Wednesday, February 26, 2014


The good news is that Red Bull are having loads of problems and won't be stamping all over the championship come Melbourne. Hopefully, with all of Renault's problems, we'll see a more level playing field this year. Of course, they won't be behind forever, F1 teams have a knack for solving problems fast and getting back on performance. But personally, I'm grinning from ear to ear. After a whole year of boring-ness.

So how bad are Renault teams anyway? Not that bad according to Rob White, Renault Sport F1 Deputy Managing Director. But then he would say that, wouldn't he? From what we can glean of this interview, they are a few weeks behind and that is bad in F1. The last 2 tests showed that when you are behind, when you can't use the time to test for speed and you waste time fixing problems here and there, you will be quite behind in terms of development.

What were the key steps taken between Jerez and Bahrain ?

We made a number of specification changes to the Energy Store (battery), involving modified hardware, requiring some gymnastics in engineering, procurement, assembly and logistics. We also introduced two levels of PU control system software updates ; the first being effectively what would have been a decent starting point for Jerez. It eliminated some bugs that allowed us to make mapping and calibration corrections, which subsequently allowed us to operate the cars in a more robust way to gather mileage. The second layer of software changes had more functionality to allow a greater authority to the control systems, giving better performance and driveability, and a larger degree of Power Unit systems integration. All the cars started on the first route and all 4 cars migrated to the second solution as we gathered mileage.

How has the test in Bahrain gone this week ?

We have had some set-backs, but we have definitely made progress and have taken several steps forward. The changes have improved the PU behaviour in the car and we are have accumulated valuable mileage. There have been stoppages, on our side and on the chassis side as well, but we have ironed out some important faults and allowed the teams to gain crucial experience of the car as a whole. We have seen that minor incidents can cause downtime that is difficult or impossible to recover. In particular, we lost more time than anticipated on the final day. While we are not at the level of operation and performance we would want to be, we have a more solid basis to work from, and we are moving in the right direction.

Would you say you are back on schedule ?

We have made some good headway, in terms of PU performance and operation in the car, we are now in a situation we could have accepted mid-Jerez. We have solved some problems and revealed some others. 
We are not back on schedule but we are moving in the right direction – the running we have done is very valuable. The challenge is to improve the rate of progress, because the gap to where we wanted to be at this stage remains substantial. We are some weeks behind where we wanted to be, and we acknowledge it will take time to unlock the full performance of the PU. We are working hard to get there and we are determined to succeed. We remain confident in the PU and its sub systems, we are just not at the level of operation and performance we want to be. The immaturity of the PU combined with the time lost to incidents, means the chassis work to prepare for the season is also behind schedule. From this point on we must pursue and accelerate an upward curve.

What is the plan in the short break between tests ?

We run again in Bahrain at the end of next week. The homologation deadline is looming, the race engines for Melbourne are in the early stages of build. There is a huge amount of work in progress. The Viry team is working night and day to solve our problems. The collaboration with our teams is closer than ever. The rate of development is extremely rapid away from the track and that we can create and validate effective solutions very quickly shows the resolve and tenacity of all our team members. We now have a list of issues from this test we will address. There are of course priority calls to sort out the most important ones from the background noise, but we will come back stronger at the next test and continue to learn about the Power Unit and prepare for Melbourne.

Who using Renault engines is looking good then?

So far, Lotus is looking good. It is the only Renault based team that is showing acceptable (if that is possible to say) levels of reliability and performance. Although they still cannot match any of the Mercedes or Ferrari engined teams, they look to have their packaging a bit more agreeable to the new power units.

The Enstone squad set the fastest time of the four Renault-powered squads in testing in Bahrain, albeit almost five-and-a-half seconds slower than pacesetter Nico Rosberg's Mercedes. But despite completing five fewer laps than Red Bull overall, Lotus had a good final day while the reigning world champion team struggled.

Lotus technical director Nick Chester seems to think so:
I think we could be the lead Renault team, we certainly haven't gone badly this week in comparison to the other Renault teams and I know they are having a few problems.
Red Bull is still struggling to get the power unit to work properly in their packaging. The whole Bahrain test yielded not enough laps and everyday had to be cut short for one reason or another. Daniel Ricciardo only managed 15 laps on day 4. We'll see how they fare in the next and last test before the season starts in Melbourne.

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Monday, February 24, 2014


The teams have been able to complete more testing distance with Pirelli's new 2014 range of tyres in Bahrain, as they begin to get a better picture of how the latest tyres interact with the radically different new cars.

A number of teams were able to complete race simulations, as well as qualifying and pit stop practice, assessing every aspect of tyre usage. Weather conditions remained dry and warm, in the region of 20 degrees centigrade or higher: temperatures that are much more representative of the season as a whole.
In accordance with the nominations they had made in advance, the teams were able to try out the entire 2014 range of P Zero tyres in Bahrain, as well as a special 'winter' hard compound, with a faster warm-up.

Paul Hembery comments:
The teams were able to learn more about tyres over the four days in Bahrain than they could in Jerez two weeks ago, thanks to increased running time and optimal weather conditions. Although the teams are still at a comparatively early point on the development curve with their new cars, testing data so far indicates that the 2014 tyres are more consistent and durable than their predecessors.
As a result, we are also seeing fewer 'marbles' on the circuit: one of our objectives at the start of this season. However, teams are likely to improve their performance and understanding of the car-tyre package still further in the test to come, which means that the lap time differences we have been seeing between the compounds are likely to come down: especially when the teams discover more downforce as the season goes on. We've collected plenty of useful data from this test, but of course we are still ready and able to change the specification of the tyres for the start of the season if this is shown to be necessary.
Testing Facts

Teams ramped up their distance considerably over the four days of the test. In total, 482 laps were completed on the first day of the test, with 676 laps on day two, 695 laps on day three and 469 laps on day four.

Teams had a maximum of 30 sets of tyres per car to test in Bahrain. Pirelli, in conjunction with the teams, chose 22 of those sets (plus an extra medium 'prototype' set – used to test the performance of tyres without tyre warmers, which is part of the 2015 regulations). The teams were then able to choose in advance the remaining eight sets, up to their maximum permitted total of 30. In total, 135 sets of tyres are allowed per team for testing purposes throughout 2014.

The performance differences in Bahrain between the compounds so far are approximately as follows: the supersoft is around 0.7s per lap faster than the soft, the soft is around 1.2s per lap quicker than the medium, and the medium is around 1.3s per lap quicker than the hard. These gaps should come down considerably as the cars evolve.

More Testing Facts

A total of 24 drivers took part in the Bahrain test, completing 2,322 laps and 12,566 kilometres. Last year, the second test of the year took place in Barcelona, over exactly the same four-day period, during which the drivers completed 16,006 kilometres.

The total testing distance completed so far this year, combining Jerez and Bahrain is 3,792 laps and 19,074 kilometres. This time last year, the teams had completed 6,970 laps and 31,640 kilometres of pre-season testing (Jerez and Barcelona 2013 combined).

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg set the fastest time of the Bahrain test, with a time of 1m33.283s on Saturday with the P Zero Yellow soft. By way of comparison, the fastest race lap at the Bahrain Grand Prix last year was 1m36.961s, set by Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel. Pole position at the Bahrain Grand Prix last year was 1m32.330s: within a second of Rosberg's fastest test time today. At the Bahrain race last year, pole was also set by Rosberg.

The highest number of total laps completed at this year's Bahrain test by any one driver was 174 laps, from Nico Rosberg (Mercedes). Williams driver Valtteri Bottas set the second-highest total, 171 laps.

Testing Numbers

Total number of sets brought to Bahrain: 341 sets which equals 1,364 tyres

of which supersoft tyres: 14 sets
of which soft tyres: 61 sets
of which medium tyres: 139 sets
of which hard tyres: 94 sets
of which 'winter' hard tyres: 28 sets
of which intermediate tyres: 3 sets
of which wet tyres: 2 sets
Total amount of sets used: 199
of which supersoft tyres: 5 sets
of which soft tyres: 37 sets
of which medium tyres: 89 sets
of which hard tyres: 51 sets
of which 'winter' tyres: 17 sets
of which intermediate tyres: 0 sets
of which wet tyres: 0 sets

Longest Run

16 laps on the supersoft compound
16 laps of the soft compound
22 laps on the medium compound
22 laps on the hard compound
9 laps on the 'winter' compound
0 laps on the intermediate compound
0 laps on the wet compound
Highest / lowest ambient temperature over four days: 27 °C / 17 °C
Highest / lowest track temperature over four days: 37 °C / 18 °C

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Thursday, February 20, 2014


This is something worth sharing. A 360 degree view of an on-board camera on an F1 car. Nice! It is an  interactive 360-degree view of the Mercedes W05 in action. The video is of Nico Rosberg driving the car during a filming day at Silverstone can be rotated through 360 degrees while it is playing.

Click on image to be taken to the video
Although the car did not go flat out as it was a filming day, we can still hear the engine. I like the turbo hiss almost every time the revs change or when it changes gears but the overall sound is more like a superbike engine. It is not high pitched as the V8s, but that maybe due to it was not going flat out. Looking forward to hearing the engine flat out in the races.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014


Image from
Sorry there's not much to write about still these days as there is just a lot of news around and I don't report on news. There's a million websites out there taht do that, re-hashing news all day long. Since I don't have much to write about nor do I have the time as well, I do want to share interesting and important information about our beloved sport whenever I can.

John Beamer is one of my favorite technical F1 writers. He always is able to explain the technicalities of F1 in as simple a language as possible. Although his simple is still very technical to me. He also always has good illustrations to show the point. I love the way he presents his ideas and explanations.

Here you will find him explaining some of the early innovations in F1 this year in glorious detail and with clear illustrations. I hope this will whet your appetite for the looming battle between the teams. Can't wait for Bahrain.

Read the full article HERE.

The first test of the new season at Jerez was a bonanza for F1 technology aficionados. Every team bar Lotus turned up with new cars built to drastically changed regulations.

A few of the cars had already broken cover though naturally some of the teams were shy about revealing too many of their secrets in these online launches. A notable example was Force India, who issued only a side-on shot of the VJM07, postponing the full horror of its front appendage until it poked out from beneath a sheet in the Jerez pit lane.

Some of those early cars were examined in a previous article – here’s a look at what their rivals turned up with in Spain.

Red Bull RB10

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Jerez, 2014One feature of F1 in 2014 is the differing treatments F1 designers have found for the noses. The regulations state that the nose must meet a minimum tip height – 50mm behind the actual time the nose height must be exactly 185mm above the car’s reference plane. The nose must form a cross section, which must be between 135mm and 300mm above the reference plane.

Mercedes W05

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Jerez, 2014The new Mercedes is definitely one of the less unattractive of the 2014 cars. Nose-wise it is similar in style to the Ferrari, but if you look head on at the two cars you’ll see that the Mercedes nose is higher than the Ferrari’s by around 65mm – this is a result of some clever design work by the Brackley-based team.


The majority of the midfield cars have a derivative of the anteater nose. They all look different and none of them are particularly attractive – cue lots of phallic references over the coming 12 months.

McLaren’s ‘fat’ suspension

McLaren suspension side view, 2014The first Jerez test was more about engine mileage and less about aerodynamic innovation but there were a few things that caught the eye. Perhaps the most interesting concept was rear suspension set-up of the new McLaren.

Read the full article HERE.

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Thursday, February 6, 2014


Ok it's hard (pun intended) not to think of something else when looking at some of these new F1 noses. So the cars have been launched and shaken down at a cold Jerez. But how will they really work in the heat? bahrain will tell us more of they will work in the dry heat and long runs. There have been many launch stories and since I don't want to rehash any of the stories, here I present available launch analysis of the current crop of F1 cars as done by Matt Sommerfield of Pitpass, who is excellent at making the technical not so technical for the rest of us. Although technical is as technical as it gets.

Sauber C33

The Swiss team, based in Hinwil, are one of the teams earmarked to be struggling financially. Although they have some fantastic infrastructure in place most of this came from their time under BMW ownership. That's not to say they haven't been investing but without major investment like BMW offered everything suffers.

Ferrari F14T

Ferrari is to Formula One is like what Ant is to Dec or fish is to chips, you can't have one without the other. Being the only team to have competed in every World Championship since the Formula's inception the team remain the most recognisable brand on the grid, therefore the Ferrari car launch is always a defining moment for the season ahead.

Lotus E22

A singular render doesn't give up too much information of course but what it does create is a furore about the 'Sabretooth' or 'Pitchfork' style nose that the team have illustrated.

The concept shown is a mild iteration of something I floated several weeks back (below) allowing the teams to run to the maximal height of 550mm much further forward and reducing nearly all of the losses involved with the 185mm tip height. The premise of the design centres around creating a centralised void rather then recovering space either side of the 'Finger' noses. In terms of the Lotus image perspective is not playing tricks on you and the right hand tooth is longer than the left.

McLaren MP4-29

I think it's fair to say that 2013 was rather a lacklustre year for the Woking based team who's 2012 campaign was bookended by great results. A slump in the middle of 2012 just when the team were focusing their attention on the MP4-28 led the team to think aggressively in order to chase performance. This was compounded by the team's mistakes around Pirelli's 2013 offerings thought to emanate from the scale model tyres given to the teams to work with. 2014 will be seen as an interim year for McLaren with it being the last year in a 19 year partnership with Mercedes as engine suppliers, as Honda becomes the power unit of choice once more in 2015.

Williams FW36

Another day another pre-launch, again courtesy of a team via twitter, Williams furnishing us with 3D renders of the FW36. Just like the ones presented yesterday by Force India the real car will likely have several key differences but it does afford us the opportunity to look at some of the features of the FW36 in advance. I will of course provide more analysis as the actual car rolls out in Jerez.

Force India VJM07

Force India find themselves with an all new driver lineup for 2014 with Nico Hulkenberg making his return to the fold, joined by Sergio Perez following his departure from McLaren. Having abandoned development fairly early on into 2013 to concentrate their efforts on the VJM07 the latter part of last season was perhaps unrepresentative of the teams performance. They also found themselves on the back foot when Pirelli were forced to return to the 2012 construction with the team having extracted performance early on that saw them ahead of McLaren.

Other cars technical analysis are not done yet so we'll have to wait for that. Hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed sharing. If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my t-shirt design for Alonso fans below (designs for other teams and drivers also available), click on image.


As usual, James Allen has with the help of his buddy Mark Gillan to explain to us F1 technologies in a way that is simple to understand.

Felipe Massa’s quote at the weekend about the new ‘brake-by-wire’ systems on the 2014 F1 cars taking some getting used to has sparked a lot of discussion on the JA on F1 site, with readers wanting to know more about what it is and how it works.

Let’s start with an explanation from the Sauber F1 team, “The braking system concept is totally new, taking the form of a brake-by-wire system for the first time at the rear wheels. This has become necessary due to the significantly increased performance of the ERS, which requires much greater variations in rear wheel braking torque than previously. With brake-by-wire, an electronic system measures how hard the driver presses the brake pedal and then – using the additional information from energy recuperation – determines in a split-second the amount of braking pressure that should be fed through to the rear brake callipers.”

The full article is HERE.

If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my new 2014 t-shirt design for Lewis Hamilton fans below (designs for other teams and drivers also available), click on image.