferrari is not even a shadow of what the team was a decade ago. They just have the same logo and color, the rest is secondhand material (except the drivers and Allison). Leave yourself some dignity and resign Luca Di Montezemelo and take Stefano with you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Kimi said over the weekend that he was looking forward to the 2 days of testing. They switched drivers but not the cars. They put FA in the car both days...? Kimi is the one who brought the Lotus from a mid-pack car to the front of the grid when they did what he told them they needed, his feedback. Kimi is still Ferrari's last WDC. I thought Ferrari rehired him to bring them back to the front. Instead they put FA in the car again & he has not been able to give them the feedback they need for 4 years.


@Marybeth- totally agree. Kimi insists on exactly what he needs from a steering / and front end set up. People must not forget these are the "tools of these great drivers trades". Engineers often find this awkward or difficult - but they are over the moon when he delivers- this is exactly what Ferrari need and Exactly why they hired Raikkonen- he finds out exactly what the car needs to make big strides. Watching him drive live you see exactly how sharp every car hes driven is on turn in.. Alonso needed to test out Kimis new parts during this latest test - because everyone including Kimi could see it improved the cars handling compared the previous 2 races. Pity the broken chassis hindered their progress..

Some moronic posters ( wont mention names) seem to overlook the impact he has on a car/ team Like the Lotus. But I bet if you ask James Allison he knows what Kimi can do- same as Kimis Ferrari engineers of 2007.


Elie, I am trying to understand why Ferrari put FA in Kimi's car to screw it all up at Bahrain practice...? I don't believe that Ferrari is too stupid to know & understand just what sleaze FA is capable of. He has given us many examples.


@Elie you think my comparing Felipe to his team mate is childish because of Felipe's past accident? This is Formula One, it is logical to compare team mates, and Felipe isn't complaining about his accident at all. By competing he opens himself up to comparison. When you call others "moronic" or "childish" you are resorting to name calling, rather than legitimate debate. And that isn't childish? No wonder you can't string a legitimate theory together..


@Cheesyproof69- are you sure your not Chrischar in disguise??. Only children use the term "wipe the floor" & only childish people forget what happened to Felipe in 2009.. Goodbye


Your betting that the 2007 Ferrari engineers know what Kimi can do...? The same Ferrari engineers who watched Massa wipe the floor with Kimi in 2008? And watched him get dumped for a guy who came in and proceeded to make Massa look foolish year in year out, unlike Kimi? I'm sure those same engineers would love to hear more of your thoughts and bets. Your definition of moronic posters as you call them must be based on equally solid evidence. Good luck with your bet... Maybe you and the handful of geniuses that are gifted with your divine knowledge of Kimi's sublime ability to develop a car can start a petition to educate those who are unaware, basically everyone else. He worked real magic on Lotus' new car too it seems.


Kimi was almost (I say "almost" as he has merit, I hold Kimi in high regard!) gifted the WDC because of the squabble in McLaren!!


It took Schumacher 5 years to win the first title for the reds. Fernando is in his 5th year with the reds this season. Crunch time!


I got a DOTD vote. I'm one of them! 😉

Thanks jake.


schumacher(best wishes) insisted on having Nigel stepney, Ross brawn and rory byrne from his former team to join him at ferrari.


DOD goes to Sebee, he drove that red sofa to places where it does not belong. 150%, well done


Can not compare. The 5 years Schumacher was in the team, they were progressing every year. This past 5 years, they were getting worse and worse.


Surely you're not serious. Alonso's chances of WDC are about even with mine this year.


@ Maryberth

"Kimi is the one who brought the Lotus from a mid-pack car to the front of the grid when they did what he told them they needed" - What a charade? SO you say kimi virtually helped lotus to become the team they are now? Hilarious at best

All the effort in lotus team have come from James Allison and other clever engineer people who they had in the team. This is the reason now Ferrari have hired Allison from lotus. Yet you daftly give credit to Kimi who simply even failed to get the better of Grosjean?

"Kimi is still Ferrari’s last WDC. I thought Ferrari rehired him to bring them back to the front" - Kimi is the last Ferrari WDC? yes. However he will not win anymore WDC simply because massa is not there to gift him a victory and Ferrari Nor did have the superlative car F2007 which they had once. Ferrari never hired Kimi just to win the WDC again through him. Ferrari have shot themselves here. Ferrari bascially brought kimi back to the team for two reason's 1. Kimi have enough experience and this helps the team. 2 Ferrari are well aware Alonso may leave the team anytime sooner (Simply because our wizard Alonso have drove the ropey Ferrari cars time and time again since 2010 to this point and feel very tired of the chore). Hence Ferrari decided to cover themselves and hired back kimi. 3 Vettel will not sign for Ferrari until they improve the performance from all fronts and prove the 4X WDC once again that the team are ready to win again (This will not happen anytime sooner not until 2016 or 2017 for sure)

Finally as you point out FA is not the reason why ferrari were not able to improve the car for last four season's. In fairness without Fernando Alonso and his colossus efforts 1. Ferrari would have lost out in the WCC standings 2.Ferrari would have lost hadnful amount of partners 3.Ferrari would have been a laughing stock since 2010 and not just in 2014 without Fernando Alonso

Your resentment towards Alonso is very clear, yet be more subjective rather than posting some stories


"Yet you daftly give credit to Kimi who simply even failed to get the better of Grosjean?"

Even though he outqualified and outscored him for both seasons they were together?


Kimi will run both days next time.

You can't really believe that Alonso is the problem with Ferrari? The guy has dragged there cars around the track he for four years, he hasn't held them back. If not for Alonso this team would look pathetic rather than just sad.

I'd bet he's off to McLaren next year.


Kimi is doing the Barca test.


@Elie look up the team budgets from 2004 onward, as I recall Renault were not spending anywhere near the likes of Ferrari and Mclaren. That's right Kimi's team was spending way more. I fundamentally can't understand how anyone could factually argue that Kimi is a better driver than Alonso. I say that simply from having watched their entire F1 careers, and I'm certain Alonso will beat him again this year. The only reason Kimi will ever come close is if Alonso plots to leave, and I think anyone who wants to win the title should leave them.

I don't believe you are correct in saying Ferrari realized they made a mistake booting Kimi. If your theory was correct and he was such a gem Ferrari would have brought him back immediately after that first year without him. They didn't even want him when he returned, he only had Lotus. This is solid proof... They still thought Massa could do well enough. So I'm sorry but they didn't make a mistake, or they'd have called Kimi immediately the next year and Kimi would have fallen off a boat to come back. They just wanted a more reliable driver than Massa and Kimi was the easiest option. I firmly believe if Kimi said he would leave Ferrari this year, they'd be disappointed but would bring in a reliable replacement. If Alonso said he'd leave this year I think Ferrari would be far more worried and would break the bank to try and get Vettel or Hamilton in. Just my two cents.


@cheesypoof69- ha- i dont want to keep repeating myself . But most people know Kimi came 2nd to MS in 2003 by 2 pts and Fernando Alonso by 16 pts in 2005 (Kimi win 6or 7 GP's out of 15) . Had his Mclaren not broken down so much he would easily have beaten Fernando and Michael in those 2 years.Look up Wikipedia and learn what happened if you dont know.

Your argument about mid field team for Fernando is just plain wrong again. Fernando won his titles with Full Works Renault (Factory) Team - when there was unlimited testing. Further Kimi did get an offer from Mclaren in 2009 ( around 10million) but he was not interested because at the time driver contracts were substantially reduced for all drivers and its true he was no longer worth 51 million a season as he was no longer world champion. He did the smart thing and left F1 after 9 years and too many lies & politics about his time at Ferrari.

Ferrari dont pay 50 million odd dollars to cancel a contract then hire him back unless they know Ferrari made the mistake and Raikkonen proved that in a true mid field team like Lotus- again you somehow overlook the success he had there.

2003- 2007 Kimi was the fastest driver on earth- a sentiment echoed by many greats in the sport.Right now he would be in the top 4 with Alonso, Hamilton,Vettel with maybe Hamilton a nose in front. I think Hamilton is a cut above everyone over 1 lap since 07!but the rest are better at managing race pace. Mind you Lewis is totally on top of his game this year


Well Elie Kimi has crashed his car several times so... use your own words to complete the sentence. Your love for Kimi doesn't mean we have to ignore facts. If Kimi was so good at improving a car he would have been able to work with the world class Mclaren team when testing was much more available. He got the quick leap into a top team and did he win a title? No.

Instead the driver you compare him to took the slow route to a medium sized team in F1 and used his ability with open testing to win 2 titles. Kimi, if he was as good as you say, should have done this having been in F1 before Fernando. And the ultimate clue against your argument? Ferrari who know Kimi a lot better than you dumped him for Fernando. Not only that but they preferred Massa to him. Kimi's only title came after the two Mclaren drivers lost out. So while your telling us to remember Fernando's cars and Kimi's, and normal person can assess who the better drivers were back when testing was around. And if you can't figure it out yourself, you can tell by the simple fact that Kimi had no offers from top teams when he left Ferrari.. none felt he was worth what he was asking for. He's back now, definitely getting paid less, and I think that is the real proof of what the people who know more than is value the drivers at.


@Sebee - Kimi wont give a toss about Nandos car. He works hard at getting exactly what he wants from a car..Remind me how well Fernandos cars have been over the last few years- then look at what Kimis done with his car... Exactly


Hopefully with Alonso's car.


I don't see a reason to say a thing.

You said it all.

Just perfect!!!


I agree on pretty much all points. They need a massive overhaul

David in Sydney

Maybe Ferrari are so disappointed in Kimi that they wanted Alonso to show Kimi where he's going wrong using the same car on the same circuit but they quickly realised it was a daft idea.


& Remind me how that went. This is precisely the reason Ferrari are falling - they want to "Rob Peter to pay Paul". Kimis car throughout history have razor sharp precision and balance in the front end.

Why not just focus on improving what Fernando has in his car- (since he is leading). . I will tell you why - because Raikkonens car had different components on the front end - that actually helped Kimi over the Bahrain weekend. I bet Ferrari wanted Fernando to get another opinion on them going forward and Fernando surely does not want Kimi to have something that works better than his car. This is the reason they signed Kimi in the first place - he has great natural feel and insists on precision in the front end - that im sure every driver could benefit from-- Remember where Grosjean was early 2013 - then look how ended the year.


Hay Klaas, you certainly come accross as a very bitter and angry and critical person! Sometimes it's better to say nothing if you haven't got something good to say! If you think about it, even the least skilled person at Ferrari is probably more highly qualified than you are!



So, Paul Kirk....You never have an opinion about anything in this life??? Because if you have EVER said ANYTHING about a film or a football team or about your government, then you should think twice before judging someone for expressing his opinion!! Because you're not in the film industry, but you say that a film sucks or not. You're not a footballer, but you yell at players and coaches. You're not a politicianm but you definitely judge the actions of your government....think about it!


LoL, Hi Guys, (Klaas, Nick, Lord and Tommy), interesting comments! I guess I'm becomming less than impressed by the wave of serious critisism that I'm reading re F1 lately, e.g. exhaust sound, lap times, frontal treatments, Renault power units, etc., etc. I'm getting the impression that some people feel good being able make harsh statements behind the safty of a keyboard. I, by nature, am not a critical person, and I tend to take the side of the underdog when things aren't "rosy". What we have to remember about those involved in F1, is that every person is top quallity! (Though experience varies). There seems to be a tendancy with critics and journalists and comentators (in F1)to rubbish any team that is not doing well or is a the back of the field, which I find distastfull. If you follow American motorsport you notice this does not happen, even the most budget racer is spoken about with respect. It must be hard to for every team to reach the same levals of developement with their cars when they don't all have access to staff with the same levals of knowledge/experience etc. I don't allways blame a team manager (etc.) for non-performance of a team either, as he only has the staff he has. We have to remember F1 is at the very top of motorsport developement and it's incredable to observe all the teams having developed totally new cars/systems to totally new rules and yet after only three races there are only a few seconds between the fastest and the slowest, amazing, I reckon!




I didn't know you had to be a qualified engineer and with a minimum work experience of at least 5 years with a top F1 team to comment.

I'm sure, when YOU comment on movies, you've directed and produced and acted in so many of them, right?


He's allowed to voice his opinion, a correct one also


Actually Mr Haddock is right.

Opinions are by definition subjective rather than objective. So there is no such thing as a correct or incorrect opinion. This not an opinion just how it is...I should probably go to bed.

Although in my opinion blue is the best colour. And that's a fact!


@Rampant then by process of elimination- no wrong opinion either. Reasons supporting it usually make us pay attention or not ! & there some very noteworthy points in Klaas opinion



Is that your opinion ? Using your logic that means your wrong 😉

Rampant Haddock

There's no such thing as a correct opinion.


Hi Paul,

Sorry if my comment seemed not constructive to you. I'm certainly not bitter and angry, just a frustrated Ferrari fan. It hurts to see your favorite team failing so massively for 6 years in a row. We've been spoiled in the Schumacher days, but with that kind of budget, status and fan base, you cannot screw up for 6 consecutive years. We had more than enough patience. I don't want to offend anyone, but if a CEO of a major company failed to produce any kind of result for 6 years, would you keep him on as a board member? Sure that some of them are more qualified than me, no argument there 🙂


Klaas and Paul

nicely handled


Klaas, I agree with your comments.

Ferrari lacks vision, direction, clarity of thought and common sense in its aero/technical department. Formula 1 success is a blend of engineering technology and driving technique; Ferrari's lack of cutting edge engineering technology compared to Milton Keynes and Brackley is clear for all to see.

Just my opinion.


I have to agree with you; very poor performance - especially this year - , Stefano has had his change but simply didn't succeed.

The president needs to wake up NOW.


No, the president needs to be replaced now. He's the boss, not Stefano. The buck stops with him. Or should do.


Nothing wrong with the president I believe; remember he was there when they knew how to win championships.

Stefano is not capable to bring the team to worldclass level, not even with the monster budget he has been given all those years. 5th best team at the moment...


Some Italian media gave the best description I've read of what's going on with Ferrari: Ferrari is in decline. That's it. It seems to me that they've just fallen behind the times. Compare the organization at RBR or MB - with teams of experts and ex-drivers involved at the highest levels.

Ferrari is stuck in character and seemingly very confused... Bad luck Fernando.


To be fair I don't think Ferrari have ever been an innovative team. Preferring to brute force their way to the front with money and testing. Maybe this is why Montezemelo hates the current regulations so much.

It took 3 years of being spanked on track before Enzo Ferrari retracted his "The horse does not push the cart - it pulls it" Mantra

Please Ferrari, you have two of the best drivers on the grid, give them something better than a taxi to race with.


Enzo really said that? Aren't most Ferrari's, especially of that era, rear wheel drive? o_O


It's going to be ugly at the Italian GP. The Tifosi might just burn the place down.


Especially given the power difference. Monza is *the* power and straight line speed circuit of the year. The mercs are just going to walk it! 🙂


Briatore is waiting,to sort this mess.(fire Domenicale soon please.(yesterday)


Longy +1


I would rather see no F1 at all than Briatore back


@ Pat Palozzi

Flavio is much better and possess enough guile to lift the team from tough scenario like this

Amid the controversies, Falvio have always done well with Benetton and Renault. Ferrari need someone who is shrewd enough, unfortunately Stefano D and LDM are inept and lame ducks nothing else. Even Martin Whitmarsh did a great job with Mclaren than what Stefano D did with Ferrari

Flavio or Martin W for the next team boss

Alexander Supertramp

Quite the outburst, but I understand the frustration.

I reckon this will be quite the year for Ferrari. What happes if they have a terrible year AND lose Alonso? How will the fans react? You're right, (big) heads will roll this year at Ferrari.


But Rory Byrne was chief consultant on this car and said, 'wait til you see what we've come up with'. And Allison had some input, admittedly not on the engine or initial design, so it's unclear where they're going so badly wrong. It's not like they don't have the money behind them. Maybe there is just a corporate culture that drags everyone down.


Change has to come from top with a new thinking & action plan.

Not sure what the corporate structure is but LDM or Dominicali or both & a few others at the top should go.


@Shri ..I agree totally. They need to take a leaf out of Macca's book and get rid of those not pulling their weight / accepting where the proverbial buck stops...look how Ron has returned...sure their cars aren't brill..but you can sense that things are changing over with Mercedes last year, Macca are going thorough a change and wait until 2015 when Honda return....too late for Ferrari I'm affraid...Enzo's belief from day one has always been no one is ever bigger than the team...unfortunately that doesn't apply to those at the top of the organisation......must admit never liked Ferrari but always enjoyed watching them race...come on Ferrari, sort it out


I agree. They have the equipment, the money , the drivers and the technical staff so the problem has to be in the management.

"The buck stops here" thinking needs to be applied.


James, are the teams not allowed to at least have the second car available at these post race in-season tests? Why were Ferrari not able to use Alonso's car?


Heroic drive from Kimi if he has been suffering with a broken chassis. Shunt with Magnussen probably didn't do his car any good as well.

Do the drivers get an extra engine for testing or is this one of the engines they also need to race with?

Are these the final Pirelli's for next year or are they still in development?

Off topic: James do you know if a driver can be charged with man-slaughter if he kills another driver on the track or are the drivers on the track at their own risk? I know you are probably not a lawyer but maybe you also know stuff like this.


As with virtually every other legal question, the answer is "It depends..."

Speaking from the UK perspective, in general the answer would be no (although obviously it would very much depend on the individual circumstances). In the UK law there is the principle of consent (either explicit or implied), which means that the drivers are willingly putting their lives on the line by agreeing to participate in Formula 1, so if they died or were seriously injured as part of the ordinary course of events of an F1 race they would almost certainly have no recourse. There have been similar trials where footballers have tried to sue other players for career-ending fouls, and almost without exception they have been unsuccessful, even if the tackle was particularly rash.

Things could get complicated if it could be proven that a driver had specifically set out to harm another (consent doesn't give you carte blanche to do what you want), or in other circumstances like deception or neglect (the basis of the Senna trial in Italy).


Thanks Andrew M and others for clearing things up. Let's hope something like this never happens. Back to racing! Talk to you all in China!


Think it depends on local laws. Iirc Williams and/or their designer at the time were charged for corporate manslaughter (or similar) over Sennas death. Cant remember if the tiral actually went ahead.

However, murder isnt likely to be the charge in a race situation unless it was a clear attempt at killing. The most it could be is manslaughter, but rediculously unlikely, and after the senna charges I think its part of the agreement when countries sign up with bernie that no one can be charged.

Are you refering to maldonado by chance?


Yes, I do. I did not want to use his name directly because I do not want to suggest or imply anything. I am just wondering if Gutierrez would have had a broken neck or worse. In that case I assume a stop and go penalty just don't cut it? I have also seen him use his car as a weapon against Perez and Hamilton. 30m buys a psychological tests approved stamp these days?


It was actually Head that was charged.


Head was the only one who was found guilty (although he never served jail time or was even arrested as the statute of limitations had long run out by then, reducing the whole affair into nothing more than political grandstanding), but several others were charged, including Frank Williams, Newey and a few other Williams' engineers/designers.


Engine is testing engine.

Newey was charged in court for Senna's death.


I always thought the FIA bore a lot of responsibility for Senna. They banned active suspension very late in the day leaving teams with very difficult to handle cars that were built for active suspension.


i thought it was to do with the untested steering rack put on sennas car.


I have often wondered that too Mike. If a driver died as a result of a reckless move by another driver then what would happen? In this day and age it wouldn't surprise me if they got locked up for it.

Thinking back I can't think of many drivers in F1 that have been killed by another's reckless move. Most have been by mechanical failure, driver error or "racing incidents".


I think this is an important part of the discussion. Where do we draw the line? Reckless, feisty, ignorant or using the car as a weapon? I just wonder if a driver uses the car as a weapon if he can be charged. But also ignorance; "Oops I am sorry it was just an accident?" I wonder how the driver who's career ended will feel about that.


There are inherent risks with driving a car at 200mph, so I wouldn't have thought a driver would be liable to the charge of manslaughter, however, Williams were in a bit of bother for a long time over Senna. What I do wonder is if, (as in the case of Maldondo v Hamilton at Spa and Perez at Monaco, Schumacher v Hill and Villeneuve) a driver took a deliberate swipe at another car if (unlikely in either of the cited cases) it caused a another driver's injury or death they may be liable to prosecution. Sauber should surely be asking Lotus to pay the repair bill on Gutierrez's car!


I was wondering exactly the same. Your examples are the cases I was referring to. Ignorant driving like Maldonado vs Gutierrez or using a car as a weapon like Schumacher vs Hill/Villeneuve and Maldonado vs Hamilton/Perez.

I started to get the feeling this is a gray area in F1?


*I am starting to get....


'Hamilton quickest as Ferrari hit trouble...'

You could have stopped the title there James and it would have been a great summary for the season so far.


I find it delightfully ironic that Luca Di Montezemelo complained for a good four seasons how formula 1 had become all about aerodynamics only for his team to be beaten by a seemingly superior Mercedes engine..Gotta love it.


Sad but true


Agreed. I read a Motorsport article from a few years ago about exactly that with luca saying ferrari was an engine and gearbox specialist not an aero team. Looks like he was wrong on the former!


Ha ha So True.


good catch 🙂

that tells a lot about the reasons of his complaints.

He would be full of talk of excellent formula if Ferrari were winning the championships.



A question about something Adrian Newey said at the Friday Bahrain conference. This caught my attention.

Quote:"AN: I think when we talk about the power unit we talk about it by manufacturer. We should also include the fuel company of course. I think you’ll find within an engine, depending on what fuel it uses there can be very significant differences. That can also create differences. We certainly can see that in our own GPS analysis between our rivals that some appear to have significantly more power than others, even though they have the same engine."

Could your contacts at Shell confirm that fuel differences could be so significant? Also, is he really saying that customer teams are being provided with lower spec PUs. Alternatively is he saying that the units have been turned down? It would be quite easy to reduce output, by a minor software adjustment. There is a precedent for this, back in the days of the DFV, with talk of certain teams getting the special units. With today's F1 being so cut-throat, I could see this happening. Of course AN could just be trying to destabilise, the competition through FUD. I was very surprised that a journalist didn't jump on his comments. Especially when so many of them like a good conspiracy.


He clearly blamed the fuel for the difference in power, if you read correctly, that's what he's saying. Nowhere on that quote he says that the PUs are turned down for customer teams



I was just asking the question, because F1 people seem to always have an agenda, which is either really obvious, or obfuscated. A.N. always chooses his words carefully.


Thanks for the link. Just to add to what Alastair said about the engines. McLaren had their own engine company Nicholson McLaren Engines. So they could modify and experiment with their DFVs, unlike those teams that dealt directly with Cosworth and used the development engine. Other teams used licenced rebuilders, like John Judd who supplied Williams.


Turbo engines are more affected by the octane rating of the fuel. The increased pressure from the turbo boost makes the engine more susceptible to pre-detonation (engine knock) where the fuel air mixture explodes before the spark plug detonates it. This is bad for performance. The higher the octane rating of the fuel the less susceptible to pre-detonation it become.

If you remember a while ago (I'm pretty sure it was on this site) there was a Shell article on Alonso testing his Ferrari with normal pump fuel and racing fuel. The Ferrari ran and drove perfectly well on the pump fuel but Alonso said it was more sluggish. This is due to pre-detonation. Road cars have a device called a knock sensor that detects pre-detonation and retards the timing of the spark to ensure it doesnt occur, this also reduces power but protects the engine. I have no idea if F1 engines have this but it would surprise me if they didn't have something.

I have no idea what octane rating is permitted in F1. Back in the bad old days they ran them on methanol / ethanol fuel mixtures the octane rating of that is over 120. I think now it is similar to regular super unleaded which is anything from 97 - 102 depending on where in the world you are.

Of course there is a bit more too it than that, they chuck in all kinds of little additives to squeeze more of a bang out of it, but for me this would explain the reason for fuel making a bit more of a difference than it has in the recent past.


This post is good stuff, Darren!


Can we have more of this kind of technical analysis of various components of an F1 car (including fuel, of course)?


My response is a little bit more of a statement then an answer to your question. I think if Toto Wolf says the engines are equal they are. I think Toto has shown he has integrity and until proven otherwise we have to assume he is telling the truth. I believe his statement that a top class brand like Mercedes AMG would not have or produce a B-spec like Ferrari did for years. I think there is much to gain in fuel weight. Shell had in the Schumacher era very light and efficient fuel. So yes, fuel can make a huge difference but I believe every Mercedes team is on the same engine.

David in Sydney

I agree.

I think M-B is trying really hard as a team to be fair and equal; it will pay dividends for their brand image.


The fuel makes a big difference, or the fuel guys make big contributions so we talk them up? It's the second one. We already had a test with Ferrari where straight unleaded was virtually identical to F1 fuel.

Keep pedaling the PR line if you like, but anyone that looks at the data will know...


I will have to rethink in light of James' and other posts. New info great!


Well, I guess fuel always played a crucial part in F1.

He should know:

at about 50:10 min


Nice, thanks. The timestamp was invaluable. I watch/read all of Peter and Craigs stuff this year. But I haven't gone through all the old stuff, who has the time?


I heard there were some issues with some of the fuels and the sensors and then there is also a lot of scope for fuel manufacturers to do things to boost power


I've posted on this forum before questioning the aero-balance of the Ferrari, which is a legitimate point, but having looked closely at various photographers, is it possible that the Ferrari front wing design is at fault?

Maybe a theory is that when the Ferrari front wing gets close to the ground, it is stalling so much that it disrupts the flow of air to the floor and rear axle zone? It seems to me Mercedes and Red Bull have a front wing that actually a smaller amount of stall, perhaps not as much peak downforce, but a more consistent flow. Is this possible what is affecting Ferrari?

Just a theory, but everything in F1 design starts with the front wing.

kenneth chapman

@ gaz boy....have you alerted ferrari yet?


I'm surprised Ferrari hasn't worked out the front wing issue for themselves!

Perhaps James Allison can rectify the situation for the usual upgrade package at Barcelona.......we'll see.

Ferrari: epitome of crisis in F1.


Just to add, is it any coincidence that the two cars with the most elegant front wing/nose are also the two cars producing the most downforce?

"If it looks good, it is good.........."


Not only that, but the silver and aquamarine livery just looks incredible together. The only other car on track that competes with looks, is the Williams in my opinion.


I must also add that the Mclaren car looks good whilst its daytime. During night, I could only see a dark shadow racing around the track.


I had a devastating reply, but I lost it with a keyboard glitch. Breathe a sigh of relief


Are you using that new Ferrari V6 turbo keyboard? Apparently it's inferior to its competitors.


so was Kimi driving a car with a broken chassis in the race???


Yep (in the quali too).


... and the previous race as well! for all anyone knows.


Ferrari really screwed up when they didn't give Ross the Team Principle position in 2007, he was the main reason they were so dominant from 97-07, since then he went on to build a the World Cahampion team called Brawn and has built Merc to the world leading class we see them today. I think Merc may regret their decision next year also!


everyone's capable of making a mistake and so is ferrari.


Correction, Aldo Costa. He and Rory Byrne were the men behind the winning Ferrari's, and funnily enough Aldo Costa has led the entire design of the Mercedes this year! He's made Merc a fantastic car, I'm sure Hamilton and Rosberg will agree.


Have to agree, he turned Honda around, and it looks like he did it again with Mercedes. I wonder if we'll see him again in F1, would be a shame if we didn't! Perhaps Ferrari can rectify the issue and hire him......


Won the championship with "Brawn GP" in between too.

Maybe just three flukes... 😉


"Kevin Magnussen was third fastest on his second day at wheel for McLaren. The Dane’s running was limited, however. A car problem pitched him into the gravel traps shortly before lunch however"

Hmm, that one's a car problem and not a driver problem.


A suspension failure would seem to be a car problem.

What happened with Vettel in FP3? He radioed in that he "had spun" (his words). Could always be more to it of course.


I am sure both Ferrari and RBR will close some of the1.5sec gap to Mercedes, but the 2014 Champions are Mercedes. They now have sufficient gap and have given customer teams fullspec software to take points of RBR. Ferrari are lost, and Alonso will be at McLaren next year if he can Get a Seat. Still think we are in for a great season! God speed.


It's no brainer Alonso have to find some other team or option for 2015 otherwise his 3 WDC title aspiration will only remain as a mere dream. The current Ferrari team are clearly inept and Lackdaisical. LDM and Stefano D are competitors for winning the most dim-witted person award

"I am sure both Ferrari and RBR will close some of the1.5sec gap to Mercedes" - Little correction 'I am sure both Mclaren and RBR will close some of the1.5sec gap to Mercedes'


Regarding closing the gap.... why does everyone assume Merc are going to stand still (or develop a lot more slowly) to allow everyone to catch them?

They look like they could try some stupidly radical ideas and still be a country mile ahead even if the idea flops.


I'm betting Alonso to McLaren is already a done deal.


the engines, oh, pardon my ignorance, the power units used at these tests, are these the units counted against the allocated number for the season?

Henri Vermeulen

No, these are testing units


no i don't, and no they aren't 🙂


no, they are not one of the 5.


Why isnt Vettel participating in testing? I think he is the one with lowest mileage after new regulations. Is he saving engine or just being overconfident?


Isn't it always pleasing to get a definitive answer 😉


Hangs with his bud in the pool.


He is back at the factory testing on the simulator.

And probably plotting revenge...


Revenge of the Sith?

Because I still say Marko would make a great Emperor Palpatine 🙂


While we're casting Ricciardo can be Hans Solo, Kvyat can be Luke Skywalker and Montoya can be Jabba the Hut 🙂


Perhaps Mr E as R2-D2?


he bought a boulangerie, and he has to be there to clean the oven


no need to save engine - it's a different one. Perhaps he'll get the 2 days at the next one.


So, does Vettel still want to join Ferrari after all the miserable years they have had, even in the hands of Fernando Alonso who has been able to cover some of the insane patheticness of the so called most prestigious Formula One team ever?

I certainly wouldn't mind if he did so.


The rumoured contract that Vettel supposedly signed to join Ferrari in 2015 (or was it 2016?) Has performance clauses in it. I have a suspicion that Vettel has already met his but I'd be surprised if Ferrari have met there's, although taking a struggling Ferrari and turning it into a championship winning team (like Schumacher did) would probably appeal to Vettel as it would answer all his naysayers. He is suppose to be very good at the technical side of things but I'm still not convinced of his ability to fight through the field (I would not be surprised if I'm wrong though)

Matthew Cheshire

They wont want him. Ricciardo is faster and has Itallian Parentage. And People like him.


The only problem with Ferrari (aside from the fact that they build slow cars) is that they can't pronounce his name right 🙂

It's a bit of a moot point anyway: In a year or two RBR is going to be Ricciardo's team in much the same way it was Vettel's team, so why move?



That's a good point.

Matthew Cheshire

Ferrari were hardly in a purple patch when Schumacher joined. It worked out for him.


Have you noticed that Matthew says Daniel has Italian parentage?

Yes, that is correct, but of course Daniel's mum and dad decided of their own free will to move to the the Commonwealth/Liz and Phil's realm of Australia! They obviously decided that Daniel would be better off being brought in an Anglo-sphere country which has parliamentary democracy, drive on the left, excellent health and education - including excellent universities, particularly in engineering (Sam Michael is a good example), well paid employment, and Liz and Phil as head of state.

PS Wills, Kate and George are touring Australia and New Zealand. When the royals are in Oceania/Australasia (what is the correct term?), they have their own Rolls-Royce. Perhaps Jonsey could be the chaffeuer?

"Watcha Queenie, my names Alan. You gave my the OBE some years ago. I'm your driver, how fast do you wanna go?"

"Oh, you're that chap who won the 1980 WDC! Hello Mr Jones, not too fast please Alan."


Red Bull have become the bench mark in Aero/Chassis for the last few years including this year.

This year Merc is the new bench mark in Engine/power unit package.

Ferrari are no longer the team top team in F1.


Ferrari Haven't been the top team in F1 for years. They've been living off their reputation. They are officially "The Prancing Donkey".


I too would like to know why Ferrari were using Raikkonens chassis with alonso for this test. You'd think with them obviously having all sorts of problems that they need to solve they would have used the chassis of the driver that was actually testing and without the potential damage.

It's going to be another very long season for Ferrari alonso or Kimi fans as unlike other teams Ferrari have proven time and time again over the last few years that they can't solve the problems and head the development race. Neither driver should have to be fighting just to stay in the points and I can't even see alonso being able to pull another 2012 out of the hat.this time

heinzman (fan of: ALO)

They need to cover roughly the same mileage in each chassis - it is normal practice across the year to attempt to spread the load across the handful of chassis


I heard they were using both, alonso's yesterday and raikkonen's today.


Luca DM.. can point his fingers to anybody else in the team, but ultimatlly it is his fault Ferrari is this bad.

Luca, go join martin Withmars along with Stefano D. to your favorite lake and go fisshing, maybe you can learn a few things from Brawn.


Just wondering, do they have a support group for ex-TPs?


Probably around Lake Como somewhere.

PS Bit off topic, but go onto Youtube and type in "F1 BRM V16 Fabulous drive in appalling conditions"

That V16 car was a bucket load of manure, but what a sound!!!!!


Hi James, one question:

Do teams use one of the allocated 5 engines per season for this test? or are they allowed to use a separate one?

If its one of the 5 regulated, then how do they choose of which driver???


What about the Chasis for Merc, RB, etc. Ferrari used Kimi's. Is it because they want to retire it anyway?


I love the Ferrari falling on it face. Not because I dislike the team it's that I dislike Alonso so much. Ever since the debacle at McLaren when he blackmailed them. Right onto the Crashgate schmozzle where he claimed he knew nothing about the "plan". And most recently where he slagged his team last year. Luca D giving him an ear tweet was the best. I say he needs to go. Sure he's good but I for one am tired of hearing how great he is and so on. What I do know is he has been through all the top teams... Expect Mec where is won't be going as it's Lewis team and he is smart enough to veto that if given the chance. so where is he going to go... Back to McLaren? If so I'm done with F1!


Well if McLaren hadnt cheated in the first place, then maybe there wouldnt have been an issue?


Brilliant post! sums up my feeling perfectly.


This may be your last F1 year. McLaren aren't in the group that dislike Alonso.


Even though he cost them $100M USD?


@ Brent...I'm sure I read somewhere that Alonso was given immunity in order to testify against McLaren during the StepneyGate hearings. Why would he need immunity if he had done nothing wrong? Do you know what he was given immunity for?


They cost themselves that. Alonso just kind of...helped 🙂


He didn't steal anything. They cost themselves 100M for their theft of Ferrari materials.

McLaren were guilty of being thieves. That alone was the reason for the fine. The rest is irrelevant or here say.


I had a brilliant reply, but I lost it (again) with a keyboard glitch. I think Alonso is a brilliant driver, who occasionally goes too far with the politics.

If you are done with F1, bye, it's been real, we'll miss you, but not much

love and kisses

GP Back To Adelaide

"...and the team discovered damage to the chassis that could be traced back to the Finn’s collision with a kerb at Turn Four during FP1 of the race weekend."

Not to stir anyone up, but was it ONLY the team that discovered the chassis issue or was it thanks to feedback from Alonso? How was it actually discovered? By chance? If not, why wasn't the fault discovered earlier when Raikkonen was driving the car?


It does seem odd that they (FOM) would have shipped home half the cars. Leaving Alonso to have to drive the damaged/not fully repaired repaired/broken again Raikkonen chassis?

Alonso must be studying the small print on his contract under: "performance guarantee to driver from manufacturer" very carefully.


They weren't shipped home, they've gone to China


All hail James Allen and his team. Very early in the development of these new engi...sorry, power units, power trains or whatever they are termed now, but very early on in their development this site was predicting that the Mercedes would be head and shoulders above the other two. Many argued that this couldn't possibly be so and the experience of Renault with this engine configuration and the might of Ferrari would be more than a match. And how could James predict this so confidently when much development time still remained. Well, we have to bow to his greater foresight and insight and admit that he was right. He was more than right, he was bloody spot on. It would have been nice for Ross Brawn to still be at the helm and sharing in this glory for all the good things he did for the team but we know there is little sentiment in F1 teams. Now let's hope Honda come in with a strong and competitive package.


And let's face it as secretive as the Mercedes engineers try to be at McLaren, Honda will have gotten enough IP to make a really great start...since they haven't had to homologate yet, they can still develop for another 11 months or so using everything they learn from the merc unit.


I went there quite a few times over the last few years to see progress and speaking to engineers in the wider F1 industry it was clear Mercedes were in very good shape


Hi james or anyone else who can shed some light on my query.

If I understand it correctly, the current engine spec's have been frozen. Meanwhile, Honda are still developing their PU. What is to stop Honda from copying the best features from all 3 current PU manufacturers (nothing is really secret in F1)? Seems a bit harsh on the current suppliers. Is it that simple or have the FIA allowed for this possibility?


@Sebee, well they're only allowed to change a declining percentage of their engine each season. It's 92% in 2015, down to 77% in 2016, etc.


For 2015 nothing stops any manufacturer from adopting best features and new ideas.

kenneth chapman

james, i was one person who queried the paddock wisdom of prediction vis-a-vis the potential of the mercedes benz PU, but not on this site.

my position was simply, how could anyone know what was the likely outcome based on the fact that the specifics of the unit were a jealously guarded secret and that none of the engines had ever been tested in a running chassis?

what you predicted has come to pass and despite your explanation i am still left wondering what exactly led you to come to this conclusion considering the reasoning outlined above?

kenneth chapman

james, you are being a bit over defensive there. of course you don't have to go any further if you don't want to. i thought that my request was quite reasonable insofar as the actual complexity of these new PU's would not only be hard to fully comprehend but also kept well under wraps considering that secrecy amongst engine builders would have been of prime importance.

when you then have to compare those units X 3 it would be even harder to come up with an accurate prediction even if those units were installed in a chassis and running.

@ random79...i see very little parallel with the analogy you used. the parameters are distinctly different apart from the financial reward aspects. regarding the PU's, we are talking here about very high tech engineering coupled with seriously complex software programming. a vastly different situation to driver team change/placement.

all that aside, james, along with many others, predicted MB dominance and i thought that renault would at least be right up there on par and i was prediction was based on nothing more than observation of the comparative engines that had preceded the latest changes.


I imagine for James it's similar to when a driver is looking to switch teams. He'll go visit them at the factory to see how they're doing and they'll all tell him the same things like "we have a lot of good people, we're well into development, we're going to be the best, blah blah blah et cetera", but the driver will more often than not still come out with a feeling about who is actually ahead of the others.


I've explained the background

I have no need to justify it further. It's instinct and research combined

Matthew Cheshire

Is the F14T so bad that Kimi can't tell if its broken? Through 2 FP sessions, quali And the race. Seriously, that can't be a good sign.?!

Don't forget Vettel's cracked chassis years ago (2010?) was like the "princess an the pea". He was complaining long before it was found.


It was fixed before those sessions.. it's just cropped up again and got worse.


Speaking of a cracked chassis - Does anyone know the condition of Esteban Gutiérrez's Sauber after Pastor Maldonado whacked him like a mob hit in a diner.

On the TV replays it looked like the whole car was twisting in different directions when it finally landed upright.


There was slight twisting, but when they gave Pastor a call he was happy enough to come back and tenderise the other side, so it's all good now 🙂


Look at that: We're like three peas in a pod 🙂

kenneth chapman

someone's telling porkies here!


Nah, if we're going food metaphors than I'm going to say he's partial to bangers and mash.


On the food metaphors Random, fair to say Pastor is a bit ham-fisted?


When I started watching F1 the red cars were no were and no one expected them to build a good car MS and his team dragged them back to the top and since then they have slowly drifted back to the mid pack.

It might be awhile until they get a team that can change things again


MS, Ross & Todt played their part in Ferrari's dominance early last decade. But, the big & mighty part was played by the unlimited funds and testing (esp on their own track). MS used to come early to track and go round and round and round all day long without getting tired.


In the early 2000's all teams had the same opportunities to test (hence why the teams based themselves at Silverstone), and Toyota had the biggest budget. McLaren had essentially the same budget as Ferrari, plus they had Newey designing their cars. Williams BMW and BAR had massive budgets too.

If it was as simple arriving at the test track early in the day and spending money then Ferrari wouldn't have gone from 1979-2000 without a drivers championship.

Also, you ignore the fact that Schumacher was only ever given the best car on the grid in 2001, 02 and 04.


"So in 2000 and 2003 he didn’t have the best car, in spite of the team winning by far the most races and winning the constructors’ championship both years? OK."

The McLaren was clearly the fastest car in 2000. 2003 there was no clear best car. Schumacher would have won the championship in either the McLaren or Williams.

"It also should not be ignored that Schumacher had the benefit of bespoke tires (first from Goodyear, and later from Bridgestone). While engine, aero and suspension changes can each gain you fractions of a second, a different set of tires can help you gain *seconds*. Ferrari’s ability to leverage virtually unlimited milage to fine tune their chassis to maximize their tires only compounded this edge. This was an advange that no other team or driver had enjoyed during that era."

Alonso had bespoke French tyres for his French car in 2005 and 2006.

Ferrari were at a huge disadvantage being the only top team using Bridgestones. Renault had 3x the testing data (McLaren, Renault, Williams) compared to Bridgestone who relied solely on Ferrari.

By 2003 it was clear that Michelin was the superior tyre, but Ferrari and Bridgestone had a winning partnership. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

Kind of like how Renault had generally been viewed as the weaker engine throughout the V8 era, yet won 4 straight titles with Red Bull.


It also should not be ignored that Schumacher had the benefit of bespoke tires (first from Goodyear, and later from Bridgestone). While engine, aero and suspension changes can each gain you fractions of a second, a different set of tires can help you gain *seconds*. Ferrari's ability to leverage virtually unlimited milage to fine tune their chassis to maximize their tires only compounded this edge. This was an advange that no other team or driver had enjoyed during that era.


So in 2000 and 2003 he didn't have the best car, in spite of the team winning by far the most races and winning the constructors' championship both years? OK.

Craig in Manila

The interesting thing is that, if you take HAM and ROS out of the equation, it's actually a very competitive grid with no clear standout leaders.

I mean, HAM/ROS are whole seconds ahead of everyone (INCLUDING the other Merc-powered drivers) both during Quali and also on fastest-laps of the race itself.

Does this imply that it's not actually the Merc engine that is making the majority of the difference, it's the Merc chassis/car itself ?

Or perhaps the Merc Factory Team has a more-powerful powerunit than the Mercedes customers are getting ?

I mean, drivers like BUT, PER, MAS and HUL are not slow drivers. They should not be 1.5 to 2 seconds slower than a car with the same engine, should they ?


I read somewhere that it has alot to do with the petrol they use.

It claimed they can up to 30% more power, I'm not sure how accurate this report is.


Maybe its in the code:

If car = W05 then

Set power = 100%


Set power = 80%

End if



you missed a bit-

if car = RB and driver = DR then gosub Fuel


Set Fuel = 105%



That looks very BASIC 🙂


Nice one 🙂


The theory seems to be that the other customer teams only got details of the power unit once they signed the contracts which was always after the car main points were laid down - so the design couldn't be adjusted to the power unit - whereas the Mercedes chassis works team requested a number of design points from the Mercedes engine team and so could build and optimize the whole package. Yes Hamilton and Rosberg are very fast - I'm

Sure they'd be near the front at most races but the size of the gap is down to merc getting it all right and integrated.

Again this should have been an advantage for Ferrari but they've apparently blown it.

Alexander Supertramp

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the correct answer!


Damn fine question!


"Mercedes spent the day tyre testing for Pirelli ..."

Interesting choice of words, brings back some memories from last year haha


I'm worried that Ferrari, along with the other Ferrari-powered teams will become backmarkers this year in Monza - due to supremely poor straight line speed. I do wonder if they've geared their ratios too low or too high in accordence to their power. Perhaps they overestimated their power unit during the pre-season testing, and chose the wrong ratios.


They get a joker to change the ratios though don't they? So they could react if they've messed up that badly.


What would happen if Ferrari left F1? The "heritage and fan base" appear to gain them a disproportionate amount of funds. I have no idea how their presence is equated to a dollar figure. No Ferrari love or hate here, just mulling their impact to F1 in modern times.


It would be nice to see the other teams get a more equal share 🙂


As long as Mr E remains de facto head of F1 a more egalitarian F1 fiscally speaking is a pipe dream.

Still, Munich awaits...............


Let's hope there is change when it comes to the fiscal distribution of F1 - for the smaller teams it can't come too soon.


I believe I am correct in saying the way F1 is currently administered, almost certainly breaches EU competition laws. For whatever reason, (presumably because they are frightened of Bernie) the smaller teams have held back, so far, from mounting any sort of a legal challenge. Interestingly (or not depending on what you find interesting) I read yesterday, the smaller teams are rumoured to be threatening the FIA with an investigation into the legality of the F1 Strategy Group unless some form of cost control is introduced.

Still, if Bernie loses in Munich - how he can win, he admits paying the bribe, the recipient of the bribe is serving time for taking it, what is there to discuss - then it could be all change at the top anyway.

Interesting times.....


Did not Ferrari know the chassis was already damaged? And yet they elect to use it and ship Alonso's chassis back? Seems odd, no?

Tornillo Amarillo

I think we cannot realize how BIG is the gap between Merc and the rest, it's something unusual, maybe James you can explain to us when happened something like this in F1 and see if this is one of the most astonishing advantage and thanks to what... just the engine?

We are living a living history here...


Look up for the 1988 season to see such a dominance, with the mp4/4 or the 1991/2 with the amazing fw14


Here's a link to a video from Sky F1 that explains the Merc power unit and how it creates interesting advantages in their aero:

Tornillo Amarillo

Nice video! I guess Honda is watching it again and again!


Thanks for that one.


I've commented elsewhere with this thought, maybe here it will get a response?

With the split turbo, the engine bay can effectively be split into hot and cold zones, yeah? Suppose they duct air around a close fitting cavity that surrounds the turbo's hot side. Let's say they take air from the outside, like from a NACA port, and push it through that hot turbine section. And blow the rear diffuser with it. Maybe they are stalling a wing also? It would only work when the car is moving at speed, but they could say the air is cooling the turbo. Its not exhaust. Mebbe that's one of the things they're doing...unless blown diffusers are specifically forbidden in the rule book. But I agree with you. A one to two second differential cannot be down to engine alone. Can it?


@boogwar, i know that the redbull is faster than the mercedes in the corners because brundle made a video superimposing vettel's and hamilton's qualifying laps in malaysia. vettel was so far behind after the first sector, mostly straights and cough up in the second and third sectors to clock nearly identical times.


Aveli, This is a genuine question. Could you tell me how you know that Red Bull is faster in the high speed corners? I find data hard to come by without splurging on the internet...


the redbull seems faster in the high speed corners and 3 of the mercedes powered cars have higher top speed than the mercedes car.

Tornillo Amarillo

Yes, I like your answer.

heinzman (fan of: ALO)


Are you aware of any discussion between LDM and Ross Brawn either last year or this year?


I'm sure they have spoken on a regular basis over the last few years - don't forget they worked together for 10 years. That doesn't mean that he will come back as TP there. But anything is possible

Ross took a sabbatical and wanted to come back as Ferrari Team Principal in 2008/9 but LdM went with Domenicali and Ross went to Honda.

That worked out extremely well financially for Ross as he bought the team then sold it to Mercedes for €123 million!



I do not see Stefano D as astute leader or boss for the team

Why Ferrari do not want to fire him at any costs? Do Ferrari owe anything to Stefano D? Had This been Football manager job Stefano D would have got sacked within the first 6 months of his reign

Also is there any info on Martin W? What are the chances of Martin W or Flavio to become the team boss at maranello?

Alexander Supertramp

what's the difference between MW and SD?? They seem to have a similar management style.


I don't think many people here remember that Raikkonens chasis has different front end compenents made for Kimi and I bet they wanted Fernando to test and see if these are workable going forward. ( Of course Fernando cant handle Kimi having a better set up- can he )

Sounds like Kimis chasis was well & truly $&%^ed if they were aware of some damage before the race- but to retire the car completely tells you it was well and truly Goohhnne! One day Kimis bad luck will run out- and he might even be able to fight for a top 6- how tragic!

Ferrari F14T-If it looks like a duck and goes quack , quack- its a duck!

kenneth chapman

so even with a bespoke car kimi still cannot get the business done? look, kimi is a good driver, but i really don't think that he is anything special. his WDC was hardly an emphatic/crushing victory over the rest of the field was it?

raikonnen on the day can be as good as any the others but he is no standout and i really think his reputation is overblown.


If bespoke means trying to counter the cars inherent failures....Noones stopping Fernando doing that -- Are they ? Isnt that what they hired them both to do..?? And from all accounts the car is far better than before the Bahrain weekend. I would suggest that is why Fernando tested it- to confirm the findings.

Its not the work of a minute or a weekend.Certainly not after launching your car off turn 4 kerb and cracking the chassis.That said I am a little disappointed in Kimi because he seems to be playing it too cautious at the starts ( although thats worked for 2 years)of the last 2 races both times going round the outside of Alonso and then pulling back. He will need to up that aggression from here on in if hes to make his mark.

To be honest unlike most people I dont judge drivers solely by their wins ( look at the turnaround everyones done on Seb--Hhha!) although noone could argue with Melb 13 as being extraordinary ( damp start-broke traction but twice, fastest laps on oldest tyres etc). Singapore, even Monaco drive back from 15 to 10 in 3 laps were magic, Germany holding Seb out & Hungary catching Hammy in a faster Mclaren. He doesnt drive an average car super fast like Alonso but he knows how to improve an average car, & in great cars - he has no peer- we saw that in 03,05,07...Sometimes faster than all by 2 sec incl team mates!) just remember only half the mech failures in Mclaren & he would easily have been triple WC..

To conclude in wheel wheel racing he absolutely and unequivocally has no peer that Ive ever seen in any years or formulas over the last 40years!- Other top drivers often push the car beyond their control. Raikkonen is precise beyond compare and rarely makes those mistakes and his racing etiquette is spot on! His manoeuvres are sublime and other drivers are often mythed at how they just got passed. These are the qualities of exceptional talents not just "good" drivers.


Fernando Alonso must be thinking what did he do in a previous life. He last won a world title 8 years ago! How many more opportunities will he get? Ferrari are going backwards.

Lewis looks mega lately, his move to Mercedes was a genius move. Taking a hit last year with the sole focus on 2014 and its paying dividends now. Rosberg shows signs of impressive pace but its his consistency over the season worries me.

Should be a fantastic battle. Although we have a dominant car in the Mercedes, as long as the two team mates are close it should make it interesting.


Also, Lewis didn't really take a hit last year. The 2013 Mercedees was light years of the McLaren. Had he stayed there, he would have had a winless season (his first, surely?)


how do we know that? hamilton could've made that mclaren go much faster.


@bob, hamilton is as good as he is and nothing i say will change that. hamilton drove for mclaren in 2009 with a car which performed poorly out of the points most of the time at the start of the season. he pushed the development of the car in such a direction that he qualified on pole and won the race and from then on, scored much better points for the rest of the season. if you think otherwise, why is it that mclaren weren't able to win last season and we will see if they can win a race this season. if it's the car then they should be able to do it with or without hamilton.

secondly, i know that hamilton won the race in hungary with a car which wasn't capable because rosberg didn't do so well in the same car. the wolf said hungary was hamilton's race last year.

why does it pain so much?



First of all, at Hungary last year he qualified on Pole, so how exactly you figured out that the car wasn't capable of a win I don't know. Merc's issues last year was tire wear. Considering Hungary is a VERY hard track to overtake on, winning from pole is hardly a massive feat.

Second of all, when will you lot stop telling us that Hamilton won with a bad car in 2009? Hamilton did NOT win with a bad car in 2009 - he won with a good car that was all but brand new after the pathetic start to the season they had.

At the start of 2009 when he DID ACTUALLY have a bad car his results were pathetic. His round 6, 7, 8 and 9 results were 12th, 13th, 16th & 18th respectively. It wasn't until the 10th round and after they had given him a basically new car did he win.

If Hamilton is so brilliant and 'can win even in a bad car' how exactly do you explain his results in the first half of 2009???


I said he could've, i didn't say he would've.


Not even Lewis would have put that McLaren at the top, however arguably he could have led development in a different direction which may have resulted in a fluke podium. It's all speculation, the car was a dog.


we will not know because he wasn't there to do it. all I know is he won in hungary last year with a car which wasn't capable of a win and he also won in his mclaren which started the season at the back of the field. am able to cope with events which actually took place.


A couple of tenths, maybe?

There's not a driver on the grid who could have dragged that McLaren to the top step of the podium.


And how do we know that?


That McLaren was over a second per lap off the pace. and never even got close to winning anything. You and I both know that Hamilton (or any driver on the grid) could not make up that deficit over Button.


Thing is, he didn't know that, nobody did. He was leaving a front running team for a middle order team, that's one very large gamble!

Good for him I say.


I like Alonso, I really do. But I don't think he needs to look quite as far back as a previous life to find potential bad karma! 🙂


Maybe only as far back as a previous team.


RE C63: Of course, I forgot Singapore 2008.

You are right, Fernando has been involved in two teams that have dubious incidences of legality for one reason or another.......

Having said that, what goes around comes around, perhaps Ferrari cocking up his race in Abu Dhabi 2010 and Kimi shunting him at Suzuka 2012 was evidence of that?



More recently still, I would say that little episode at Singapore can't have helped top up his good karma reserves. Although, to be fair, he insists he knew nothing about it beforehand. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ........


I do believe you're right 🙂


A team based in Woking by any chance?


Hoping for this failed testing Domenicali will be finally fired.


Mercedes look absolutely solid with both drivers. Despite McLaren's assertion I doubt any team will catch Mercedes, certainly not soon enough to challenge for the championship, but of course they have to remain optimistic. Not even sure McLaren's assertion that they are the second fastest team, certainly they don't have as good a chassis as Red Bull, but then who does! There may be some close races towards the end, but I suspect the constructors will long have been wound up with maybe only the WDC to be decided between the Mercedes drivers.


it's all possible.


So is a manned mission to Mars, but they have not done it yet! I don't see anyone getting close before mid season, and given that Mercedes will also be developing I think it's an extremely tall order.


that's possible too.


Another trouble year for Ferrari, rather embarrassing for a sports car manufacturer. I really wonder what adjectives Alonso would've use if not for the fat paycheck. Kimi must have prepared the refrigerator stocked up with ice cream. Did Bee Gees write that song Tragedy specially for Ferrari? If they do catch up it has to be a miracle from god knows where.

Goodness, Merc has even a larger lead than when Red Bull was dominating. So in 2014 there are now 2 series for F1. If in China Merc takes the win by more than a minute I consider this year doomed! Will Bahrain be just the one race that we are lucky to have seen, I sure hope not.

Maybe Maldanado is the saving grace we can keep when races gets boring then radio him to whack someone hence a safety car for the last 10 or 15 laps for close racing.


There is no point extending the gap anymore than the time penalty for a pit stop, (as we saw last week the SC can wipe that out), better to save fuel/tyres/engine.


Whilst everyone is having a handbag fight and ripping in to the Ferrari establishment, did it ever cross anyones minds that Ferrari might have wanted to get to the bottom of Raikkonens issues by putting the car he used in Bahrain under the microscope by letting Alonso have a test in it.

I thought (whether from the contact or set up) that Kimi's car looked like a slug on Sunday.

Ferrari need to have a less "desperate to win" approach and slow down and be cunning about their approach to inovation from now on. If you force it, you wont achieve anything.


Great comment. I have often said Ferrari needs to change its mentality and start to really "enjoy" going racing again.

Innovation comes from people having the freedom and creativity to do things differently. Im sure all staff appreciate the pressure of working for the prancing horee and don't need it reminded to them every day- both inside and outside the organisation.

However in order to drive that change Ferrari need different leadership an a fresh perspective. This is what most people bashing Ferrari rightly see.


Ferrari power pack seems to be working in the back of the Marussia, with Bianchi 6th..."Fernando.....Bianchi is faster than you"..!!!


I am continually surprised that many experts are still saying that Rosberg is supposedly the more 'cerebral' of the two Mercedes drivers. I feel that Hamilton has proven to the doubters that he is actually the more 'cerebral' driver out of himself and Rosberg in the last two races.

So James, who do you think is the most cerebral out of these two, and in the whole of Formula 1?


This is a bit of a pointless argument. Lewis himself has said Nico is smarter than him - he speaks 5 languages and has a host of mathematical and statistical skills that Lewis doesn't - but that only matters if they are playing the 'speak 5 languages game when describing aero modelling calculations' game - when it comes to close quarters racing, even the 'cerebral' drivers can admit that raw instinct is probably more useful.

I think what Hamilton has proved is that just because he's a more 'instinctive' racer doesn't mean he's incapable of understanding the complexities of overall race strategy. It's not a zero-sum game - just because you are good at one thing it doesn't automatically make you bad at the other.

In terms of 'cerebral' (which is a vague term anyway) - clearly Button, Vettel and Alonso are up there in terms of 'managing a race in their heads' - they ask for more information and think about the race in more strategic terms as a natural approach. Lewis clearly doesn't work that way - and he's fairly proud of that - that he can sit in a car and go fast instinctively. I think this shows up in his occasional rants to his engineers - one minute it's tell me more, the next it's stop talking to me. That's the sign of a guy who is occasionaly overwhelmed with information, but clearly he is more naturally gifted than most and can handle it overall.

I think the argument of who is more cerebral is answered easily, it's Nico. The argument that probably annoyed Lewis is that saying Nico is more cerebral seemed like saying Lewis was dumb and raw talent only. Lewis is clearly very smart and he's now proved that.


auraf1, with all due respect hamilton was asked if rosberg was more intelligent and he responded saying rosberg spoke several languages etc. he never said rosberg was more intelligent than he is. on the contrary, he said it wasn't true that people say rosberg is more intelligent than he is. he made references to several contributions he had made to the engineering of his car.

hamilton is not any more instinctive than any of the drivers in f1. what I don't understand is that people label hamilton as instinctive but never call any other driver instinctive.

all the drivers are in competition to drive f1 cars fast. hamilton does that better than all other drivers and some people don't like it so they try to find other ways of belittling hamilton. he outdrove alonso in his rookie season. if alonso was more intelligent he would've out driven hamilton when they were teammates. he knew he couldn't so he resorted to other means. hamilton outdrove kubica in f3 time and time again. what does he have to do before all this talk about cerebral, intelligent and instinctive stops? i remember a few years ago when the official f1 site carried out a quiz on all the drivers hamilton scored higher than rosberg, alonso, vettel and kubica. that is the only test of intelligence i have seen so why is that not used as a measure of intelligence?

i bet james allen has extremely fleshy palms.




how would you cope if hamilton wins most of the races this season james? or will you ask him to tone it down too?


Please respect the site, that's all


i agree with you aveli,,,james couldnt answer your questions because theres no proof to back up what theyve been saying.james you say its one dimentional,but this constant nonsense about lewis is one dimentional,it started when lewis and button were team mates.i love how lewis keeps proving his doubters wrong.but he seems to have to keep proving himself every race weekend,despite having such a strong record in f1.he's beaten every teammate he has,and 2 of them were world champs.


With respect to James I'll make my final point. I disagree. As I pointed out in my original comment I am NOT one of the people saying Hamilton is unintelligent etc. I am saying this is MOTOR-RACING and all the talk of 'cerebral' and 'intelligence' is mostly POINTLESS. As Boogwar said very eloquently - we have a system in this sport to decide who's the best driver - it's called the championship points system.

Whoever wins at the end of the day it doesn't matter whether they were 'instinctive' or 'cerebral' - these terms mean nothing. We have 'winners' and 'losers'. Sometimes we have valiant losers. Sometimes we have slightly undeserving winners.

I am not a particular Hamilton fan nor detractor. I am pretty objective. He is almost certainly the fastest single lap driver 'inherently' and one of the raciest drivers since Senna. In the same manner I think Nico Rosberg is a very talented driver but he's yet to prove himself more than the son of a champion. Can he do it? Sure. Is he naturally faster than Lewis? Probably not. But as we've seen with countless champions - the outright fastest driver is not always the champion at the end of the year. If it was we'd just watch the qualifying and call that the whole game.

I just love F1 and the different personalities and engineering that comes out in this competition. I don't hate ANY driver. I may occasionally have a bad word for Maldonado for being reckless or Vettel for being petulant - but I don't think either is a bad driver. I'm not bad as a karting racer myself and even I am objective enough to know that even the worst F1 driver would whip me on any circuit.

But as this is James' site and he's asked us to stop, feel free to reply, but I won't respond any further. Luckily this didn't descend into childish name-calling like so many F1 sites, so thanks for that.


Can you please turn down the constant Hamilton stuff? It's very one dimensional


Was it Einstein who said...'Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.'...? Cerebral 'prowess' is a measure that is hard to quantify. Kinda like the uncertainty principle in quantum phys. It could be argued that intelligence is a product of what is known and how this knowledge is applied. Since what is known is always in a state of flux (ongoing process) its hard to know at any instant in time. So why bother? Instead focus on the resultant vector (WDC points) as a ranking system. Its the only one that counts, in my opinion, in these days of cerebral setups and cerebral race strategy and cerebral tyre strategy et al....


"But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."

The fish might believe it's stupid, but at least it will still be happy to know that it's light years smarter than the guy who's sitting there judging the tree climbing fish competition 🙂


Well put. If this were the grand master chess championship we could worry about outright 'intelligence' (which everyone is struggling to define in the social and biological sciences anyway) but fans of Nico and Lewis can relax and use a much better assessment which is the points system.


There are people who think the driver is juggling the fuel usage and tyre degradation against the race pace in their heads. The reality is that there are a team of people with computers working all that out and keeping the driver up to date with the required lap pace and engine modes etc.

If you take the argument to the ridiculous then Einstein should be WDC. The fact is, no matter how smart you are that can only get you part of the way to the top, the very best drivers do not think how to drive, it is instinctive, and that is an ability you either have or you are on this site as a fan... 🙂


+ 1,000,000,000


I wouldn't describe Hamilton as cerebral but my contacts at Marc say that he's more than capable of dealing with all the management aspects of modern F1 cars.

The most intelligent drivers are probably Vettel, Alonso. Kubica was pretty special too.


dc comes across very capable at analysis james and he analysed the bahrain race excellently. mcnish turned up at the end of the race with negative analysis about mercedes benz allowing their drivers to race but as soon as he heard coulthard's supportive comments about mercedes' contribution to the show by allowing their drivers to race he soon changed his tune. i know mcnish was with you james because i listened to you. your commentary didn't relay the whole story until i watched the bbc hi lights. what a race!


here is another example james, on sunday rosberg and hamilton started the race on the same tyre. when the red lights went off, hamilton chose a shorter distance to get to the first corner by keeping his steering wheel straight while rosberg weaved defensively, travelling a longer distance to the first corner. which one of them made a more intelligent choice?


james, if you look at some footage of schumacher (best wishes) driving the mercedes, you will notice that the takes his hand of the steering to adjust the brake balance, which is a long metal bar running alongside his leg. both schumacher and rosberg drove the car like that for 3 years but as soon as hamilton got there he asked them to remove it as it heavy, and replace the brake balance controls with buttons on he steering wheel. is that not demonstration of superior intelligence? that change allowed them to position the extra weight to improve performance of the car. hamilton listed several changes he made I just cannot remember them now.


This cerebral stuff is really starting to interest me. I personally think people are overdoing it just so there is a narrative that fits.

It would be interesting James if on a slow news day you could do a piece (not on any specific driver) but just on the cerebral vs instinctive drivers, who tends to come out on top.

My guess is that there could be a middle ground somewhere else the cerebral suffers from analysis paralysis and the instinctive just pulls off the audacious or memorable but regularly bins it or misuses the car potential.



Much as I like him as a person I always felt DC suffered what you call analysis paralysis.


Ferrari has to fire Pat Fry and let James Allison run the show in terms of car design. Then he can listen to both the drivers properly and give them what they want even if they end up with 2 different configs of Chassis for each driver. James Allison is the best man to decode Kimi's economical way of speaking when it comes to feedback. And yes I really don't think the Ferrari engine is terrible in terms of design. It might be that they lack the software coding to get everything out of it working perfectly. Face it, Ferrari is not gonna show up building sub-standard engines. If they are not so good at the technology side as in with something out of their comfort zone, they quickly learn and become better. In 2009 Ferrari engineers struggled with KERS. But now we see similar technology on the La Ferrari road car. Upgrade the software or employ more people who can do it for them. So yeah, then come back in 2015 stronger!

Considering, how things are going so far, I guess, Alonso will run out of patience before any of the above can happen.


ferrari are not the only team in f1 the other teams also want to win and it's a team effort.


The problem with your thesis is that the software is central to the power unit working competitively. I wonder if Ferrari got a little 'tractor' about it all and downplayed the software development.


Aldo Costa has designed one gem of a race car in this years Mercedes.


Is there any real significance to the fact that Lewis posted the fastest time while doing tyre testing for Pirelli? I am assuming that Pirelli are testing experimental compounds that may or may not, depending on test results, make their way into the race tyre production run for next season. If so, then Lewis has proved to be fast on a tyre that no one, including himself, can use this season.

Shouldn't we be looking at who is fastest on 2014 production race tyres instead?


Read the report from Pirelli. They stated they were doing comparison test. They would run a new test tyre and a control tyre in the same conditions and compare the results. There is every chance Hamiltons time was on the control tyre, most likely a tyre from the current range.


I'm guessing Alonso has 2-3 years left in him at his peak.

Reality is can he win a 3rd title in those years at Ferrari (or even Mclaren)? In my view it is doubtful.

It is my opinion that Alonso has to start looking after himself and try and get himself into a Mercedes or Red Bull.


Do not see Merc being interested in Alonso. He has history with equal status at a team. he would need to prove that is behind him for a season or two with Kimi and by then it is probably to late. If Merc change their line up then I think only Vettel is in with a chance and that really depends on how he handles DR this year. If DR is close or dare I say ahead, then even Vettel has no chance, better to stay with what you know.