#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 3rd February 2015


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Previously on TheJudge13:

TJ13 Go-Karting Event on 28th March 2015 – Not Quite #F1 But Will Be Fun!

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: I thought that was gonna be funnier

An open invitation to all members of the TJ13 community – “What do YOU want to know about our podcast crew?

Please use the comments section to ask an opening question for our podcast regulars to answer. Remember, the best answers are often given if the opening question is not F1 related. (Ed’s Note: What have we started!)

OTD Lite – 2015: Must See video footage from Jerez Test

Button not disappointed by a mere ‘six’ laps

Dennis – Title sponsor coming, don’t know when

Nasr believes Mercedes and Ferrari PU’s similar

Maldonado excited by Mercedes Power at last

The Usher’s Caption Competition

#F1 Testing: Jerez 2015 – Day 2, morning

#F1 Testing: Jerez 2015 – Day 2, afternoon

OTD Lite – 2015: Must See video footage from Jerez Test

It would be normal for me to write a few hundred words about a historic race or driver for an OTD Lite, but on occasion I feel that circumstances overtake the history of this glorious sport. Today warrants a break from the norm – and I will ignore what happened historically and simply enjoy the events of the 2nd Feb 2015.

Sadly I’m not in Southern Spain and so I have to wait for the rest of the crew to pass on their latest facts and videos which have been exclusively filmed at Jerez.

As ever, TJ13 provides the most comprehensive round up of F1 in Jerez – that can be found anywhere on the internet and for our regular readers who may have missed the postings – each day’s reviews is published once again within the news – just click on the relevant link above.

Of course, at the moment, despite knowing that winter testing times are notoriously unreliable, I as a Ferrari fan will take leave of my senses and support the German ‘wunderkid’ that is Saint Sebastian.

Hippo, you too can join me in celebration – my brother – because he remains top after two days.

Last year, Autosport decided to use some of the TJ13 content from the Jerez tests and once again the team from TJ13 Towers delivers to you the first essential ‘must-see’ footage from the 2015 season including exclusive interviews with Felipe Nasr and Pastor Maldonado. Enjoy..


The Grumpy Jackal


Button not disappointed by a mere ‘six’ laps

After completing just six laps on Sunday with Fernando Alonso pedalling the new Mclaren MP4/30 around the Spanish track – Jenson Button followed up with an almost identical days work as Honda continued to struggle with issues that had been highlighted in the Abu Dhabi test last November.

Of course the Frome Flyer was never going to rain on the Woking team’s parade and suggested that: “There’s no reason for my spirits not to be high. I’m with a great team, a great partnership and there’s a lot to look forward to.”

The seasoned professional continued, “The whole team have done a great job to get the car here for the first test, and if you look at the car itself, in lots of areas it is a step forward from last year’s car. The car looks good in many ways in terms of packaging, the engine, it’s great, fantastic. So we’ve got a lot of things right at the start of the year, and now it’s just about putting mileage on it.”

Of course it remains a source of amusement amongst non-Mclaren fans that Button set an incredible time in pre-season testing in 2013 only for the team to discover that the suspension had been mounted incorrectly.

In similar fashion, Jenson recalled Red Bull’s disastrous 2014 testing campaign where the Milton Keynes squad suffered similar problems before finishing as runners up to the flying Mercedes team. Whilst his defence is valid, the caveat is that Red Bull had just won the previous four world title doubles whereas Mclaren have suffered their worst two consecutive seasons in their history.

“We always knew the first test would be difficult. It’s not about sticking an engine in the car and powering around, it’s a very complex system. We’ve had a few niggly things we’ve been able to solve, and tomorrow we will see where we stand.”

“It’s not the easiest start to the season, but as we know it’s a very complicated power unit. We will get our heads around it. In terms of the problems we had today we have our head around it and understand the issue, so we’re hoping for a much more productive day three and day four.”

For the sake of the ‘Wokinfosi’ TJ13 hopes that the triathlete is correct but after three pitiful tests the odds on the Japanese powered cars remain long.


Dennis – Title sponsor coming, don’t know when

Further to this latest saga on track comes an article written by Adam Cooper in which Ron Dennis revealed that although a change of livery would happen when there was a commercial reason to do so – he wouldn’t divulge when.

With the signing of the Spanish Samurai, Mclaren are in negotiations with Spanish banking giant, Santander, about a continuation of its sponsorship deal. With Honda having invested a rumoured $100 million dollars into the team, the need for a title partnership is not so urgent but even so Dennis remains defensive of the Mclaren brand.

With people within the company wanting to embrace a return to the original orange of the team, Ron becomes defensive.

“I say, ‘Why?’ ‘That was the old colour of McLaren.’ ‘Why the hell do we want to go backwards?’ Then what do you do? Do you create an aesthetically pleasing design? For what purpose do you produce an aesthetically pleasing design?”

“This is the livery of McLaren, it’s always been a combination of these colours, and it will only change for commercial reasons, it wont change just to make a few people in the company happier because they want it orange. We tried to put a bit more of our real colour, which is dayglo.”

“Fluorescent red is our colour. We’ve got more heritage in fluorescent red than any other colour. But again what I prefer to do is put a stylish design and as we evolve. Yes we could change colour, yes we could do something more daring, we could all these things, but give me a reason why? And if it’s just to aesthetically more pleasing, that’s not enough reason to me.”

“It will change, but I’m not going to say when…”


Nasr believes Mercedes and Ferrari PU’s similar

For any neutral fans of the pinnacle of world motor-sport, Sauber’s new driver, Felipe Nasr’s words about his new Ferrari power plant will give hope that 2015 will be a closer contest than last season.

Having driven the Mercedes powered Williams in 5 FP1 sessions last year -as well as 3 days of testing – he is one of a handful of drivers that can make direct comparisons between the engine manufacturers.

Asked about the difference between the two power units the Brazilian said, “I never drove the Ferrari last year, so I don’t know how it feels like-for-like, but i feels quite similar at the moment.”

As to the new car from the Hinwil team, Nasr continued: “It seems to be doing fine. For sure I saw a few areas we could improve. There are always areas we could improve and to be honest as you are learning a new car, new engine and everything you have to get used to this feeling. For me it was easy to do so because the car was predictable in a way. It was quite responsive and easy to drive in a way of getting myself in a rhythm.”


Maldonado excited by Mercedes Power at last

Following on from the comparison between German and Italian horsepower, Pastor Maldonado was reveling in the new engine propelling his Lotus E23.

After what turned out to be a disappointing season, the Enstone team have switched to Mercedes power and the Venezualan is already reporting a significant difference.

“The engine is working so good, it’s amazing how the entire package is working with this engine. It’s still early to say something about it but for sure we have a programme for tomorrow and the next day so let’s do as much as we can – mileage is the priority for these tests to make the engine work with our package. We have a lot of new things in the car and we need to test all of them and try to be more ready for the next test.”

The new package from Lotus had been hastily built overnight in preparation for today’s testing – after having arrived late on Sunday – and the car would come to a halt in the afternoon session after completing 41 laps with a suspected drivetrain problem.

Maldonado does not expect the issue will hamper the team too seriously: “It’s a problem in the wheel trim, somewhere in the gearbox, so we are trying to discover. It’s not a serious problem and is something we should be able to solve quickly”


The Usher’s Caption Competition

for an alternative view on F1, follow TJ13’s Usher




#F1 Testing: Jerez 2015 – Day 2, morning

(Ed: For anyone who missed yesterday’s TJ13 exclusive reports from Jerez)

The cars trundled out onto the 4.4km Circuito de Jerez, pretty much as soon as the lights turned green, with only Toro Rosso electing to stay in the garage. It was Sebastian Vettel who was once more the first out on track, whilst the sun dawdled in its climb above the hills which create the amphitheatre that is the Autodromo..

With track and ambient temperatures a lowly 3° C, lap times were predictably high, as Hamilton and Nasr traded signature lap times at the top of chart. Not wanting to miss out, Sebastian Vettel got in amongst the action and slotted into second place. Eventually, Max Verstappen emerged in his STR10 leaving only Lotus the who had not done so. Word around the paddock was that they would be out running for the first time in 2015 towards the early afternoon.

The MP4-30, today being driven by 2009 World Champion Jenson Button, continued to cause concern for those in Woking as it sounded more like a baby’s rattle being thrown about.  A return to the garage required, therefore it was left to Max Verstappen and Felipe Nasr to warm the tarmac, though cloud cover would limit this. Track temperature lingered at 8.9° C for the first hour.

Pirelli have brought a special ‘Winter Hard’ tyre for this Jerez test, much like as is done for Moto GP and other biking series which run with different rubber at Jerez.  The Winter Hard is not part of the P Zero range available for the 2015 Grand Prix, as it is a unique design to reduce graining.

The following hour was a fairly sombre affair as teams settled into long runs on the ‘Winter Hard’ tyres. One would be forgiven for not being enthralled by the action on track, as the Ferrari demos around the circuit complex attracted those on the ground.  Lewis Hamilton continued to build on the fast start by clocking up 73 laps by 1pm local time, alternating flow visibility paint around the rear of the car.

Ferrari worked on their 2015 car, breaking into the 1:20s. Already over 2 seconds quicker than last year’s best time at Jerez, the prancing horse sought to prove the advancement these cars have made.  The Tifosi will be content to see the powertrains woes of 2014 have been addressed, not escaping the eagled-eyed Craig Scarborough.

News that will bring hope to those who follow the Maranello team.

Despite the basic livery on the car, Felipe Nasr continued the good work of Marcus Ericsson by setting consistent, but slow laps.  The overcast conditions not proving conducive to any kind of meaningful tyre running here, as was to be expected.  I took a walk trackside to listen to the difference with the cars this year and, in most cases, was pleasantly surprised.

When we consider that these are not powertrains on full power, Honda rumoured to be limited as low as 20% power, they are a leap forward of unimaginable proportions. The new Japanese unit sounded even worse than it had previously when Button remerged from the pits for a short stint at midday.  However, as the man from Frome had stated previously, this test would a case of work in progress.

To even the most unlearned fan the Mercedes powered cars were looking supreme around the fast turn 4 and into the straight after 5.  For any fan who wishes to see the cars in action Jerez comes highly recommended.  The views of the circuit from the tower in the centre of the circuit are fantastic, as the circuit is set into the natural amphitheatre between the hills.  The opportunity to see the cars at a price that will not break the bank is well worth the trip.

One further point of note for the morning is the lack of front wing on the Red Bull.  As TJ13 reported yesterday, one was being flown out here and will be ready shortly.  Perhaps merely a coincidence or an exercise in PR, the wing seemed to break at a fortuitous moment.  The new wing will be a 2015 spec one, not one which was designed for the RB10 as was the previous design.


#F1 Testing: Jerez 2015 – Day 2, afternoon

(Ed: For anyone who missed yesterday’s TJ13 exclusive reports from Jerez)

McLaren managed to make it out again for one more lap and so finished the day on a grand total of 6, the same as yesterday.  The work will continue long into the night as they work to combat the stuttering engine they have in the back of the MP4-30.  At a race track where their power has won 3 consecutive Grand Prix from 1987 to 1989, the frustration will set in as they lose vital time to test.  If mileage is the key to ironing out the creases of the new technology, then this will undoubtedly be a massive setback.

Marcus Ericsson cut a confident figure in the paddock, a changed man from the driver we saw enter the sport 12 months ago.  Of course, he would have been happy with the promotion to a more established team and one that has a (slightly) more secure presence in the paddock, but the manner in which he held himself was different as he enjoyed a day off.  However, maybe it was merely a second season air of confidence, but it filtered down to the rest of the team.  Sitting in the paddock hospitality, the whole Hinwil outfit feels like a different entity.

Felipe Nasr commented on his running today saying, “we took a nice step forward on the car. A nice combination of chassis and engine so I’m looking forward to see how we can develop on that.”  Having completed most of their running for the two days and finished second on the timesheets two days in a row, with two new drivers, they have every right to be content.

These test sessions will be vital for Nasr as he makes up for the limited running he had in his test role at Williams last year. Having spent a lot of time in the simulator recently he said he feels ready for the season ahead.

Nasr Sauber afternoon

Lewis Hamilton grinding to a halt sent the twittersphere into raptures as fans of the World Champion bemoaned his poor luck in Jerez, making reference to the spin which ended his first day of testing last year.  Either way, 91 laps before any kind of technical issue is good going for a test session which is in principal a shakedown before the real work in Barcelona.

The only red flag of the day was brought out by Pastor Maldonado after he stopped out on track shortly after 3:30pm.  A drivetrain issue was credited for curtailing the running for the day, although they won’t be too disappointed given that at one stage they had looked unlikely to arrive on the circuit in time to run today. Though he denied any problems surrounding sponsorship money, it would erroneous to say that all is secure for the Venezuelan.

He said, “we were more focused on mileage than performance. We are still looking for some programmes and taking some data.”  Although he has driven the new car in the simulator, the new partnership with Mercedes still has a long way to develop before even the next test in Barcelona.

The rain came down on the Cadiz countryside blanketing the circuit in relative darkness.  First as a mere trickle and then more strongly later on, it gave the ideal opportunity to try the 2015 intermediate tyres out.

With just under 40 minutes of the day to go, Max Verstappen and Felipe Nasr ventured out onto the track with an intermediate set of boots on.  The young Dutchman completed a handful of laps before the chequered flag fell. Not before Sebastian Vettel had one last journey out onto the track, although nobody could stop top his time set earlier meaning he ended the second day leading the field.

The skeptics will point to the need to please shareholders and sponsors by setting headline laps, but having their two powertrained cars at the front cannot be seen as a bad thing.  No doubt the Italian sports magazines will be awash with ‘Forza Seb’ tomorrow though; such is life.

Red Bull will be disappointed with their day after Daniil Kvyat broke their only front wing present.  Evidently it was not worth risking their replacement later in the day in the downpour or on the drying track after.  For a team that has made such loud noises about returning to winning ways they have been underwhelming.

wingless RB

The big winner with the rain was photographers who were afforded the brief opportunity of snapping away on a drying track at the end.  The glistening cars circulated just long enough for some shots of value.

And finally, the 20,000 people that were reported to have turned up today must have been so inspired by the Red Bull livery that today they came in fancy dress wearing the same.  The crowd was far smaller than that as the sleepy feel to the circuit felt almost asleep towards the end of the day. The 117,000 fans that turned out for Moto GP in May are clearly far less interested in watching those on four wheels test.

In truth, not an awful lot garnered from this afternoon’s limited running – unless of course you have been living under a rock for the past 13 months.


6 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 3rd February 2015

  1. So is the comment attributed to Jenson that tomorrow’s testing will begin in earnest as reported on other sites, accurate?
    Have McHonda rectified the gremlin, finally?

    Don’t know if you have six monthly/annual motor vehicle inspections in UK but that shot above looks as if Schumacher’s about to get his headlights adjusted…….

  2. Re Nasr’s comments…….

    One point to note, he has only driven with the 2014 spec PU, so I’m not really sure how much comparison he can really make with the Mercs current unit.

    • I’ve heard it said that Ferrari improved by 80hp, Merc 50, cutting in half the deficit. So, if this year’s Ferrari is 20hp more than last year’s Merc, the deficit is now 30hp, now more like half a second a lap than over one second.

  3. Caption competition…..

    Kevin Hart’s voice…..

    “You better hold me back, because I’m about to put my paws on him”

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