New cars tricky but “we’re here for a challenge”

2014 F1 season

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Jules Bianchi says the new generation of Formula One cars are trickier to drive but he is relishing the challenge.

Bianchi drove the Marussia MR03 for the first time on the last day of testing at Jerez, which began on a damp track which remained slippery throughout the day.

“It was not easy, for sure,” said Bianchi afterwards, “but this is why we are here for, you know?”

“We are here for a challenge and we want to be the quickest as possible with what we have. For sure it’s more slippery than last year but it is the same for everyone.”

After 25 laps in the car Bianchi said conserving two types of energy will be a major demand on drivers this year.

“The battery and the fuel is the main difference for sure compared to the other season,” he explained. “Last year you were not managing the fuel as we will do this year so it’s a big challenge and that’s why we want to be well prepared for the first race.”

Marussia have switched to using Ferrari engines this year, who Bianchi already has a relationship with as a member of their driver development programme.

As the team’s new car didn’t appear until the third day of testing Bianchi kept an eye on the other Ferrari-powered runners to assess the engine’s performance.

“We saw that Ferrari engine was behaving well so it was something positive for us,” he said. “They did a great job with the engine, we don’t really know where we are but for sure it’s a pretty good start.”

He added the sensation of driving the new car was unusual because of the different noises from the V6 turbo. “”It’s strange because sometimes you can feel the turbo engaging and this change the noise between the straight so it’s something which you are not used to. But we will get OK after one or two more days’ testing.”

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Image © Marussia

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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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17 comments on “New cars tricky but “we’re here for a challenge””

  1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    3rd February 2014, 11:06

    I think it’s good that the cars are more difficult to drive. F1 drivers are arguably the best drivers in the world (personally I think WRC drivers are the best), and for the past few years, the cars they’ve been driving have been relatively easy, due to the immense aerodynamic capabilities and throttle mapping.

    Less aero and more torque should hopefully sort out the men from the boys.
    It’s going to be an exciting season, that’s for sure!

    1. +1

    2. I agree, the cars shouldn’t be easy to drive. However I wish the drivers had to drive flat out for the whole race and not slowly to conserve tires and/or fuel.

      PS: F1 drivers are the best circuit drivers while WRC are of course the best outside of a fixed track. They are too different to directly compare skills

      1. Still, if somebody asked me who the best racing driver alive today is it would be very tempting to say “Sebastien Loeb”.

        1. Oh ya, Seb Loeb is a very complete driver. I was blown away at his Pikes Peak run, even though it helps when you have factory support and a team about 5-10 times larger than anyone else competing.

      2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        3rd February 2014, 12:06

        I absolutely agree that they shouldn’t have to go into “conservation mode”. It makes the racing boring :(

        I also agree that F1 drivers are the best circuit racers, but from a pure driving perspective, I feel the WRC drivers are the best overall drivers simply because of the number of variables they have to deal with.

        1. I feel that the WRC drivers would still beat some of today’s F1 drivers in a curcuit given the same machinery. Put Loeb or Ogier in a Red Bull like the last year’s one and they’ll be F1 world champions in no time.

          1. Loeb, Schumacher, Vettel and others in the same cars


          2. Or just name your future son/s Sebastian/Sebastien and the driver pedigree will automatically be set.

          3. They might need a little while to build up their fitness. I’m pretty sure that WRC cars don’t pull 4+ g for prolonged periods.

          4. Loeb did test a Toro Rosso back in 2009 amid reports that Red Bull were lining him up for a potential one off drive as a publicity stunt. However, even if the FIA had allowed him to race, Loeb did later admit that he lacked the physical fitness to compete in F1 and, due to his relative age, probably would not have been able to build up his stamina to the necessary level to compete on a regular basis.

      3. On another website, Rosberg let it slip that the Mercedes “used only 2/3rds of the fuel they used in similar runs last year” and they weren’t particularly in fuel saving mode so there’s lots more to come. I have a feeling that the ERS contribution towards “flat out racing” and the ability of the drivers to understand and exploit this new tech is going to be crucial this year. Anyone can ‘mash the pedal to the metal’ and for that reason, I believe this new formula will be a fascinating new period for those of us that love the racing AND the tech.

      4. I hope we get a mix – mostly flat-out but with a few fuel-saving races thrown in. It’s a long season and some variety and uncertainty would be good, as the occasional one-stop race was in recent years (even if FIA and Pirelli tried to stamp them out in favour of multi-stop fake races).

      5. However I wish the drivers had to drive flat out for the whole race and not slowly to conserve tires and/or fuel.

        Tyres are naturally going to wear out over the course of a race. No matter how durable you make them, the drivers will eventually need to manage them. And if they get a flat-spot or a slow puncture, then they are going to have to do that even more. The only way around it would be to replace the tyres with stone wheels.

        As for the fuel-saving, the drivers could probably start a race with enough fuel to make it to the end of the race without having to conserve anything. But they would need to have a larger fuel tank, which means a larger car, which means more weight that they have to carry around, which means that they will be slower.

        The effects of fuel- and tyre-saving are barely noticeable and grossly exaggerated by people who believe the garbage the teams tell them about how it is so difficult to manage the tyres – which, it should be said, they only bring up because they are not as competitive as they think they should be.

    3. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      3rd February 2014, 17:15

      @tophercheese21 – I think you have to be sure you are comparing apples with apples when you say WRC drivers are better than F1 drivers, because in reality there is little to compare. Although maintaining a slide in the snow, at night, inches away from trees is certainly spectacular, I don’t respect rally drivers as much as do F1 drivers. The skill set F1 drivers have to have is just broader than the incredible car control rally drivers need. F1 drivers has incredible car control, but also have to be phenomenally fit, technically competent, good at tyre management and therefore able to modulate their pace within minute levels of accuracy. In the good old days of F1, the skill needed to maintain full chat throughout a stint when even tenths of a second made a huge impact on your race was, for me, the ultimate in motoring challenges. I think a common misconception is that because rallying is much more perilous it therefore requires more skill, but in fact because the time deltas in rallying are so huge, the drivers and cars aren’t at their optimum anything like as much as in F1, and therefore for me, F1 is more of a demand on the driver than rallying.

      I type looking at a photo of a VW rally car on opposite lock signed by the quite spell-bounding Sebastian Ogier, and yet the photo of the R18 next to it signed by Tom Kristensen and Andre Lotterer (Lotterer sits just behind Alonso in my personal list of great modern racing drivers) always draws my eye more frequently. Now that F1 has been ruined by Pirelli, Le Mans has taken over as the greatest challenge in motosport in my opinion, especially with the GTE cars getting slower as the LMP1 cars get faster. Like rallying, it is perilous, as has tragically been proven, and like F1 it is skillful, as demonstrated by the tiny qualifying deltas between LMP cars. For me, sportscar driver require the ultimate motorsport skill set right now…

  2. These cars still need to be more challenging. Been awhile since F1 cars were the hardest in the world to drive.

    “Pinnacle of motorsport” my foot!

  3. He has been hanging out with Felipe, for sure.

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