Friday, 28 February 2014

Perez stays top as Red Bull make progress

(Sahara Force India Formula One Team)
Force India's Sergio Perez was the pace setter on Friday for the second day in a row as the sport reaches the halfway point of the final winter test. Red Bull Racing had a far more productive day then they have experienced so far as Daniel Ricciardo completed 66 laps and set the third fastest time of the day.
This was good news for the reigning world champions who have suffered major reliability issues during the winter testing phase. Despite their good fortunes today the team were forced to deny claims that world champion Sebastian Vettel pulled a 'hissy fit' during testing in Jerez. The German takes over driving the RB10 tomorrow and will complete the test on Sunday.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was second fastest in the F14T with a time of 1m 35.634s which was 0.064s slower then Sergio Perez. He completed the most amount of laps today, a massive 122 laps.
Felipe Massa was fourth fastest for the Williams F1 Team as he continued to impress in the FW36. The Brazilian completed 103 laps.
McLaren's Jenson Button had a disappointing day McLaren after stopping out on track with a technical issue on his MP4-29. Despite completing only 52 laps Button was fifth fastest for the Woking based team.
It was a great day for Marussia's Jules Bianchi as the French driver completed 75 laps and finished the day in 6th place for the Banbury based outfit.
Mercedes AMG's Lewis Hamilton had a difficult day as he experienced a technical issue with his W05 this morning and stopped out on track. However, the 2008 world champion completed 89 laps but was 3.4 seconds behind Sergio Perez.
Jean Eric Vergne was 8th fastest for the Renault powered Toro Rosso team who have experienced a nightmare test in Bahrain so far with the new Renault engine.
Esteban Gutierrez was 9th fastest for the Sauber F1 Team. The Mexican completed 106 laps in the C33.
Pastor Maldonado endured another difficult day for the Lotus F1 Team as he could only manage to complete 31 laps and was 6 seconds off the pace. Romain Grosjean will now take over the running of the E22.
Caterham's Marcus Ericsson completed the timesheets in 11th place and managed to rack up 55 laps for the Leafield based team.
©Ben Johnston 2014

FOTA officially disbanded

(Sauber F1 Team)
The Formula One Team's Association have officially confirmed that it has disbanded. In a statement released today the association said that due to the changing political and commercial situation in Formula One the teams have re-evaluated their situations.
FOTA have played a key role in getting fans more involved in the sport with the FOTA Fans Forum which has taken place across the world in recent season's.
It was announced last month that FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh was to be replaced at McLaren by Eric Boullier and as a result questions were asked about what it would mean for FOTA, we now know.
©Ben Johnston 2014

Perez fastest for Force India on Friday morning in Bahrain

(Sahara Force India Formula One Team)
Sergio Perez led the way for the morning in a row for the Sahara Force India F1 Team. The Mexican, who is the car for the final time before the Australian Grand Prix in two weeks time set the benchmark time of 1m 35.570s just 0.064s ahead the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button was third fastest for McLaren.
The surprise of the morning was the pace set by Marussia's Jules Bianchi who fourth fastest for the Banbury based outfit. The Frenchman finished the morning session just ahead of the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton who took over driving duties from Nico Rosberg today.
Felipe Massa was 6th fastest for the Williams F1 Team while Jean Eric Vergne was the fastest of the Renault powered team's in 7th place in his Toro Rosso albeit 4.1s behind Perez. The Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez was 8th fastest.
It was another difficult morning for reigning world champions Red Bull Racing as Daniel Ricciardo finished the morning session down in 9th place in the RB10 just ahead of the Lotus F1 Team's Pastor Maldonado in the E22.
Caterham's Marcus Ericsson rounded out the timesheets in 11th place.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Haas set to confirm F1 entry for 2015

(Renault Sport F1)
According to reports emerging from the F1 paddock in Bahrain on Thursday, American NASCAR team owner Gene Haas looks poised to gain entry into the sport from next season following what has been described as a very positive meeting with FIA president Jean Todt.
Haas is believed to be in advanced talks with Ferrari about using a supply of 1.6 litre V6 power units next season and the team would also use a chassis from Italian manufacturer Dallara.
Haas already owns a wind-tunnel at his HQ in the US and his company also has a European base and it is believed that this would house the Formula One team. If Haas is given the green light it is unlikely that he will have any problems when it comes to attracting potential investors and sponsors and the US is such a big market.
If the team are successful in their bid to gain a place on the F1 grid for next season it would be great for the sport and indeed for Ferrari as the United States is the Italian company's largest market.
It is believed that an announcement about the new team will be made very shortly and if successful the team are likely to field at least one American driver.
©Ben Johnston 2014

Formula One should conduct night time testing

(Mercedes AMG F1 Team)
Formula One team's are currently conducting the final winter test before the start of the 2014 season. This year, the sport have added a new night race to the calendar as to celebrate ten years in F1 the Bahrain Grand Prix will be held at night.
The Singapore Grand Prix was the first Formula One race to be held at night and now a number of other venues have followed suit. The Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne has been switched to a late afternoon/evening race or 'twilight race' as has the race in Abu Dhabi.
The sport should do some more night time running during winter testing after all it has become a regular case now that the sport has had the races at night and it would e a great way for new drivers coming into the sport for the first time as simulator work only goes so far and actually performing tests at night would enable them to adjust ahead of a race weekend.
The Bahrain International Circuit has hosted two winter tests during the 2014 pre-season testing programme and there was absolutely nothing stopping the circuit owners and the teams coming together to come up with a way of running at night.
A night-time test would have been ideal during winter testing as the sport embarks on a new era of racing with 1.6 litre V6 turbo charged engines. It would also have been the perfect opportunity for the circuit to test their artificial lighting system during an official Formula One test.
©Ben Johnston 2014

Driveability has improved - Raikkonen

(Scuderia Ferrari SpA via Twitter)
Kimi Raikkonen declared himself happy with how his first day of the second Bahrain test went today despite having limited running in the F14T. The Finn spent a large part of the day in the Ferrari garage however when he got out on track he managed to rack up 53 laps.
Despite the limited mileage he finished the day in third place and ended up being the first of the non Mercedes runners as Sergio Perez was fastest for Force India while Valtteri Bottas was second for the Williams F1 Team which has gone a long way in proving the new FW36 is an extremely quick and reliable car.
Raikkonen was staying positive when he spoke to the media when the day came to an end as he said that he has experienced worse winters then this one. He said that ideally the team would like to get some more mileage in the car and that they have learnt more and they will see where they are by the end of test on Sunday.
He also refused to be drawn on where the team will be for the first race of the season in Melbourne Australia.
Despite there being an improvement in the driveability in the F14T Raikkonen has confirmed that there are still a number of areas where the team need to improve for example, they have suffered a few minor reliability issues but then with the exception of the Williams F1 Team so have the other team's.
Raikkonen hands over the F14T to Fernando Alonso tomorrow before Raikkonen returns on Saturday for his final outing in the car before Free Practice One in Melbourne which gets underway in two weeks time.
©Ben Johnston 2014

Perez stays top for Force India as Red Bull struggles continue as day one in Bahrain comes to an end

(Sahara Force India F1 Team)
Force India's Sergio Perez topped the timesheets on the first day of the final round of winter testing at the Bahrain International Circuit. The Mexican, who was fastest this morning set the fastest of the day a 1m 35.290s finishing the day just 0.894s ahead of the Williams of Valtteri Bottas making it a Mercedes powered 1-2.
Kimi Raikkonen was third fastest for Ferrari despite bringing out the red flags just before the end of the days running. Despite the stoppage the Finn was able to complete 54 laps.
Nico Rosberg was fourth fastest for Mercedes and was slightly disappointed by how the car performed today. The German managed to complete 89 laps in the W05 as did Adrian Sutil who was fifth for the Sauber F1 Team driving the C33.
McLaren's Kevin Magnussen continued the team's strong performance in testing as the Danish driver completed 109 laps in the MP4-29 and was 6th fastest. Daniel Ricciardo was 7th fastest for Red Bull Racing, however the Australia could only manage to complete 39 laps in the RB10 before he was forced to stop due to an overheating problem. It is unclear as to whether or this was a Red Bull or Renault problem.
Max Chilton was 8th for Marussia and managed to complete 44 laps. Daniil Kvyat was 9th for Toro Rosso as their driver's have said that the team should not panic as they continue to struggle with the new Renault engine.
Pastor Maldonado was 10th for the Lotus F1 Team, however the Venezuelan suffered an exhaust failure as the team experimented with a new spec exhaust so for tomorrow they will revert back to the old specification exhaust system.
Kamui Kobayashi was 11th for the Caterham F1 Team and completed 19 laps. There are just three days remaining for teams like Red Bull to get to the bottom of the issues that they have been experiencing.
Tomorrow will see a number of teams alternate their line-ups with Fernando Alonso taking over from
Kimi Raikkonen who will be back in action in the F14T on Saturday. Lewis Hamilton will also be driving tomorrow as he takes over from Nico Rosberg at the wheel of the W05.

London GrandPrix takes a step closer to reality

(Ben Johnston 2014)
The prospect of a Formula One Grand Prix on the streets of London has taken a step closer today with reports that the government are set to introduce legislation to relax road safety regulations in the city.
The legislation change would make it easier for motorsport events to be held on the streets of the city. In 2012, Santander in co-operation with their partner McLaren came up with a simulation of what a proposed circuit lay-out around the capital would look like.
Formula One has a long history of running car demonstrations in cities around the UK. McLaren have run their 2008 car in Manchester, Red Bull Racing have conducted championship celebrations on the streets of their home base in Milton Keynes.
The sport has even performed demonstration runs in London, with Mark Webber and Red Bull Racing conducting a mock pit-stop in the city during the build up to the British Grand Prix. The sport even demonstrated cars around Leicster Square and Regent Street in 2004 when Martin Brundle and Nigel Mansell along with some other drivers did demonstration runs.
In 2012, when the idea was first discussed London mayor Boris Johnson gave the project 'qualified support'.
It is unclear however, if a race in London was to get the go ahead when it would take place however it has previously been suggested that a London Grand Prix could take place just before the British Grand Prix in Silverstone.
We'll just have to watch this space.
©Ben Johnston 2014

Perez leads Mercedes powered 1,2,3 on the morning of day one of the final winter test in Bahrain

(Sahara Force India Formula One Team)
The final winter test of 2014 got underway at the Bahrain International Circuit this morning with all team's in action.
Force India's Sergio 'Checco' Perez set the benchmark time this morning of  1m 35.270s, 1.7 seconds ahead of Mercedes Nico Rosberg and McLaren's Kevin Magnussen in third place for the Woking based team.
Adrian Sutil was fourth fastest for the Sauber F1 Team showing that the C33 has great pace. The Red Bull Racing team have had much better start to the final winter test of the pre-season campaign then any of the other tests as Daniel Ricciardo set the fifth fastest time in the RB10.
Valtteri Bottas is currently 6th for the Williams F1 Team just a day after the outfit announced that that they have signed Rob Smedley as Head of Vehicle Performance.
Daniil Kvyat was 7th for Toro Rosso while Kimi Raikkonen was 8th for Ferrari as the Italian team continue with development of the F14T.
Pastor Maldonado was 9th for the Lotus F1 Team. The Venezuelan brought out the red flag just before lunch as his E22 stopped out on track.
Max Chilton was 10th for the Marussia F1 Team while Caterham's Kamui Kobayashi was 11th for the Leafield based outfit 8.7 seconds behind Perez's fastest time.
©Ben Johnston 2014

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Team's announce line ups for Bahrain

(McLaren Mercedes)
The final winter test of the 2014 F1 preseason period gets underway later this morning at the Bahrain International Circuit with all team's in attendance during the four day test.
The majority of the team's have confirmed who will drive on what day although some have opted to reveal who will drive for them at the start of the test.
Ferrari are one of a number of team's who have elected to split the driving duties. Kimi Raikkonen will drive the F14T tomorrow and on Saturday while Fernando Alonso will drive on Friday and Sunday.
As reported on Tuesday, the Sahara Force India F1 Team have confirmed that Sergio 'Checco' Perez will be in the car for the opening two day's while Nico Hulkenberg will drive for the Silverstone based outfit on Saturday and Sunday.
McLaren have decided to split their test programme, Kevin Magnussen will drive the MP4 29 tomorrow and Saturday while Jenson Button will drive on Friday and will conclude the test for the Woking team on Sunday.
Sauber, Toro Rosso and Williams have yet to confirm their plans for the test, however all will be revealed in the morning. Over at Red Bull Racing, Daniel Ricciardo will drive the RB10 on the opening two day's before reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel takes over for the weekend.
Nico Rosberg kick starts Mercedes programme tomorrow before Lewis Hamilton takes over on Friday, Nico will drive on Saturday before Lewis finishes up the test for the Brackley team as they look to increase their gap over the rest of the field at this stage. However this is Formula One where as we all know absolutely anything can happen and usually does and that will be particularly true this season with all the changes in place.
The Lotus F1 Team, who are only taking part in their second winter test this year have confirmed that Pastor Maldonado will drive the E22 tomorrow and on Friday while Romain Grosjean will drive the car on Saturday and Sunday as the Enstone outfit look to unlock the full potential of their new car.
Over at Caterham, Kamui Kobayashi will drive on Thursday and Saturday while new rookie driver Marcus Ericsson will drive the CT-05 on Friday and Sunday.
Max Chilton will drive the new Marussia today and on Sunday while Jules Bianchi will drive on Friday and Saturday.
Testing gets underway later today and concludes on Sunday after which the F1 circus will head to Melbourne.
©Ben Johnston 2014

Mercedes the team to beat ahead of the final winter test in Bahrain

(Mercedes AMG F1 Team)
The final pre-season Formula One test gets underway tomorrow at the Bahrain International Circuit  and the Mercedes AMG F1 Team are the outfit to beat with just four day's of testing to go before the teams head Down Under to Melbourne Australia for the first race of the 2014 season.
The Brackley based squad appear to have got on top of the new era of Formula One regulations extremely quickly and have topped the timesheets on numerous occasions during the pre-season period. Not only have the 'works team performed well with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the wheel of the new W05 but their customer team's McLaren, Force India and Williams have also performed extremely well. They are not the only teams to have achieved good mileage and overall good reliability so far.
The Ferrari F1 Team have also preformed well during the preseason period with Kimi Raikkonen confirming on Friday that the Italian outfit will spend the final four days of the test fine tuning the F14T. The team also confirmed that they will run their biggest upgrade package so far during winter testing.
Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso from the Renault powered team's have been struggling throughout testing particularly the Red Bull team as firstly they had an issue with how the new power units were packaged in the car.
The team then suffered issues with the new Energy Recovery Systems as it was overheating and began burning body work.
The Lotus F1 Team who missed the first test of the Winter in Jerez have shown good reliability with their new E22 and the outfit's technical director Nick Chester has said that there is more to come from the car as they continue to unlock the performance.
The outcome of the final test will go a long way in determining the pecking order for the first race of the new season in Melbourne, Australia which takes place in less then three weeks.
©Ben Johnston 2014

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Force India confirm line-up for final winter test

(Sahara Force India Formula One Team)
The Sahara Force India F1 Team have confirmed their driver schedule for the final Winter test in Bahrain which gets underway on Thursday and concludes on Sunday.
Sergio Perez will be behind the of the VJM07 Thursday and Friday before handing over to Nico Hulkenberg for the final two days of pre-season testing. The Silverstone based squad have shown great pace and have been extremely competitive.
During the test last in Bahrain the team completed 212 laps and topped the timesheets with Nico Hulkenberg on the opening day of the test when the German completed 78 laps.
©Ben Johnston 2014
During last weeks test in Bahrain the team

It's official Smedley joins Williams

(Williams F1 Team via Twitter)
In a further major boost for the Williams F1 Team they have this morning, announced the appointment of Felipe Massa's former Ferrari race engineer Rob Smedley who joins the Grove based squad as Head of Vehicle Performance.
The pair spent were together at Ferrari  since the 2006 European Grand Prix and have secured 11 wins, 36 podiums and 15 pole positions in 135 Grand Prix together.
The news comes following months of speculation surrounding Smedley's future at Ferrari after the arrival of Kimi at Ferrari.
Smedley is not the new operational appointment at the team as they also confirmed this morning that they have also signed Richard Lockwood from the Marussia F1 Team and he has joined the Grove outfit as head of race strategy.
Smedley will join the team on time for the Bahrain Grand Prix. His arrival is the latest in a very long list of exciting announcements from the team. There are plenty more on the way.
©Ben Johnston 2014

Speculation persists about Michael Schumacher

(Mercedes AMG F1 Team)
The media need to stop speculating about Michael Schumacher's medical condition. Reports emerged yesterday that doctors treating the German had given up on the waking up process however this is completely untrue.
The media are just trying to create a story hoping that something will happen and they can say 'we were the first to report that this was going to happen'. As media organisations they have a responsibility to report facts and not rumour and speculation.
Schumacher's friend and former Ferrari team mate Felipe Massa visited the German in hospital recently and stated contrary to the media reports things were extremely positive. The Brazilian even said that Schumacher was attempting to communicate with him.
Massa also went on to say that he may not be a doctor but was extremely positive with what he saw when he visited the 7 time world champion.
The media need to wait for OFFICIAL statements from Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm or the medical team treating him.
©Ben Johnston 2014

Raikkonen happy with how his back feels

(Scuderia Ferrari SpA via Twitter)
Kimi Raikkonen has stated that his back feels 'much much better' following his surgery to resolve a long standing back injury. The Finn opted to miss the final two race's of the 2013 season in order to undergo the surgery.
Raikkonen's comments come despite the fact that he crashed heavily on the final day of the first test in Bahrain.
He went on to say that he hopes that his back will remain as it is and is hopeful that he will not experience anymore issues. Raikkonen spent the last two day's of last weeks test in Bahrain at the wheel of the F14-T and showed competitive pace.
However, despite putting in a good number of laps over the four days Raikkonen admitted that the team still have plenty of work to do during the test of the Winter which gets underway on Thursday.
Raikkonen sees the first race as an unknown however he is not concerned by this as it is the same every year with new cars and as he has previously stated he feels there isn't much of a difference between the era of Formula One car to last year's cars.
It is now a race against time for most of the team's as they head into the final four days of the test before the cars are sent to Australia for the first race of the season in Melbourne which takes place in just under three weeks time.
©Ben Johnston 2014

Monday, 24 February 2014

Susie Wolff to make GrandPrix weekend debut in 2014

(Susie Wolff via Twitter)
The Williams F1 Team have confirmed this morning that Susie Wolff, their test and development driver Susie Wolff will make her Grand Prix test debut at two Grand Prix events this season.

The former DTM driver will take in the First Free Practice session at both the British Grand Prix in Silverstone and will also drive in the following Friday Free Practice session at the German Grand Prix. She is also set to drive the FW36 during one of the four in season testing periods.
This is absolutely fantastic news for Wolff and will be the first female driver to take part in a Grand Prix weekend since Giovanna Amati drove for the Brabham team in 1992.
Wolff joined Williams in 2012 and made her debut for the team in Silverstone last year.

©Ben Johnston 2014

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Just under three week's to go until lights out in Melbourne

(Gregory Lenormand/DPPI - Renault Sport F1)
There are just under three weeks to go until the start the 2014 Formula One season. Melbourne will once again host the season opener at the Albert Park circuit where organisers are putting the finishing touches to the temporary street circuit and its paddock and hospitality areas.
The 2014 season not only marks the start of a new era for the sport in relation to new regulations but it will also introduce a brand new circuit to the F1 calendar with Sochi in Russia set to make its Formula One debut.
The sport will also return to Austria for the first time since 2003. Since the last race there the circuit has been bought by Red Bull and has been renamed the Red Bull Ring.
The 2014 calendar features 19 race's:
1 Melbourne Australia - March 14 - 16
2 Sepang Malaysia - March 28 - 30
3 Sakhir Bahrain - April 4 - 6
4 Shanghai - China - April 18 - 20
5 Catalunya - Spain - May 9 - 11
6 Monaco - May 22 - 25
7 Montreal - Canada - June 6 - 8
8 Austria - June 20 - 22
9 Silverstone - Britain - July 4 - 6
10 Hockenheim - Germany - July 18 - 20
11 Budapest - Hungary - July 25 - 27
12 Spa Francorchomps - Belgium -  August 22 - 24
13 Monza - Italy - Monza - September 5 - 7
14 Singapore - September 19 - 21
15 Suzuka - Japan - October 3 - 5
**16 Sochi - Russia - October 10 - 12**
17 Austin - United States - October 31 - November 2
18 Sao Paulo - Brazil - November 7 - 9
19 Abu Dhabi - November 21 - 23
Race marked * returns for 2014 and race marked with ** new to the calendar for this season.

©Ben Johnston 2014

Unfinished business for Sauber in Bahrain next week

(Sauber F1 Team)
The Sauber F1 Team will have a lot of work to do at the final pre-season Formula One test in Bahrain at the end of next week after the Swiss outfit suffered a difficult final day of the first test at the Sakhir circuit.
Over the course of the four day test in Bahrain Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil completed a combined total of 238 laps, however on the final day of the test Sutil could only manage to do seven laps due to an internal chassis problem which left the German on the side lines for the majority of Saturday's test.
Prior to the problems, the team conducted some impressive lap times during the previous three days and they can come away from the first Bahrain test relatively happy as they completed more laps over the test then world champions Red Bull Racing, the Milton Keynes based team have suffered major problems so far during the preseason testing period.
The Sauber F1 Team have over the course of the tests in Jerez and Bahrain have completed 401 laps but will be hoping to solve their chassis issues on time to complete the entire final test in Bahrain which takes place from next Thursday.
©Ben Johnston 2014

Chester - Lotus could be lead Renault powered team

(Jean Michel Le Meur/DPPI -Renault Sport F1)
Lotus technical director Nick Chester believes that the Enstone based team could be the lead Renault powered outfit in 2014. Red Bull Racing, Toro Rosso and Caterham have all had problems with their new cars and due to the Renault Energy Recovery System and various other problems.
Red Bull's problems have not solely been issues with Renault they have had a variety of different problems and the Milton Keynes based squad only have four days in which to sort out the problems that they have with the RB10 as there are three weeks until the Australian Grand Prix.
On the final day of testing yesterday Pastor Maldonado clocked up 59 laps and was the fastest of the Renault powered outfits.
When asked about the Bahrain test Chester said 'we certainly haven't gone badly this week in comparison to the other Renault powered teams'.
The Enstone team who missed the first test in Jerez completed 111 laps in Bahrain this week and although the reigning world champions Red Bull completed 2 more laps then Lotus the Milton Keynes based squad continued to suffer issues with the RB10 as for the second time in testing Christian Horner and Adrian Newey headed home early from the test in order to find a solution.
©Ben Johnston 2014

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Raikkonen not worried despite crash

(Scuderia Ferrari SpA via Twitter)
Kimi Raikkonen has stated that Ferrari are still on course with the development of their new car despite crashing the F14-T heavily just moments before the end of the final day of the first Bahrain test today.
The Finn explained that he was on the kerb and experienced 'massive wheel spin' and lost control of the car and hit the wall. He went on to say that 'things happen and that he wouldn't say that the accident was his fault.
Raikkonen has had a difficult two days in Bahrain as on Friday he lost valuable track time due to the fact that the team suffered telemetry issues with the new car. Despite this however the Finn completed 124 laps over the two days he was in the car. The Italian team have combined total of 284 laps as Fernando Alonso completed 160 laps during his two days in the car.
Raikkonen explained that the team suffered no issues at all on Saturday and would have liked to have completed more laps but that he damaged the car. It is obviously not ideal that the car was damaged but at least it happened at the end of the second test as it gives the team five days to sort out the car as teams are restricting to using one chassis during winter testing.
Raikkonen also confirmed that due to the many red flags out on track the team didn't get everything they wanted to do done but achieved an awful lot and he is confident that they will be able to complete full race simulations during next week's final test in Bahrain.
So far throughout the pre-season testing period Ferrari have been the only non Mercedes powered cars to have shown great pace as Renault have had well documented struggles. Raikkonen will be back in action next week although Ferrari have yet to announce their schedule for next week.
©Ben Johnston 2014

Specification changes to the battery for Renault

(Florent Gooden/DPPI - Renault Sport F1)
The second winter test of the 2014 preseason has just concluded at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain and as the team's pack up Renault Sports Deputy Managing Director (Technical) Rob White has been reflecting on the manufacturer's progress in Bahrain.
When asked what changes the French company made between the Jerez and Bahrain test White said that they made specification changes to the battery on the powertrain. It is known as the Energy Store. Renault had issues with their Energy Recovery Systems across their team's. The Englishman was also asked about how the Bahrain test had gone for them and although he said that they have had some setbacks they are making progress.
He has also confirmed that despite not being where they would like to be at this stage of winter testing they are back on schedule. The have resolved some issues with the powertrain but have discovered other issues which need to be rectified.
The deadline for homolation is fast approaching and the company have just started build process for their Melbourne race engines.
Just like the Mercedes powered teams the Renault supplied teams are working extremely close to ensure engine reliability. In Bahrain this week Renault powered team's despite having a number of issues have completed a combined total of 613 laps which is an incredible improvement on the mileage they completed in Jerez as during the first winter test in Spain at the end of January they completed 150 laps.
There are just four days left before the start of the new season so it is extremely important for the Renault powered teams to get as much mileage under their belts in Bahrain next week.

©Ben Johnston 2014

Rosberg leads the way for Mercedes as the first Bahrain test comes to an end

(Mercedes AMG F1)
The Mercedes AMG F1 Team certainly seem to be the outfit to beat as for the second day running one of their cars topped the timesheets. Nico Rosberg completed 89 laps for the Brackley based team before he was forced to end his day early late in the afternoon. The German set the benchmark time of 1m 33.283s and with his team mate already being tipped to take the win at the first race in Australia the team can be extremely happy with their progress this week as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg completed a combined total of 313 laps over the four days in Bahrain.
Another team who can be very happy with their progress is McLaren and the new Racing Director Eric Boullier who made his debut for the Woking based outfit this week. Jenson Button finished the final day un 2nd place 1.6 seconds behind Rosberg. Button completed 66 laps today and in doing so brought his tally up to 168 over two day's.
Kimi Raikkonen, who suffered telemetry issues yesterday had a more positive final day as he finished in third place and completed 81 laps for the Prancing Horse. He brought out the red flags just moments before the end of the session after crashing his F14-T.
It was an extremely impressive first day in an F1 car for the Williams F1 Team's new test driver Felipe Nasr as the 21 year old Brazilian completed 87 laps and clocked the fourth fastest time just ahead of the Lotus F1 Team's Pastor Maldonado who brought out the red flags during the session due to gearbox problem similar to the issue that he suffered yesterday.
It was a disappointing end to the second test for the Sahara Force India team as Sergio Perez could only manage to complete 19 laps today. Despite this however the Silverstone based team can take comfort in the fact that they topped the times on the opening day of the Bahrain test which bodes well for the rest of the pre-season testing period.
There were further problems for Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull Racing as the Australia could only manage 15 laps today and the RB10 spent a considerable amount of time this morning in the garage. The reigning world champions have three weeks to find a solution to their problems before they head to Melbourne for the opening race of the year. Sebastian Vettel is not panicking and is confident that the team can find a solution to the issues that they have encountered during winter testing.
Toro Rosso's Jean Eric Vergne was eighth fastest for the Italian team. Over at Caterham, both their race driver's Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson were in action today and finished the day in
9th and 10th. They were the final two drivers to set times as Sauber's C33 'through a tantrum' and could only manage to complete seven laps with Adrian Sutil behind the wheel despite this however the Swiss team have come away from the four day test having learnt a lot about the car.
Marussia's Jules Bianchi rounded out the time sheets although the Frenchman failed to set a time and could only manage 5 laps.
Pre-season testing concludes next week in what could be deemed as a simulated race weekend as it takes places from next Thursday 27th February - Sunday 2nd March at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain.

©Ben Johnston 2014

Rosberg sets the benchmark on the final morning of the first Bahrain test

(Mercedes AMG F1)
Mercedes Nico Rosberg to continued to show that the Brackley based squad are on top of the new regulations as the German topped the times on Saturday morning, the final day of the first winter test at the Sakhir circuit. Mercedes powered cars have completed the most amount laps during winter testing so far.
Jenson Button was second fastest for McLaren as he continued to show that the MP4-29 is another extremely quick car.
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen recovered from the teams struggles yesterday morning as the Finn is currently third fastest in the F14-T. During testing so far, the Mercedes teams and Ferrari have certainly had the edge over the Renault powered outfits.
It has been an extremely productive morning for Felipe Nasr, who made his debut for the Williams F1 Team this morning in the FW36. It was announced yesterday that the Brazilian had joined the team as their new test driver.
Sergio Perez is currently fifth fastest for the Sahara Force India F1 Team and is just ahead of Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo who suffered from more issues with the RB10. The Milton Keynes based outfit continued to experience problems with their new car Daniel Ricciardo has only managed 12 laps so far today and have spent 3 and 1/2 hours in the garage today.
Despite the reigning world champions problems, they were still the fastest Renault powered car. The Lotus F1 Team continued to have issues with the gearbox in the new E22 because despite flying new parts out to Bahrain overnight Pastor Maldonado stopped out on track bringing the red flags out.
Jean Eric Vergne is currently eighth for Toro Rosso while Marcus Ericsson is the final driver to have set a time albeit 12 seconds behind Nico Rosberg's fastest time this morning.
©Ben Johnston 2014

Friday, 21 February 2014

Williams add to their line-up as Felipe Nasr joins the team for 2014

(Williams F1 Team via Twitter)
The Williams F1 Team have announced that they have signed 21 year old Brazilian Felipe Nasr as their new test driver.
Nasr joins the team in the same week that the team announced two new major sponsorship deals with Brazilian company's. The Grove based squad announced earlier this week that they have signed a multi year partnership with oil giant Petrobas who will develop a new fuel that the team will use from the 2015 season onwards.
The team announced on Friday that they have also signed a sponsorship deal with Banco Do Brasil.
Nasr joins fellow Brazilian Felipe Massa, who will drive alongside Valtteri Bottas this season having joined the team from Ferrari over the winter.
He will drive for the team during five Friday Free Practice session's this season aswell as during the designated testing day's during the year. He is also set to drive the FW36 in Bahrain. In his role as test driver he will attend every race this season and team principal Sir Frank Williams is hopeful that the 21 year olds involvement with the team will help him to gain a drive in F1 as the team brought both Nico Hulkenberg and current race team driver Valtteri Bottas into F1.
The announcement of Nasr's arrival at Grove is just the latest in a whole host of deals for the team and it won't be the last as it is expected that the team will confirm Martini as their new title sponsor before the first race of the new season in Australia in three weeks time.

Gearbox related issue hampers Lotus F1 Team on day 3 in Bahrain

(Lotus F1 Team via Twitter)
The Lotus F1 Team are expecting to have a late start to the day of the second winter test in Bahrain. Pastor Maldonado was behind the wheel of the E22 today and was only able to complete 26 laps.
The Venezuelan brought out the red flags twice as his car came to stop out on track. The team confirmed that the issue with the E22 was gearbox related. The team's gearboxes are all built in house and due to the nature of their problems it requires the team to fly parts out to Bahrain overnight which may result in them starting tomorrow's final day late.
The Enstone based team missed the opening test of the season in Jerez at the end of last month and they have had similar problems to the other Renault powered squad's.
Pastor Maldonado has stated that he is not concerned by the issues that the team have had and is confident that the team can solve the issues that they are having and he is hopeful that he can get more time in the car tomorrow as he will continue the teams work ahead of the start of the new season.
©Ben Johnston 2014

Hamilton fastest for Mercedes on day 3 as Red Bull are forced to end another day early

(Mercedes AMG F1)
Lewis Hamilton once against proved that the Mercedes AMG F1 Team are the team to beat so far in pre-season testing as the Brit topped the timesheets on day 3 at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain. Hamilton completed 66 laps and was the lead a Mercedes 1,2,3.
On his first day back in the MP-29, Jenson Button finished the day in second place for McLaren completing the most amount of laps. The 2009 world champion managed to do 102 laps.
Felipe Massa took over running the Williams FW36 from team mate Valtteri Bottas this afternoon completing 59 laps and clocking the 3rd fastest time of the day. The Brazilian finished the day just ahead of Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez who was the leading Ferrari powered car. The Mexican had a very productive day for the Swiss team as he completed an impressive 94 laps and was one driver who did not suffer from any major problems today.
Ferari's Kimi Raikkonen had a difficult start to the day and spent the morning in the garage as the team worked on fixing a telemetry issue with the F14-T. When the Finn eventually got out on track in the afternoon he managed 43 laps, recording the 6th fastest time of the day just behind Sahara Force India's Sergio Perez.
Toro Rosso's rookie Daniil Kvyat was next up next completing 57 laps and finished just ahead of Pastor Maldonado.
The Venezuelan brought out the red flags twice and only managed to complete 26 laps in the E22. Daniel Ricciardo took over from Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull Racing today and completed 28 laps in the RB10 as the reigning world champions continue to try and iron out their technical issues.
Caterham's rookie driver Marcus Ericsson was next, the Swedish driver completed 96 laps and in doing so he has now gained his FIA Super Licence having completed the FIA mandated 300KM.
Marussia's Max Chilton endured a difficult day for the Banbury based team as he could complete 4 laps but he managed to finish ahead of Valtteri Bottas who completed 55 laps for the Williams F1 Team.
The first test in Bahrain concludes tomorrow before the final test gets underway once in Bahrain next week before the team's head Down Under for the first race of the season in Melbourne, Australia.
©Ben Johnston 2014

Ericsson completes 300KM for Caterham

(Bernard Asset - Renault Sport F1)
Caterham's new race driver Sweden's Marcus Ericsson has had an extremely productive day for in Bahrain for the Leafield based team has he has completed 75 lap's in Bahrain which amounts to the 300KM required for him to qualify for the mandatory FIA Super Licence.
All Formula One driver's need the licence in order to be eligible to be compete at Formula One Grand Prix and as a rookie driver for 2014 Ericsson was required to obtain the licence.
Ericsson will partner Kamui Kobayashi at the team this season after the pair replaced Charles Pic who has just joined the Lotus F1 Team as test driver and Giedo Van Der Garde. Caterham, along with Sahara Force India are the only two team's to field all new driver line-up's for the 2014 season.
Ericsson will finish the day with Caterham this afternoon  and is expected to complete the Bahrain test for the team when the Bahrain test finishes tomorrow.
The team's will return to Bahrain next week for the final winter test and will be extremely crucial as the team's will then head to Melbourne for the first race of the season.
©Ben Johnston 2014

Hamilton fastest for Mercedes as the morning session concludes

(Mercedes AMG F1)
Lewis Hamilton currently leads the way for Mercedes on Friday morning in Bahrain as the third day of winter testing is underway at the Sakhir circuit.
The Brit is currently 2.917s ahead of Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez. Jenson Button has taken over driving duties for McLaren and is currently in third place in the MP4-29. Pastor Maldonado is currently fourth for the Lotus F1 Team and has just brought out the red flag.
Sahara Force India's Sergio Perez is currently 5th fastest just ahead of Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo.
Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat is currently 7th as he continues to get to grips with the new era of F1. He will make his Formula One debut in three week's time in Melbourne Australia. Kimi Raikkonen, who took over testing duties from Fernando Alonso this morning is currently 8th fastest for the Italian team.
Caterham rookie Marcus Ericsson is currently in 9th place with Max Chilton in 10th. McLaren's Jenson Button has just leap frogged Esteban Gutierrez into second place.
©Ben Johnston 2014

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Pic joins driver line-up at Lotus for 2014

(Lotus F1 Team via Twitter)
The Lotus F1 Team announced on Thursday that former Marussia and Caterham driver Charles Pic has joined their line-up for 2014 as the team's official test and reserve driver.
The Frenchman joins countryman Romain Grosjean and new team signing Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado at the team. Pic lost his drive with the Caterham F1 Team at the end of last season having joined the Leafield based outfit from Marussia at the end of the 2012 season.
His new role at Lotus will include conducting simulator work at the team's HQ in Enstone and he will also fill in for Grosjean or Maldonado should either one of them be unable to fufil their driving duties. The Frenchman replaces Italian driver Davide Valechecchi who left the team at the end of last year.
Pic will also attend races with the team and will be involved in team briefings. He was in Bahrain on Thursday for a photo shoot with his new team mates.
©Ben Johnston 2014

Magnussen leads the way for McLaren on day two but Kobayashi shines for Caterham

(McLaren Mercedes)
McLaren's Kevin Magnussen topped the times on the second day of winter testing at the Bahrain International Circuit on Thursday. The Danish driver completed 45 laps and his fastest time of 1m 34.910s was just under 2 seconds fastest then Sahara Force India's Nico Hulkenberg who lead the way this morning.
The German driver completed 59 laps and made it a Mercedes 1-2 as the engine supplier continue to progress with their new power unit and indeed with all four of their team's Mercedes, Williams, McLaren and Sahara Force India.
Nico Rosberg completed 84 laps for Mercedes and it would appear that the German manufacturer has really found a sweet spot with the new 1.6 litre V6 turbocharged power trains as their team's have completed the most amount of mileage since winter testing started at the end of last month.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was third fastest for the Italian team and completed 96 laps of the Sakhir circuit. The Spanaird now hands the F14-T to Kimi Raikkonen who will conclude the Bahrain test for the team.
The Williams F1 Team continued to show that they have an extremely competitive car as Valtteri Bottas finished the day in 5th place and completed a staggering 115 laps. However the big surprise of the day was Kamui Kobayashi who finished the day in 6th place for the Caterham F1 Team just ahead of reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel who had a much better day with his Red Bull RB10. The German completed 59 laps more then double what the Milton Keynes based squad managed during the opening test .
Jean Eric Vergne was 8th for Toro Rosso and completed 58 laps for the Italian team. He finished the day just ahead of Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez who completed 55 laps for the Swiss team. The Mexican finished the day just ahead of the Lotus F1 Team's Romain Grosjean who completed 18 laps for the Enstone based outfit on the same day it was announced that the team have extended their partnership with Renault for 2014 and beyond.
Pastor Maldonado will take over from Grosjean from tomorrow for his first full test after conducting a shakedown of the E22 in Jerez last week.
The Marussia F1 Team's Max Chilton finished the day in 11th place and completed 16 laps. Testing continues tomorrow when the team's will switch their driver's around.
©Ben Johnston 2014

Mercedes powered team's occupy the top three as F1 prepares for the afternoon session in Bahrain

(Mercedes AMG F1)

As the Formula One team's prepare for the afternoon session on day of winter testing at the Bahrain International Circuit it's the Mercedes powered teams who are topping the times with Sahara Force India's Nico Hulkenberg leading a Mercedes power 1,2,3..
The German is 0.157s ahead of 'works' Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg. Following a disappointing day yesterday for Felipe Massa in the Williams so far today his team mate Valtteri Bottas has been running well and is currently third in the Mercedes powered FW36.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso is the first of the non Mercedes powered cars and is currently in fourth place just ahead of McLaren's Kevin Magnussen.
Following a frustrating first day yesterday so far it has been a far more productive day for reigning world champions Red Bull Racing and Sebastian Vettel as the German has completed 43 laps so far. He is the leading Renault powered car.
Testing concludes for today in just over one hour.

Sauber concentrating on their new brake by wire system in Bahrain

(Sauber F1 Team)
The second day of testing is underway in Bahrain today and while a number of team's are working on their reliability the Sauber F1 Team are concentrating on working on their new brake by wire system which is brand new for the 2014 Formula One season.
The new rear braking system was brought in due to the heavier Energy Recovery System and this means that under braking driver's need to apply more pressure on the brakes in order to effectively charge the new ERS unit and Kinetic Energy Recovery System.
Adrian Sutil, who joins the Swiss team following a year at Sahara Force India has admitted that driver's have to change their style of driving for this season. The German spun his car during testing yesterday.
Sutil also confirmed that the team have being carrying out initial set up work of their new C33 however they are not yet 100%.
Sutil's team-mate, Esteban Gutierrez took over driving duty for the Swiss based team today and is currently in 8th place just behind Toro Rosso's Jean Eric Vergne but ahead of Romain Grosjean who completing his second day of testing for the Lotus F1 Team in their new E22.
©Ben Johnston 2014

Mercedes making progress

(Mercedes AMG F1 Team)
Lewis Hamilton has stated that he is really proud wit the work that his team are doing. The Brit was back behind the wheel of the W05 at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain yesterday where he completed 74 lap's and although he had a minor brake issue he was happy with the progress that the Brackley based squad have made.
During the first test in Jerez Mercedes completed the most amount of mileage and Nico Rosberg became the first driver to complete a full race simulation on the final day of the Jerez test.
Hamilton also confirmed that the team are still working on reliability of the W05. Nico Rosberg took over the driving duties this morning however, he stopped out on track with an undetermined problem.
With exactly three week's until the media day at the first race of the new season in Melbourne, Australia, team's are in a race against time to ensure that their cars are reliable and able to complete a full race distance.
At the moment, three Mercedes powered teams occupy the top four positions in Bahrain with Valtteri Bottas currently leading the way for the Williams F1 Team Mercedes powered FW36, Nico Hulkenberg is currently third for Sahara Force India while Kevin Magnussen is currently fourth for McLaren Mercedes.
Following his problems yesterday reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel currently leads the Renault powered team's in fifth place in his RB10, Jean Eric Vergne is currently 6th for Toro Rosso. Romain Grosjean is currently 9th for the Lotus F1 Team while Kamui Kobayashi is currently 11th for the Caterham F1 Team.

©Ben Johnston 2014

Renault and Lotus extend their partnership into 2014 and beyond

(Renault Sport F1)
The Lotus F1 Team and Renualt Sport F1 confirmed this morning that the two parties have extended their partnership into 2014 and beyond. Speaking about the new agreement Renault Sport F1 president Jean-Michel Jalinier said:
'We are pleased to see our partnership officially confirmed as the E22 takes to the track for its first official test'
He went on to say that 'the relationship between Viry and Enstone has gone from strength to strength over the past few years'
Lotus F1 Team CEO Matthew Carter echoed Renault's sentiments by saying:
'Lotus F1 Team and Renault Sport F1 have enjoyed a successful partnership over these past few years and we look forward to continue to build on a relationship and collaboration in 2014 and beyond'.
Renault sold their F1 team to Gerard Lopez' Genii Capital Group in 2009 however, since then they have continued to be heavily involved with the team and the contract extension reaffirms Renault's commitment in helping the Enstone squad to challenge at the front of Formula One.
Since Genii took over the team the partnership has brought two victories and countless podium's and in the past two season's the team have finished in fourth place in Constructors championship.

©Ben Johnston 2014