Extra pre-season test mooted for 2014

F1 Fanatic round-up

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Jerez, 2013In the round-up: F1 teams are planning an extra pre-season test for the 2014 season to give them more time preparing for the new engine formula.

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F1 teams set for extra test in 2014 (Autosport)

Renault Sport deputy managing director Rob White: “There is what looks like quite a mature proposal to have an additional test session [pre-season] which we are completely in favour of.”

‘McLaren suffering without Hamilton’ (BBC)

John Watson: “Red Bull have two drivers of a high level of experience, as do Ferrari and Mercedes. McLaren look like they’ve got one and a half drivers.”

Force India taking ‘intelligent’ approach to car development (ESPN)

“What you will need is to have a good rate of development until June or July. Then I think they will switch off, because how much do you focus on a car that goes out of date in the middle of November?”

The Finishing Line – with Romain Grosjean (F1)

“The most memorable overtaking move of my career was…
RG: It was in GP2 at Barcelona in 2011. I overtook three cars in two corners at turns four and five. Two around the outside and one on the inside.”

Karthikeyan extends deal for Auto GP round two (The Times of India)

“India’s top racing driver Narain Karthikeyan has extended his deal with Zele Racing for the second round of Auto GP in Marrakesh, Morocco this weekend.”

Sainsbury’s denies Justin King to replace Bernie Ecclestone at F1 (The Grocer)

“A Sainsbury?s spokesman said: ‘This is pure speculation. Justin?s made his commitment to the business clear and is excited about Sainsbury?s long-term prospects for growth. Any discussion of succession is entirely premature.’”

Enstone Pride – Three questions with Geoff Simmonds (Lotus)

“At the moment my favourite aspect of the team is the ‘getting there’; the feeling you get when you build a bit of momentum and you?re on that roll. We experienced it last year with the build-up to Kimi [Raikkonen's] win, and because it had been a long time coming it felt all the more sweet.”

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Comment of the day

Jon Sandor on understanding the differences between F1 now and 50 years ago for the most successful drivers:

Cars in the ‘Olden Days’ were more unreliable than modern cars, but there was also a bigger performance gap between the best, the middle of the pack, and the worst cars. So while e.g. Jim Clark suffered a high rate of DNFs by modern standards, of the races he did finish he finished in first place an exceptionally high proportion of the time.

In 73 races he had 23 DNFs but in the 50 races he did finish he took 25 wins and 32 podiums. Modern cars are more reliable, but no modern driver can ever lap the entire field in the course of winning a race.
Jon Sandor (@Jonsan)

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On this day in F1

David Murray passed away on this day 40 years ago. On May 13th, 1950 Murray’s Maserati 4CLT and 20 other cars formed the grid at Silverstone for the first ever round of the world championship. None of his rivals from that inaugural race are still alive.

Murray only appeared at five more championship races. His last, at Silverstone in 1952, was in a Cooper run by Ecurie Ecosse, who he spent the following years working for.

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62 comments on Extra pre-season test mooted for 2014

  1. Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 5th April 2013, 0:36

    I’d say McLaren actually have one driver: as good as Jenson is, he is no Hamilton, Vettel or Alonso and as McLaren are a top team that may not be counted as a sufficient level of talent. As Perez is also still learning the trade to an extent also as Watson has mentioned, in my eyes that makes “two halves”.

    • celeste (@celeste) said on 5th April 2013, 0:50

      @vettel1 I find that´s a little disrespectful to Button, he is a world champion, you don´t get there by lucking in out.

      And for what it matters I also find John Watson comments about Perez disrespectful. It wasn´t Checo´s fault what happened with this year car. McClarean has only themself to blame.

      • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 5th April 2013, 0:54

        @celeste – perhaps calling them “half drivers” is an overstatement, but note how I said Butron is behind no less than Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso, whom are all-time greats of the sport. I did also say that Perez is “learning the trade”, which I don’t think is at all a disrespectful comment and instead is merely an accurate portrayal of reality.

        What I think Watson is meaning though is that the driver line-up is not on a par with Red Bull’s for example, which is a sentiment I agree with and I’m sure most people will indeed agree with.

        • celeste (@celeste) said on 5th April 2013, 4:01

          A teacher of mine used to same: “not the same to call someone fool than insensate”.

          And I get what Watson is trying to say, but it is still rude to Checo.

          Button may not be the big name as Vettel, Kimi, Alonso and Hamilton. But he did great with Hamilton in the same team, even beating Hamilton in 2011; so he is not a bad driver.

          And about Checo, McClarean 2007 and 2008 with Hamilton in his first and second year ( if you add that in 2008 Heiki was just in his third year) and Toro Rosso 2008, Red Bull 2009 with Vettel in his first and second complete seasons; both constructors have great cars. So the experience of the drivers have nothing to so with a constructor bulding a dog of a car. McClarean has only themself as a team for that, and is neither Jenson nor Checo´s fault.

          • jimscreechy (@) said on 5th April 2013, 5:17

            I don’t think he was necessarily blaming them for the car, more saying they don’t really have the ability to drag the latent performance from the car like Hamilton (or IMO Alonso amounst a few others). Yes, Jenson is quick, but likes a car ‘just so’ which this car clearly isn’t, and Perez well, he had some strong performances, but has hardly set the world alight either after his brief moments of brilliance at Sauber, or since joining Mclaren.

            Also saying someone is not a bad driver (or a bad anything for that matter) because they beat their teamate is a very precarious way of measuring ability… for fairly obvious reasons. The sliding scale of measuring performance on how well or badly someone else does is never a true indicator of capability.

          • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 5th April 2013, 10:28

            Jenson is sensitive to certain car characteristics, but he’s still a fighter. He was running in a strong fifth (and looking to gain on the ailing Mercs) before the cock-up in the pits and yes, that may well have been 6th had Alonso not gaffed his race, but it’s still 6th in a car with fundamental issues.

            This interview was another loaded one, asking a specific opinion of a person on a specific subject. McLaren have only just got the car back to Woking after the initial rounds. To expect any significant improvement between AUS and MAL was just either doom-saying or unrealistic expectation.

            Heck, as a qualified and knowledgeable ex-F1 driver, Watson shouldn’t have even answered the question before Barcelona.

      • Nick.UK (@) said on 5th April 2013, 1:01

        I don’t think it is diesprespectful to say Button is half a driver. Harsh maybe. Personally I’d say 3/4… haha.

        • Blackmamba (@blackmamba) said on 5th April 2013, 7:50

          Let’s not kid ourselves, Perez’s appeal was the Telecoms giant money above all else. The driver line-up at Macca just lacks a little bit of punch. Also Jenson isn’t exactly renowned for setting up a car. He looked utterly lost at several races last year and had to revert to Lewis’s set-up. For all we know this car could be really good but the drivers are just messing up on set up. Look how much they improved from Oz to Malaysia in less than 7 days without any upgrades, that can only be set-up.

          • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 5th April 2013, 10:31

            Jenson doesn’t personally set up his car. The mechanics in the team as a whole try and optimise the car for the conditions and what the driver wants.

            The team as a whole got themselves into trouble last year – both operationally and technical direction – and people read too much into the ‘Button reverted to Hamilton’s setup’ line from last year, often as part of a fanboy attack on Button.

      • jimscreechy (@) said on 5th April 2013, 5:03

        Why is that disrespectful? He’s giving his honest opinion about Button when compared to other drivers and doing so without malice or discourtesy.

        …and yes Jenson is a world champion, but as for ‘Lucking out’ I think the jury is still out on that one. I would call having a car 0.5 seconds faster than the rest of the team for at least half a season fairly lucky wouldn’t you?

        • celeste (@celeste) said on 5th April 2013, 9:29

          Why is that disrespectful? He’s giving his honest opinion about Button when compared to other drivers and doing so without malice or discourtesy.

          @jimscreechy As I say before, not the same to say it but how you say it, or at 18 are man just half a man, because they don´t have experience?

          He could have say that McClarean needs a more experience driver, not that Checo was only half a driver.

          • jimscreechy (@) said on 5th April 2013, 10:30

            “how he said it” you misquoted him, then criticise him for being disrespectful which he clearly wasn’t. What he said was Mclaren appear to have one and a half dirvers as opposed to the top teams who have two. He didn’t say Perez was half a driver, and in fact goes some way in describing Perez as having past flashes of brilliance. it seems “disrespectful” is one of those words doing the popularity circuit that has lost the true relevance of its meaning.

          • celeste (@celeste) said on 5th April 2013, 10:37

            @jimscreechy
            I haven´t even quoted him, and if you think he wasn´t disrespectful is your prerogative. In my opinion he was.

            What he said was Mclaren appear to have one and a half dirvers as opposed to the top teams who have two.

            So Checo is only half a driver? Then more respect to him, must be hard to drive a car being only half a man…

          • jimscreechy (@) said on 5th April 2013, 11:58

            It isnt a matter of perogative. He didn’t say Perez is half a driver. He said, (and I will quote for your benefit) “McLaren look like they’ve got one and a half drivers.”

          • celeste (@celeste) said on 5th April 2013, 12:35

            @jimscreechy So Jenson = 3/4 and Checo=3/4 of a driver, yes that´s much better….

          • jimscreechy (@) said on 5th April 2013, 15:01

            Glad I could help.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 5th April 2013, 18:20

            @celeste – I don’t think you should be taking “half a driver” so literally: in essence it is figurative speech for saying that the McLaren line-up isn’t as complete or as good as the other top teams, who all have world-class first drivers and (with the exception of Grosjean at Lotus) experienced second drivers, who make for good rear gunners if you will.

            I don’t think that’s disrespectful at all, rather an accurate portrayal of reality. @william-brierty has highlighted why Button may be considered not on a par with Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton and perhaps Räikkönen and I think that is an entirely just thing to say, which is what I was intending to get across also.

        • celeste (@celeste) said on 5th April 2013, 18:27

          @vettel1 I´m not. I´m being sarcastic. What I mean is that no matter wich driver we are talking about they deserve a little respect. Checo is “a” driver, Button is “a” driver, same as Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton…

          I have no problem saying that Checo needs more experience, or that Button needs (insert whatever you think Button needs to be better), but is the way he is expressing his opinion what I have a problem about.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 5th April 2013, 18:32

            @celeste – so all you’re asking is for some respect then essentially? Pah, I’m sure he can take it on the cheek! ;)

          • celeste (@celeste) said on 5th April 2013, 18:35

            @vettel1 yeah, they can. But we as public should demand from the journalist and other figures that drivers (sportmen or women) for all that matters tread them with respect

      • Todfod (@todfod) said on 5th April 2013, 6:22

        he is a world champion, you don´t get there by lucking in out.

        Of course you do. Look at Hill and Villenueve as examples of being in the right car at the right time. Jenson is another classic example as well.

        Jenson has won a WDC and no one can take that away from him, but we can definitely comment on his ability as a driver. So Watson can say what he wants .. as he is entitled to his opinion… as are the rest of us.

        • q85 said on 5th April 2013, 7:24

          if you look at what damon did in a fast car in 4 seasons and compare it to what lewis(and others) has done in 6 seasons thens damons performances arent lucky.

          Hill with 115 starts has 22 wins. 3 of those seasons not in a great car. one of them he didnt want to race.

          lewis 112 starts 21 wins. all (except first half of 09) in very good cars.

          Hill is underrated, sure he wasnt MS but who was and he had to race him at his best in a team that was years behind in terms of strategy. In 95 hill led many races up to first pit only to find himself stuck in the pit 5 seconds longer than benetton. No driver can compete with that.

          • OOliver said on 5th April 2013, 9:07

            And what was the competition like during Hills time at Williams? From 2004, Mclaren was not even able to win races, Ferrari only won 2 races in maybe 3 or 4 years. Williams and Benetton were miles ahead of everyone else.
            The competition wasn’t as close as it is presently.
            I also recall Schumacher getting lots of penalties in some of those years.
            In all Hill was fantastically capable, but looking at the context it is difficult to estimate what his true level of success would have been had he raced and also Schumacher, with tougher competition like we’ve had in recent years.

          • Q85 said on 5th April 2013, 12:55

            Ferrari wasnt as bad as the world is told. Up to mid season alesi was in the title hunt(points wise) in 95 and led many many races only for something to go wrong… Yes agreed it isnt what it is now in terms of competition. But its only in last couple of years has it been more than 2 teams. In 95 3 teams were in race winnable situations. Now its 4. last year was really the exception to the rule.

            My point was more Damon gets the flak, sometimes rightly so for his end of the season in 95. But Williams need to take a large blame for A. Not listening to him at the start of 94 and only acting on the car when mansell got in it and said the same thing. B. Not being good enough in the pits stops and strategy. They were years behind Ross and co.

          • jimscreechy (@) said on 5th April 2013, 15:24

            I agree in that I think Hill was underated, but comparing drivers from two different era’s is more pointless than comparing two drivers from the same era and the same team. Equally foolhardy would comparing Usain Bolt with Carl Lewis or even a “double diffused” Ben Johnson.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 5th April 2013, 18:45

            Hill did also have the benefit in 1994 of a faster car towards the end and a few disqualifications from Schumacher, and in 1996 the car was much better than the competition again. For sure he was a good driver, but as world champions go he’s on the James Hunt side of the scale, not the Ayrton Senna.

    • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 5th April 2013, 12:28

      @vettel1 Interesting perspective, Max. I think it is valid to say that McLaren have two incomplete drivers. Perez, is seemingly only able to get the maximum out of himself in a selection of a few and very inconsistent occasions. Whilst he is undeniably quick, he is not Lewis Hamilton, who always had his sheer unrivaled, natural pace to fall back on whenever the car wasn’t up to standard or when McLaren were having one of their “clowny” weekends. And although Button is unquestionably one of the grid’s best racing, his arsenal of talents are arguably not as wide-reaching as his fellow world champions. This is not an insult to F1 Fanatic readers’ favourite driver, this is a fact; he can’t qualify. But the attitude is that all of his balance woes and all of his qualifying issues can all be cured to make the “perfect driver” we saw in the first half of 2009, yes? Button at his best is unbeatable, yes? Wrong, and what we saw the 2010 Italian Grand Prix proves it. Button was on it all weekend, clearly still angry from Vettel’s mistake in Spa; he was at his best. But so was Alonso, and “premium Button” was well and truly beaten. Button and McLaren were a marriage made in heaven because both parties revels in the complexities of F1, perhaps too much. Button arguably spent too much of 2012 searching for performance hidden within the car, as opposed to maximizing his own performance on track, but even when Button couldn’t find that performance, McLaren could always rely on Hamilton to bring the points in. Now that is no longer the case. Because of Button’s signature “quiet weekends”, surely a consistent driver that brought home points every weekend would have been a better option. If I had been Ron Dennis last year, I’d have been pushing to get Rosberg alongside Button. Actually no, if I’d been Ron Dennis last year, I’d have made bloody sure that I kept my number 1 driver, but that is beside the point! The point is that McLaren probably have the worst driver line-up of the top 5 teams, and Ron Dennis, Martin Whitmarsh and the entire company knows that and is regretting not signing one of the Nicos. I’m not sure I agree with “two halves” of drivers, because that is rather harsh on Button, but perhaps slightly flattering on Perez. McLaren have three-quarters of a driver in Button, and a third of a driver in Perez. Now, I know that’s rather too mathematical, but it’s a bit more representative.

  2. Keirdre (@keirdre) said on 5th April 2013, 0:47

    Have you changed the format of these Round Up posts? I can’t read the full article in Feedly or Google Reader any more. It just shows the first paragraph. Is this deliberate? Is it a drive to get more users to actual visit the site?

  3. Jeanrien (@jeanrien) said on 5th April 2013, 1:03

    About COTD, that’s quite difficult to compare era’s even with corrected. We would have to add that as cars were less reliable they were more likely to finish high in the ranking as less car would finish the race. Specially when you had a faster car, that was some kind of win or break situation …

  4. Jay Menon (@jaymenon10) said on 5th April 2013, 1:05

    John Watson is being a little unfair on Mclaren and its drivers. They obvious had an idea of what they were getting with Checo, if not they wouldnt have signed him. He is raw, but can be moulded into a future world champion. In Button, they have a solid driver, who knows how to win races and championships, on paper, looks, the lineup cant really be faulted.

    The problem here is that, nobody expected them to put out a dog of car, not the team nor the drivers, so its an uphill task for the rest of the season. But its too early to dismiss them. Jenson is pretty handy getting the car setup to his liking, Im sure Checo can learn from him. They will come good…surely they will win a race this year.

    • OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 5th April 2013, 3:46

      Even more, I read Jenson’s tweet published here the day after the race, when he said he was thankful by the progress made. If he retired and despite of that he made such a comment, you can imagine how raw the car was at the first race!!!
      McLaren is used to getting us angry no the first races, to then tidy the house up. I hope Checo can win at least a race this year. I assume Button will deliver first with a couple of victories

    • Joe Papp (@joepa) said on 5th April 2013, 6:02

      He is raw, but can be moulded into a future world champion.

      @jaymenon10 – I would bet you $10 today that at no point in his F1 career does Perez become WDC. Interested?

      • celeste (@celeste) said on 5th April 2013, 9:39

        @joepa Funny, if you think about it the last driver that only delivered a win in his McClarean career was Heiki, and he is now out of F1… I wonder if that will happened to Checo?

        • Joe Papp (@joepa) said on 5th April 2013, 19:22

          I wonder if that will happened to Checo?

          @celeste – ya know, I don’t wish ill fortunes on any driver, and I certainly have nothing against Perez. But to my untrained eyes, he seems massively overrated and not a candidate for a WDC in the future – though of course I expect him to win at least one race.

          • celeste (@celeste) said on 6th April 2013, 6:43

            @joepa I think there was better options, Hulkenberg by example, and the complete reason why they choose him still puzzle me.

  5. OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 5th April 2013, 1:40

    I was delighted yesterday reading the article about Button and the way how his 1000 points don’t represent how good (or how regular) he is. Probably this kind of points should be revised by a special comision at FIA. But probably we would “alter” history by doing that.
    For example, in the past, fewer drivers were awarded by points. I can’t recall a precise example (somebady help me on this one, please), but, what IF (a big if) A driver beat another by a single point, but not counting some races where the other had more “no point” finishes which could be valid with present standards? I think Prost and Senna each have a case like this (losing a championship in favor of the other one), because of that awkward rule which didn’t count the 2 “worst” finishing points.

  6. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 5th April 2013, 1:58

    Probably makes sense. There’s a lot to get used to next year…

  7. mantresx (@mantresx) said on 5th April 2013, 2:53

    In 2014 engines will be a differentiator but not necessarily because of power or fuel consumption, but also because of reliability of the “power unit”, unlike today, even changing the Kers will be illegal next year. It makes sense to have more testing because that will allow the teams and the FIA to change some rules if it’s necessary, let’s just hope they don’t change them too much though.

  8. tandrews (@tomand95) said on 5th April 2013, 3:40

    Will they just test at Jerez and Catalunya again next year or will they go to other european tracks like algarve? I guess the teams would want to keep tracks pretty similar to previous years to compare their new 2014 regulation cars against old data and track times etc, but there are some other alternatives.

    I wonder why they don’t go to Bahrain or Abu Dhabi or even both? I know it will cost more due to flying teams and equipment further, but the temperature will be warmer which would give testing a much better representation of the majority of races (plus these are grand prix circuits) in the season held in summer and the threat of rain would be severely reduced meaning more track time! Maybe they could do these 2 tests first when winter is at its worst in Europe and Jerez and Catalunya can have tests in late February and early March. However, it might just have to be Abu Dhabi for the time being as Bahrain has more important issues to attend to.

    Anyway just food for thought, plus they were going to test in Bahrain around a week before the race in 2011, but then the race was cancelled so it’s not like it’s a completely abstract idea.

    • Kimi4WDC said on 5th April 2013, 7:15

      Wont make much difference for Renault as an engine manufacturer, that’s why they all in for it. With teams it’s a bit different. As you mention warmer climate, I’d imagine teams would want to make sure this additional testing with not include “waste of time” they had to endure this winter.

      • tandrews (@tomand95) said on 5th April 2013, 8:20

        You’re right, teams shouldn’t be forced to waste time in poor conditions when there are other options available. Moving testing out of Europe and out of their winter months should really be considered. Moto GP testing was held at Sepang, Circuit of the Americas and Jerez, seriously there on the opposite sides of the world to each other! Surely F1 can withstand a few extra hours on a flight to the UAE rather than Spain.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th April 2013, 9:51

      I wonder why they don’t go to Bahrain or Abu Dhabi or even both?

      They tried, once. It ended in disaster – a sandstorm picked up and forced them to abandon the test.

      Spain has been chosen because it has the most-stable conditions for that time of year. The conditions experienced are usually representative of what teams can expect during the actual racing season. Although recent tests have been dominated by rain, the teams often need wet weather testing, particularly for evaluating tyres.

    • Alex Brown (@splittimes) said on 5th April 2013, 10:19

      They tested mid-season at Vallelunga or somewhere in Italy recently, with positive reaction form the drivers, at least. If they do go east for testing, part of me wants them to do the whole lot there (save air-travel and the planet, man) but a big part of me wants them to do one test in Europe. Being on the verge of the precariat, its the cheapest way for me to see F1 cars running at full pelt.

  9. SaturnVF1 (@doublestuffpenguin) said on 5th April 2013, 4:24

    Keith, do you make much of the report a couple of (non-motorsports) sites have of Toyota coming back? I think they were far enough after April 1st to be considered.

  10. Abdurahman (@) said on 5th April 2013, 4:49

    I am still baffled as to what “Checo” means. In all translations I can find it means “Czech”.

    Maybe it means “flash in the pan”? :)

  11. coefficient (@coefficient) said on 5th April 2013, 8:29

    Watson running off at the mouth again. Pah!!

  12. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall) said on 5th April 2013, 11:08

    Perhaps Montezemolo was right about Perez then. Too soon to tell of course but it’s a possibillity.

  13. Pandaslap (@pandaslap) said on 5th April 2013, 14:40

    “McLaren look like they’ve got one and a half drivers.”

    I immediately pictured Jenson Button and Tyrion Lannister.

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