Cars ‘won’t be far off’ 2013 pace by last race – Button

2014 F1 season

Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-29, Jerez, 2014Jenson Button expects F1 teams to recover much of the performance which has been lost with the new regulations by the end of the season.

Button set the fastest time of the test so far in the second day of running today, but was 6.3 seconds slower than the fastest lap seen at Jerez last year.

Button believes by the end of this week’s test drivers will still be over four seconds off the pace seen 12 months ago.

“I don’t know what tyre we used last year, at this point we’ve used the medium so far, which we think is half a second slower than last year’s medium. The cars are also heavier, which is about 1, 1.2 seconds through weight. So that’s 1.6, 1.8 seconds already just on those two changes.

“I think you’ll see people getting down to 22s. But it will still be three seconds off day one, what we did last year. But it was always going to be slower.”

“This is the first test with a very new package,” Button pointed out. “Last year was hardly changed at all in terms of the regulations so the first test we were going to be that quick and improve for the first race but it’s not a massive chunk.”

“Whereas now when we get to the first race everyone’s going to be much quicker. And then three races in there’ll be another chunk in terms of lap time, about a second or something. By the end of the year we might not be that far off.”

Button doubted the new F1 cars might be out-paced by GP2 machines, but said “it will be a lot closer at some circuits”.

“High speed we’ll be quicker but we won’t be that much quicker.”

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17 comments on Cars ‘won’t be far off’ 2013 pace by last race – Button

  1. RichyB (@richyb) said on 29th January 2014, 18:37

    Just something about the points raised and the somewhat impassioned predictions Button makes about the speed, has suddenly burst my bubble of enthusiasm again for the new season :/ You develop that new-season-testing buzz for things with the new designs, intrigue about the engines, driver line-ups etc. But then you do get reminded periodically in frank terms that these are going to be fundamentally slower cars

    • Matthijs (@matthijs) said on 29th January 2014, 18:41

      Slower cars do not mean worse races. Remember the sixties?

    • Chad (@chaddy) said on 30th January 2014, 0:31

      I think you’re guilty of anchoring bias. What was so great about the speed last year? Couldn’t it theoretically have been a few seconds slower than a hypothetical formula of previous years? If the goal were outright speed, that regulation could easily be written, but the racing would be dangerous and less interesting than what they are trying to do this year (and every year for that matter). There’s no reason to say the speed of 2013 was the ‘right’ speed for F1. And I bet if you sat in the stands, you couldn’t tell the difference of 3 seconds per lap, which isn’t that many mph.

    • Bruno (@brunes) said on 30th January 2014, 4:20

      Just by watching the race on TV or even live, nobody will be able to tell these cars are 3 seconds slower.
      As @matthijs said. If you watch a race from the sixties, the cars looked incredibly fast because the drivers were on the limit and THAT is something you can see on TV.

      Just watch a little bit of this video and you will see why “slow” cars can make great races
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Io5stUpnEhg

  2. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 29th January 2014, 18:50

    Button doubted the new F1 cars might be out-paced by GP2 machines, but said “it will be a lot closer at some circuits”.

    “High speed we’ll be quicker but we won’t be that much quicker.”

    That’s just shocking…

  3. nicjasno (@nicjasno2) said on 29th January 2014, 18:51

    Those were some horrible cars :P

    But if you mean the racing itself… we’ll see. I hope it won’t be a walkthrough for a single team like the previous seasons.

  4. Breno (@austus) said on 29th January 2014, 18:52

    Thats some questionable math.

    • Oople said on 29th January 2014, 19:18

      Seems alright to me.

      I don’t know what tyre we used last year, at this point we’ve used the medium so far, which we think is half a second slower than last year’s medium. The cars are also heavier, which is about 1, 1.2 seconds through weight. So that’s 1.6, 1.8 seconds already just on those two changes.

      One tenth off either side of the estimates… And the even decimals just plain sound better. It’s not like he came to the conclusion that half a second and 1.2 seconds equals 2.5 seconds, or something…

  5. Pete Bruffell (@petebruffell) said on 29th January 2014, 19:22

    it is astounding to me that new regulations are introduced which significantly decrease the speed and power performance of these machines. I feel like I’m going crazy…is not speed and performance the whole reason people love this sport…do they not know this?

  6. adamx84 said on 29th January 2014, 20:06

    Given the number of laps he did after setting his best time, and the weight penalty of that fuel, I wouldn’t be surprised if Rosberg could have got close to bettering Jensen’s prediction today with a low fuel run on medium tyres.

  7. Wesley (@wesley) said on 29th January 2014, 21:52

    Awesome.Slower,uglier cars piloted by pay drivers,barely fueled,equipped with balloons for tires,with a free for all wild car points race at the end of the season.F1 certainly is the pinnacle of motorsport.It is about to outdone by the feeder series.Thats progress! ;)

    I know that is a run on sentence but,I didn’t take a breath.

  8. Tommy C (@tommy-c) said on 29th January 2014, 23:08

    I think Button’s comments should have a decent dose of context applied before people start worrying that these cars are going to be slow. If we’re talking about outright lap time, that is qualifying, I think it is useful to check out some of the previous pole position times for Round One: the Australian GP. The fastest time set was Vettel’s 2011 effort of 1:23.529. If you go back to 2009, we have Barrichello’s Q2 time of 1:24.783. Go back a little further to 2000 and Hakkinen’s pole time was 1:30.556. Admittedly, track conditions, fuel loads, tyres, etc. will have influenced lap times and it is difficult to determine exactly what the fastest time possible around that circuit could be in any given car. As David Coulthard often says, it’s all about who was the best on that particular day in history. The point I’m trying to make is that Mika Hakkinen’s pole time from 2000 was more than 7 seconds slower than Vettel’s eleven years later, but there would be few who would argue that the MP4-15 was somehow “slow”.

  9. steadyb said on 29th January 2014, 23:15

    That can’t be the color of the McLaren can it? It will be difficult to tell the difference be between them and
    Mercedes. I really like the orange color they use at launches sometimes.

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