Jenson Button, McLaren, Interlagos, 2013

2014 F1 cars will be harder to drive – Button

F1 Fanatic Round-upPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Jenson Button, McLaren, Interlagos, 2013In the round-up: Jenson Button says the 2014 rules changes will create cars that are much harder to drive.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

2014 cars will be tough to drive – Button (ESPN)

“With the 2014 car if you floor it in a corner like turn three at Barcelona, you don’t just drive off, you immediately lose the rear because there is so much torque. It’s not a balance issue, you have torque and we’ve never had that before.”

Ted Macauley: Sebastian Vettel?s winning streak by no means boring (Gulf News)

Bernie Ecclestone: “We may never see [Red Bull’s] combined like again. So let us all enjoy it while we can.”

Moss’s manager Ken Gregory dies (Autosport)

“Gregory’s contribution to motor racing stretched far beyond simply managing [Stirling] Moss. He also managed Peter Collins, who won three world championship grands prix driving for Ferrari before his death at the Nurburgring in 1958.”

Formula One Sponsors Line Up for Global Reach (The New York Times)

McLaren director of marketing Ekrem Sami: “If you went back five, seven or ten years, very often we would have a partner who would say to us, ‘We are going to come in and year one will be a learning year, and then by year two we will really get this thing rolling, and start to generate some serious return on investment’. We never hear that any more. It has to deliver from the moment of signature. And we are very comfortable with that.”


Comment of the day

Here’s the winner of our second Mark Webber Caption Competition:

Mark Webber, Williams, 2005

Hmm… he doesn?t look like a doctor…

There’s still one more Caption Competition to win so enter your best suggestion here.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

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On this day in F1

Chris Bristow was born on this day in 1937. He came to prominence in Formula Two and was placed with Harry Schell at the Yeoman Credit team for the 1960 Formula One season.

But Schell was killed early in the year and Bristow lost his life in an appalling crash during the Belgian Grand Prix, a race which also claimed the life of fellow British racer Alan Stacey.

126 comments on “2014 F1 cars will be harder to drive – Button”

  1. ” There is a lot anyway but the way the cars will be, with less downforce, harder tyres and more torque, you’ll get close racing a bit like GP2 because it will be so much easier to make a mistake.”

    I hope Jenson is right on that, I really do. Otherwise my already dwindling love for F1 will continue :(

        1. Marko has a PhD, so legally, he can be called a Dr. even though he’s not a doctor of medicine (MD). I found it amusing because, again, he doesn’t look like a doctor in the sense that he’s not wearing scrubs or a lab coat like an MD would be seen.

          1. Well actually, only people with a PhD are doctors.

            The other people that we routinely refer to as ‘doctors’ are actually medical practitioners, unless they have a PhD of course.

  2. I’m surprised jens can have any confidence in the simulator :s doesn’t it normally require quite a bit of practice time to ensure the theory of the simulator lines up with the real world effects? If I remember right quite a few teams were talking about drivers solely doing practice time to help gather data for the simulator during last years pre-season practice sessions, and that was with cars that are far less different than the previous years.

    Just seems a bit early to be making judgements based on a simulator that would have nothing than the theoretical data thrown into it at this point.

        1. According to Pedro De La Rosa, yes, and he has used both McLaren and Ferrari simulators. That’s why Ferrari brought him in, to develop and better their simulator.

          1. The Mclaren simulator used to be much better, but according to Pat Fry with Pedro’s contribution the simulator isn’t an area that Ferrari is still miles away from Red Bull & Mclaren, remember Ferrari didn’t hire only Pedro De Larosa, they hired also some Mclaren engineers specialized in simulation

    1. The engine creates far more torque. I assume Mercedes have relayed a lot of information about its delivery, in which case it would be easy to update the simulator. The rest of the car wouldn’t need to be updated to be able to see how much of a difference that makes I assume.

      1. Yes, and if the teams have this information already it can’t be long before before it leaks out and we get to know who really has the most power. Of course there may be some jokers doing the leaking.

    2. They have a good simulator to get the good glimpse of car’s behaviour. However if they think that torque is an issue of that magnitude they should rethink the transmission ratio.

      1. There are a lot of legitimate ways to complain about tire saving, but having a car which is capable of breaking traction doesn’t really seem like one of them. The more outside the envelope the car is capable of being, the more a ‘driver’s championship’ each season becomes – which is what so many fans want, right?

        The US GP last year was fantastic because the track was new and the tires were hard. The cars never had to pit, but serious time was on the line to anyone who could actually ride the very edge of grip.

        Less grip is better for closer, less artificially stimulated racing. More torque means that drivers need to have excellent feel to generate just enough, but not too much.

        Think about it like this (Ridiculously oversimplified): If the engine can only ever generate as much torque as the tires can turn in to acceleration, anyone could slam their foot down on the accelerator pedal and the only difference between the cars is their aero package.

        In instead, the engine is able to produce 2x as much torque as the tires can turn in to acceleration, suddenly you need to be able to quickly ask the engine for precisely 50% of it’s available power. The advantage quickly swings to the driver with the most sensitive right foot; at the very least there’s a ton more time in the slow corners when the aero is not in play as much.

        TL;DR – This is good news for the sport.

        1. Spot on post.

          My only concern next year is that drivers might be looking after their fuel consumption as well tyres all the time – here’s hoping Pirelli are sensible and start conservatively with these new regs.

        2. this post needs a “like” button… everything about it is correct imo!
          I can’t help but feel that some of the drivers who didn’t have the chance to master the V10’s might be in for trouble if they are that different in power and torque, those ERS packages as well I assume provide a hell of a lot of torque being electrical and all.

          Looking forward to 2014 so much it hurts and I will probably wee my pants in anticipation of the Australian GP, leave 2013 looong behind cause it was a total lacklustre ordeal.

        3. @hwkii

          More torque means that drivers need to have excellent feel to generate just enough, but not too much.

          Is the torque controlled by engine mapping in the ECU or the driver ? the engine torque map,the driver torque map …. Can anyone explain the drivers role please ?

      1. I don’t think so, Pirelli didn’t get it wrong either this season, they did what they were asked for and as for problems encountered during the season(delamination) the teams have also their part when they didn’t respect Pirelli recommendations, their reputation was on the line , they will not risk anything like that even if all the teams will ask them again to produce the same tyres as this year’s tyres they will never accept it

    1. When will we ever get rid of pirelli? If i remember correct Bernie has signed a new 5 year deal right?
      If Pirelli cant get it right next year again,they should be kicked out of F1.
      Just getting really boring,slow poison for F1,even worse than DRS :(

        1. Yes,maybe the FIA is the culprit,but i am not interested in the blame game,but what i am interested in is flat out racing.
          Cuurently what meets the eye is that more weightage is to the car, DRS and damn tyres rather than real driver skills.

      1. If I’m not mistaken: when FIA announced their plans of degrading tyres, manufacturers like Bridgestone and Michelin refused to take part. Rightly so, if you realise how much criticism there is towards Pirelli.

  3. There were the same kind of thoughts when it came to the removal of traction control, and other than the odd extra Massa spin it was all pretty much ado about nothing. The drivers will control their right foot a touch more, and the engineers will work their magic and to us it’ll look much the same I imagine.

    1. To be fair, the sliding didn’t magically disappear when it was re-introduced either. The number of spins in the races between 1995 and 2000 (1994 was rather visible) weren’t weren’t drastically higher than from 2001 to 2007.

    2. It was never really expected that there would be too many problems when TC was banned because the V8 engine’s didn’t have a great deal of low end torque.

      The new V6 Turbo’s + The ERS systems (Unlike KERS the ERS isn’t driver operated via a button, It comes on when the drivers hits the gas) there is a ton of low end torque & its this which will make lighting up the rear’s easier.
      Plus don’t forget there will be significantly less rear downforce due to the exhaust changes (No more blown diffusers) & some changes to the rear wing angle.

      1. @tmf42 I don’t think so. I find him a funny guy and a incredible driver, but for me he just doesn’t have that ‘room-filling’ aura that some of the other world champions from bygone era’s seemingly have/had. When he is on track, I fear that Red Bull and that special Vettel Helmet every time I see it. But when he is outside his cockpit, He just looks like a normal -yet funny- boy.

      2. @tmf42 – The problem is most people only see what he puts out on the track and in interviews, they don’t ever see things like these videos. Honestly, he does seem cold and boring during race weekends (when they’re interviewing him or whatever).

      3. @tmf42
        Kimi also beat the favorite drivers and teams of so many fans in the past !!! Kimi is popular because he is Kim, a very unusual personality !!!! I do admit that Vettel has an exceptional personality one of the best drivers inside and especially outside of the track but i don’t like him at all, the winning statistic and the incredible records that Vettel broke during his career are a reason for him to be so popular, people always like very successful athletes Usain Bolt, Roger Federrer, Rafa Nadal,Valentino Rossi, Michael Shumacher …. were very popular when they were winning, i think it has something to do with Red Bull, the team is unpopular because of their PR policy which is very hypocrite in my opinion and the way they abuse the rules….So maybe when Seb changes Helmet this situation will change in his favour

        1. @tifoso1989 agree – the polarization I mentioned was definitely emphasized by RB. The new team with the new kid beating the rest. Kimi was at McLaren and had naturally a bigger fan base to start with.
          I also think that it will change once he changes overalls – helmets he changes anyway :) – I still think that he is headed for Ferrari in 2016 resp. eventually so I expect the same swing as we saw with Alonso.

      4. @tmf42 – Completly agree. If Vettel was batting for Championships but wasn’t dominating the sport, he’d be one of the favourites amongst fans. He’s a very similar character to Schumacher in lots of ways… main difference? He doesn’t drive a Ferrari.

        I’d love to see Seb in a Ferrari one day. I think the F1 community would implode though! So much blind love for Ferrari regardless of what they do and so much blind hate for Seb simply because the rest of the teams/drivers can’t keep up with him.

    1. Thats great! I had seen the Marko one, but it really seems Vettel is quite a number. Maybe we can live with him winning everything, but make him do an impersonation of someone each time he is on the podium :-o

      1. Because rules like that led to a train behind the leader. All the tools engineers use to get rear end grip, creates turbulence behind the car which lowers the down force of the car behind a good 10% according to TV broadcasters. Which in turn enables the lead car to keep just enough of an advantage to stay ahead.

      2. @chaddy because being too comfortable leads into being too easy. Antilock brakes, traction control, stability controls, you can get all that into a car and it’s more about the car than the driver… even more than it is today.

        1. Surely there is a difference between driver aid and comfort. The current discomfort seems as artificial as the aids themselves. We may not want traction control, but ‘broken’ Pirelli tires don’t seem to make the racing better. We could give the drivers even more issues to deal with, but it would only distract from their trying to race one another. If this leads to too wide a gulf between rich and poor teams then I would think the real issue lies away from the cars themselves

          1. @chaddy, on the contrary, if the cars are dificult to drive a good driver in a bad car will have a much better chance against a bad driver in a good car than he will if the cars are easy to drive.

    1. As mentioned by some comments already, its the increased power of the KERS system and how its more integrated with the drivetrain that will give torque from a low rev range, while Turbo will give extra torque at mid revs @chaddy

      Reading this, I would think Vettel should be amongst the best at matching his style to the cars behaviour with intensive simulator driving.

  4. I wish they would bring back re-fueling. It was a lot more exciting back then. Nobody drove conservatively. It made the race more exciting
    Also, forget this stupid rule about having to change tires. If you can do the whole race on one tire, then go for it!

    1. I wish they would bring back re-fueling. It was a lot more exciting back then.

      Refueling was NOT more exciting & I seriously can’t understand how anyone could believe that it was.

      All we ever saw in the refueling days was pit-passing, There was no overtaking (Stats show massive decline in overtaking from day 1 of refueling, They shot back up in 2010 when fueling was banned) on track because races were totally dominated by fuel strategy. We often had cars ‘racing’ for position that were nowhere close to each other on the track because they were ‘racing’ in the pits.

      The current tyre situation isn’t ideal, But at the very least cars are racing/passing on the track rather than in the pit lane as was the case during the horridly dull refueling era.

      Refueling may well have been interesting from a strategy point of view but it did nothing but hurt the on-track racing which for me should be the most important part of a race.

      The racing was better pre-refueling & was better after it, Refueling should NEVER be brought back!

      1. @PeterG Though I understand your point of view, allow me to play devil’s advocate: If you as a team/racer are refueling four times a race instead of once or twice, you will be much faster and therefore passing quite a lot more cars more often. Some cars may try to defend against you, such as a teammate of a front-running team leader, and some other cars may not since they won’t be directly racing you. I’m no strategist so I cannot comment whether four stops is deleterious to your pace vs. two stops or whatnot nor do I really remember how often people were stopping in the refueling era, but I do feel that the strategies would become quite varied if refueling were again reallowed, or for further example, if a team was only allowed to refuel or only allowed to change tires in one pit stop, not do both.

  5. Button on the new cars ; “I don’t think it will be more exciting to drive. We are going to be fighting for grip the whole time, so I don’t think that will make it more exciting.”

    Sure. Because CAN-AM, Group B and the 80’s turbo era were so boring. I guess Button equating a hard to drive car that struggle’s’s for grip (or more likely just struggle’s to put the power down) with Pirelli’s that have dropped off the cliff.

      1. Exactly that @hohum, make it harder to drive and we will see the best drivers cope best!

        And it will mean that a driver can try and push a rival into making mistakes on track again, the classical way of “fighting” for a position in F1.

  6. I do hope Jenson is right, and I also hope Pirelli make tyres that can take a caneing without falling apart, now all I’m really worried about is : Lap 2 ” OK Lewis we can’t use this much fuel, back off and save fuel and we will be able to challenge at the end, maybe we can get lucky in the pitstops.”

  7. Where on earth are these moaners looking? Do they not have the nous to search deeper into the races, beyond Vettel, and see the frantic activity and challenge going on behind the leading man?

    I’d rather have 8 super slow cars and 3 fighting for wins than 1 super car streets ahead beating a crocodile of 10 cars fighting for best of the rest trophy.

    1. But for the entire history of F1 there has very rarely been close fights for the win, The close fights/good racing has pretty much always been from 2nd back.

      I hate how F1 is been dumbed down with artificial & gimmickey rules just for people like you who feel everything is boring if the race winner pulls a big gap every week.

      The focus should not be on artificially forcing close racing, Generating a string of artificial & boring highway passes or generating ‘equality’ to get the field as close in performance as possible.
      F1 is a sport & should be treated as such, If 1 team/driver combo has the edge over the rest then so be it, Thats the essence of the sport, Always has been & always will be!

      You never heard people whining when Jim Clark/Lotus were destroying the field by a lap or more, Colin Chapmans brilliant designs & Jimmy’s superb driving skill were both applauded, There was never any push to slow them down to bunch the field.
      The past 13 or so years have been a nonsense where a team/driver doing a better job than the rest has seen them get hatred hurled at them by so called fans.

      If all your interested in is close racing then go watch a spec series & leave F1 to the fans who truly love what its meant to be & don’t need to be ‘entertained’ every few seconds, That isn’t what F1 or to be honest Motor Racing in general has ever really been about.

      1. Great post. It did make me think, that a reason why domination wasn’t so frustrating for the fans is that until a couple of decades ago, speed usually came at some expense of reliability, particularly at Chapman’s Lotus. Think back to the 70’s, and you’d likely see Andretti haul in 3 WDC’s and Peterson 1, had the Chapman designs been as bulletproof as the RB’s Vettel’s been driving over the past few years.

        Another factor I can think of is, for good reason, domination then was often tied to fans wondering if any given win would be a driver’s last. Clark and Ascari in particular had runs which would have had us grinding our teeth like we’ve had several seasons since 2000, if only there was the safety and reliability in place.

        Do I want gimmicks? No. Do I want to watch another weekend like April 29th-May 1st, 1994? Absolutely not. However, there probably needs to be such a ridiculous amount of challenge placed at the feet of the engineers in the era of massive budgets and computing power. Made-to-degrade Pirelli’s are just another salvo, and while good intentioned, was executed horribly.

        It will likely be some years, and possibly the successor to Bernie’s successor, before they go after the rot at the roots, and enforce budget caps and intensive auditing. That’s a shame, because telling the teams, “You have 100M Euros this season, you must meet these safety standards, now knock yourselves out building the best cars and hiring the best drivers,” would make for far better racing.

        Sorry for a TLDR. :/

  8. “With the 2014 car if you floor it in a corner like turn three at Barcelona, you don’t just drive off, you immediately lose the rear because there is so much torque.”

    Good. You are the best drivers in the world, go out there and prove it.

  9. Ah, thanks you good news JB. If the cars are difficult to drive then it’ll favour the drivers who shine when all the driving a racing car is stripped down to its most basic form. When confronted with two pedals and a steering wheel, no matter what the balance, no matter how much wheel-spin there is, Alonso and Hamilton will cope with it the best. For me, they are “old-school” (I literally can’t believe I just said that), who are completely unrivaled by the field in terms of car control.

    Oh, and great caption, @Andae23.

    1. When confronted with two pedals and a steering wheel, no matter what the balance, no matter how much wheel-spin there is, Alonso and Hamilton will cope with it the best.

      Alonso, yes. Hamilton, not so sure. IMO, I think it is Alonso and Vettel who hold the advantage in 2014. Those two are the drivers who have shown themselves to be most adaptable to the many quirks of current Formula 1, (tyres to be driven a certain way, counter-intuitive turning required for the blown diffuser). Hamilton on the other hand is supreme at only driving. Ask him to drive while managing tyres, KERS, torque, strategy and he will implode.

      Unfortunately, the direction in F1 is going, it is going further and further away from the true racers, Hamilton and Kimi. The sport demands smart drivers more than fast drivers now.

      1. Lewis hamilton probably is _the_ quickest F1 driver in years in F1, most likely one of the best qualifiers since Senna. Vettel is just about almost up there with LH, but not quite 100,0%. ALonso on the other hand doesn’t have Hamiltons raw speed, but he does have some 99% of it and an amazing, old-fashion car control – ála Schumacher, Montoya, Prost etc.

        1. @il-ferrarista – I would question even if Vettel is that close to Hamilton on raw speed. Hamilton certainly is the best qualifying driver F1 has seen since Senna, and when he is comfortable he finds a level completely unreachable by any other driver, and probably has almost three tenths on the whole field. Alonso’s car control is as you quite rightly say, is sublime. It really is nice to see a driver that knows what to do when the wall of champions is coming at them. Alonso is also super precise, unlike Montoya (see Nurburgring 2003), an excellent overtaker, unlike Montoya (see Nurburgring 2003) and makes very few mistakes, unlike Montoya (see Australia 2003).

          1. You use 2 examples where Montoya made a mistake yet ignore the dozens of examples where he pulled off brilliant & precise overtakes.
            Montoya was one of the best overtakers of the last 20yrs, Its why he was so popular amongst fans at the time, He raced hard & pulled off some simply awesome overtakes at a time when everyone was saying that overtaking was impossible.

            Hamilton was the same in the Pre-DRS era.

            Also your ignoring the examples where Alonso has made mistakes, failed to pull off an overtake or misjudged something resulting in contact with another car.

            Im a fan of Fernando’s, He’s a brilliant driver & a great racer but he’s not on the same level as Montoya/Hamilton when it comes to overtaking. He’ll overtake when there’s a clear opportunity but he’s never really ever forced the issue & created an unlikely overtake like guys like Montoya & Hamilton do.

          2. Imho: Well, no doubt Hamilton is an awesome overtaker, just as Montoya is/was. But Alonso is at least as good as Hamilton considering overtaking and racing generally speaking. Prior to his WC in 05, he always took _less_ risk than f.ex a Raikkonen or a Montoya specially. And when you look at 07, Alonso was *the* badass in the field, that was at least my impression. In 2006, Alonso always was on the safe side, unless you speak of Hungary’06.

            I pretty sure that Hamilton and Montoya is considered as _the_ best overtakers more or less just only because they usually take/took more risk than others.
            And you probably know that LH either wins or crashes.., remember 2011. But no doubt, LH is one of the most aggressive drivers. Just like JPM.

      2. Whaaaaaaaaat????? Do not underestimate Lewis Hamilton. Now this is not some patriotic British fan you’re talking to, I don’t even like “hip-hop Hamilton”, but I would safely summarize that when he’s comfortable in a car, his car control supersedes that of even Alonso, and car control appears to be a large part of F1 in 2014…sorry Pastor. Hamilton has the most sensitive bodily gyros of any driver, by which he can detect and correct a slide with effortless efficiency, and are you honestly saying that throttle modulation is not among the strengths of the same driver that won the 2008 British Grand Prix? Alonso and Hamilton can modulate the throttle better than any other drivers, probably why they are the best two guys in the wet. Where Alonso and Vettel pull an advantage over Lewis and Kimi is through versatility. Alonso and Vettel can effortlessly switch driving styles to suit the scenario, whether it be wet weather, a race or a Q3 lap, whilst Hamilton always drives like his overalls are on fire. However in 2014, versatility won’t be so handsomely rewarded without the huge offset in driving styles between qualifying and the race in 2013 due to the super durable 2014 Pirellis.

        And Raikkonen? Are you honestly putting Kimi in the same column as Lewis? One is the fastest driver in the world, the over struggles in qualifying. One can’t always keep life in his Pirellis whilst the other makes it look easy. For all of his unsubtleties, Raikkonen is a very sensitive driver. Like Button he requires a particular feel from the car, and like Button he leads the field in terms of tyre saving, which should put him in good stead in the fuel saving days of 2014. However unlike Button, who I expect to struggle with all that torque next year, he has no issues with oversteer or wheel-spin.

        The sport demands smart drivers more than fast drivers now.

        Actually quite the opposite is the case. With the new durable tyres the focus will be back on raw speed, so Hamilton might actually be looking good next year. Certainly, from what I’ve read, he’ll be going in 2014 as the title favourite. Also don’t be tempted to chuck the slightly less…er intelligent drivers into the same category. The four superstars of F1 at the moment approach it in completely differently. We have the speed machine of Hamilton, the race pace of Raikkonen, the calculated Vettel, and lastly the sheer, poetic skill in the hands of Alonso. All of them have attributes that will be handsomely rewarded in 2014.

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