Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Jerez, 2014

Alonso feels little difference in driving new cars

2014 F1 season

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Fernando Alono, Ferrari, Jerez, 2014Fernando Alonso says F1’s new rules hasn’t drastically changed the handling of the cars.

While some drivers, including Jenson Button and Valtteri Bottas, have praised the handling qualities of the new cars, Alonso found little to remark on about the change to V6 turbo engines.

“No big difference, to be honest,” said Alonso after covering 58 laps in the Ferrari F14 T today.

“I jump in the car and I felt not a big difference in driving style or big difference in how the things work this year.”

“There are some parameters to control, more than last year, but at the end of the day I think we will get used to very quickly,” he added.

“We have to manage one battery. It was the same last year. This year is bigger because there’s multi-function things, last year was only for the KERS.

“In terms of driving input I don’t think that it will be a big difference these 2014 cars.”

Alonso’s productive first day in the car was in stark contrast to the situation at Red Bull, who have completed just 14 laps in three days. But Alonso is not writing off his rivals this early in the season.

“Obviously it’s not our main focus at the moment the others are doing. We have a lot of things going on inside our garage. So we are not looking too much outside.

“I know they have some little running so far but plenty of time until Australia so they will put things in place I’m sure, quickly. So let’s concentrate in our things and we see what happens in Australia.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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35 comments on “Alonso feels little difference in driving new cars”

  1. Does that mean that the Ferrari has so much downforce that they’ve barely lost any from last year? ;-)

    1. That was my first thoughts too! :D

    2. I think it means Alonso is an intelligent driver who adpats very quickly to cars and steering wheels, and maybe that the simulator work was fitted to track conditions.

      Let’s put it into context as Alonso only completed 58 laps with his new machinery.

  2. I know that it’s cruel to laugh at simple typos, and I apologise Keith, but for some reason:

    after covering 58 claps in the Ferrari F14 T today

    made me giggle!

    1. “If your engine doesn’t blow up clap your hands…”
      *clap clap*
      “If your transmission doesn’t blow up clap your hands…”
      *clap clap*

      1. Sounds like a rant . Under section gazillionth.two of the FIA regulations ,after each lap of preseason testing, the driver is supposed to clap his hands to indicate he is satisfied with his lap . For each lap without a clap , a point is deducted .

    2. I dint noticed it until you pointed out here.. :D

  3. 1992 Peugeot Talbot Sport (@peugeot-905-92-93-le-mans-winner)
    30th January 2014, 19:04

    58 claps??

  4. Maybe it says more about the 2013 Williams and McLaren that their drivers felt more of a difference.
    Certainly I wasn’t expecting Bottas to praise the throttle response of a turbo (here, to Peter Windsor), particularly on day one.

    It’ll be interesting to hear what Massa has to say, comparing the new Williams with the old Ferrari.

    Kimi Raikkonen said much the same as Alonso, though I suspect he can rely on his reactions and talent to overcome an evil-handling car, and he’s not one to enthuse about, well, anything – he hasn’t yet troubled the 140-character limit on Twitter…

    1. It’ll be interesting to hear what Massa has to say, comparing the new Williams with the old Ferrari.

      He seems to agree with the McLaren and Williams drivers… http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2014/01/30/definitely-big-change-new-cars-massa/

      1. That’s what I call good service. Thanks!

        1. Got the quotation wrong though xD

  5. I know that the word “undrivable” doesn’t exist in Fernando Alonso dictionary, but it seems weird to me especially after i heard Vettel statement yesterday, is Alonso playing mind games ? or is Ferrari has produced a good car finally ? or maybe both ? I’m optimistic especially after i heard James Allison’s statement

    1. Not only Vettel. I doubt Vettel had enough running to even make such a statement… :P
      Some other drivers said the cars are much more of a handful this year too, though.
      Since the aero changes should reduce downforce both front and back, I could imagine that the balance of the car isn’t that much different, and that Ferrari might have managed to find quite a good base setup right off the start. So that he might not have to fight with severe over-/understeer, or has to tackle corners much different with the throttle.
      Then again, I suppose the new rules will have a much bigger impact on Red Bull, seeing as their party piece rear end has been banned, practically.

    2. Fernando is a good mind gamer, you know Tifoso :p

      1. @il-ferrarista Kimi is not which is why I am worried as to how fast that Ferrari can go . Are they hiding their pace ? Mc looks very fast . It’s exciting .

  6. It makes me wonder whether the Merc engine has more torque than the Ferrari, remember last year all the hoo-ha suggesting they had a large power advantage?

    1. @george
      I am slowly coming to a similar conclusion. Maybe Ferrari have better traction while Mercedes have more power.

    2. As I mention in the corresponding Massa article, I’m also wondering if the cars/engines are actually fundamentally different in how they drive. Perhaps Ferrari have aimed to get the driveability as close to the last generation rules as possible, whereas Williams/Mercedes have gone for outright speed regardless of comparison to the V8 era.

    3. Just watching last year SPA, Ferrari top speed 322 kph whilst Lotus only 315kph, but the problem was the Ferrari able to reach it by no time whilst the Lotus only able to reach it by the end of the straight = no contest.

  7. both Alonso and Kimi say the cars aren’t that different to drive. This could mean Ferrari have finally made a good car after the past couple of years, or Kimi and Alonso are the two most naturally talented drivers on the grid. Cannot wait for this inter-team battle this year.

    1. I doubt anyone would argue that Kimi and Alonso are extremely gifted drivers.

      They are likely not to play up the fact if the car actually is very different to drive. They first want to see how well they do against others during the race, then maybe they will complain :)

  8. You’re not going to get much power difference between engines with the mass flow rate restricted to 100 legs per hour. How that power is delivered might influence how drivers feel behind the wheel.

    Could be Ferrari have just hit the sweet spot.

  9. la la la “One of these things is not like the other … ” (the non-North American reader may need to google “sesame street” to catch the drift)

    “’Definitely a big change’ with new cars – Massa”
    “Bottas says new cars are more fun to drive”
    “‘If you drive like last year you won’t finish’ – Vettel”
    “Raikkonen: “Trickier” to get most from new engines”
    “New cars will add drama to races – Magnussen”
    “New cars will be harder to handle – Hulkenberg”
    “Alonso feels little difference in driving new cars”

    Don’t get me wrong; I like Alonso, but I don’t understand. Has everything we’ve heard previously just been made up and Alonso steps in to tell it like it really is? Or … ?

  10. Take that, Arnoux! :P

    1. @andae23
      Brilliant comment!

  11. I’m a massive Alonso fan, so bear with me, but…

    What if this is just another example of Alonso’s greater awareness in terms of the car-grip-tarmac relationship compared to most, if not all of the other drivers. I mean if you were constantly, continuously that much more closer to the edge of grip all the time in 2013, you applied throttle juuust as you exploited 99% of the grip levels, you really should not feel the difference if the grip levels suddenly drop in 2014 (due to the loss of downforce and the increased torque).

    If you were relying more heavily on your blown diffusers, whatever downforce, before in 2012-2013 when applying power for example, you’re in much greater trouble as you suddenly feel the comfortable grip, which let you have maneouvering room in the past (if you were at only 80-85% in exploiting grip) is suddenly lost.

    I don’t know if you get it, or if it makes much sense at all…

    1. *Add to the end of the first long paragraph: “You just adapt and exploit 99% of the new grip levels. Your feeling of constantly “feeling” the closeness of the edge does not change.”

    2. *Add to the end of the second: “You suddenly feel the difference, because your sense of safety (we are talking about 0,1 secs here) is simply not there as the lowered downforce comes back to turn on you, if you try to handle the cars a bit the same way.”

    3. Or in layman terms, Vettel lost the traction control :)

    4. Alonso always had a feel better than many drivers. More importantly, that guy can adapt- he adapted with Renault-Michelin, then with Pirelli-Ferrari better than many others, LH for example.
      But I’d still say that we wait a few races to see who is more comfortablein their cars.
      On an average 17-18 corner 60 lap track, you corner about a 1000 times. It takes one error to ruin a race.

  12. Both Alonso and Kimi has said exactly the same thing, it could be that Ferrari has produced a very good handling car.

    1. Or they tanking, to keep the face. Alpha male games :)

  13. I know its just the arrogance of Alonso one more time, i know he wants to give the impression he didnt notice the change, to say one more time and he gets everybody tired, that he is the best, always the same arrogance. But the fact its he is in the downhill of his career no matter he wants or not.

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