#F1 Testing: Jerez Day 3 – Renault Woes Continue, Magnussen shines

Brought to you by John Myburgh

The rate of in season development of the cars in F1 means that the results of the Jerez test could never reveal who would be the ultimate victors in either the constructors’ or drivers’ race for the championship titles in 2014. However, those with some historic knowledge of the sport know that this test will identify those teams whose new prototype offerings are well behind the curve.

TJ13 stated on the eve of this test that the Renault teams would be restricted in their running, which for Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Caterham has been proven to be the case. We also revealed that the French engine manufacturer had informed their customer teams that the maximum running their current power train could offer was 250km.

It was telling that whilst McLaren who failed to get their car ready for Jenson on day 1, rescheduled their drivers to share the remaining 3 days; Red Bull on the contrary allowed Sebastian Vettel to jet off home last night even though days 1 and 2 saw him complete a mere 11 laps. Clearly things were not about to improve.

I tweeted this morning that Red Bull would not be running before 11am having suffered “serious issues” during the night shifts work on the car. In the end it didn’t matter whether the car hit the track at 11, 12 or 3 o’ clock as it was good for just 3 laps for new boy Daniel Ricciardo.

When I heard of Renault’s woes on Monday, I was incredulous that an engine manufacturer  who had dominated the V8 era for 8 years had after 2 years of design and build produced a powertrain so woefully lacking. Yet we now know this is the case.

Whilst each of the Renault customer teams have worries of their own which do not relate to the engine, TJ13 has discovered that the French F1 engine manufacturer now requires around 20 weeks to rectify the problems they are currently experiencing. This takes us up to the British Grand Prix.

Adrian Newey and Christian Horner are reportedly on their way back to Milton Keynes tonight as the scale of the crisis is becoming apparent to the F1 world. As Daniel Ricciardo commented, their guru car designer is literally returning to “the drawing board”.

Simply put, there are components in the Renault engine which will fail should it be pushed beyond around 75%. On top of this, the RB10 has cooling issues for the energy recovery systems, the engine and various other associated components.

It appears tonight as though the might and utter dominance of Red Bull for the past 4 years is over as they are 6 weeks from Melbourne with a car design unable to accommodate the necessary cooling requirements and a power train unable to complete the race in Melbourne.

Daniel Ricciardo commented, “even if we go to Melbourne, still a bit.. whatever…. It’s a long season”. It appears the message has percolated down that Red Bull and Renault will be seriously behind the curve for some time to come.

For the non-Renault teams, day 3 was a decent workout with the Mercedes teams looking particularly strong posting the top four times for the day.

I have to say, the McLaren is looking by some margin the best balanced car. Having spent the day walking the circuit, whether in the hands of world champion Jenson Button or rookie Kevin Magnusson, the MP4-29 was cornering as though it was on rails.

McLaren have taken a huge gamble by ditching protégé Sergio Perez and recruiting Kevin Magnusson whose highest level experience has been in the Renault World Series championship. This appointment reveals how highly the team from Woking regard this rookie driver, because they do have egg on their face from the recruitment and dismissal of Perez, and they can’t afford another driver mistake.

I had no 3G as I spent the afternoon around the back of the circuit and therefore was completely unaware of the lap times being set. Yet Magnusson was clearly hitting every apex, breaking to almost perfection and driving the car with the ease and rhythm of someone who has been a pilot at the top level of single seater motorsport for many years.

Whilst Lewis was experimenting with different gear shift patterns through the long turn 5 onto the back straight, Magnussun was metronomic in his approach to this corner for lap after lap.

This kid is clearly the real deal, and before the bookies get wind of his talent, for those of you willing to take a punt, whatever his odds for the world title, he’s well  worth a few quid.

It’s good to see Felipe Massa settling into his new team so quickly, and the Williams must be thanking their lucky stars they bailed out of the Renault stable. With their new Mercedes engine the FW 36 looked racey and quick, though at times twitchy at the rear.

Every dynasty rises and falls, and whilst it’s too early to write off Newey and the Red Bull with their budget of hundreds of millions, they are unquestionably in a fight to deliver a car capable of completing a Grand Prix at present, never mind providing quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel with a car capable of a significant points scoring position.

Day 3 Standings:
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m23.276s 52
2. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m23.700s +0.424s 47
3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m23.952s +0.676s 62
4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m25.030s +1.754s 40
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m25.495s +2.219s 58
6. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m26.096s +2.820s 17
7. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m29.915s +6.639s 30
8. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m30.161s +6.885s 34
9. Robin Frijns Caterham-Renault No time – 10
10. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault No time – 3
11. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari No time – 5

71 responses to “#F1 Testing: Jerez Day 3 – Renault Woes Continue, Magnussen shines

  1. Wow! Incredible news about the Renault… First the crankshaft issue, then the 250km testing restriction, (which is ~56 laps of Jerez, btw), and now 20 weeks to rectify… umm wait! Rectify what?

  2. Because I’ve not seen this elsewhere, let me share here a few relevant numbers to come out of today’s testing…

    Most write-ups focus on the fastest times. But the teams and thoughtful analysts have all said the times are not very relevant… what is more important at this early test is the laps.

    So here are today’s lap counts in the order of the 2013 WCC results:
    First by team:
    3 = RB
    62 = Mercedes
    58 = Ferrari
    52 = McLaren
    17 = Force India
    34 = Sauber
    30 = Toro Rosso
    5 = Marussia
    10 = Caterham

    Next, here is the avg lap count today, per engine, per team:
    14 = Renault
    32 = Ferrari
    44 = Mercedes

    Regarding the number of laps per team, it’s interesting, in relation to the news reported in this same blog, that the Renault powered Toro Rosso team succeeded in getting in 30 laps today (10 times more than Red Bull).

    Second, note that, on average, for every lap a Renault powered team turned, a Ferrari powered team turned two laps, and Mercedes powered team turned 3 laps, (roughly). The Ferrari powered numbers have the skew of Marussia’s debut with only 5 laps total.

    Third, Toro Rosso’s 30 laps is interesting given that we learned here that Renault advised teams to limit testing to 250km, which would be 56 laps of Jerez. TR has done the following, Monday = 15 laps, Tuesday = zero laps, today = 30. So that totals 45 laps, and would only leave 11 more laps to reach 250km.

    Excellent reporting here, btw! Thank you very much!

    • You should add Button’s 40 laps to the 52 you have currently written down for McLaren… they’ve really been on a roll today.

      • Thank you Auq! Quite right to spot that error… I’ve rushed it, and overlooked Button’s numbers. In addition, I now notice I’ve overlooked Williams. Here is the update:

        92 = McLaren
        47 = Williams

        With those figures included, the avg # of laps per team by engine manufacturer is much different:

        14 laps avg per Renault powered team
        32 laps avg per Ferrari powered team
        55 laps avg per Mercedes powered team

        So for every lap a Renault powered car did today, on average, a Mercedes powered car did almost 4 laps. Excellent showing for the Mercedes powered teams today.

        • 1:4 is a shocker. If it honestly takes Renault till the British GP to fix this, what are RB (+ associated others) do in Melbourne? Withdraw? Have a picknick? If they cannot run above 75% performance, surely it’s going to be pointless to even start.

          • Great questions… Some unreliability of oppossing teams would mean that it may be worthwhile to putter around at 80% pace on the petrol engine only without the electrical motors to try and pick up the odd points perhaps.

            Note what Sutil said this afternoon, that he tossed it off all on his own, and that he spent the day locking up into the corners because of electrical generative systems engaging during braking… So more things to go wrong, plus harder tires means we may see more cars tossed off into the barriers as well.

      • Hah! Tuesday is the new Monday this week in Jerez! 🙂

        Thanks for the spotting the error! Well done.

    • And Williams’ 47 laps are missing too. This gives an average of 55 laps per Mercedes-running team today.

    • The figures also show that Force India are bringing the Mercedes average down. Williams certainly seem to have made the best choice and McLaren must be hoping Honda do a good job…

  3. I am sooooooo shocked that Renault have dropped the ball in such a massive way. Did they not use a mule to test their package as did Ferrari and Merc? I did read that they were quite half hearted at the start of development, with only half the number of technical staff working on the project at Mercedes were said to have. For that alone they deserve to have to lye in the bed they made for themselves.

    It does sound from the brief clips released that no-one is running 100% power yet but the Merc teams appear and sound to have the wick turned up more than most. I’m also quite surprised just how different the Ferrari engine sounds to the Merc. Very interesting indeed, of course we will have to wait unroll the full engine freeze takes place in 2019 or 2020 before all the secrets come out……..I can wait, I’m not planning on turning away from F1 anytime soon.

        • propaganda…yeah like that disappointing smokescreen Autosport published (behind a PAYWALL?!) for Renault, claiming stuff will be sorted by Bahrain – ie, the next test!

          ha, yeah right! 😉 Anyone paying attention while Court is in-session knows that’s simply out-of-order! lol 😉

      • Having lived through the previous turbo era in F1 I am quite happy with the sound of the engines – it appears that everyone thinks that the screamers of recent times is the norm – it never has been

    • Curious where you got that bit about Merc test mule from C V?
      Ferrari well documented, not so Mercedes.

      Have seen some comment from a well known identity published today that states Merc did not mule….so curious….

  4. Great article. I can’t imagine RBR going back to drawing board. This already took them all previous season if not more. Such a shame for the team who worked hard, but also a good change for the sport.

  5. 250 km., 20 weeks, I just can’t believe what I’m reading.
    Is the cooling really Newey’s kryptonite?
    Is Red Bull Really KO? I just can’t believe it, a standing 8 count that’s for sure, but even Ali was sometimes knocked down by some of his sparring partners, and everybody screamed “Ali is finished!”

    “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Your hands can’t hit what Your eyes can’t see. Now you see me, now you don’t. You think You will, but I know You won’t.”

    Let’s wait ’till Melbourne if the ref throws the towel.

  6. I can’t make sense of Renault. This is the team that introduced Turbo engines to F1 in 1977, so they should have experience with it, but their engine is a catastrophic failure. The cooling probs of RB were probably expectable. The RB was always extreme in that regard, to the point that Mark’s car failed rather often last year, because his cockpit was slightly wider to accomodate his bulkier frame and subsequently hampered cooling. But the Renault engine seems to be a complete dog’s dinner.
    With Lotus hanging in the ropes anyway and that sort of outlook to the season, they can as well close shop right away.
    People always think I like Vettel and RB to win everything at ease, but that’s not the case. Back in the days when they were still produced, I loved playing F1 Management Games (Grandprix Manager 2 and GrandPrix World) and the funniest time was had improving your team – the first point, the first podium, the first win. Once you started winning everything it became bland and I usually started over trying a different approach. I that way RB might provide the biggest fun as recovering from the neck-deep shit they’re in now could prove quite epic, but I also see a risk. They won’t put up very long with an engine manufacturer, wo by the looks of things, has suddenly forgotten how stuff works. Ferrari and Merc will most likely never sell them engines, so they’re either stuck with the godawful Renault or strike a deal with Cosworth (which I would think would be quite a good idea). Other than that they might bugger off, which, love or hate them, would be not exactly good for F1.
    I would like to see a proper championship fight as much as the next guy, but what use is it if Renault just falls apart, we’ll still have no idea how good or not Vettel is.

    • The main problem with your argument Danilo is that just because Renault ” introduced Turbo engines to F1 in 1977 ” – has absolutely NO relevance to 2014.

      History has nothing to do with it.

      The technology, materials, design, electronics, etc. are totally and utterly different.

      The fact is, that it appears Renault just plain and simple fucked it up !

      • The problem is, that it can have devastating effects. Lotus need to shine or they could be gone. With the Renault is seems unlikely to the extreme. Fernandes is fed up with F1 and not only has he got the most hideous car of the lot, he’ll also have the slowest, so that’s another team gone.
        Red Bull will probably hang in there, they’ve just got their home race back, but they too will only take humiliation fo so long. Even at the height of their dominance, the opposition was never as hopeless as the Renault teams look at the moment. The engine freeze doesn’t help either. Renault can’t catch up and if they get a ‘special permit’, like they did in the V8 area, they could end up with an advantage again. Let’s face it, FIA mucked this up big time. If we had testing and engine development, Renault could now go and run the raw shit out of it untiul they got things sorted, but they can’t. Same goes to Ferrari. Their engine does not look as useless as the Renault, but it looks as if they’re still miles behind Merc with no chance to catch up.

        • That’s life.

          If teams leave so be it.

          Let F1 as we know it die ….

          The Fat Hippo advocated letting this happen and I supported his views.

          • Well if things continue, this is just as well what could happen. F1 2014 has all the bits that people don’t want. Frankly at present I don’t think that F1 dying would be such a bad prospect. Maybe starting over with neither Todt nor Ecclestone involved would be the better option.

    • Careful with what you want Danilo, you might get it. If the situation is really that bad we might have 8 cars not finishing –or not qualifying- in Melbourne for sure. Plus many others from Ferrari and Mercedes. Add ugly as hell cars and by the third race everybody might be with you and not watching Formula 1.

      * * *

      Then teams will lose interest if their only option is losing money not having a chance to finish a race –three of Renault’s teams-. One team with a lot of money might lose interest in Formula 1 for different reasons –Red Bull-. By the end of the year several teams might quit and the only option would be to make more changes to try to save the “sport”… I’m smiling while I picture the head of Le President being cut by the guillotine… But not, I don’t have any faith in human kind, he would stay, and we would end with customer cars and something even worse to what we have today…
      (I know, I’m being a little too dramatic, I wrote this second part going thru a moment of delirium, don’t pay too much attention to it).

    • DS – I’m not sure that hysteria is justified after the first 3 days of winter testing.

      In general, it appears that we have a very exciting season ahead of us. For example, let’s look at what the midfielder teams did today:

      The Renault powered Toro Rosso had a pretty good day, completing 30 laps. In comparison, the Ferrari powered Sauber only managed 34 laps, and the Mercedes powered Force India only managed 17.

      Given the problems seen by Red Bull, and in comparison to their mid-field competitors, Toro Rosso did well.

      In addition, let’s not forget the smart looking little Williams pounded out 47 laps.

      Comparing those mid-fielder numbers to what we’ve seen from the big budgeted teams (excluding RB), then the top teams avg’d 71 laps today vs 32 for the mid-fielders.

      What will be real interesting is Bahrain. Scarbs analysis of the debut of the Sauber and Ferrari noted that they both seemed to have slightly smaller (sleeker) side pods. The ambient temps in Bahrain should give everyone a better idea of their thermal engineering / management strengths and weaknesses.

      Ironic that last year many folks shed tears over the required thermal management of the tires, but this year (and after only three days of cool winter testing) we see wailing and gnashing of teeth by F1 spectators over the challenges of thermal management of these new power train systems.

      This season will be fun for those of us enjoy watching some of the best engineering organizations in the world handle difficult situations.

      • I wonder if the Ferrari having that lack of a cover for if the ERS part blows up has meant their engine runs cooler and hence does not need as much cooling…

        • According to James Allison, Ferrari has done an exquisite job with the engine package, and especially the cooling he finds very impressive.
          So if his words are anything to go by, I’d say Ferrari have done an excellent job.

      • Well said. Out of curiosity, is it legal to spray water on a radiator to cool it? I ran a guy in FF2000 years ago and the Reynard we ran always ran hotter than optimum for the engine; I set up a water spray system using a windshield washer pump and a thermostatic switch that worked great bring temps down on hot days. Just a thought.

        O.T, Danilo: you write amazingly great English!

    • http://igpmanager.com/

      I believe this might be what you are after Danilo. Unlike the old games (which I also loved), you’re against other folks, and everytime you think you are gonna Vettel them, they come back at you. I promised to write something on this for some other commenters ages ago, but I’ve been busy getting a book out at work, and looking after at sick kids at home, so have been a little busy.

      Its a fun game and worth a go, free to play too. I am in the pro tier of this league if anyone fancies joining us http://igpmanager.com/play/?url=league-info/1676#tab2

    • I think the main issue is that Renault have had a period of success and not needed to push as hard as Mercedes (who spent big on 2014 engines) or Ferrari (who want to win again). That Infiniti Red Bull took the publicity also sapped their urge to invest in 2014. They have minimised their role in the success since the Crashgate scandal, despite investing in the driveability of the Renault engine with the latest spec of cars (09-13), benefiting the Nissan/US branch of the alliance.

      I can agree that it will be fun to see a recovery, but it will also be fun to see a shaken up order. RB really should have invested in 2014 from mid-2013 onwards, as the title was still almost theirs for the taking even before the tyre switch which they so expertly backed Pirelli into making. I wonder if they got used to winning, and took their eye off the 2014 ball, or just thought that their winning was inevitable (given their expertise and spend), so that they could continue to make the most out of 2013 (and going for the consecutive wins record..).

      Renault dropping out of F1 could be bad, unless Honda steps in to fill the breach (and take on 3 teams at least). Overall, I would like to see Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault, Ford and Honda in F1, however, there may only be enough room for 4 at a time economically (the big 3 and Ford, Honda, BMW or whoever else decides to join for the time period etc.). But indeed the Caterham-Renault package certainly seems to be looking at the writing on the wall.. Lotus can still be saved by Usmanov if they need cash badly (and perhaps Russian Time link up with him to promote that country link).

  7. it seems as its the red bull hierarchy that are lobbying Bernie to make the last three races double points.. i mean come on.. Its only in their interest.

      • LOL!!

        Can’t wait to see RBR trying to buy a special dispensation to be able to run anything other than the POS they’re saddled w/ right now.

        I am fully enjoying their failure to perform. Call me cynical lol…

    • it’s only in their inerest…..if they snag a win….otherwise they’re further out the back door.

  8. Grrrrrrrrrr…….F#@%ing SKY!

    After Ted’s debacle last night with the nose clippers, novelty fan and a battery to try and explain some of the most complex racing engines ever produced. We are exposed tonight to him using a fuckin’ banana and a bag of rasins to explain the nose design concepts. WTF?

    What’s next, Haribo and strawberry laces to explain McLaren’s novel suspension.

    They took money out my bank for that crap too……..

    Rant over – for today
    Where is the hippo when you need him?

    • Ted would probably love to do something more complex involving graphics and what not, but Sky have not really spent a whole lot of money on the testing coverage. So it’s whatever he can find in the media centre.

      • There is plenty of images available on the internet, plus he waisted 10mins talking to some fans in the grandstands. I mean,come on! Surly they could have found more content than that, with or wuthout props.

      • Gary Anderson seemed to do remarkably well using the old fashioned Word 1.0 – i.e. a pencil & paper.

        • You heard the saying “bullshit always baffles brains”? This is Sky I am referring to, not Gary. Sky needs tech to make them sound interesting. Gary just explains it like it is. If Sky was clever they’d sack Ted et al and get Gary!

          • Or if they were really smart, they’d keep Ted but get Gary or someone like him to properly explain actual tech.

            I mean, they do have some good stand-alone type feature tech pieces produced during the season, but I agree that Ted isn’t really a very good source for sophisticated explanations that we crave.

        • Gary Anderson experience of F1 means he can explain things a lot more easily than Ted who to be fair is brilliant at pit lane reporting during a race.

    • CV – I share you grievances – which is why I cancelled my Sky subscription a long time ago.

      Sky is shit. Most if it is endless repeats of programmes that weren’t worth watching in the first place, or one hour infomercials like – Your Home Of Formula One – on and on and on and on ad nauseam ….

      And as long as you and others like you pay for it – Bernie will keep and try and increase F1 as PPV regardless of how poor the quality of the broadcasts are.

      • Why is sky charging you guys for the F1 channel?
        I get it free with the HD package.

        • @Flying_Scotsman

          You don’t get it ” free ”

          You are paying a premium for the HD package which it’s included in.

          It’s like saying you get BBC 1 HD or ITV HD or Channel 4 HD ” free ” with the Sky HD package ……

    • I’ve said it over and over on a couple of F1 sites: Ted drives me crazy! I just turn the sound off when he comes on!

  9. Toro Rosso has put his engine ok at the end of the season today and has worked quite acceptable.

  10. alot of you have probably seen the above documentary about cosworth building their first f1 turbo engine in the early 80’s.

    they kept blowing up test mule after test mule and were stumped as to the reason why until they worked out they had an incurable vibration in the crankshaft and had to build an entirely new motor.

    i could be wrong but it seems renault are experiencing a similar problem,and im surprised that they would come this far with out knowing the had a problem in an area as crucial as the crankshaft.

  11. well im actually paying for the movie channels HD,the F1 channel just happens to be included in that.
    As far as im concerned it was a bonus.

  12. ….Whilst Lewis was experimenting with different gear shift patterns through the long turn 5 onto the back straight, Magnussun was metronomic in his approach to this corner for lap after lap…..

    Which to me means they were both carrying out different tests, and I believe Magnussen’s brief was to just drive the car and give feedback later, Hamilton on the other hand will be carrying out some kind of engine calliberation test probably to do with optimising the power delivery.

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  14. The Renault revelations make it obvious why Bernie is pushing for double points in the last three races rather than just one – that is the only way his Golden Boy can keep his run of titles going.

    Actually, this is going to have some rather drastic effects on this championship and even in to the future. Just think about it…. First points for Marussia, guaranteed at least 10th place in the championship, possibly higher – maybe 9th is a good bet. Their future is suddenly looking a lot rosier. Conversely, Caterham may well be looking for a new owner – Tony Fernandes said just recently he needs success and they aren’t going to get it this year with this situation….

    Lotus are probably finished – their performance depends on success and even if they have pulled a blinder on car design losing 1/3rd of the season means they’ll be lucky to finish 5th or 6th. Sauber on the other hand have a good chance to pull themselves up the final table and secure their future with a good haul of money at the end of the season.

    I can see some tense meetings at Renault HQ where teams are demanding substantial reductions in the price of the engines to make up for what they will lose at the end of the season…

    • Hmm, interesting conspiracy Stephen. Could it be that F1 is rigged this year, in order to keep people interested after three humdrum seasons?

      Chaotic early-season + surprising mid-season pecking order + furious end-season return to form by Renault cars + double points = excitement?

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