Bottas on top as McLaren take first steps with Honda

2014 F1 testing

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Valtteri Bottas led the times on the penultimate day of F1 testing this year, but all eyes were on the first public outing for the new McLaren-Honda partnership.

But the interim McLaren-Honda MP4-29H/1X1, which had previously run at Silverstone two weeks ago. only made it out of the pits in the second half of the day’s running. Stoffel Vandoorne completed a trio of installation laps without setting a time.

Two days after missing out on the F1 drivers’ championship at the same venue, Nico Rosberg was back at the wheel of the Mercedes. The championship runner-up was the busiest driver of the day, although two others hit the 100-lap mark.

Among them were Will Stevens, who made his grand prix debut on Sunday. Caterham continued their post-season activities in the hope a buyer might be found for the team in time for them to compete in the 2015 championship.

Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen caused one of the day’s red flags in the morning when he suffered a minor crash following a front suspension failure. He was able to resume running later on in the day.

Carlos Sainz Jnr, the Formula Renault 3.5 champion who is hoping to secure the second Toro Rosso seat alongside Verstappen next year, was fifth-quickest for Red Bull.

With the test being run during the daytime in high temperatures, the best lap times were almost three seconds off the quickest seen during the race weekend. The two-day test will conclude tomorrow.

Driver Car Best time Laps Difference
1 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes FW36 1’43.396 79
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari F14 T 1’43.888 81 0.492
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes W05 1’44.512 114 1.116
4 Jolyon Palmer Force India-Mercedes VJM07 1’44.516 37 1.120
5 Carlos Sainz Jnr Red Bull-Renault RB10 1’45.339 100 1.943
6 Will Stevens Caterham-Renault CT05 1’45.436 101 2.040
7 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari C33 1’46.253 95 2.857
8 Charles Pic Lotus-Renault E22 1’46.827 89 3.431
9 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso-Renault STR9 1’47.197 54 3.801
10 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Honda MP4-29H/1X1 3

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Image © Williams/LAT

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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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52 comments on “Bottas on top as McLaren take first steps with Honda”

  1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
    25th November 2014, 14:33

    I read F1 news now with limited interest after Jenson Button has been treated so badly. I’m as disappointed etc with F1 as when Ferrari forced Schumacher into retirement in 2006. It’s amazing that World Champion drivers can be treated so harshly. The lack of respect by McLaren to Jenson & Ferrari had with Schumacher is astounding. Add in the awful sounding engine’s and the rubbish back-marker teams that should not be crowd-funding and the generic lower grip tyres and you have one bad tasting recipe. I am losing interest in F1 after 20 years of watching. Let’s hope Gerhard Berger replaces Ron Dennis asap.

    1. Oeiiiiiiiiiiii! (another davidnotcoulthard account) (@)
      25th November 2014, 14:47

      @peppermint-lemon The engines sound OK.

    2. stevienodrinks
      25th November 2014, 14:48

      Can you name a sport that puts loyalty above success?

      1. If they were to base it purely on success it would be an easy decision. The issue with Jensen is more that they’ve left him and Kevin hanging for too long to actually go and sort out anything else for next year

    3. Engines sound better than the ear splitting v8’s in my opinion, also far more relevant to road car technology. Both Renault and Mercedes would have withdrawn otherwise and Honda would not be coming back, and with no cosworth engines either F1 would have a serious problems.

      1. the ear splitting v8s sounded way better, who cares if they split “your” ear. they were also uniquely f1, as it has been for 2 decades and were part of the spectacle. now the cars sound less then 2.0 national touring cars – it shouldn’t be like this. Mercedes would have only withdrawn because they couldn’t win as their car wasn’t good enough, now it still might not be, but the new formula gave them a better chance to succeed, and it worked for them, they produced the best engine and that was enough, even without the best chassis. same goes for Honda, they couldn’t win in previous era, now see the opportunity too – but who cares about these gready corporations. as for road care relevance, that is the biggest fallacy of this sport, it is an open wheel racing series for gods sake, it needs not relevance to road cars – no road car will feature a 1.6 turbo engine with ers producing 700hp using 1 litre of petrol for every 3 km, in the same way as no road car will feature a 2.4 v8 engine making 750hp. keep f1 away from road car relevance, that is when it goes wrong and loses fans.

        1. F1 was always about manufacturers racing and being able to drive technology so it had relevance to their cars whether they were sports or road cars. F1 since the beginning regularly has rules changed to push engine development and other technologies (brakes, carbon fibre monocoques etc). There are plenty of V8 open wheel formulas to watch. Every single manufacturer, even ferrari pushed for this series to be about the engine and less about the aero dynamics and the current engines are relevant for that technology, it doesn’t have to be about 750hp. Regardless of has and was it makes no difference, all the engine suppliers bar ferrari said they would withdraw if the vintage v8’s didn’t go.

          1. And Williams and Mclaren use components developed in F1 for use in road cars, plus supplying to Formula e which is about driving battery technology for development in road cars, racing was always about the road car manufacturer.

          2. Your argument falls on its face there, sir. F1 in this decade is not about development at all – it’s about cost caps, engine freezes and the like. In season testing and R&D all but prohibited now. To be F1, they need to have fewer restrictions and no budget caps. I agree with those before me wishing for the good old days. I want the “awesome” and the “spectacular” back in F1. I’m not interested in the slightly more expensive IndyCar they are devolving towards.

          3. I still stand by that f1 manufacturers wanted the change to have relevance to road car technology, my source? The manufacturers who have always been the driving force. Personally, I’m more for smaller constructors but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this season and the v8 engines are, whether you want it or not are vintage, F1 has no good old days, just endless development regardless of proposed cost caps.

      2. Why are people so obsessed with this term “relevance to road cars”? This is F1, this is racing! It isn’t about taking your kids to hockey practice…. Racing is about entertainment and exhilaration. The sooner that F1 gets back to real racing instead this “road relevance” junk, we will all be better off.

        1. Because relevance brings constructors like honda back to the sport

          1. No it doesn’t. Honda came because the engine formula was interesting to them. Road relevance had nothing to do with it. It is the same reason honda is in f1 as it is the reason honda is also in indycar. Honda has also made pretty much every tupe of engine for f1. V8, v10… Honda left because of financial reasons and now it is slowly coming back.

          2. @socksolid The engine formula was interesting to them because it was road-relevant.

          3. Contstructors are interested in exposure to the masses. They only care about the bottom line. They know that people watch racing to be ENTERTAINED, and if they can do that they will make money. Road relevance can easily be studied in a lab for half the cost of building a race car engine.

          4. Road relevance is the only reason Honda is back. Could pull VW in, and maybe Toyota. That’s the best part of the new regs.

            Now: put the onboard microphone NEAR THE EXHAUST pipe, FOM, and we’ll actually hear the engine rather than the flat intake noise as current. The sound from the track is WAYYYY better than the sound over TV.

    4. I wasn’t aware that Schumacher was forced out by Ferrari. He thought he would go out in a blaze of glory, but then an engine blew, Japan was it, and he lost the championship to Alonso. No way back that wouldn’t have made him and Ferrari look a bit silly, not to mention having too many drivers.

      Try Damon Hill for a world champion treated shoddily, rumour had it that was a big part of the reason Adrian Newey left Williams at the same time.

      1. Hill was treated well in comparison to Nigel Mansell. Mansell won the WDC in 1992 for Williams and immediately afterwards was told he must take a huge pay cut so that Williams could hire Prost. There was even a rumour that they would fire Mansell because Senna had said he would drive a Williams for free. That’s why Mansell quit F1 and in 93 went to CART- where he promptly won the title, becoming the only person in history to simultaneously hold the F1 and CART championships (the F1 season lasted one week longer than CART’s, meaning for one week he held both).

        1. You got that a bit backwards. Mansell felt that he was entitled to a huge pay raise because of the title that the Williams supercar had given him. Frank Williams rightly thought that was rubbish.

          Same thing happened with Hill. Hill also wanted a pay raise and also could only get it somewhere else.

          Senna going to Williams was blocked by Prost’s contract, so that also wasn’t the reason Mansell got pushed out.

      2. Unofficially, Montezemolo wanted Raikkonen, Todt wanted Schumacher to stay. Schumacher wanted to stay too, but not at the expense of Felipe Massa’s career. In the end, LdM signed Raikkonen anyway, Todt and Schumacher conceded and ultimately left, though it was decided before Monza 2006 that Raikkonen would join the team and Domenicali would take over from Todt. Though some sources swear by the story, I sometimes doubt it, as I’m sure Massa at least would have opened up about it after leaving Ferrari.

        Damon Hill’s contract negotiations ran dry before he won the championship, as he made the classic mistake to ask Williams for more money. He might not have been wrong, he had been doing so since 1994 so I guess doing it publicly wasn’t the right way to behave in Williams.

        Now Mansell, I agree with was treated poorly, though he did somehow end up ‘quitting’ in 1990 as well, only to be scooped up by… Williams.

        1. Does anyone really believe that Schumacher ended his career to help Felipe? That just sounds like such a load of PR speak.

    5. Don’t forget, Magnussen is receiving the same treatment as Button. Both are in an unenviable, uncertain position. At least one of them won’t be shown the door during pre-season testing, like Caterham did to Trulli.

    6. Why has he been treated badly? I dont get it? They are probably making it easier for him making the official announcement whilst he doesn’t have TV cameras in his face…and as for Schumacher where do I start? He ruined F1 with the most cynical ‘one driver’ team the sport has ever seen. This is what happens when a collective ego is allowed to run free,and that’s before we get started on the cheating!

    7. the problems run deeper than that all the way to cvc. may a pheonix arise from formula 1’s ashes

    8. GB (@bgp001ruled)
      26th November 2014, 19:56


  2. Is this a sign that Sainz Jnr. Will be Verstappen teammate??

    1. @deongunner Yes. Vergne will be a Williams test driver.

      1. I heard that one as well, but surely Williams will be after another Nasr (reserve driver with a bit of backing) or, even better, the next Bottas from GP3 or F3. Not sure where a Frenchman with 50-odd GPs and years of Red Bull support fits into that.

    2. Pretty much. He is the next best driver from the Red Bull stable!

    3. @deongunner @neelv27 I wouldn’t read anything into this at all. This is his prize for winning the Formula Reanult 3.5 series.

    4. Bizarre, i would have expected Red Bull to run Kvyat.

  3. McLaren-Honda MP4-29H/1X1


    1. As Jeremy Clarkson used to say about McLaren: “why they name their cars after fax machines?”

      1. You probably already know this but I think it means it’s the twenty-ninth Project Four McLaren (i.e. since Ron Dennis took charge). The H presumably stands for Honda but I have no idea about the 1X1 bit!

        1. The 1X1 stands for the version of Honda engine they are using. Honda have produced 2 different engines the 1X1 and 2X1 I believe, both are at the test.

    2. It’s only for this mish-mash car, so you only have to put up with it for two days (unless their new car isn’t ready for the first test).

    3. better name than katys dirty sister…

  4. Wow, Mclaren-Honda off to a good start… a whopping 3 installation laps :o

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      25th November 2014, 21:05

      It’s not just about how many laps you do. They need a car designed for this engine so everything they do now is just testing parts and making sure that everything runs.

      There will be a bunch of new systems on the car to test and they are bound to run into issues. Any issues solved in Abu Dhabi buys them time at the first 2015 test.

  5. Not sure what all the fuss is about McLaren only completing 3 laps. Red Bull went through most of the pre-season tests this year without being able to string more than a dozen laps together at a time. First tests with a new engine will ne about nothing more than checking systems and components and ironing out the kinks so they don’t have to do it at the first test next year.

    The time to worry is when you get to the final two pre-season tests and you still can’t get the car to run properly.

    In other words, lets wait and see before we start complaining that Honda have built the worlds most complicated anvil.

    1. Yeah I’d be more worried if they don’t start getting laps on the board after a couple of days in the first pre-season test. This car wasn’t designed for the engine so they probably can’t learn much on track that they couldn’t learn on a dyno.

    2. The time to start worrying about McLaren was 2012. There has been a lot of talk about them getting the new Honda engine and how that will somehow make them more competitive, but really, how is this possible.

      McLaren currently have the ~equal best engine package on the grid and have done nothing with it. I know they weren’t able to be close to Mercedes as Mercedes had ~2 years to design their car and engine around each other, but look at what Williams were able to do with it. McLaren should be regularly beating or at least challenging Williams, but they aren’t. They’re not even close.

      A new engine is NOT going to solve their problems. In fact, the smart money would be on it only creating more. Particularly in the short term, as in all of 2015 at least.

      I thought the 1st sign McLaren were in trouble was when they let Hamilton go. It only got worse from there on in.

      McLaren have serious fundamental problems with the car as a whole, before an engine even enters the equation. How much a drivers input contributes to improving that is unknown and variable, but Button and Magnusson haven’t been of any help as yet and Alonso hasn’t seemed to have helped the Ferrari. Was Hamilton’s driver feedback more valuable than they thought? We may never know. Did they buy Alonso partly for that purpose?

      The Honda engine may well prove to be a good decision in the future, but it will all be pointless if they don’t 1st address their more serious concerns.

  6. Anyone else see this? Raises so many questions; what happened to Ocon’s test, is Lynn no longer part of the Red Bull stable? Or Red Bull just decided Lynn deserved an F1 test and bought him one…

    1. @jmc200 Lotus will run both Ocon and Lynn tomorrow.

      I won’t speculate about Lynn though :P

    2. @jmc200 @paeschli Or Lynn felt he deserved one by now and sorted it out himself? Although he did say Marko said ‘win the title and he will take care of him’..

    3. Or other teams have started to realise that there are only so many Red Bull seats and that’s it’s worth keeping in touch with no matter who their main sponsor is.

  7. Is Hamilton driving tomorrow?

    1. Nope, I don’t think Hamilton will be driving in this test. He is back in the UK now.

    2. @f1bobby @woodyd91 Wehrlein.. who I reckon Mercedes might train up as Hamilton’s replacement, but this time, holding a German passport.

  8. What’s STILL ‘awesome’ about F1 is that you have got close to 800 hp in a car that weighs as much as your granny’s handbag. They accelerate and stop like nothing else on earth..

    You have to see it to believe it. TV does not do it justice…

  9. I miss the old sound of the engines and I’m very nostalgic when I see a clip pre hybrids but watching the Lotus catch fire was great to see.

  10. It looks like the McLaren has some problems yet.

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