Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Bahrain, 2014

Grosjean expects problems at first two races

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Bahrain, 2014In the round-up: Romain Grosjean expects Lotus to have problems in the first two races of the year.


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Lotus preparing for early struggle (ESPN)

“It’s not going to be perfect for Melbourne, and probably not for Malaysia, but we will do our best and try to do things as good as we can do them to steadily improve everything.”

Red Bull hit new low in testing (BBC)

Christian Horner: “I’m very confident we’ll overcome the issues; the question is when and how quickly.”

Sebastian Vettel Q&A: Right now, nothing is lost (F1)

“I find it pretty sad that F1 cars no longer sound like F1 cars. That’s a shame!”

Vettel surprised problems continuing (Autosport)

“With the very, very few laps we did, the car felt good.”

Nico: I’m ready for Australia (Sky)

“We have two sets of mechanics here – one working through the night, with the other taking over at 7am – and at the end of the night shift they switched on the engine to make sure everything was okay and they heard a sound and they had to change the engine and that took some time and I didn’t get going until about 11:30am.”

The rising cost of Formula 1’s UK television rights (The F1 Broadcasting Blog)

“Formula One’s television rights have not yet descended into silly money, like the football rights have for both the Premier League and the Champions League rights have, for which I personally am thankful for, as we still have Formula 1 live on free to air television in some capacity.”

NGOs Send Joint Letter to FIA Calling for Suspension of 2014 Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix (Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain)

“The decision to hold the Formula One Grand Prix in Bahrain has provided the Government of Bahrain with the pretext to increase its systematic crackdown on protesters, journalists and human rights defenders.”

PSSST stop in Bahrain: F1’s right royal circus (The Age)

“Consider that while the Victorian government needs to spend money to promote the event, the Bahrainis actually just print money to do the same. One side of Bahrain’s half-dinar note ($A1.50) features an image of the desert circuit in all its glory. In terms of backing a sporting event, that’s putting your money where your mouth is.”


Comment of the day

As the final day of testing begins @SeaHorse reflects on how prepared the teams are for the start of the season:

The more I think that tomorrow is the last day of pre-season 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 optimise 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.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Kaushal!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Happy birthday to Gabriele Tarquini who is 52 today.

After a one-off start for Osella at Imola in 1987 Tarquini endured several seasons in similarly uncompetitive cars. From Coloni in 1988 he moved on to AGS where he took an unlikely point in Mexico but more often than not couldn’t drag the car beyond pre-qualifying.

He switched from AGS to Fondmetal in late 1991 but matters scarcely improved. He then left F1 and won the British Touring Car Championship with Alfa Romeo in 1994 before making a one-off F1 return with Tyrrell at the Nurburgring in 1995. After that it was back to touring cars. Last year he finished a distant runner-up to Yvan Muller in the World Touring Car Championship.

Image © Lotus/LAT

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  • 59 comments on “Grosjean expects problems at first two races”

    1. To be honest Seb I think these cars both sound great and find the sound generally quite irrelevant as a TV viewer to the racing spectacle. At a track it may very well be an entirely different matter, but the cars are still audibly pleasurable.

      1. And excuse any failures of the English language – I am rather tired!

        1. @vettel1 Tired from keeping up with all the live testing perhaps ;)

          No I do agree, they cars sound just as good if not better than last year thats for sure. I doubt people were complaining as much back in the 80’s during the last turbo period.

          1. You guys can’t be serious! Yeah sure, I guess F1 has to move with the times, but Seb is right, they DON’T sound like F1 cars anymore, more like an Indy car.
            Even the V8’s sounded weak compared to what the V12’s and V10’s sounded. That is what made F1 stand out, and it was so unique.

            1. So it’s not about racing, a sport or anything actually important? It’s about sound?

            2. So in the last 60 years of F1, it only sounded like F1 for 15 or so years?

            3. David not Coulthard (@)
              2nd March 2014, 13:01

              Even the V8′s sounded weak compared to what the V12′s and V10′s sounded.

              What did we have before the V10?

          2. yeah I concur, they don’t sound very good at all, they only sound interesting on the brakes when they are down shifting/engine braking and the turbo is blowing off, straight line or corner exit, well, there are better sounds coming out of GT cars, the Ferrari FXX, or the Honda HSV.

            1. there are better sounds coming out of GT cars, the Ferrari FXX, or the Honda HSV

              Those sounded better than the V8s too though.

      2. @vettel1 They sound nice and better than feared, gone are the ear scratching V8 and long gone are the 21k rpm v10 and the soft classical music of the V12 nevertheless I still agree with Vettel when he says the cars don’t sound like F1 cars, and certainly the ones I know, It’s 20 years of yeheeeeeeeeeeeeeaummmmmm or whatever was heard for 20 years, its nostalgic as one day there won’t be anything that reminds us of F1 when we’re kids.

        1. No engine ever revved to 21k and certainly not a V10. Highest ever was V8 20k by cosworth in 2006.

          1. @juzh

            2005-2006 Mercedes-Benz current V8 Formula 1 engine. Design and development of crankshaft to camshaft drive gears and camshaft and gear-train torsional vibration damping systems within the engine. Helping this engine achieve its 21,000 rpm race speed and durability.

            Alexander Wooldridge Smith

            1. @juzh Also engine designer Geoff Goddard said that their Renault V10 could theoretically achieve 24.000 rpm and their V8 28.000 rpm, of course this engine speed was not sustainable and that’s the reason why only Mercedes has ever actually raced a 21 000 rpm engine, as they duly needed.

      3. I think the new power units sound great, not unlike the Audi R18s at Le Mans. I’m all for the new engine formula. It’s just a pity that Renault couldn’t get their act together in time for the start of the season. I’m looking forward to the technology trickling down to road cars.

      4. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        2nd March 2014, 11:01

        @vettel1 – A hearty +1 from me!

        1. Personally I haven’t really listened other than to a few You Tube clips of individual cars. First off, one’s opinion of what F1 should sound
          like is going to be up to the individual. Secondly, we haven’t heard these cars hammering it off a full starting grid of a race, so I’ll reserve my judgement until then, but I already know that the sound is not going to be the determining factor as to how I feel about the new product.

      5. @vettel1 Fully agree with Seb here, personally I do not like the sound of these V6, c’mon man you don’t even need earplugs even when you’re standing beside the track (as demonstrated by both Rachel Brookes and Crofty)… I loved the sound of the V8’s, though they were not not better than the V12 or V10, but still they felt powerful… Most people here don’t give a damn about the sound because they are TV viewers, but for those of us who go to tracks, it matters… Why nobody complained about the V8 sound all these years saying they needed to be quieter… Yes we can accept these V6s are not behind in terms of performance, but why accept the sound even when they are so weak… I am sure engineers could have made the sound much more powerful or at least to V8 standards, as they have tried to keep the performance as the V8s

    2. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
      2nd March 2014, 0:16

      I never had any problems with Sebastian Vettel in the past but I’ve really come to like him over these past few weeks. He’s spoken his mind on a number of issues and has definitely shown himself to be more than a PR robot as some have criticised him for being in the past.

      1. @collettdumbletonhall I agree with you, Vettel has been very honest in his interviews but moderately reserved. On the other hand Nico Rosberg is a PR super computer especially in this pre-season, where does he get the strength?

        1. Button as well. Read his interview with Autosport on their website

        2. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
          2nd March 2014, 15:47

          Are you being sarcastic? It’s hard to tell in writing. I think Rosberg has been good too, just Massa and two Sky pundits who have been acting like PR robots.

      2. why wouldn’t he be this way? he’s pretty much proven he’s one of the best ever, so there is no point at all for him to play politics.

    3. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      2nd March 2014, 0:29

      Looks increasingly likely for the first few races at least, that if you can finish, then there’s a good chance you’ll be going home with a few points.

      1. I’m hoping that we can see the ‘new’ teams capitalise on that. I’d love to see Marussia and Caterham bag a few points in the early races, a bit of success for them has been long overdue!

    4. Regarding COTD: With the new engines providing pretty much maximum power output at all revs beyond 10,500, the importance of gear ratios is very much diminished this year – whatever ratios they are going to choose, they can have the car at the maximum possible power rev range at all times after hitting 10,500 in first gear and up to and beyond any reasonable top speeds.

      There might be some ways of playing it safe and maybe limiting the amount of time they spend at the higher rpm range to save the engine, if they are worried about the reliability, but even in that case, they can always use their one wild card for the season to change the ratios to a more suitable values after they have achieved the reliability they are looking for. In any case, it shouldn’t be a massive disadvantage anyway, as with the new engine regulations, they can and will run the same ratios at Monza and Monaco without any problems.

      1. And they can also change final drive ratios freely I believe @stjuuv.

        It is likely going to be the case that 8th is only used frequently on the high speed tracks anyway.

        1. @vettel1, I also believed this logical and inexpensive adjustment, for which all the teams would already have the parts would continue, but it seems that the final drive ratio must remain constant after the teams make a final choice in the early part of the season.

    5. RE: COTD
      The FIA had grown used to the rock solid reliability of the V8s and didn’t anticipate the complexity of the new turbo engines when they fixed the test schedule.
      Think about it, 3 tests of 4 days each all spaced within a month. Where is the time to fix major issues that come up.
      The logical thing will be to postpone the first race, but that is unlikely to happen, and trust me, these engines have only been run in a laboratory, once they go into full competition mode, even the seemingly reliable ones will discover new problems.
      Despite the one year delay in introducing the new spec engines, I still believe the whole thing was rushed and the expectations are almost unreasonable, ie 5 engines per season.

      1. It would not be a problem if, as in the past, the manufacturers were able to use the races to find the problems and continue to improve the engines, if not indefinitely, at least until the summer break.

      2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        2nd March 2014, 1:35

        It seems the FIA ruling has been too constrictive. They definitely haven’t given the teams enough time to at least come to terms with such vast regulation changes.

        3 tests simply isn’t enough. Melbourne looks like it’s going to be a complete mess. It would have been better to push the season back a few weeks and fit in two more tests at Bahrain before heading to Melbourne.

        I’m really keen to have F1 back on my tv, but I want it to come back the right way, not in shambles.

        Still, F1 teams are incredibly smart and resourceful folk, and I’m sure they’ll have these troublesome regulations under control within 3 to 4 races.

        1. It wasn’t actually the FIA that arranged the dates for the test’s or the number of test’s, That was all done by the teams via FOTA. Remember they also added 4 2-day in-season test’s.

          Besides there was not really the time to fit in more test’s.

          They couldn’t have started testing any earlier because most teams were struggling to be ready for the 1st test as it was. They wanted a long gap between the 1st/2nd test in order to have time to properly analyze all the data & make any changes which were required before the 2nd test which the teams, Pirelli & the engine guys all wanted to be in Bahrain for the heat.

          Pushing the season start back would have caused other problems, Especially with Melbourne which is don’t forget a temporary circuit where the temporary structures can only be up for a limited time-frame under the deal with the local state government.

          Been honest I don’t see why people see all the talk of the 1st races been a shambles with lots of retirements & reliability problems been a big deal?
          Even with unlimited testing in the past the early races were often full of reliability problems with a significant number of retirements.

          People have just become too used to the lack of reliability problems over the past few years & forgot what things were like before. Wasn’t that uncommon to see less than 10 cars finish the 1st few races & nobody said F1 was a shambles back then.

          For instance I watched the 1999 Australian Gp a few weeks ago, Lots of unreliability & only 7 cars finished. Saw someone post yesterday about Australia 2008 which only had 6 cars finish.

          1. Australia 2008 was the first race after banning TC and a lot of the retirements where due to driver error.
            Also Malaysia 2006 had lots of engine failures and penalties because of the extra heat on the new engines

            I predict these two races in particular will have the most retirements of this season.

          2. Thanks for reminding us how little time there really is to actually test in between februari and the end of March @gt_racer. I wholly agree with you that its nothing unheard of, and even less a shambles to have less than half the field complete the first race. In my view its a welcome return of “to finish first you have to make it to the finish”.

            The obligatory, “you never know what can still happen” when Vettel was half a minute up front, got to feel phony, and its clear that Vettel himself wasn’t buying the warnings of his team either and went on to set fastest laps to have something to do in those races (nothing against Vettel, just its mostly been him doing this lately).

      3. Think about it, 3 tests of 4 days each all spaced within a month. Where is the time to fix major issues that come up.

        I guess they assumed that regardless of engine complexity, teams would be able to do okay thanks to the engines having been so thoroughly developed and tested by the manufacturers before even being fitted to the cars. And to honest, I think that is a valid assumption, as proved by Ferrari and Mercedes teams, all of whom have had fairly typical tests.

        Would the Renault teams have benefited from more tests? Generally I doubt it, as Renault must have been aware of the problems they were having regardless. More frequent testing wouldn’t have helped the engines themselves a whole lot. Delaying the season might have, but that’s about it.

        1. Nobody seemed to be bemoaning the lack of testing ahead of the first test other than the general debate that always goes on about restricted testing. It is only because there are some teams struggling that it is now being suggested that the teams haven’t been given enough time, however, Mercedes seemed to have managed as have Ferrari, and Williams, etc.

          Just as all the other teams have been told over the last 4 years that it is up to them to compete when it comes to beating RBR, so it is up to the Renault teams to compete now. If they’ve fallen short, that’s on them. If all the teams were in the same boat as RBR and Renault teams in general…different story.

    6. The stark contrast between the comments of Rosberg and Grosjean acts as an eloquent portrayal of pre-season testing as a whole.

    7. Just what the USA market needs a V8 Volvo, where can I buy one ?

      1. The weird thing is volvo have ditched the v8 in the s80, and all volvo models will have 4 cylinder engines. The v8 supercar volvo is supposedly meant to look like a s60. The chassis is a universal chassis all the makes use in v8 supercars, kind of like nascar, with the volvo panels just covered over.

        1. @mortyvicar, thanks for the link, I saw the car on TV just last week but it was short on detail.

    8. “I find it pretty sad that F1 cars no longer sound like F1 cars. That’s a shame!”

      F1 has had many different engine formulas all with different sounds over the years so which one is ‘the’ sound of F1?

      F1 should not have stuck with the V8’s or moved to another engine formula based just on the sound, You have to go with what’s relevant to the engine manufacturer’s, They wanted low capacity turbo’s so thats the direction F1’s gone.

      Sure going to screaming V12’s would have been awesome but if the engine manufacturer’s say there completely irrelevant to anything any of them are doing, Its clearly not the right formula to go with.

      And I know some go on about how even the current V6 turbo’s are not relevant & that F1 should not be relevant to anything else or whatever.
      But with all due respect your not the one’s making the engine’s, If all the engine people say they want more relevance to what there doing & that the new units are more relevant to them than I’ll take there opinions on it over someone who’s simply sitting on the outside speculating about exactly what tech is in the engines & how relevant they believe they are.

      Besides, I think the new units sound very pleasing. OK there not as loud as what we’ve had since 1989 but they still sound like powerful race engine’s to me & most importantly they perform like powerful race engines.

      1. you nailed it, F1 is a billboard for interests like the manufacturers. Commentators fill in the rest.

      2. +1 Vettel should know better, the engineering challenge and technical evolution of the cars is far more important than making them sound “nice”.

        1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          2nd March 2014, 5:23

          I think these V6’s sound nice anyway haha

        2. @mantresx

          Vettel should know better

          Just because you disagree doesn’t mean that he is wrong.
          You need to remember that we all watch F1 for different reasons.

      3. “F1 has had many different engine formulas all with different sounds over the years so which one is ‘the’ sound of F1?”

        Exactly, the new cars sound great, everyone needs to move on. The “best” sound F1 has ever produced certainly wasn’t the 2.4l V8s. Even the mighty Ferrari V12’s of the early 90’s can’t live with this…

      4. I agree. Back in the day when smaller, more performance orientated brands supplied engines, they could do what they like. The truth of the matter is that of the 4 manufacturers who will be involved next year, 2 have no marketing or R&D reasons to build such large NA engines, and 1 is a company with some performance credentials but a fairly broad market which has a lot of commercial, rather than specialist, products and would benefit the same way. Should F1 pander to being road relevant? No. But should it pander to keeping manufacturers involved where necessary? Yes.

    9. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      2nd March 2014, 4:34

      Loved Vettel’s answer to the final question on that F1 questionnaire. Brilliant!

      1. I also liked his anwser to the Ferrari question :)

    10. “There’s no reason to paint everything black. …”

      I suppose it falls to me to make the obvious comment: “I see a Red Bull and I want it painted black…” :P

      1. @geemac, if you write the rest maybe we can get the Stones to re-release it.

    11. the team radio conversations are very clear. So no excuses for anybody this season about not having understood what your guys on the pit wall are saying!

      Indeed, Seb.

      It is a step back – F1 is slower than last year

      Uhm, not really.

      1. It is, and it will be.

    12. Having read the article about Bahrain above I wonder what chance there is of the Russian GP going ahead in light of Russian activity in the Crimea? Would F1 really find it acceptable to go to Sochi if the organising country is being condemned in the strongest terms by the UN, EU and US governments? Given Bernie’s previous stance over Bahrain in 2012 in particular, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

      1. It’s very different though in that within Russia itself there likely won’t be any action (until they steal Crimea). I can’t imagine any impact on the area of the Grand Prix due to recent events, unlike Bahrain.

    13. Clearly we fans have different views of what F1 should be. I must say, I am surprised of all the talk abt relevance and engineering challenges…
      To me, F1 is and should be a show, spectacle and sport with the aim to engage and entertain. That drives loads of fans travel to the races where we just love the magic at the grandstands. There you love the smell, the loudness, the glamour and the looks of cars, drivers, teams and you want to go over and over again. Media and celebrities are very keen to be connected to this pinnacle of motor sport. This of course why car manufacturers and sponsors open the wallet
      The concern expressed by me and many many others including now Seb in his comment abt the sound is…
      with all the crazy (yes) rule changes by FIA probably (?) based on a desperation of trying to create excitement….they seemed to miss the key magic….taking the fans for granted…..expecting the people to stay despite killing this magic.
      To me this is the KEY discussion.
      The 2014 version with all the struggle the teams, engine people and drivers are facing is to me not at all what I want to see. I am not happy to see RBR not even making it through a test session even if I have never been a Seb & RBR fan. F1 to me is not efficiency and relevance and constant stupid rule changes just to create hazzle. Bad things should be challenged and debated with people responsible – believe me, I have tried to get the ear of the FIA heads for years now but they do not give notice to a simple fan.
      Sorry to say. Sad times.

      1. Would you prefer that most of the engine manufacturers pulled out, leaving us with only 1 or 2 options? Variety is important to F1. The Cosworth V8 era was a classic, but F1 begins to restrict itself when relying on one supplier so heavily. On that occasion F1 was heading to a dangerous position where it looked like Ferrari would be the only non-Cosworth team. Coincidentally, one of the things which lifted F1 out of that was the sudden interest of mainstream manufacturers in turbo technology. Road relevancy for engines isn’t about making F1 some great platform for change and development of road cars, it’s just about keeping the manufacturers interested so that we have several engine suppliers.

    14. I completely missed that Vettel had become a father.

    15. Surprised by the COTD. Thanks @keithcollantine

    Comments are closed.