McLaren MP4-29, front, 2014

‘Just need to finish to score points at start’ – Michael

2014 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

McLaren MP4-29, front, 2014Drivers will only need to finish the first few races to be in with a chance of scoring points, reckons McLaren sporting director Sam Michael.

Unreliability is widely expected to be much more severe in the coming season, particularly in the opening races as teams adjust to the new engine formula.

“In the early races there’s no doubt there’s going to be significant reliability issues up and down the grid,” said Michael. “We’ve already seen the start of that in dyno programmes, we’ll see that again in testing.”

“To be honest if you finish in the first few races you’re going to have a very high chance of scoring points. How long that continues during the year will be a race, as well as a performance race you’re going to have a reliability race where people are spending to get reliable. It could be like the eighties or even worse.”

However Michael said he embraced the technical challenge offered by the new rules.

“The nice thing about big rule changes like this is, they create a massive amount of stress and workload in the system, but for an engineer or anyone who’s mechanically minded they’re fantastic because they’re so interesting. All the engineers can smell the opportunity to gain advantage.

“And you learn so much because you try so many different things to regain performance because that’s the nature of our business. So it’s always quite an exciting time. We’ll see what happens in winter testing in the early races.”

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Image ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei

21 comments on “‘Just need to finish to score points at start’ – Michael”

  1. Call me a pessimist, but can anyone see this being a load of tosh?

    I can see most cars still finishing most races. Every time they make a bold prediction when a rule change happens, it doesn’t usually come true (in regards to reliability, at least).

    KERS was meant to do the same thing, and more often than not, everyone’s worked fine.

    1. I agree: I don’t think it’ll be as bad as everyone is making it out to be. Although it’s interesting to note that he admitted to the failures in dyno testing. I wonder whether he’d have admitted that if they weren’t switching to Honda power plants next year and still had to make Mercedes happy.

    2. I’m estimating ~5-6 dropouts during races at the start of season… But nothing more than that, barring extreme cases.

      1. But just think…6 cars dropping out. The usual 3-4 not finishing because of some type of race damage, Grosjean being Grosjean or Maldando being Maldanodo and taking out 2-3 cars at the first corner….Could Marussia or Caterham score their first point?!?

    3. These are the best engineers available, they’ll make sure the cars a race ready and as reliable as possible.. Can’t wait to see the look on the faces of everyone that is scare mongering by saying half the field will retire, when come the checkered flag in AUS there’s only a few retirements, and possibly not all of them due to unreliable power trains!

  2. I’m looking forward to it. The problem with ultra reliability is that it never gives a chance to midfielders for them to capitalise on the bad luck of those at the front. I remember races when I was younger where it seemed like every time someone got the lead, their car blew up. That’s exciting! should definitely mix things up a bit to have a bit more of a random element and will surely prevent one team or driver from being able to comprehensively romp away with the championship.

    1. David not Coulthard (@)
      24th January 2014, 13:19

      (Don’t take my reply seriously)…The MP4/2 and the MP4/4
      Lotus 25
      Alfa Romeo’s championship winning car
      Cooper T51
      BT46B (OK, I’m pushing it a bit too far)

  3. I have missed high attrition races in recent years, I think the last race which saw less than 10 cars finish was 6 years ago.

  4. Yup, i’m all for a bit of attrition! As long as it’s not artificial, of course..

    1. You mean like DRS?

      Push a button to incur damage to your rival’s car? ;)

      1. Red Shell

        1. Can we have a Blue Shell button to slow Vettel down a bit? And give Kimi a Bullet Bill in case he gets lost?

          Mind you in some versions of Mario Kart the blue shells are avoidable…

          Scrap that entirely. Just make F1 2014 like F1 Race Stars.

  5. OK, so what are the odds that attrition allows Caterham or Marussia to score the first point? This has gotta be the best chance they’ll ever get before Bernie starves them into oblivion.

    1. Huge chance for them. With Kobayashi and Bianchi, it should be one hell of a fight!

    2. Not if their cars are the first ones to fail…

  6. I’m actually clueless about engines so I’m curious about outside conditions and these new turbo engines. Will the hot weather in Bahrain, Abu Dhabi etc. and the humidity of Malaysia have more influence on the engine’s performance now with the turbo than before? Or will it not matter in an significant way compared to previous years.

    1. Have a look at the end of this article for some info on that:

      New engines increase race strategy risks – Taffin

  7. I don’t believe the fears of the majority will materialize. This is the year 2014. not 1985. There is so many fantastic tools to design and test the components before manufacturing them hence reducing the margin for error. It’s just matter of thinking of as much parameters as possible. I also believe the best engineers are involved…, and I hope I’m right ;-)

  8. And, if you ask me: “The comeback of turbos is at least 10 years late!”

  9. I’m absolutely fine with that. In fact, I’m pleased. It’s too long since we had the position of pretty much every finisher being in, or at least very close to, the points. It gives the midfield teams a chance to grab a podium, and the small teams the chance at some potentially decent points.

    Hopefully it’ll actually happen, though even a slight reduction from the ultra reliability of the past few years would be a welcome change.

  10. I would be interested to know how many engines fail because they don’t have enough fuel and ran too hot for too long.

    Not sure it will be as bad as Pirelli at Silverstone, but the guys calling the shots in F1 are not doing any favors for the team’s pocket books.

    Personally I would rather see F1 running highly compressed Hydrogen w/ fuel cells and electric motors than this, but what ever sells cars, i guess. If I had to buy a car tomorrow it would be a Toyota :)

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