Felipe Massa, Williams, Bahrain, 2014

Massa on top as Vettel fails to complete a lap

2014 F1 season

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Felipe Massa, Williams, Bahrain, 2014Felipe Massa set the quickest time on the penultimate day of testing in Bahrain but the lack of running by other teams was the main talking point of the day.

Red Bull began the day hoping to be able to move on to performance testing with their RB10 but Sebastian Vettel failed to complete a single lap during the entire session.

Although he was officially credited with having done a lap, when the RB10 made its sole venture out of the pits two-and-a-half hours into the test it got no further than turn four before grinding to a halt. A subsequent attempt to get the car running again saw the reigning world champion fail to make it out of the pits.

It was another major setback for the team with the first race of the season just over two weeks away. And they weren’t the only ones still struggling with reliability problems.

Sauber also failed to get a lap time on the board during today’s test. Adrian Sutil did a single installation lap before an engine problem manifested itself.

The team initially tried to get the car back on track before the end of the session. When they realised that wasn’t possible they focused instead on getting ready for the final day of running tomorrow, when Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez will share the running in the C33.

Romain Grosjean covered 33 laps before a problem struck his Lotus, causing one of the day’s three red flags and forcing an early end to his session.

Mercedes weren’t immune from problems either as Nico Rosberg spent much of the morning in the pits while an engine was changed. But he later joined in the running and racked up over a hundred laps.

A late run on super-soft tyres saw him briefly head the time sheets with a 1’33.484. But Massa took the the track shortly afterwards and beat the mark and Rosberg’s previous best from earlier in the test with a 1’33.258.

Kimi Raikkonen put his Ferrari third with another late lap, albeit over two seconds off the pace of the Mercedes-powered cars. He also performed a race simulation during the test.

A super-soft tyre run for Marussia saw Jules Bianchi improved their quickest time of the test so far by a full second. He ended the day seventh on 1’37.087 having brought the red flags out earlier in the day when he stopped on track.

DriverCarBest timeLapsDifferenceTyres
1Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes FW361’33.25899
2Nico RosbergMercedes W051’33.4841030.226
3Kimi RaikkonenFerrari F14 T1’35.426872.168
4Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes MP4-291’35.894882.636
5Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault STR91’36.113812.855
6Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes VJM071’36.2051152.947
7Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari MR031’37.087783.829
8Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault CT051’38.0831174.825
9Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault E221’42.166338.908
10Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari C331
11Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault RB101

Bahrain tests combined times so far

Quickest lap time by each team:

1WilliamsFelipe Massa1’33.258
2MercedesNico Rosberg1’33.2830.025
3McLarenKevin Magnussen1’34.9101.652
4Force IndiaSergio Perez1’35.2902.032
5FerrariKimi Raikkonen1’35.4262.168
6Red BullDaniel Ricciardo1’35.7432.485
7Toro RossoDaniil Kvyat1’36.1132.855
8MarussiaJules Bianchi1’37.0873.829
9SauberEsteban Gutierrez1’37.1803.922
10CaterhamMarcus Ericsson1’38.0834.825
11LotusPastor Maldonado1’38.7075.449

2014 F1 season

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  • 126 comments on “Massa on top as Vettel fails to complete a lap”

    1. And once again, Red Bull and Lotus are looking up on the timesheets at a car that’s been described as “slower than a GP2 car”.

      1. It all looked so promising yesterday and its now become apparent that its more the cooling capabilities of Newey’s packaging rather than the PU overheating. Well I mean its overheating because of insufficient cooling.

        1. @blackmamba although you could argue that the cooling demands placed by the PU are too drastic and as a result Red Bull are having to compromise on packaging.

          1. @vettel1 I imagine it’s 50/50 given that Renault are having problems, but then at the same time, Red Bull are having the biggest on the overheating issue. As a result, Red Bull packed too tightly for the PU. Maybe the PU wouldn’t be overheating as much if RB had more cooling.

            You can look at it either way, but I think it’s more likely to be a bit of both.

            1. @philereid I tend to concur with this opinion as we have seen even the Lotus and Caterham stop with flames at their rears. So it is not entirely down to Red Bull design. Even when a Caterham with such conservative design could catch fire due to insufficient cooling, then the Red Bull’s skinny design is too risky. So yes it is a 50/50 I guess.

            2. I agree with you @philereid, just proposing the opposing argument!

              However, the overruling consensus on the engine front I imagine has to be that the Mercedes and Ferrari are definitely superior in terms of engine cooling.

      2. Yeah, but overall Ricciardo’s best time is just one tenth off Alonso’s best. Speed is not their biggest problem.

        1. But both of those times are so far off the fastest times that they’re pretty much irrelevant. Even massa and rosberg you cant be sure what fuel levels they actually had.

    2. That William is quick!

      1. I’d love to see a Williams consistantly in the top ten this year

      2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        1st March 2014, 22:55

        Not as quick as Harry! :P

    3. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
      1st March 2014, 14:47

      Marussia’s fastest lap is better than a Sauber!!!!!!!!!

      1. They look like they may be able to score some points this year, wouldn’t that be great? Caterham on the other hand, well the less said the better though they just might be able to beat the RedBull to the checkered flag in Melbourne. Such a facinating start to the season!

        1. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
          1st March 2014, 15:19

          If they do… I might do a dance.

          1. +1 especially if a Caterham beats Vettel on outright pace!

        2. I’d say anyone you takes the chequered flag in Melbourne will beat Red Bull!

    4. I am really interested as to how the first few races of the season pan out – I can’t imagine that the teams will be ‘baby-ing’ the cars, but at the same time, with the reliability we have seen, I do wonder how many finishers we will see – particularly from the Renault-powered runners…

      1. So, Williams hired the perfect guy:
        Smedley: “baby, stay cool”
        Felipe: “I know what I am doing”
        Smedley:”I am talking to the car”

        1. Haha, funny man :D

    5. Well that first race in Melbourne is shaping up to be one of the most intriguing affairs in recent history. Williams ultra reliable and fast, and honestly I don’t think the Ferrari has got the pace. Does anybody know what tyres those times were set on?

    6. So after all the off-season complaining about the 2014 cars being as slow as GP2 machines, Massa’s lap is a second off Rosberg’s pole position time from Bahrain 2013 – and this is just testing, I’m pretty sure that they can go even faster.

      1. But then again, they’re 7 seconds slower in race-trim. I do agree with you, those 1:33’s are impessive, but qualifying runs don’t tell the whole story.

        1. superb Williams! Wow! amongst all the teams, Williams was the only car which was faster than the 2013 car and by a mile. 2013 Bahrain q2 time of the best Williams of bottas was 1.34.1!!!! the 2014 car is almost 1 sec faster than the 2013 car…thats just brilliant..! they definitely are in for the podium finishes along with mercedes and mclaren. Go Massa…

          1. I suppose it isn’t as surprising seeing as their use of EBD was apparently actually damaging them then. As they managed to improve during last year by losing the EBD, I’m not shocked that despite the other aero changes they are still doing better than a year ago.

          2. then again, it was set on super-softs while last year’s Bahrain GP was driven on hard and medium compounds. we don’t quite know how much more conservative (e.g. harder) this year’s tyres are though.

        2. Well, given that the rules are changing to reward those who conserve the most energy, it’s to be expected.

          I think this year is going to be fantastic. The reliability being a problem can only be a good thing, like the old days. And even if it’s not your cup of tea, the teams will be back on top of things in no time.

      2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        1st March 2014, 15:40

        @ciaran – Exactly. Is being nearly seven seconds faster than last year’s GP2 pole not enough?

        1. It might be more accurate to compare this year’s race times for each series, which we’ll soon know. It might be more accurate to detail what the conditions were when each of the times that are being used for comparison were set, and different tracks should be taken into account too, and how they treat each series. The difference in times likely varies by the day throughout both series’ seasons. Seven seconds is not a given, at least not consistently. But yeah if they are consistently that far apart then that’s plenty for me.

          1. I think if your asking how fast are the cars then qualifying is a perfectly acceptable way to measure it.

            You have to remember energy conservation is a huge focus this year, so naturally in the race the F1 cars won’t be as fast as last year, however they will be using much less energy to do it.

            I’m really excited about the prospect of qually and the race requiring totally different skill sets. It’ll be interesting to watch which teams and drivers come to the fore in each.

    7. Looks like RB10 hates vettel,not even a single lap while caterham with the same renault engine completed 117 laps.Things looking gloomy for red bull

      1. while caterham with the same renault engine completed 117 laps.

        caterham have not been running the engine anywhere close to full power, hence why they have been so much slower than others.
        other renault teams have tried pushing the engine to its full performance & have been having trouble as a result of that.

        The Ferrari is said to require less cooling, The mercedes is next while the Renault runs a lot hotter than the other 2.
        on sky last night it was noted that ferrari have not needed to open up there cooling vents at all while the others have.

        1. That isn’t really true, their fastest time is a 1:38 compared to what is probably a 1:33 of the top teams, putting them about 5 seconds behind which is more or less where they were last year. I think their car is just so unoptimised that they haven’t had an issue with cooling in the same way.

        2. caterham have not been running the engine anywhere close to full power

          Are you basing this solely on their pace or do you have source for this?

        3. @davey :
          “Ferrari has been introducing more parts of its update package. On Thursday, we saw the new front wing and yesterday came the revised engine cover.

          “This creates a larger outlet around the exhaust. There is also a variation in the size of Coke bottle outlets and the inlet duct on the spine of the cover feeding cool air into the turbo.”

        4. on sky last night it was noted that ferrari have not needed to open up there cooling vents at all while the others have.

          But then on Ted kravitz’s report he noted that McLaren had closed up some of their cooling vanes.

      2. And the F14T hates Raikkonen!

      3. Maybe his cars have finally grown tired of being saddled with cheesy wanna-be sexy names.

        1. Maybe he named this one “Butt-ugly Bertha” or something similar.

          1. I still think suggestion to call it “Angela Merkel” is absolutely the most hilarious one I’ve heard so far. :)

            1. Hm, but it wouldn’t be fitting, because Merkel seems to get the job done remarkably well, quite unlike this RB10 car!

      4. Nothing lasts forever and the era of Vettel dominance has to end somehow. In F1 history only Schumacher before him has had a similarly competitive car for equally long. It is not to take anything away from Seb but he will not be the first champion to get dethroned by new regulations if that is indeed how the season turns out.

        Personally I will greatly appreciate the change but I certainly hope it will not be another “Brawn-ish” year, with Mercedes 1.5 seconds ahead for the first half of the season. I hold nothing against any of the drivers, but boy it would boring to behold!

        I am already starting to look forward to 2015 with a more even field, no double points and…. let’s just say no DRS as well! :-)

        1. @poul And Mercedes are indeed Brawn ;)

        2. McLaren-Honda! 2015 awesome!

        3. Given the new regs, I don’t think we need DRS at all.

      5. Looks like RB10 hates vettel,not even a single lap while caterham with the same renault engine completed 117 laps.Things looking gloomy for red bull

        @smokinjoe Don’t think I am nitpicking here. I guess you meant Renault engine and not RB10. Otherwise, you should be comparing him with Ricciardo, right?

    8. If race pace is considerably fuel limited and tyres and their strategy are less pivotal, then pole position- or at least leading after the first corner- could be even more important than normal. I expect qualifying performance to shape the outcome of in-team competition more than it has recently.

      1. That’s why I’m backing Hamilton whereas most people feel Rosberg has the advantage. Of all those looking to be in contention the best qualifiers are Hamilton and Hulkenberg so it’s btwn these 2 for me, at least in Melbourne. The Ferrari doesn’t seem to have the pace so I don’t think they will even be challenging for a podium.

        1. Ferrari will do their 1st quali sim tomorrow. @blackmamba Just hold your horses.

        2. I think a lot of people took Rosberg’s 3 consecutive poles to mean that he was really a challenger to Hamilton. And over the course of the season Rosberg was fairly close in qualifying, with Hamilton only beating him 11-8. But Hamilton was supposedly not happy with the car for the majority of the season. Maybe that was smoke and mirrors, but I reckon Hamilton will prove the stronger qualifier by a greater margin this year.

        3. Rosberg is a very good qualifier also though: did he not have a streak of 4 pole positions last year?

          And he was the only driver capable of challenging Vettel in Singapore.

          1. As I said at about the same time as you, I think Hamilton will stretch his slight qualifying advantage this year. I think Rosberg got 3 consecutive, then Hamilton got 4 (with another earlier in the season too).

          2. JP (@jonathanproc)
            1st March 2014, 17:16

            @vettel1 No, that was Hamilton.

            1. I do recall Rosberg scoring a few poles in a row but I wasn’t exactly sure when and how many – it was three in Bahrain, Spain and Monaco.

              Cheers for the correction @jonathanproc.

      2. LotsOfControl (@for-unlawful-carnal-knowledge)
        1st March 2014, 19:32

        You got it all wrong. If the race pace is limited by fuel, pole position or leading into the first corner will be considerably marginalised.
        1985 and 1986 seasons spring to mind.

        1. from what has been reported by the mercedes teams after their race sims fuel saving isn’t that big a deal. Apparently they’re only having to do a fuel saving lap every now and again and that’s in bahrain the worst track for fuel consumption. At a number of other races they don’t anticipate having to use it at all.

          1. LotsOfControl (@for-unlawful-carnal-knowledge)
            1st March 2014, 19:55

            I am not talking about Mercedes or any team specifically. I am just saying if race pace is fuel limited, the race will go to the team with least fuel saving problems.
            That means it doesn’t really matter whether you’re on pole or not. It sure does help, but not really an issue. Of course in Monaco pole always helps :)

      3. @matt90, I’ve been wondering about that, whether it is an advantage to lead. In previous seasons it obviously was. The dirty air ruined the tyres of the following driver, and even last year we heard several radio messages along the lines of “drop back, cool the car”. With cooling being much more critical this season, it might be even more of an advantage to lead.

        On the other hand, I’ve also heard the suggestion that it might be an advantage to follow instead of to lead, if you can save fuel by staying in the slipstream of the car in front. I suppose how the equation balances out depends on how warm it is on a particular day, and whether the following driver can keep his tyres in reasonable shape.

        1. But only one car can lead and I’m trying to envision sitting in a car’s slipstream to save fuel and not shortly blowing by him via DRS at the next available opportunity. Wouldn’t that be a surprising new phenomenon…drivers electing not to open their DRS. Perhaps it would be more like a see-saw battle, swapping leads by the lap, with the aid of DRS.

          1. Well, they would open DRS, instead reducing throttle if they were just trying to follow.

            I doubt it’ll end up like that though. On an oval, for sure, but road courses don’t really allow it.

            Maybe in Italy or Belgium?

    9. Alex McFarlane
      1st March 2014, 15:01

      Early days but I have a sneaky feeling this could be Massa’s year. The Williams seems reliable and quick when pushed, and free from Ferrari politics he’ll be free to run his own races.

      1. I am actually caught in a dilemma here. I want Massa to become Champion before he retires; but at the same time I do not want to see Alonso with just two WDCs against his name.

        1. I think 2 wdc are enough for alonso’s talent, given the fact that more talented drivers won less than he did.
          not the most talented driver out there. would be strange to have him and senna with the same number of wdc, since he’s nowhere near senna as far as talent is concerned.
          even the fact that he has one more than raikk and ham sounds strange to me.

          1. not the most talented driver out there. would be strange to have him and senna with the same number of wdc, since he’s nowhere near senna as far as talent is concerned.

            @ dave The claim that Alonso is not the most talented driver out there is a lot of speculative opinion and cannot be proved by factual supporting.

            Do you understand your logic suggests that Senna is inferior to Prost and Vettel?

    10. In before all the change of heart who’s winning this years titles and the ever continuous “looking bad for RBR” “looking good for “

    11. Encouraging for Marussia. A second quicker than Caterham.
      But I’ve gone and cursed it now haven’t I…

      1. If praising a team for them being ahead in terms of lap time is considered to be jinxing/cursing then perhaps Mercedes, McLaren and Williams are the most jinxed/cursed ones out there right now. :P

    12. Mercedes engines occupy the top 4 times overall. It looks pretty unlikely to change tomorrow, IMHO.
      Things look bleak for Ferrari, they may have a good car Aero wise but the engine has let them down.

      1. In fact, it is probably a mixture of the Power Unit and their Aerodynamics. Listening to people like Gary Anderson, Craig Scarborough etc. the Ferrari is pretty conservative and also produces much less downforce than the Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

        1. Their Aero is definitely better than last year, thats what I mean. It doesnt match McLaren or Mercedes by the least nor Williams

        2. *McLaren

        3. Dont forget, less downforce equals less drag equals lower fuel consumption.
          A 1.32 might get you pole but if you can only finish the race doing 1.39s maybe it’s better to start on the 3rd.row and do 1.36s all race long.

          1. I didn’t follow yesterday or today much @hohum, but there were no impressively quick (or consistent) race simulations from Ferrari, were there?

            I do think that it might be a good choice for Ferrari, given that they had trouble getting the ultimate in downforce over last few years, and with the small amount of cooling they apparently need, but so far sounds coming from them have been muted.

            Of course, the last time they ended the winter feeling favourites, they started the year well but then got overtaken by McLaren and Red Bull, so being conservative might indeed be a good choice, if only to manage expectations!

            1. @bosyber, all I know is what I read here. I’m not saying I know any facts, just saying we have another unknown factor to consider this year when we try to evaluate the relative performance of the cars.

          2. I wouldn’t necessarily say that less downforce automatically equals less drag, otherwise you would have expected teams like Caterham and Marussia to have dominated the speed traps in recent years. Usually, in fact, it is the opposite situation and Caterham and Marussia have been towards the lower half or at the bottom of the speed traps.
            Equally, over the course of the 2013 season we saw that, although the RB9 appeared to produce the most downforce, in the latter half of the season their straight line speed was also relatively good – Webber even topped the speed trap in the Japanese GP, so the car wasn’t short on straight line speed.

            In reality, it is not just a question of total downforce but of aerodynamic efficiency – in the case of Marussia and Caterham in recent years, their overall aerodynamic efficiency was lower than their rivals, such that they had lower peak downforce and higher drag than their rivals. Similarly, many drivers pointed out that Sauber had a car that, towards the latter part of the season, probably produced similar downforce figures to their rivals but, because of the design of their cooling systems, produced slightly less drag and was therefore still fairly quick in a straight line.

        4. You could say Ferrari are playing to their strengths. If it’s a bit of a handful to drive, and the drivers have to rely on their skill, reflexes and relentless pace – can you think of two better drivers to have in the team?

        5. @mashiat

          Listening to people like Gary Anderson, Craig Scarborough etc. the Ferrari is pretty conservative and also produces much less downforce than the Mercedes,

          I’ll rather listen to James Allison who is one of the most respected engineers in the business, he said the car meet the team’s expectations BTW the Lotus E20 features the same concept of reducing drag it didn’t even has the coanda exhausts until the end of the season and it was genuinely quick especially in race conditions. @hohum explained it very well otherwise what’s the point of having the most powerful engine if you’re only to use that power in qualifying and in one third of the race ?

          1. James Allison however, works for Ferrari. So you need to take it with a grain of salt. Scarborough’s words, can be taken as gospel.

      2. I hardly believe that is down to the engine, mostly. Last years we had Renault engines, now Mercedes (because Renault has problems)…
        Ferrari has the most expensive engines, so now wonder the “engines fight” is not over their engines. Next year McLaren will have Honda engines, but I still expect them to be in top 5… as usual.

        1. Ferrari has the most expensive engines

          Renault has the most expensive engine, Williams switched to Mercedes for that reason (thanks to Toto) the Ferrari is the cheapest engine but the problem for teams who want to buy it is the strong closes in the contract just look at Marussia, they got the Ferrari engine but they give Bianchi a race seat which is a good thing BTW

      3. Things look bleak for Ferrari, they may have a good car Aero wise but the engine has let them down.

        I suppose you have ignored the fact that Ferrari have not run a genuine quali sim all along. Ferrari’s priorities for these tests have been validating their wind tunnel findings with correlation from the track running, performing race setups and doing long runs.

    13. Yesterday I said that it is as clear as day that Force India will win both the WDC and the WCC. But today, I had to eat my words. Massa and Williams for both Championships!

      1. And tomorrow you will change your mind again, like so many have over the past 11 testing days.

      2. Dude (You make my day!). At this rate, you may have to eat your words every single day. I mean you are changing your prediction for the WDC and WCC based on every single test day? Common…you can’t be serious!

        1. At this rate, you may have to eat your words every single day.

          @neelv27 Perhaps @mashiat will survive on his own words than eating any food. :P

      3. @mashiat Interesting to see that you keep on changing your predictions based on the test data. It is not like the winner of Australian GP is going to be awarded the WDC and WCC. So, you must have had some valid assumptions to back up your prediction of Force India winning both WDC and WCC. I am interested to know what additional information you have or assumptions you have made which has compelled you to abandon that prediction and hop on to another one? Or are you being very close to Andrew Benson? ;)

    14. I really hope Williams are fast this year, perhaps even Massa getting the WDC? That would be the most feel good story ever!

    15. johnny stick
      1st March 2014, 15:13

      It seems all that running Ferrari did with their power unit in that test mule payed off. I wonder if Renault should protest and have the homogolation rules rescinded till the end of the season?

    16. Wow, this year is shaping up to be great! Williams, Mercedes and Force India, in fact, seem like the top 3 teams. I am rather worried through about the pace of that Ferrari, as today being Raikkonen’s final day before FP1 in OZ, he was probably going for a qualifying simulation and he was still 2 seconds off the pace! I am still pretty curious about the strange case of Raikkonen having much less running than Alonso, as well as looking much less balanced in that Ferrari based on footage from Bahrain on YouTube, as well as not being comfortable without his preferred Steering Feedback. I might be wrong, but based on the Pre-Season Tests, Alonso might have a comfortable enough edge on the Ice Man.

    17. Felipe is faster than you.

      It would be funny if it turns out that Williams is faster than Ferrari, and Massa ends up higher in WDC standings than Alonso.

      1. I don’t see it happening but Williams can definitely threaten for a T5 berth in the WCC while Massa and Bottas could win one race each.

        Then again, I said this exact same thing last year with Maldonado and Bottas. But the overall feeling is that Williams’ pace is much more genuine this time around than in last year’s tests.

        1. Plus all the recently acquired personal bolstering and evolving the team as a whole, they are starting to look really good and I am really pleased Massa looks like he has landed with his feet firmly on the ground at Williams, lets hope they continue to evolve and progress during the season.
          It will give me great pleasure to see Massa and Bottas leaving the likes of Alonso and Maldonado in their wake.

        2. @rjoconnell, actually, last year I did not recall any impressive testing times from Williams, and I think the sentiment that they would do well was more based on the positive comments from the drivers and the general feeling (hope?) that they would build on their occasionally strong form in 2012.

          This year, I have not seen that many testing times (I follow the tests, but there is no longer any overview of lap times done per car) other than Massa’s quick lap today, which is certainly impressive enough.

    18. The futility of Red Bull’s pre-season so far is mind-boggling. The higher you climb, the harder you fall I guess.

      1. This seems more disastrous than McLaren’s terrible pre-season in 2012. I do hope Red Bull don’t recover as much as McLaren did though.

        1. In 2011 you mean? McLaren were pretty strong from the off in 2012

          1. Ah yes, you’re right. It was something of a surprise for Hamilton to split the Red Bulls in quali and successfully finish 2nd after their testing woes.

    19. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
      1st March 2014, 15:22

      Two thoughts I would like to mention:

      1. Am I the only person who thinks that this will be Caterhams last season in F1?

      2. Its not looking good for Ferrari, I feel bad for Alonso as I feel he deserved another championship and Ferrari have let him down badly, knocking on McLarens door for 2015?

      1. Agreed on 1 and 2.
        Though now that McLaren is back on track (atleast is testing, pun unintended) and Alonso has not displayed any interest in the last few months publicly Macca may not take him.
        Too bad, Nando.

        1. Yeah agreed, they just havent made any progress whatsoever since they joined, they’re just as far behind as the ever were.

          And i think ferrari might have done a 2013 mclaren and built a car that should be fast but handles poorly and can’t be pushed.

        2. “Alonso has not displayed any interest in the last few months publicly”

          What !? You think if he was considering or interested in signing for McLaren from 2015 that he would announce or talk about it publicly?!
          The only thing that gave us a sniff of this happening last year was after Webber announced his retirement and Alonso started to show his frustration for Ferraris failings… I think there were rumours of Alonso’s management having been seen talking to Whitmarsh but nothing was ever confirmed or collaborated as far as i remember.
          If and when Alonso decides to move on i doubt we will know or have any inclination before he has signed on the dotted line.
          It remains to be seen if the new power structure at McLaren would be interested in such a move anyway, i think Whitmarsh said he would welcome Alonso back, but where is he now!?
          Ferrari better come good this year if they want to keep one of the best drivers they have ever had.

    20. superb Williams! Wow! amongst all the teams, Williams was the only car which was faster than the 2013 car and by a mile. 2013 Bahrain q2 time of the best Williams of bottas was 1.34.1!!!! the 2014 car is almost 1 sec faster than the 2013 car…thats just brilliant..! they definitely are in for the podium finishes along with mercedes and mclaren. Go Massa…

      1. Makes sense, they were scoring points last year when they took off their coanda exhausts. If you think this year there’s 30% less downforce from narrower wings, no exhaust blowing and skinny rear wing then williams were actually only 20% down because their exhaust blowing never worked anyway.

        Having said that, rosberg was 2-3 tenths slower than his overall fastest time today, and he did that time on softs whereas today he was on supersofts, so I think that mercedes probably had quite a bit of fuel in it. I’d honestly expect the merc to hit a 1:32 flat with supersofts on fumes and everything turned up.

    21. Given what I know about Red Bull at the moment, I have four plausible names for Vettel’s Car:
      1) Nosey Natasha
      2) Lazy Lara
      3) Unreliable Eugenia
      4) Slow Sarah

      Any other suggestions?

      1. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
        1st March 2014, 15:32

        Fail Farrah

        1. Hahah +1
          I was thinking of Ugly Ursula :)

        2. Butt-ugly Bertha

      2. Fiery/Flaming Fiona? Or maybe Stationary Stephanie?

      3. My friends have made plenty of suggestions:
        Smoldering Sally
        Smoking Samantha
        Burning Bettie…

        1. Miss Piggy.

      4. Overheating Olga.

      5. “Horny Veta” !

      6. Haunted Hedda :P

      7. “Completely-cack-Cynthia”
        At least, I think that’s what Seb shouted today.

      8. Hung Harry

    22. I know it’s early days and you shouldn’t read too much into testing times, but that Williams looks fast. I mean, it’s testing, but last year Mercedes and Ferrari shared the top in the last test, and they were both race winners.

      1. Well, I hope so. It’s about time Williams had some good days.

    23. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
      1st March 2014, 15:55

      What is up with the Renault? I thought they were supposed to be quite pleased with the effects of their nose.

    24. I will be very happy if the above times are representative of the grid for at least the 1st. half of the season. Every dog deserves it’s day, and no team is more deserving of a change in fortune than Williams, FI also deserve encouragement, hopefully Sauber can regain form and the tail-end teams can luck into some points.

    25. It looks pretty obvious that qualifying is gonna be dominatdmed by mercedes powered cars, but I still believe Ferrari will be there on Sunday. With its low drag and small cooling requirements, the Ferrari looks to be designed just for Sundays. And who better to come storming through the field on Sundays than Alonso and kimi?

      1. And who better to come storming through the field on Sundays than Alonso and kimi?


    26. Would love it if the Force India and Williams rubbed in the noses of the works Merc team at the first race – definitely be an interesting dog fight for podium places at the start of the year even if I suspect the Mercs are going to take the top steps.

      2 seconds off the pace for Ferrari though on supersofts at the end of the session is bit of a shocker though – the Marussia was closer to Ferrari than Ferrari were to Williams and Merc in qualifying trim. Ouch.

    27. The more I think that tomorrow is the last day of preseason tests, the more I feel the teams and FIA could have done something to squeeze in one more round of testing before the first GP in Australia especially considering the massive step into the unknown in terms of the new powertrains and reliability and cooling requirements of them. The teams have unearthed a lot of reliability issues during these tests. But whether they will be able to mitigate or eliminate those issues come Australia? A few teams may be; but definitely not all I suppose. I think we may happen to witness some unpredictable racing and results in the initial few races like we had in 2012 (albeit due to different reasons).

      More than the lap times I am interested to know more about the gear ratios that the teams would use. I am really fascinated by the potential impact the ‘fixed gear ratios’ for the season is going to throw at the teams’ preparations for each grand prix. With the freeze on gear ratios, the teams are losing one of their valuable variables using which they would otherwise mitigate the effects of impact of rain etc. Would any team/driver optimize the gear ratios for the entire season? Or for a majority of grands prix? Or focus on a few/single grand prix like Abu Dhabi? Interesting days ahead.

    28. It must be quite hard to be in the garage trying to make your car fit enough to at least leave the pits, whilst you hear Nico passing the main straight 100 times.

    29. These sad tales highlight another unsavory counsequence of a double-points final race: teams who dont get their stuff together in time for the first race are essentially getting a break. The first race should be double-points too if we want to fair about things.

      1. Good point, in both of your sentences. Not that I think they want to be fair about things. I think that if they MUST have hateful awful double points, having it at more than just the last race at least takes some of the lottery out of it, and gives drivers a chance to answer back if they get robbed in one race through no fault of their own other than a points scheme. I ‘like’ your idea of double points in the first and last race, and failing that I ‘like’ the idea of having the last 3 races doubled, at least compared to one lottery race at the end where I envision the WDC having a huge asterisk beside his name.

    30. Does anyone have info on why day 2 times are a lot less than day 1…..what have they done or was it just track conditions?

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