Latest F1 news in brief – Tuesday (Update)

UPDATE Updates shown in red below.


  • Sauber's interpretation of the Proboscis Monkey nose

    FIA 'bombarded' by Lotus nose legality queries

  • Anticipation high at Jerez as opening test begins
  • 'Far too early' to predict title win – Wolff
  • Webber admits Vettel untouchable
  • Haas still aiming for F1 despite Ecclestone warning
  • Caterham launch delayed, three more new cars revealed New
  • Hamilton admits to another 'learning year' New
  • F1 teams beset by problems in early stages of testing New
  • Q and A with Sergio Perez New
  • Q and A with Mercedes' Paddy Lowe New

FIA 'bombarded' by Lotus nose legality queries
(GMM) F1's governing body was "bombarded" with messages from rival teams after Lotus revealed the first photo of its highly-unique nose solution for 2014.

The front of the unlaunched E22, which will not be present throughout the opening winter test at Jerez this week, has been likened to a 'forklift' or a 'tuning fork', albeit with asymmetrical twin tusks.

So as Toro Rosso lifted the veil on its STR9 at Jerez on Monday, triggering sniggers from the assembled crowd due to the phallic resemblance of its nose, technical boss James Key was asked if anything else he has seen so far raises alarm bells when it comes to legality.

"Apart from the Lotus nose, no," he said.

"The Lotus nose needs a bit of clarification. It's a very clever idea. I don't think it's illegal, it just whether it's in the spirit of the regulations."

The 'spirit' of the rules is always a controversial point to raise. In the case of the Lotus, the regulations envisage only one nose tip, but it is believed the E22 designers have found a loophole by placing the crash structure in one tip only.

The slightly shorter tip is simply a quirk to satisfy the precise wording of the regulations.

"All the teams are now looking in this direction," confessed Pat Symonds, Williams' technical chief, according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"For testing, the nose is not the decisive detail," he explained. "Everyone just wants to get going and then explore the aerodynamic limits later on."

Meanwhile, a front view of Sauber's new car has now emerged, and it can be seen above.

Red Bull's world champion Sebastian Vettel, at Jerez to test the so far unseen RB10, said: "Our new car looks better than anything I've seen so far."

Many believe Ferrari's low and wide nose is the prettiest solution seen so far, with Toro Rosso's Key agreeing that the Maranello team has presented something "fundamentally different".

"But I do expect to see some changes right up until the season starts, and then within the season itself," he said.

"In all areas, we have dedicated ourselves to having maximum flexibility."

Not surprisingly, the FIA's Charlie Whiting is at Jerez to keep an eye on how the teams have interpreted the sport's all-new rules.

Anticipation high at Jerez as opening test begins
(GMM) Interest in this week's opening test of the groundbreaking 2014 season is near-unprecedented.

The new rules, spearheaded by the new V6 hybrid turbo 'power units', have attracted 25 television networks and 160 accredited journalists to Jerez, where the odd-nosed grid for the new year is taking shape.

Unfortunately for some, the weather might not play along, as dark clouds were gathering above southern Spain late on Monday, ahead of the first of four days of testing.

F1's continuing tire supplier Pirelli is well prepared, and may not have to water the circuit as planned on Friday in order to test its wet-weather range.

The Italian marque has also developed a special 'winter' tire for the crucial 2014 pre-season, having learned the lessons of 2013, when Paul Hembery recalls that "We even saw some ice on the track at one point".

For once, however, tires are not expected to be the talking point over the coming weeks.

The keyword will instead be reliability, or failures, as the teams get thousands upon thousands of all-new components all working harmoniously following perhaps the biggest year-on-year regulations change in memory.

"I think it will be a very turbulent time for everybody, especially at the beginning," world champion Sebastian Vettel, at Jerez to drive the so-far unseen RB10, is quoted in the German media.

"Of course we had a very sound basis in terms of our car after the past four years, but now everything is new," he added.

Vettel is quoted by Sport Bild as worrying that the restrictions on fuel usage in 2014 could make the on-track action "somewhat limited".

And that will be after a particularly arduous off-season for the sport's taller drivers, such as Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne, who although standing at less than 180cm, looked visibly slimmer at Jerez on Monday.

The heavier 2014 regulations have pushed the teams to the limit in trying to get their new cars under the mandatory minimum weight, penalizing drivers like Adrian Sutil, who is six feet tall.

"I didn't eat too much over Christmas and New Year," admitted Sauber's German driver.

Also well-built is Red Bull's new recruit Daniel Ricciardo, who despite his Australian nationality admitted to having played "many winter sports" since the last race of 2013.

"This year, every gram counts," he said at Jerez, where he will drive the RB10 on Thursday and Friday.

More immediately crucial, however, will be clocking up laps, after Jenson Button predicted Jerez could be a "hilarious" test characterized by technical failures left, right and centre.

"Whoever has less failures this year will be world champion," former triple world champion Niki Lauda agrees.

Some believe that, unlike in the past when cars would amass 100 testing laps a day and more, a haul of 40 laps will be considered a success in the 2014 pre-season.

"If someone was to get 100 laps he will not have won the world championship," Ferrari technical director James Allison is quoted by Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport, "but he will be on the right track."

Backmarker Marussia, for instance, is already behind schedule, announcing it will miss at least the opening day at Jerez due to a "small but frustrating technical issue".

"The aim is to solve the issue as quickly as possible and send the car on its way," said the team. "We're all set up here in Jerez ready and waiting for it."

The mood at Jerez, while full of anticipation, is also somber, with Michael Schumacher's ongoing coma not far from minds.

His last two teams in F1 are paying tribute to the great German; Ferrari with a pit board on Monday that read 'Forza Michael', and Mercedes with the Twitter hashtag #KeepFightingMichael written on the livery of its unrevealed W05 car.

'Far too early' to predict title win – Wolff
(GMM) Anticipation is high as Mercedes, tipped as a 2014 championship favorite, prepares to reveal its new silver and black W05.

The Brackley based team has been revealing teasers of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton's new car on Twitter, and the latest image depicts a low, perhaps Ferrari-style front nose, with fascinating twin winglets.

The image can be seen at

Given it is a works maker of chassis and engine, a status effectively shared in F1 only by fabled Ferrari, Mercedes is being tipped as a true favorite to dethrone Red Bull in 2014.

The W05, now at Jerez for its imminent launch, has already been run at Silverstone for a 40km 'filming' shakedown, and German Rosberg sounded positive on Twitter.

Mercedes' motor sport boss Toto Wolff, however, is cautious.

"It's far too early at this stage to talk about the championship," he is quoted by the German news agency DPA.

Wolff confirmed, however, that the team has been working particularly hard over the winter, with a "night shift necessary every night".

Webber admits Vettel untouchable
(GMM) Mark Webber has predicted an early retirement for his former teammate Sebastian Vettel.

Throughout German Vettel's four-year championship-winning reign, Australian Webber was his teammate at Red Bull, where in 2010 they initially tussled for the first title.

"Obviously the scorecards aren't exactly in my favor," Webber, who retired from F1 after 2013 and will now spearhead Porsche's prototype return at Le Mans, told the March edition of Motor Sport magazine.

"Especially since we went to the Pirellis," Australian Webber, 37, told journalist Nigel Roebuck. "He destroyed me on those, but I can live with that."

That's because over a single lap, Webber thinks even his famous Ferrari ally Fernando Alonso struggles to match Vettel.

"I always thought Fernando was the best, and I still do — on Sundays," he said.

"On one lap, though, I think Seb's got him covered — and I'm taking in terms of preparation, not just pace.

"Seb's strengths, as we know, are escaping at the start, and running in clean air — he's like a computer, isn't he? His only weakness was always fast corners."

When it comes to slow corners, however, Webber admits Vettel is untouchably strong.

"A couple of weeks ago I watched the Singapore race on television for the first time: he was two and a half seconds quicker than anyone, and he had Nico, Fernando, Lewis and me behind him," he marveled.

"It wasn't as though he was racing a bunch of muppets! Ok, it wasn't always like that, but at some races he was exceptional."

Also unique, Webber admitted, is Vettel's approach to life so far.

Although Vettel is notoriously private, Webber thinks his former rival has positively sped through his 26 years of life so far.

"Do you know what?" Webber said, "I think Seb will do everything early in life.

"He's got his championship titles and his results early, he's going to have a kid early and I think he'll retire early — he'll probably take a blast in the red car, then sayonara."

Haas still aiming for F1 despite Ecclestone warning
(GMM) Gene Haas has vowed to fight on for formula one, despite Bernie Ecclestone saying a 2015 team entry for the American foray is "most unlikely".

Even despite his fortune, his proven record as a Nascar team co-owner and his state of the art wind tunnel and related businesses, F1 supremo Ecclestone said recently he doubts 61-year-old Haas is really prepared to spend what it takes at the pinnacle of motor sport.

"Somebody can have 10 billion in the bank but it doesn't mean they are going to spend it," Ecclestone was quoted by F1 business journalist Caroline Reid.

Haas confirmed on Monday that Haas Racing Development has already paid the $5000 application fee to the FIA, after the governing body invited interest in the vacant 2015 team slot.

But "Mr. Ecclestone doesn't think I have enough money to do this," Haas is quoted by the Associated Press, admitting the 83-year-old Briton was being "brutally honest" when he issued the warning.

"He doesn't think we will get the license. So my chances probably aren't that great of a shot," he added, revealing that he has also had a few meetings with Ecclestone.

Vowing to double the profits of his machine manufacturer Haas Automation to $2 billion a year, however, many believe that if any racing enthusiast has the money for F1, it is the Californian.

So why Ecclestone's pessimism?

"That's a little bit of a letdown," Haas admitted, according to USA Today.

"I respect the man, and it's a very difficult sport, the highest echelon of racing in the world. They want teams that compete and stay for 10 years.

"If Mr. Ecclestone is saying we don't have a chance of getting a license, it would be foolish to continue. I'm not sure what he's trying to tell us. Maybe that it's a very difficult sport.

"We've submitted information. Maybe we don't have what they want.

"I don't think it's black and white," he continued. "It's their process. You have to be respectful of that. If you push it, seems it doesn't work at all."

It could be that Ecclestone's comments are the result of Haas vowing to go his own way, despite the fact existing competitive teams require mammoth annual budgets.

"The big teams spend $200 to $300 million but have 10 engineers working on one fitting," said Haas. "I don't think we'd approach it that way. But I can be naive, too.

"I just think we as Americans have the ability to take complex machines and figure out how to make them go fast without all the complexity. I could be wrong, but I have that gut feeling," he explained.

"Everybody said I'm out of my mind," Haas continued, "but the shock was when Mr. Ecclestone said I don't think these guys know what they're doing. That's tough to overcome.

"I won't know until I try," he is quoted by the Charlotte Observer. "If you don't try, you'll never fail."

Force India VJM07 in Jerez

Caterham launch delayed, three more new cars revealed
(GMM) Three more teams, including likely title chargers Mercedes and world champions Red Bull, unveiled their brand new 2014 cars early on Tuesday.

Force India also chose the unglamorous surroundings of the Jerez pitlane to reveal the orange and black VJM07, featuring an unsightly 'finger'-style protrusion at the tip of the nose.

A photo can be seen at right.

Lewis Hamilton tests the new Mercedes at Jerez Tuesday

Mercedes, already on track early on Tuesday with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel on the opening day of winter testing, revealed a more aesthetically-pleasing nose solution, along the lines of the new Ferrari.

"Who 'nose' which the best looking car is?" the Brackley team boasted on Twitter.

Hamilton in action can be seen at left.

Famous F1 designer Adrian Newey's solution for the title-defending 2014 car is less pretty, but Red Bull has made an effort to disguise the oddly-shaped, bulging section at the tip of the nose by finishing it in naked carbon.

Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo pulling the sheet off the RB10 can be seen at right.

Caterham had also planned to reveal and debut its 2014 car early on Tuesday, but the rollout was delayed due to "last minute issues bolting it all together".

"The trials and tribulations of a completely new car have conspired against us today," Caterham added on Twitter, "but we are on it, working flat out!"

Hamilton admits to another ‘learning year’
He may have settled into his new surroundings during the 2013 season, but Lewis Hamilton doesn't expect things to get much easier at Mercedes in year two of their relationship.

It's not that the Briton anticipates friction between personnel – his partnership with Germany's Nico Rosberg is the only one among the top six teams to remain unchanged from last season – rather that the major overhaul of the F1 regulations will shake teams out of the comfort zone they had become accustomed to in recent seasons.

"This is my second season with Mercedes and it now feels like I am a fully-fledged member of the team and that we are nurturing the great relationship we built last year, but it is still going to be a big learning year for all of us," Hamilton intimated, “There is so much new technology on these cars, and so much information to take in and filter out to get down to what really matters, it's going to be a big challenge with changes to driving style and race strategies."

Despite his trepidation, Hamilton admitted that the build-up to Tuesday's unveiling of the W05 had been as stimulating as ever.

"It has been exciting to see the car come together and to see – and hear – it run for the first time last Friday at Silverstone," he noted, "It looks just fantastic, so aggressive but full of really nice details as well.

“I am excited to find out how the new power unit feels to drive, to hear how it sounds from the cockpit and to compare the job we have done relative to the competition. I think this is probably the season with the most unknowns that I have faced in my career and that's just so exciting for all of us."

F1 teams beset by problems in early stages of testing
Championship favorites Red Bull and Mercedes pulled the covers off their new cars as F1 took its first stuttering steps into the new era, writes Byron Young in Jerez .

In the first hour Lewis Hamilton was the only drive to manage an entire lap.

After that the Spanish track was plunged back into total silence as a packed pit lane wrestled with the mating of the hybrid and turbo technologies.

The 2008 champion failed in his bid to make a second tour and Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari did not make it round an entire lap before his car broke down.

Maranello’s PR machine described it as a “precautionary stop by engineers".

All the teams had been out long before dawn preparing their cars but the problems were easy to predict.

The Lotus had long since telegraphed the fact that their car, one of the fastest last season, would not be ready until the second test towards the end of February in Bahrain.

Caterham delayed the morning launch of their car citing “last minute issues".

And it materialized that Marussia’s racer has not even left England.

At the heart of the problems is an era in which ‘engines’ are a thing of the past and ‘power unit’ is the new buzz phrase.

Out goes the 2.4 liter V8 and in comes the 1.6 liter V6 mated to a turbo unit and two hybrid boosters which harvest heat and braking energy for extra power.

Early Tuesday morning it was looking like a frontier too far even for a sport as sophisticated as F1.

Exactly who has the best package was anyone’s guess here in Jerez as the minutes ticked by.

Mercedes had been the first to pull the covers off their car minutes after dawn.

After Ferrari’s appallingly ugly Anteater nose appeared the week before and the Lotus twin tusks made his debut the W08 was far more conventional.

And minutes later so it proved with the offering from the world champions down the pit lane, the RB10.

The final pre-test launch from Force India proved the most dramatic and rivaled the Maranello machine in its outright ugliness.

The nose turned out to be a weird protrusion, causing some eyewitnesses to make anatomical comparisons.

The ultimate test, though will come when the cars finally take to the circuit and while that is a long way off for some at least Force India were here in Jerez.

Those who were hoping for some early hints on how the new formula would be shaping up were still waiting at 10am.

Q and A with Sergio Perez
New Force India signing Sergio Perez shares his excitement for the upcoming Formula One season…

Q: A new season, new rules, and a new team – how excited are you about 2014?
: "I'm very excited. I'm joining a new team at a time when Formula One is entering an exciting new era, so I think that gives us good chance of doing well. It will be very important that we work very hard during winter testing to understand how everything works and how we are going to get the best out of the package that we have. I think that's the most important target for the testing."

Q: What are you early impressions of Sahara Force India?
: "I find the team very hungry for success. They've had some good years in the past, but they are looking to move forward and fight against the top teams. I think this year is the biggest opportunity to do that."

Q: Is that because the rule changes create a fresh start for everyone?
: "Exactly, it's a very big opportunity for us, as a smaller team, to really do well, especially in the first few races. We must make sure that we arrive in Australia in the best possible position."

Q: Will reliability be one of the key factors early on?
: "Yes, I think so. Not only that, also the fuel management and how we maximize everything. The tires are also going to be a factor. It will be quite interesting to see what happens in Jerez and especially in Bahrain in the second and the third tests, where we will get a better idea of how things are working."

Q: You gained valuable experience with McLaren. Do you think you can bring something extra to the team this year?
: "Definitely, I've got good experience from my Sauber days and also now from McLaren. The experience of 2013 made me a better driver, more complete in many areas, and I'm really hungry for success. I will be giving my maximum and I'm sure that people will be surprised by what I can do in 2014. I'm coming from a very difficult season with McLaren, with a very difficult car, but I'm very confident that I will be quite strong. Together with the team we will all be working very hard to have the success that we all want to have."

Q: Are you the kind of driver who can easily adapt and change his style?
: "This is Formula One and you always have to change your style. When you change teams you have to change your style; you have to adapt to a different car, and I think I'm good at that. I see no reason why I cannot take the best out of it."

Q: You have a new team mate in Nico. Are you looking forward to working with him?
: "I think we are pretty close in terms of experience. I rate him very highly; he's one of the best drivers out there, and it will be very interesting to work with him and to learn from him. You can always learn from your team mate. I've been very lucky in the past to have strong team mates, and Nico is obviously going to be very competitive. I'm looking forward to working together with him."

Q: What do you see as a realistic target for you and the team this year?
: "It's very difficult to know, especially with the new regulations, a new car and a new team for me. All I can say is the team is working very hard and we're going to do our best to arrive in Melbourne as well prepared as possible. We're going to be giving 100% straight away from the first race."

Q: Finally, can you explain your choice of number?
: "It's the number I've been using all my career since karting. I've enjoyed having number 11, so I went for it, and luckily I ended up getting it as my first choice. I will be wearing it the rest of my career, except when I win the World Championship, when I will be wearing number one!" Source: Force India

Q and A with Mercedes' Paddy Lowe
At the occasion of the launch of the new Mercedes AMG F1 W05, the team's Technical Director Paddy Lowe gives an insight into the regulation changes and how the team adapted to them.

How significant is the change in technical regulations for the 2014 season?
"For 2014 we have probably the greatest change in regulations in Formula One history. The headline is 'efficiency'. The fact that we can run a full race on 100kg rather than 150kg of fuel sends a great message about the technology we can deliver for Formula One – and gives an important message to the automotive world in general. It's not simply about the fuel saved per car on a Sunday afternoon, it's about the technology itself. Over the years, we have seen how relatively small things filter through to the production world, not just in terms of the cars themselves but also what is seen as attractive. We are part of that and it is what Formula One should be doing. It's a great opportunity for Mercedes-Benz and PETRONAS to take those regulations and show we can do better than our competitors. The coming weeks will tell if we have managed that or not."

How has the chassis team had to adapt to the change in Power Unit?
"The Power Unit (PU) has a completely different shape and requirements to its predecessor and it is the biggest change in packaging in Formula One for many years. There is a lot more equipment to cool: more Hybrid systems plus the intercooler for the charge air from the turbocharger. That has both a packaging and an aerodynamic dimension. Then there is the weight challenge. Although the minimum weight has been raised to 691 kg, it is far more difficult to achieve than last year's target because of the extra equipment in the Power Unit and its associated systems, plus the cooling demand and the new, heavier side impact structures prescribed by the FIA. Yet another aspect is the thermal challenge. With the introduction of a turbocharger, managing the heat around the exhaust system is important for both car integrity and also for performance. If losses can be minimized in the primaries between the engine block and turbo, that is energy that can be recovered and used for car performance. So there is a big insulation and heat management challenge for both integrity and performance reasons."

What impact have the increased energy recovery requirements had for the chassis team?
"We have doubled the amount of kinetic energy that is permitted to be recovered through the rear axle relative to the previous KERS systems. This means that rear brake duty, and therefore the quantity of heat generated, will be far lower. We have automatic systems recovering the energy and so, in order to maintain a drivable brake balance, the rear brakes are permitted to be controlled electronically. We have designed a 'brake-by-wire' system for the rear wheels. When the driver presses the pedal, the system manages the rear brake circuit and the energy recovery requirements together so that the total rear braking effort and the net front-to-rear brake balance matches the driver's demand. The most important aspect to get right with brake-by-wire is failure management. It is obviously a safety critical system and most of our work has been focused around ensuring the right levels of failure control."

Reliability has been spoken about often in connection with the Power Units. Does this present any challenges on the chassis side?
"We do have new durability targets to meet, most particularly in relation to the gearbox. It is an entirely new design: it now includes eight speeds, the lower engine speed means a new regime of reduction ratios, there is significantly more torque and the gear ratios must be nominated for the entire season. That means we are not just being stretched in terms of new functionality but also in terms of endurance. Previously, we would re-optimize gear ratios every weekend. The new PU has a wide range of workable engine speeds, which means that ratio choice is nothing like as critical as it was in the past. But the more difficult part is making the physical ratios last for six races instead of one – and indeed making the whole gearbox system last for six races, compared to five last year."

The aerodynamic regulations have also seen significant changes for the new season…
"The package of aerodynamic modifications is probably as significant as the changes introduced for the start of the 2009 season. It comprises three main elements. First, the front wing has been narrowed, which has a fundamental effect on the flow field of the car, because the wake from the front wing is its first defining point. Second, at the rear, we have been affected by the loss of exhaust blowing, which was a very significant aspect of car performance in the past three seasons. With the single central exit tailpipe, it has been a challenge to recover the drivability which was very strong as the drivers came on throttle on corner exit. Finally, the rear wing has been altered with the elimination of the lower rear wing and about a 10% reduction in the 'legality box' for the upper rear wing, from 220 mm to 200 mm. At the rear of the car, the floor, lower rear wing and upper wing previously worked as a set and that has now changed, which presents a challenge. Overall, we are obliged to run broadly the same level of wing that we would previously have run at Spa in a 'low-drag' configuration. This will mean reduced cornering speeds but also higher straight-line speeds."

The Sporting Regulations also now include restrictions on wind tunnel usage. Can you explain their impact?
"The teams have policed restrictions on wind tunnel and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) usage for several years now. For 2014 this practice has been written into the Sporting Regulations and will be policed by the FIA. Furthermore the amount of permitted testing has been severely reduced in order to save costs: wind tunnel occupancy is restricted to 60 hours per week (teams had typically been running 24×7), we can only run 80 wind tunnel tests per week, the trading combination between wind tunnel and CFD usage has been further restricted (so-called '30/30' rule) and we have lost the ability to perform full-scale aerodynamic tests in the wind tunnel or on runways. In real terms, that represents an overall reduction in aerodynamic testing of around two thirds."

How satisfied are you with the F1 W05 as a response to the new regulations?
"The team has done a fantastic job on each aspect of the project. We have hit our milestones and also our own internal targets. The car is an elegant response to the new regulations but also an aggressive design and, as is often the way, its beauty is much more than skin deep; the internal engineering is extremely innovative and intelligent. I am very proud of the work that has gone into the project so far, which is a huge credit to Bob Bell, Aldo Costa, Geoff Willis, Rob Thomas and the engineering team. Of course everybody is also well aware of how much remains to be done throughout the season; we are only just beginning!"

How critical will in-season development prove to be this year, in your opinion?
"Formula One is always a development race. The team that can extract the most lap-time benefit from the new wind tunnel restrictions will be rewarded for it, especially so early in a new set of regulations when the development curve is at its steepest. But it won't just be about aerodynamics: owing to the fuel restrictions, the efficiency challenge is possibly the biggest one of all. This is where, for example, our technology partnership with PETRONAS can and will make a significant difference. And finally we must not forget reliability. We are breaking new ground with a number of the technologies in the car but they are of little use if we do not make it to the finish line at each race. So we will be fighting on every front to meet technical and durability challenges this year. And that is exactly what Formula One should be about: adopting and stretching innovative technologies in the most aggressive and ambitious way possible."

Leave a Reply