Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 19th February 2014

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Williams finds more money (GMM)

High confidence in Grove, and why not.. (GMM)

Red Bull Rivals smell blood (GMM)

Lotus breaks cover + Additional snap forensics by Lorenzo (11:00 GMT)

Red Bull woes continue in Bahrain (GMM)

From the Usher’s Ledger – Newey’s RB10 is now slowly morphing into the RB10-B

Just in from Bahrain


Given he had one of the most spectacular crashes in recent memory at Valencia 2010, he will fit the role for Superman perfectly.



Williams finds more money (GMM)

Felipe Nasr and his sponsor Banco do Brasil look set to become the next pieces of the puzzle for Williams’ promising campaign in 2014.

Having finished a woeful ninth of the eleven teams last year, the once-great British team seemed to have got the new season off to a solid start with its newly Mercedes-powered FW36 recently at Jerez. The car is set to be title-sponsored by the iconic Italian drinks brand Martini, raced by the long-time Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, and this week it emerged that Brazilian oil sponsor Petrobras has returned to the team.

Now, the next piece in the puzzle is believed to be GP2 frontrunner Felipe Nasr, whose surname oddly rhymes with that of his Brazilian countryman Massa. It was reported recently that the 21-year-old is believed to have signed an agreement to be Williams’ reserve driver in 2014, including Friday practice running at about half of the 19 grands prix.

And Germany’s Speed Week now reports that Nasr will bring about EUR 10 million to Williams in the form of his sponsor Banco do Brasil, a major Brazilian bank. However, when the Petrobras deal was unveiled in Rio yesterday, deputy team boss Claire Williams would not confirm the Nasr deal.

I can’t comment on that,” she is quoted by Globo, “but for Brazil I’m sure it would be awesome. Formula one is a big market for Brazil; the people love sports and formula one in particular.

So I guess to have another Brazilian in F1 along with Massa would be good for the sport and good for Brazil,” Williams added.


High confidence in Grove, and why not.. (GMM)

The mood at Williams is “completely different” compared to the same time last year. That is the view of Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas, as he prepares for his second campaign in formula one with the once-great British team.

Having slipped to ninth of the eleven teams in last year’s constructors’ standings, former multiple title winner Williams has invested heavily for 2014 and now features highly-respected names like Pat Symonds, Felipe Massa, incoming sponsor Martini and Mercedes power. Insiders believe the new FW36 appeared reliable and competitive at the recent Jerez test, and according to Bottas the Grove based team is in high spirits heading into the second test this week in Bahrain.

It’s a good feeling to see that your team is in such good spirits,” he told the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat.

The feeling now compared to this time a year ago is a completely different category. Now the spirit is really high, especially when all the major departments have new staff on duty.

They’ve come from a variety of top teams like Red Bull, Lotus and Mercedes, so our experience has increased. Things have gotten better since Pat Symonds came in — he put things on a better basis and hopefully it will show with the performance of our car as soon as possible,” said Bottas.

Bottas also sounded delighted with Williams’ new engine partner, with the team having switched from the now-troubled supplier Renault over the winter.

From what I could see at the Jerez test, I’m happy that we chose Mercedes,” he said.

There are fears, however, that the new and highly complex ‘power unit’ technology, and the severe fuel limitations, will detract this year from the actual driving.

The fastest driver will not win this year,” ex Williams and now Toro Rosso engineer Xevi Pujolar told Spain’s El Confidencial. “Now it [the winner] will be the one who is fastest in the most efficient way.

Bottas agrees that technology will play a much bigger role in 2014, but: “Driving skills will still be the most important thing.


Red Bull Rivals smell blood (GMM)

After four years of title-winning dominance, Red Bull’s rivals hope to be “back in the game” as the new F1 era kicks off in 2014. Even before Sebastian Vettel’s run began in 2010, Ferrari had already lost two consecutive world championships to McLaren and Mercedes’ former guise Brawn GP respectively.

Team president Luca di Montezemolo said the time for Ferrari dominance has come again.

We dominated for five years, they (Red Bull) did it for four and I think now we must make sure we get back to winning,” he is quoted by Italy’s Tuttosport.

I have utmost respect and praise for what they have done, knowing that today we all get back in the game. We’ll see,” he added.

Team boss Stefano Domenicali said the F14-T got off to a solid start at Jerez, but warned that Ferrari must now build on that momentum.

It is impossible to start with a perfect car in a season where so many changes are made,” he is quoted by Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport.

We still have much work ahead.

In the Red Bull era, it is widely believed that F1’s most famous aerodynamicist Adrian Newey utterly mastered the rules. But the emphasis has switched to the new turbo and ERS-powered V6s for 2014, and Red Bull and engine supplier Renault struggled even to run the new RB10 at the first Jerez test.

Putting in lap after lap in southern Spain, on the other hand, was Mercedes.

Reliability is the keyword for the first five, six races,” team chairman Niki Lauda is quoted by Osterreich newspaper, “Who is the best prepared will be furthest ahead,” he predicted.

The F1 circus has now moved to the island Kingdom of Bahrain for the second of the three pre-Melbourne tests.

Jerez was an engine test,” said Lauda. “Now the real preparation begins.

But he said the pecking order still will not be clear after the first week in Bahrain. “After the second week (in Bahrain) you can read a little bit more into it,” said Lauda. “Until then it is not only difficult, but also pointless.

So Lauda insists it would be a mistake to write off Red Bull on the basis of Jerez. “You do tests to find problems,” he said.

Nonetheless, he said Mercedes has started on the right foot and is on target for its ultimate goal. “We want to be world champion as soon as possible,” Lauda is quoted by Kleine Zeitung newspaper.

Whether it is this year or not, you cannot say yet. My personal goal is that it happens in the next two years. This is a hard goal, but that’s how it should be,” the former triple world champion and F1 legend added.


Lotus breaks cover

Here are the first images of the Lotus E22 (Autosport.com). Watch this space as our F1 forensics man, Lorenzo has a few comments on the car in Bahrain.

Over to Lorenzo…. (11:00 GMT)

Screen shot 2014-02-19 at 10.47.05

Interesting solutions by Lotus for their E22, note the asymmetric nosecone pylons, shaped to channel air beneath the nosecone, and the vortex generator on the FW main plate.

Screen shot 2014-02-19 at 10.52.13

Interesting details at the rear of the car, it seems that the cover engine is designed to run the Drag reduction Device (DRD).

What is very  interesting is the shape of the bodywork at the rear, note how the exhaust pipe does not  blow in the centre and the offset pylon. Also the engine cover bends upward, creating a wing shape to increase RW efficiency, in effect recreating a beam wing.

It is rumoured that Lotus have lost very little rear downforce from 2013 spec [edit by the Usher]


Red Bull woes continue in Bahrain (GMM)

Red Bull’s troubles seemed to have carried over from Jerez, as Sebastian Vettel struggled to get up to speed in the troubled RB10 on Wednesday. Two weeks after the Jerez calamity, the reigning world champions are back on track in Bahrain with designer Adrian Newey and Renault’s fixes in place.

However, over four hours into the first day of the second official pre-season test, German Vettel had not even turned a lap.

The car was still being assembled,” said German correspondent Michael Schmidt. “New parts were still arriving from England,” he told Auto Motor und Sport.

It is becoming clearer that many of Red Bull’s problems are not engine supplier Renault’s fault. On Wednesday, Renault-powered runners including Caterham and the Lotus were busily collecting laps.

The first public glimpse of the unique double-nosed 2014 Lotus, which also features an asymmetrically-positioned exhaust was seen.

I’m not saying that we have solved all of our problems,” said Renault Sport’s Remi Taffin, “but we should have a firm grip on what held us back at Jerez. We now have a base on which to build. Bahrain is our first test.

Yes we could still have some problems, but we should be able to build upon this basis,” he added.

Even Red Bull’s always-blunt Dr Helmut Marko was on Wednesday not pointing the finger of blame in Renault’s direction. “Even if there had been no problems with the power unit,” he said, “we would not have been running much in Jerez.

“It was our fault. Under the cover it was getting too hot, so we have brought two solutions here to Bahrain, which should help us.

At about 2pm Bahrain time, Vettel emerged from the pits for an installation lap, and he soon followed it up with an initial run of four laps.


From the Usher’s Ledger – Newey’s RB10 is now slowly morphing into the RB10-B

More cooling required, more holes and getting hot!



Just in from Bahrain

One of our intrepid correspondents picked up a bit of radio traffic between Vettel and Rocky just before the car spun out of control and prematurely ended its testing.

Rocky: Remember Seb, what you promised Christian, you have to stay off the ERS button.
Seb: Yes, Yes, now let me drive.
Seb: Woo Hoo, this thing is much slidier than last year
Rocky: Slow down there champ, we’re still shaking down systems
Seb: Please, all last year it was “Seb the tires”, “Seb the electrics” and never was it a problem
Rocky: And don’t touch….
Seb: What could go wrong, I’ll only touch it a little bit….

Sound of shrieking tyres and breaking things

Seb: I’m alright, not so sure about the car
Rocky: Marko wants a word when you get back


65 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 19th February 2014

  1. Another apparent confirmation of the information that the Judge revealed at Jerez…

    The F1 technical reporter, Craig Scarborough was on the Pit Stop Radio podcast on Monday, Feb 17. At minute 14:17 in the podcast, he talks about Renault’s problems at Jerez. He describes problems with the MGU-K, problems with its’s shaft, and problems with it engaging with the main (crank) shaft of ICE (petrol engine). There was a crankcase failure.

    Then he says, “For the rest of testing (Bahrain) they’re going to have to go without full ERS power… There’s also some debate as to whether this part will be ready for Melbourne as well. So potentially some of the first races, the Renault engines could be handicapped because of the problems with this motor generator.”

    This failure that is afflicting the Renault PU is complex; there are many vibrations involved, as well as the complex integrations of the two electrical generators and the ICE (petrol motor). This appears to be the fourth description of the same problem that was first described by the Judge from the Jerez paddocks, then alluded to by Rob White of Renault Sport F1 at the end of the Jerez tests. Gian Carlo Minardi’s Feb 13th article alluded to this same problem as well.

      • Craig Scarborough said “crankcases failing” at minute 15:15. It’s at PitStopRadio.Blogspot.com.

    • Funny. The night I got the news re: the crankshaft, I discussed this with a friend of mine who has a great deal of auto engineering experience.

      His exact words were, “it’s inconceivable that after almost 2 years of R&D and bench testing that the crankshaft could be problematic.

      • That was my initial reaction as well.

        But I’ve since learned about the very difficult choices that are made to design the crankshaft of a top-tier racing engine. The vibrations produced by the crankshaft is one of many parameters. Those vibrations from the crankshaft may have significant effects upon various things such as the spinning shaft of that big ERS-K generator next to the crankcase.

        Another technical reporter, Sam Collins of Racecar Engineering magazine, was on Midweek Motorsport podcast (produced by the fine folks at RadioLeMans) on Feb 13th and he commented something interesting about Renault Sport F1’s dyno at Viry-Chatillon their facility. He said, “… they had to dig up the car park because they didn’t have space in the building, and install it in a bunker underground.” He didn’t know if their dyno configurations had anything to do with these issues, nor did he have any useful additional insight on this issue. In light of Scarborough’s comments above, it’s possible there was a space management issue in a crowded facility.

        Scarborough sees the problem as essentially a resource management issue in that podcast. Renault did not perform enough, (or any?) full integrated system tests, but instead were test benching systems seperately, and running integration simulations. Not sure (and he doesn’t say) if the resource was physical (as in space), or monetary, or man-power.

  2. I might be wrong, but are Mercedes raising the nose of the car by having the 2 wing mounts thicker a la Lotus tusks? Is this legal without one of the mounts being further back? I just seem to think that the nose is higher and was trying to work out how. Or is it my eyes that are failing me?

  3. OfT… a week or two back one of you nice chaps gave a link for the LiquiMoly Bathurst 12hrs… It took me a while to get it running and what a fabulous race – not just the drivers and pit-crews, but the television presentation: good camera positioning, on-the-ball vision mixing, and a commentary team that was intelligent, knowledgeable, and erudite – very few clichés, and the few factual errors were instantly corrected. Great at any time so… thanks to whoever…


    • It was Matttp55 who originally posted the info.

      Brilliant race I thought – glad you enjoyed it too mate 🙂

      As I said at the time – this is how F1 should be doing their broadcasts …..

      • Glad you gents both enjoyed it so much, it’s nice to share the good things. and you’re right manky, FOM producers could learn a trick or 3 from being made to watch that broadcast.

        • Hi Matt – deepest apologies for not remembering…
          It is also the FIA who could learn a few things – like getting the pit-apron clearer and safer, get the computer guys at the back of the garage so the pit-lane can be clearly seen… and spectators/viewers also have something to watch – instead of a flash of colour for three seconds – it’s like a bunch of parrots taking flight…
          What does the FIA do…? – lets 57 guys work on a car at one time… and put the cameramen in crash-helmets… Duh…!!

          • No apologies necessary, just delighted that everyone seemed to enjoy it so much. It was a pretty cracking race and just the thought of being able to watch an F1 race like that……

            You’re completely right about the pit apron too. Putting the brain trust behind (on top of?) the garage is an excellent start, as well as reducing the number of mechanics allowed over the line.

            Love how the teams @Bathurst got penalised for even leaving a signboard on the wrong side of the red line. Of course the irony is that it’s the same FIA involved in both series. It’s not like there’s anything keeping them from walking across the hall and getting some ideas from their WEC colleagues. Amazing how they can get it so right and so wrong simultaneously.

            Perhaps it’s time for a new FIA motto:

            FIA, redefining the word the word obvious since we learned what it meant 10 minutes ago.

          • The other thing that occurred to me was the Bathurst(WEC) guys really seemed to know what they are doing – and WHY…! whereas the FIA (with F1) act as if every year is their first time – like a first date, but not as much fun.

          • Yes, it’s very true. I recall reading an article a while back that said that celebrities often receive worse medical care in emergencies than do regular folk because doctors are afraid of making mistakes and wait around for more senior heads to take the lead. IT was in the context of historical medicine, talking about the Lincoln assassination etc., but the article referenced modern research on the issue.

            I sometimes wonder if F1 isn’t suffering to some extent due to the fact that it is perceived as the pinnacle of motorsport, money and celebs and glitz, and the people making the decisions at FIA are suffering from the self imposed pressure of not trying to screw up the golden goose, causing them to make poor choices that in other circumstances they would never even consider. In addition, no doubt, to insufferable oversight and tinkering from the upper levels of bureaucracy that have no place in actual decision making, LOL.

            On good days that is. Bad days, they’re just a bunch of hopeless nincompoops. 😀

    • It was great to see the Fez and the Merc fighting their way to the chequered flag. It was a shame the Macca had issues earlier in the day. It could have been an odd proxy for this year’s F1 season.

    • I tried to watch it when then link was posted, but couldn’t get audio; someone else mentioned the same problem. Am I just stupid?

  4. When I saw the Lotus rear this morning I thought they did a brilliant job! McLaren has their clever rear wishbones but have drag. The way the Lotus seems to work is create that low pressure at the back without the drag … good thinking Enstone! 🙂

  5. So RB10 3 seconds off before it stops running. What are the odds that is equal to the missing horsepower from the ERS? Pretty good I’d Guess.

    • Jennie Gow, BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter in Bahrain –

      ” While Red Bull have at least got out of the garage and managed 13 laps so far, they are clearly still in trouble. The turbo is not kicking in on fire-up in the way it does on other cars, and there is a distinct smell of burning from the car after it has been running – suggesting those overheating problems are far from solved. ”

      And some ad hoc body revisions too ….


    • But you don’t know if Mercedes units are running at maximum level so far. In fact, just Melbourne will answer our questions about it.

      • Ferrari ran similar lap times, both Ferrari and Merc cars (including FI) running around last years GP times. Yes, there might be moar power to come from the cars, but according to Scarbs, Renault units can’t use full ERS boost currently (see VM quote above in reply to manky).

  6. Also to fill the thread with meaningless speculation, EB spotted in McLaren threads this AM. At the time he left Lotus, it seemed as if he did so for financial reasons, but after watching the underwhelming amount of laps put in by the E22 I’m beginning to wonder if he already knew how bad the Renault debacle was going to be.

      • Lap Count yes but I refer to VM’s comment above quoting Scarbs: “For the rest of testing (Bahrain) they’re going to have to go without full ERS power… There’s also some debate as to whether this part will be ready for Melbourne as well. So potentially some of the first races, the Renault engines could be handicapped because of the problems with this motor generator.”


        • Scarbs’ comments align very well with what the Judge was told in the Jerez paddock. In Jerez the Judge revealed surprising specifics:
          “…Components… will fail (if) pushed beyond around 75%” which aligns with what Craig Scarborough has revealed from his sources, which is that teams can not put the maximum electrical power of the ERS-K back into the driveline because it causes hardware failures back there. The maximum power that can be applied from the electrical motor shaft to the main engine’s shaft is 120kW (~161hp). So approximately 75% of that is 90kW (~121hp), that is a loss of only 40hp, which is roughly a 5% energy loss (if ttl hp to wheels is 760 to 800hp).

          F1 teams and manufacturers are primarily composed of very bright, very creative and very competitive engineers and designers.

          In a situation like this we should expect them to try to do two things:

          1) compensate for this failure until the solution arrives,
          2) quicken the arrival of the solution.

          Gian Carlo Minardi’s article of Feb 13th indicated that they were doing exactly that. A better English translation appeared on Feb 16th at both PitPass and Planet-F1 (different write-ups but using the same, better translation of original article). Mr. Minardi said, “…according to some information coming from abroad, Renault is trying to hire technicians beyond the transalpine borders (without success). This has never happened before, as the French company has always tried to protect its technology. News like that fuel some doubts about possible engine structural issues, which seem to be not so easy to solve over the short term.” I assume the meaning is Renault were / are pursuing non-French technicians. Point is the problem is big and Renault are being creative to accomplish either or both of points 1 & 2 above.

          I suspect the ~40hp figure may get very soft, as the engineers work to compensate for it. Saturday and Sunday at Melbourne will display their success or failure.

      • Re Caterham, just saw this on Twitter:
        Total testing kilometers by manufacturer
        Mercedes: 5,162km
        Ferrari: 2,772km
        Renualt: 1,182km (Caterham – 704km)

  7. I see that The Hulk’s time from today shows what utter bollocks the whole “slower than GP2” talk was.


    • It would not surprise me if pole & fastest lap are better than last year’s times at a some of this year’s GPs.

        • But as the tyres are harder, guys can go deep at Q3…

          Talking about tyres, anyone knows the tyre each driver was running today for best lap?

          I saw that Hulk was on softs, but nothing about Alonso, Lewis and Kevin.

  8. Anyone else watching Sky’s utterly woeful testing coverage tonight? 20 mins late and then it consisted of an out of breath David Croft being filmed by a cameraman who seemed intent on inducing seasickness in the maximum number of subscribers. Seeing Crofty staggering up the paddock with Pete the cameraman waving the camera from side to side in opposite nausea inducing waves was too much for me, I had to switch off.

    If that’s the best they can do I’m seriously regretting not cancelling my subscription end of last year.

  9. Maybe I didn’t understand re the Lotus exhaust – I thought these had to be centralised under the new regs?

    • I don’t know what benefit for doing it but I believe regs only specify the upward angle and how far back it exits so lateral angles are probably legal

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