Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2015

W06 “not up to scratch” yet – Mercedes

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2015In the round-up: Despite dominating the first race of the season Mercedes say some areas of the W06 are “not up to scratch” yet and will be the focus of updates for this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

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Sepang - The Inside Line (Mercedes)

"We may see some slight adjustments in the performance differential between teams due to the very different nature of the track relative to Melbourne and we’re also bringing a few small updates to the cars – fixing a few points which have not quite been up to scratch thus far."

Engine hurting Red Bull more than STR (Autosport)

"They are struggling the same amount. It's just having a more dramatic on our car, at the end of the day."

Nigel Bennett's prescription for improving open-wheel racing (The Way It Is)

"The main problem with Formula One is that it's just too expensive for all but about four teams. I have to say that what goes on inside some of these big teams is absolutely ludicrous."

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Comment of the day

We should send Jim to the next FIA press conference to as this question:

I wonder if Christian Horner would be as keen to have the revenue distribution between the teams equalised… No probably not.
Jim (@Jimz0r)

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Audi R18 e-tron quattro, 2015

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On this day in F1

Sebastian Vettel scored what was no doubt his most controversial victory so far two years ago today:

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  • 89 comments on “W06 “not up to scratch” yet – Mercedes”

    1. So weird seeing an Audi without No. 1…

      1. I hope it stays like that for a very long time.

      2. I know this is being pedantic, but every year there are at least two Audis without the number 1 on the nose…

        1. @mazdachris Those two tend not to be the ones in the publicity photos though…

    2. I cannot believe that Multi 21 was 2 years ago!! Wow, how the time passes!

      1. I’ve got the feeling Multi 21 will be in our hearts for a long time :)

    3. Todays Le Mans-cars basically looks like closed Formula-cars. Stunning! If F1 in the future want to rethink the aestithics yet again, they should take a que from WEC

      1. Agreed!

      2. Still hope Audi and Toyota join F1 soon.

      3. @tequesta …and then just ending up looking like WEC cars?

      4. If think it’s a touch ironic that you say that after Audi release their worst looking racecar for about a decade. The 2014 spec R18 was probably the best looking racecar in circulation in 2014, but the ugly ducts of the front of this year’s chassis ruins it for me.

        1. Kind of a leaf blower indeed.

      5. Agreed, I think Newey’s Gran Tourismo cars nail the sweet spot between WEC and F1 quite nicely. That guy is living 20-30 years ahead of most of us, I only hope he can convince the powers that be to see the future out his way.

      6. @tequesta Don’t agree. Looking at the LMP1 category, sportscars had better days. I guess we finally know who paid VdG’s settlement.

    4. Regarding Nigel Bennetts suggestion, I can see two specific problems.

      Firstly:

      “In my opinion,” Bennett says, “they need to reduce downforce by 50 percent”

      Surely this will significantly increase lap times? Many fans are already borderline rabid about how close the F1 and GP2 lap times are to each other

      Second:

      “Right now, the braking distances are so short and the cornering speeds are so high that there’s just no time to outbrake the other guy.”

      Tell that to Lewis Hamilton…

      1. @ Adam H –
        First: Tyres (They can actually be a lot grippier & last longer, they are ‘built to degrade as they wear’ because that’s what the F1 ringmasters asked for, remember)
        Second: Mercedes (+ he hasn’t overtaken anyone this year on track so moot point anyway considering they are referring to this year’s cars)

        1. Sure he did, last week saw Lewis nearly lap the entire field. He had to pass many on track for that to happen.

          1. under blue flags

        2. Wasn’t Nigel specifically intending to lower cornering speeds and increase breaking distances?

          (He was)

          The lower drag levels would increase top speed on the straights, but I sincerely doubt that would compensate for the slower speed through the corners

        3. If he’s only talking about this year’s cars, what are the examples of people being unable to overtake?

      2. yes, it would make for slower lap times @fluxsource.

        I have read the original ideas and thought about it again now. In effect what Bennet proposes makes F1 more of a form of entertainment, maybe even more of a test of drivers and teams and more spectacular. On the other hand, it makes it as relevant to the world as say javelin (it uses a previously used weapon for a test of skill in a sport, nothing that is of much use), which is why I do not think this is the right way forward.
        That feeling is even more pronounced when in the end he notes that the real issue is the enormous amount of money spent, which wouldn’t change much in his proposal. And if the FIA would be able to impose a cap on spending, then it would also mean that this solves many of the current issues, because you can’t develop as fast with less money!

        1. It’s a mute point to suggest Bennet’s recommended changes would make F1 more a form of entertainment. We all know how lacking in entertainment a pure sport can be when the same guy wins every time. The fact is F1 can be a sport and entertainment of the best kind if it is genuinely close and competitive.

          The point you make about the relevance of F1 mississ the point entirely. Entertainment is the lifeblood of F1!!!!! it cannot exist without it. The Javelin is irrelevant to the modern world but it sure can be entertaining if its good close competition. United Nations meetings are extremely relevant to the world but are not entertaining in the slightest.

          Bennet has hit the nail on the head. Are you listening FIA?

          1. We all know how lacking in entertainment a pure sport can be when the same guy wins every time.

            I would refute that claim pointing out that the mens 100m was still watched by millions even when we all KNEW that Bolt would win. Thats the idea of sport – you have rules that all abide by on a level playing field, and they person/team that does best wins. Performance equalisation should NEVER be a driving force behind rule change in a sport. Allowing access to more people, and encouraging a diverse range should be, but the very idea that the rules should be used to deliberately change future results goes against the very principle of sport. Any concept of entertainment should be in addition to – and never at the expensive of – the concept of it as a sport.

            There are some nice ideas in that article, but I sincerely hope the FIA don’t adopt them all wholesale. And I’m pretty sure they won’t.

            1. If they made all the 100m runners wear clown shoes, I don’t think anyone would find it interesting. Bolt is exciting because he might break the world record over and over. If everyone running them 100m was running over 10 seconds, then nobody would be at all interested, whether the races were close or not.

            2. @fluxsource, @mazdachris – haha exactly what I was thinking. 100m if run by F1:

              Runners are only allowed to train on 3 designated days before the season starts. They may jog with approval from the FIA for promotional purposes.

              They may only use 2 pairs of shoes throughout the season. These shoes are designed to fall apart midway through a race so instead of running as fast as possible, they will be expected to pace themselves to prolong the life of their shoes.

              They are also only allowed to eat 100 calories in the week leading up to the race so they will have very little energy. This means they need to pace themselves, often by walking or having a lie down at 50m.

              Runners within .1s of the runner in front can press a button on their shirt which initiates a huge fan to blow them forward at extra speed.

            3. Well Adam I admire your passion for the sport, that is something we share. I was deliberately a bit provocative in the phrasing of my argument to try and understand why people seem to defend the millions spent by Mercedes on a ‘sport’ and the dominance it give them. I’m now a little the wiser.
              The comparison with the 100m (I assume you mean Olympic) is an interesting one. Of course it only happens once every four years, 70-80 grand prix might happen in this time so it’s a little different. Also the in 100m it’s man against man, is very pure and is difficult to spend another 20m a year to go a few tenths faster! If F1 was the same we’d have a much better idea who the best drivers were. Buying a win is not sport.
              I’ve got bad news on the performance equalisation point though. Just about ALL technical rules are to equalise the performance of the cars. That’s why we such have rules, to keep safe and to keep it close.
              You make some good points and I don’t disagree entirely but the point I was trying to make is if sport is competitive and close it is automatically entertaining, that’s all.

      3. Nigel Bennet knows what he is talking about. The FIA and we should listen.
        Any objections regarding making the car slower are just ill founded. This type of change could be made across the board so all formulae retain a similar relative speed. Also more fuel could be allowed to make up the difference. In fact more fuel/power would enhance the effect.
        I’m sick and tired of watching boring races where the only overtakes are DRS. Bennet suggestions will make for cars where the driver can make more of a difference. The smaller teams will have more of a chance.
        What he is saying is common sense. The sooner the FIA wake up and smell the coffee the better.

        1. The most disillusioned comment of the day:

          “Any objections regarding making the car slower are just ill founded.”

          That is some crazy talk right here, I can come up with at least five valid objections.

          For example, how about that most people, spectators and drivers of F1 don’t want slow cars and don’t care for it. Those who enjoy super close, pure, DRS-free, very competitive but slow racing can and do watch lawnmower racing etc. And there is nothing wrong with that.

          “I’m sick and tired of watching boring races where the only overtakes are DRS.”

          Really? Are you sure? Then may I suggest F1 is not for you. No seriously, if you are being genuine in your comment, I recommend you give up on F1 and examine other categories.

          Why do I say so, well, because you completely dismiss all the overtakes that DO happen without DRS (and overtake attempts/fights). So I presume, that amount of racing action counts as nothing to you. And in this DRS era, there has been more of that action than in the previous eras, IMO. Partially due to DRS itself, allowing cars to keep up for longer, minimizing the negative effect of dirty air.

          So I think, even if people like you get some of what you ask for, you won’t get closer to being satisfied, but you will have ruined F1 for others, so my suggestion for you to look at other series for slow DRS-free racing is genuine. You will be happier, if you are being genuine in you comment, and you won’t be poisoning the public voice of F1 fans.

          Maybe look at Formula Ford or GP3.

          1. I reject the notion that ideas such as Mr. Bennett’s automatically mean slower cars. With reduced (not eliminated) downforce comes higher top speeds, and there are many many iterations of tires that can be used to ensure mechanical grip for more than just a few hot laps per stint with major management required for the rest.

            As to passing, sure DRS can invite a bit of real passing by giving cars an opportunity to close in on others. Drivers can also simply wait for a DRS zone to do an easy pass, which flies in the face of the pinnacle of racing. And sure there are some real passes in F1…many due to huge discrepencies in the state of each others’ terrible tires. The fake passes that do exist are unremarkable and are an indication of desperation to have passes at any cost no matter their integrity, while the real enemy, expensive aero R&D remains. Do away with expensive aero work, reduce aero, and eliminate fake DRS that is hated by the vast majority, and I don’t see how F1 would be worse off. Drivers would be looked at again as racers duking it out on the track, not passengers monitoring systems and only racing when they are told they can, and having DRS as a crutch. It has no place in F1 and can and should be eliminated altogether by reducing the addiction to expensive aero.

            1. @mateuss Just to add a little comment to the above. You warn of people like us, who agree with the sentiments of Mr. Bennett, ruining F1 for others, while missing the fact that if others didn’t consider F1 already half-way ruined we wouldn’t be reading articles from experts suggesting change. Not to mention the daily verbiage from F1 itself constantly talking of change.

          2. Well Mateuss words fail me! I’ll ignore your insults. My apologies if you thought I was disillusioned. I love F1. I’ve followed its since the early 70’s and raced cars myself semi professionally so this is something I know about. I watch all formulae. Formula Ford and GP3 included.

            I stand by my comment “Any objections regarding making the car slower are just ill founded.”
            Note the word slower not slow. Also Bennet’s suggestions may make the cars slower in the corners only. They’d be faster on the straights. This means longer braking distances and more opportunity for overtaking.
            When did I dismiss non-DRS overtakes? I certainly treasure each one. As for DRS keeping the racing closer I think that’s very debatable. Reducing aero down force will reduce dirty air which DRS seeks to overcome so it will have the same effect. DRS may not be required any more because the cars will be able to follow closer in the corners.

            I passionately care about F1 and don’t agree I am “Poisoning the public voice of F1 fans”

            Happy F1 viewing Mateuss :)

            1. Then it seems you are just guilty of overstating everything you said. It seems you do enjoy watching the races and are not sick of them. Do you watch the practice sessions?

              If you stand by that comment then I’ll keep on with the refutation. I’ll reiterate, that many people, including me, don’t wan’t the cars to be slower, not on the straights, not on the brakes, not in the corners, not overall. It’s a completely valid objection based on personal preference to want to see fast cars in every aspect of the word, just like your personal preference to want to see more of a certain type of overtaking opportunities.

              And if the cars would be slower in the corners, they would have to be a lot faster in a straight line even to replicate most of the end-of-straight speed, never mind overcome the overall lap-time disadvantage.

              And to propose that somehow all could agree to make all other series slower is comical. Maybe we could also erase all memory and history of previous racing achievements, so that people are not disappointing to see that every racing series is slower than they were.

              Though I agree with you on the slight increase of fuel allowance and flow rate, to increase power. That would make cars faster,and increase braking distances as well among other things.

              In your prior comment, it did seem like you are dismissing the action that happens every race, and presenting us a false picture that F1 overtaking now is all about simple push-button passing. That is obviously not the case.

              I’ve got no problem of people who argue against certain aspects of Formula 1, like DRS, but all things have to be examined honestly. F1 is very complex. The relationship between speed, downforce, tyre grip, track layouts, torque etc. is very complex and nuanced. And there is no easy, simple, solution that is known with any kind of certainty, that would successfully make F1 into something specific, even if all parties involved could agree what that is, which is not the case. Personal preference still plays a major role.

              Apart from the problems of the way that FOM distributes revenue , and the heavily restricted access to F1 (to which only a few invested parties disagree), it’s not easy to agree on what are the actual problems in F1, never mind what the solutions should be. So my main problem was/is, that you overstate and over-simplify everything, and present an inaccurate picture of F1 to support your preference. Do it honestly and I have no problem with what you are saying, I’ll agree on some points, disagree on others.

            2. in answer to your following comment, there is no reply button so I posted here.

              Mateuss perhaps I am guilty of overstating what I said. My apologies. To be clear I do love F1. I watch all of the pratice sessions. I merely think in comparison to what it could be if Bennets suggestions were implemented it’s less entertaining that it might be. The use of the the word ‘boring’ was comparative. Even if there was no overtaking F1 would not be boring in comparison to cricket for example! But that just my opinion. I firmly believe that less aero would give better racing and we assume that would mean the cars would be slower in the corners but hey why give them bigger tyres to keep the cornering speed the same? How about that Mateuss? Would that be a good compromise if it improved overtaking?

              It is not comical to suggest that all FIA formulae could be slowed down a little in fact it happens all the time. As I said previously F1 and other racing could not exist without rules to slow the cars down.

              There have been thousands of new rules of the last 20-30 years to slow cars down to keep it safe and close. Where you opposed to every one? If these things aren’t done from time to time we would end up with cars that cornered so fast the drivers would black out and have aircraft style accidents.

              In terms of F1 very being complex and that I over simplify things, yes it is complex, there are nuances but most of the complexity makes small differences. Power, torque, aero and mechanical grip make the most difference. That’s simple yes?

              You say you have no problem with people who suggest DRS is a bad thing but I think you do. To give one competitor a temporary advantage over another based on their position is not sport.

              You also have a problem with the word ‘slower’. Bennet means slower by a small amount, nothing anyone would notice and F1 would still be the pinnacle of speed. Still the fastest. What the problem?

              TV viewing figures are plummeting. Drastic action is required. Don’t shout people down who know what they are talking about.

          3. Then may I suggest F1 is not for you. No seriously, if you are being genuine in your comment, I recommend you give up on F1 and examine other categories.

            If things don’t change soon you may find lots of us have taken your advice and that you’re left watching the sport die in front of a few hundred fans while the rest of us are enjoying other series.

            Worldwide audiences fell by 25 million (5.6%) last year, if that trend continues then pretty soon there’ll be no one left for you to tell that they should stop complaining and find something else to watch.

            1. @beneboy That was not at all my objective. I took the commentator’s words at face value and made an honest suggestion that would suit all parties.

              But that’s the thing, all what was said was a gross exaggeration and simplification and don’t actually apply.

              This misrepresentation and oversimplification serves to make our fan discussions pointless and impossible to listen to. This is not what I, like you it seems, wan’t.

              And I don’t understand how to respond to your final point. Are you suggesting that technical regs are the only and main factor that drive viewing figures, in the short term? Or did you presume I am am against any type of change and am blind to many existing problems in F1? Or what was the point?

      4. you can’t drop down force by 50% because the Merc’s would still have an advantage, and everyone has different levels of down force, so the same teams would still have more down force, and how exactly do you regulate such a thing with out putting everyone on the same chassis. Because that’s what is really being advocated for, putting everyone in the same kind of car.

        You also cannot regulate spending, because there are many ways to spend money and not have it any where near the FIA/Formula 1, yet still benefit from the investment.

        It’s a joke to think you can control something, you can however influence things, that’s why a weight penalty system, which overtly provides a negative incentive for outperforming the rest of the field is probably the best compromise, because it’s not a back door deal, it can be equally applied to all, and it punishes teams that keep spending more and more money, even if they are out in front.

    5. Shame about Nasr missing FP1, looks likely Ericsson brings a bigger cheque than Nasr to Aunty Monisha. That’s the only reason for him to be the favoured son.
      That’s is Sauber all over at the minute.

      1. Its also possible that when they signed Ericsson they needed the money more, and therefore had to accept a clause that he would be driving all sessions, while they knew they would need to give Marciello FP1 time when they negotiated with Nasr and therefore always had to insist on this being allowed as needed in the contract @bullwhipper

      2. @thebullwhipper I guess it depends on whether they play it like Williams where the same guy gave up the seat each time or whether they’ll do the honourable thing and rotate them.

    6. Am I not right in thinking that Aidrian Newey was meant to have stepped back at the end of 2015? ‘Red Bull sure of keeping Vettel as Newey steps back … seems to me that the Alonso & Vettel movements unsettled a lot of people last year.

      For me Alonso -> McLaren is similar to Hamilton’s move, a long term investment/change of pace from his heritage team. But McLaren weren’t on-pace last year, so either it’s money (?) or an external factor drawing him there // out of Ferarri in 2014?

      [fair disclosure – I’ve followed Vettel since 2010, before he was a world champ]
      Vettel’s move to me seems more of a “dream job” scenario, I mean who wouldn’t want to drive for the Marinello outfit even if they were suffering hard times as recent times have shown? Also the Kimster seems to have “taken” better to Practice/Qually/Race – I might be reading into it but it sounds like Kimi has come out of his comfort zone more in press since Jerez testing(thoughts?)

      my $0.02 for what it’s worth..

      1. Also Kimi is driving a car he and Allison developed to his liking. Vettel is benefiting from Kimi’s hard input last year. These two drivers will work well to bring the car to the front quickly, they’ll settle their own competition on track but I don’t think we’ll see the garage drama of previous drivers.

      1. Yeah that technical directive was issued last week but it’s not clear when the changes will actually be made. Apparently by keeping the high fuel flow rate while the driver is off the throttle, higher fuel pressure can be built up in the fuel system beyond the flow sensor, allowing it to be injected at a higher pressure/flow rate. Though whether any team is actually doing that is debateable.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          24th March 2015, 8:23

          That should not be an issue as increasing fuel flow after the sensor is prohibited in the existing technical regulations.

          5.10.5 Any device, system or procedure the purpose and/or effect of which is to increase the flow rate after the measurement point is prohibited.

          @mazdachris, @tornado

          1. @coldfly Yes indeed, prohibited but possible to detect using the current flow sensor? Apparently not. The FIA have a suspicion at least that it may be possible, or indeed that someone may actually be doing it, otherwise they wouldn’t issue a directive to change how the flow is measured. Especially given the fact that in recent years, all such directives have been introduced with a view to stopping a team from doing something they shouldn’t.

          2. Yes, because no one ever breaks rules and regulations in F1!

      2. @tornado I know it’s unbylined so I’m not going to trust it.

        Sorry if that sounds a bit harsh but if someone’s not going to put their name on something why should I believe them?

        1. @keithcollantine

          Keith the article is accurate in what it says. it was reported on Autosport before the first race – http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/118066

          I guess you missed that one!

          1. @mazdachris To be clear, my point here is that I don’t see any reason to trust the source @tornado linked to in the first place. That being so I didn’t say anything about whether I’d seen similar reports or believed they were accurate.

            1. @keithcollantine

              I get what you’re saying. I did think that the report on Autosport passed oddly under the rader and I was surprised that there wasn’t more attention paid to it. The fact that the FIA are issuing a directive mandating a new method of measuring the fuel flow surely implies that they suspect that the loophole exists and that it’s possible that someone is exploiting it.

              As I’m not a journalist I’m fully free to speculate, and would point out that the exploitation of such a loophole could well explain why the Mercedes GP cars are so much faster than the rest using the same power unit. But of course, we don’t know, and we probably won’t know. It’ll be interesting to see whether there will be any change in performance once the changes are introduced.

        2. @keithcollantine Nice philosophy, but it doesn’t account for plain terrible journalism, demonstrated brazenly with the headline “Vettel to join Ferrari in 2014” on the BBC Sport website, and the dumbstruck face of Andrew Benson beside it.

      3. Speaking of stories that nobody wants to talk about:
        http://blog.axisofoversteer.com/2015/03/ecclestone-hints-mercedes-got-extra.html

        Is this story being censored around the internet? Skyitalia is hiding something and MERC is denying this, when there is smoke…..

        1. No it was mentioned here yesterday. I think most people are ignoring it because everyone knows what Ecclestone’s like and he’s obviously just trying to smear Mercedes without actually accusing them of having done anything wrong.

    7. W06 “not up to scratch” yet – Mercedes

      Ooh, banter

      1. I’m sure all the teams on the grid were thrilled when Mercedes made that statement

        1. Especially Red Bull, lol.

      2. Bit of a nothing statement though. Of course they’re not at 100% yet. They’ve had one race!

    8. Red Bull: ‘Boo frickin hoo, Mercedes are too quick, no team can hope to match them!’

      Mercedes: ‘Oh this? (the W06) yeah it’s a work in progress, to be honest, we’re not happy with it we only lapped the field up to 6th, definitely room to improve.’

      Actual race teams: ‘Mercedes are the benchmark and we can catch them.’

    9. “They are struggling the same amount. It’s just having a more dramatic on our car, at the end of the day.”

      Translation: “They struggling the same amount. We’re just struggling more.”

      Do you even listen to yourself Christian? You’re sounding more and more like a idiot every day.

      1. Yeah, typical Horner.

        “Our engine is 200 HP down on every other engine, including identical engines in other cars, which is all Renault’s fault. This is costing us AT LEAST 10 seconds per lap, and we only managed to catch up 8,5 seconds with our glorious chassis. Also, the bad drive-ability hurts us more than every other team, because we have The Greatest Car In The World ™, which of course reacts more delicately than those peasants’ tuned harversters, who are using their tyres wrong. And could we please have equalisation until we’re on top again, so that we can get back to winning 15 races out of 20 and give F1 its dignity back?”

        His daydream was interrupted by the Press Lady nudging him with her elbow. Struggling to find the right words to express how unfair it all was, he eventually said: “They are struggling the same amount. It’s just having a more dramatic on our car, at the end of the day.”
        The interviewer looked puzzled. But in Christian’s mind, no questions were left unanswered. He and Red Bull were clearly the victims of a disgusting conspiracy. But if they thought they could break him, they were wrong. If Red Bull were going to lose, they were going to do it in style, calmly addressing the blatant injustice, smiling in adversity’s face.

      2. What Horner is conveniently leaving out of his moaning, is the power used in Australia was one that Renault told them was not ready to be used, as they’ve got parts that have not been fully tested. Redbull still demanded that they give it to them, that they did, so they suffered the consequences of being stubborn.

        1. “They are struggling the same amount. It’s just having a more dramatic on our car, at the end of the day.”

          Orwell PR corporate doublespeak nonsense.

          Or lies you could say.

      3. I’m still trying to figure out why the original article kept leaving out. It was happening like sentence or two.

    10. Some ‘media’ sites are reporting a directive by the FIA to change the way in which they record fuel flow rates at the Chinese GP, siting the argument that some manufactures may be utilising collecting fuel at low fuel rate moments past the point of measurement and using the fuel to increase power output when higher flow rates are needed. Discuss…

      1. Yeah this is an interesting one, this new directive was sent to the teams prior to the Australian GP. I wonder if it will actually have any net bearing on performancebetween the teams?
        I know Mercedes have introduced a new even higher pressure fuel rail on their ICE for 2015 so maybe this is what sparked the request from the FIA. It is not unreasonable to think that they are essentially presurising the fuel rail up to some crazy amount of psi and delivering short bursts of extra performance under acceleration that exceed the intent of the rules. Of course the only way the FIA will be able to measure this is via this route i.e. having accurate pressure readings from the rail itself in addition to knowing the fuel flow rate into the rail. The current process of measuring fuel flow leaving the fuel cell was always going to be an issue as there are numerous points after that where these little workarounds can be introduced.

    11. Steph Farnsworth
      24th March 2015, 10:25

      It seems reasonable to me that McLaren have shifted their focus to this car for quite some time now, knowing that the 2014 car was nothing more than a stop-gap and would have to be modified for the Honda engines. So there is quite a strong chance that this car will be very efficient aerodynamically. I have faith in their chassis designers, particularly their newly reinvigorated aerodynamics staff, but the thing that is mostly in question is the competitiveness of the engine. While no one is really expecting Mercedes level of power and drivability, I hope that they are at the very least comparable to the best that Renault and Ferrari can produce. I think the car will be very quick. McLaren suffered with downforce. To tackle this, Prodromou is there. I’m sure he has been working on the machine since September. And working very closely with Honda to integrate the engine into the car properly. If the engine is reliable enough, there is no doubt they will challenge Mercedes.Most of the engine making will be adopting the Mercedes layout and whatever is known about the engine so it makes sense for Honda to do the same. I wouldn’t over estimate McLarens access to the Mercedes engine unit and its metrics (while they will have performance data I doubt they have any of the internal metrics) and even if they did – they would get into a pile of trouble if they were to hand it over to Honda.I would imagine many are expecting a very Red Bull like car from McLaren for 2015 in terms of its aero concept. Its been known for a while that aero has been McLarens problem and they’ve basically changed their aero dept. this year so its not folly to expect them to move forward next year. McLaren would have been making demands on layout for just that reason, also Honda have a lot of knowledge on how to put an engine together – they know what they’re doing regardless of what Mercedes have already done – it could be that Honda bring some new tricks to the table.I expect McLaren to get at least a victory after a 2 year drought but I would be surprised if they challenge for the title in 2015. It would be a nice surprise though.Alonso will be happy as long as McLaren are in front of Ferrari – that already will justify the decision, with potential for further development.Regular podiums will have to be considered a success, anything above that is a bonus.Honda was very intelligent waiting to see which concept works and which are a dead-end street. They know what they have to achieve, and in one way or the other they must have gained access to relevant technical information from Mercedes, even with all precautions that could have been taken there is simply no way you can hide it to hundreds of information-hungry engineers. Even been optimistic, I cannot imagine Honda investing hundreds of millions and waiting one extra year only to fall short, that would really be incredible.I must say this overheating issue intrigues me, I cannot help thinking that there in lies some of the innovation McLaren were on about pre-season, has there been any rumblings or rumours as to what exactly this innovative technology Honda with McLaren have brought to F1? Given the packaging of the car I had thought that they might be playing around with heat management methodology, that it isn’t working right now and the lack of public feedback as in a fault of design (I don’t believe there is one, I just believe that the design through race implementation phase isn’t sorted yet). It is pretty amazing I agree . But it does somewhat agree with the evidence of our own eyes : That the McLaren cars have often looked almost undriveable at times . On previous years on some tracks I have often had the impression that the drivers were being subjected to horrendous vibrations by the stiffly sprung cars to the extent that it was amazing they could still physically function as drivers ! The difference between them and say the Red Bull cars was obvious. Ron needs to stay away from the press. He put his foot in it when he said that McLaren would win a race this season and he fell flat on his face. Even if the engine is great, the chassis needs a lot of time and development. Peter Prodromou will have little/no effect on the chassis for 2015 (already designed) other than in season development but the main change will come in 2016 (expect a clean slate design from Peter). To be a consistent challenger, you are looking at this for the earliest.The point would be – would Honda want to go with it (given their own darker red) – and how much of the color scheme does Philipp Morris really “own” (besides the shape/form)? McLaren could go for a little different shade of red – take also note of the fact that the 1974 Marlboro red was distinctively different from the 1990 Marlboro “red” – so which is the “original” Marlboro red? Even the famous “Ferrari red” has gone through a number of updates and permutations, as to appear more attractive and powerful on the TV screen.Granted, it is the Marlboro colors, however, they became so synonymous with McLaren with famous world champions like Emerson Fittipaldi, James Hunt, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna racing in these colors that it would not be perceived as fake or “plastic”. The team updating to a new version of its own historic livery (even without the sponsor) would hardly be “plastic”. In fact, McLaren would do themselves a favor to go beyond the silver & black years which have netted only Mika Häkkinen and Lewis Hamilton as WDCs. I could also well imagine Fernando Alonso rather wanting to step into the Fittipaldi/Hunt/Lauda/Prost/Senna tradition than into the Hakkinen/Hamilton tradition…. What do you guys think?

      1. Yeah it’s hard to know where this team really is given their lack of track time. Hard to even know how much they expected this possibility. Surely they didn’t expect no issues whatsoever. I think we/they just need more time before we know anything of any substance. Has it been ideal for them? Of course not. But given the likelihood that nobody will have an answer for the mighty Mercs this year, I don’t think Mac needs push any panic buttons. They have no option but to put their noses to the grindstone, and they were always going to be doing that anyway…even if they were already much better off in terms of performance and track time. This is the hand they’ve been dealt, and I’m confident they’ll deal with it, even of they have found a major fault that won’t quickly be solved. It’s such early days for this McLaren/Honda marriage, in a very complex era.

      2. There’s an article that’s been recently posted on the official F1 website that utilises some official data about “cornering ratings”, and it suggests that the McLaren has good cornering ability and thus a good chassis:
        http://www.formula1.com/content/fom-website/en/latest/features/2015/3/race-performance-ratings-explained–australia—cornering.html

        At the end of the GP, it ranked Button’s McLaren at 4th in terms of “cornering rating”, only behind the two Mercedes cars and Massa (who was on a charge for the podium). It’s no proof of anything, but it’s certainly interesting.

    12. Re:Cotd
      I fail to understand the reason why Christian has been receiving such flak. A
      Why should Red Bull get equalpay as Manor or Caterham or Force India despite spending much more money than them into the sport?
      Yes, the pay needs to be fairer, but the big teams bring more money and finish higher and get a bigger layout. They spend anywhere between 50 and 150 m more just to get a few tenths more.

      And regarding their recent comments, RB did deliver a great chassis last year, whether or not they had a better one than Mercedes or not, and were still 1-1.5 s behind Merc. They won 3 races, all due to mishaps. The time difference was due to Renaults less powerful engine, something which isnt RB’s fault. So yes, only Ferrari is being able to challenge Mercedes, they are the only team to be able to produce engines under their direct control. Its taken time, but its no surprise that these 2 are the fastest 2 teams in f1. It took time, but it was bound to happen.
      Also, I dont wish to see McLaren and Honda flounder around for the next few years, struggling to peg back the huge advantage Mercedes have over them due to their superior PU. I wont be surprised if Mercedes continue to win till 2018. Even if ferrari comes close to matching them, they would have Reliability, Luck, Aero and Chassis to sort out and get a driver pairing that can win before thinking of a WC
      I dont want success ballast I want more tokens for engines. And to restrict the cost,ask the suppliers to limit the engine cost to their 2015 levels, instead of increasing them.

      1. Kiwi55: While I have some sympathy with your point of view, I also have problems with the fact that the teams who already have lots of money, then get more given to them on a plate. I agree that the winners should win more than the rest, but at the moment the disparity is so large that the smaller teams are in constant danger of going bust.

        I believe that F1 needs small teams as well as big teams to bring in variety and provide an entry point for all sorts of F1 team members – engineers, designers, managers and others as well as drivers. If we end up with just a few big teams running multiple cars it will change the whole character of F1.

        1. The disparity isnt insurmountable, the smaller teams just spend all their cash for development and try to finish high. The next season the struggle. Ask Lotus, FI, Sauber.
          If you increase the amount given to midfield, all of it will just be blown on impractical aero development, year on year.

    13. Regarding the quote from Sainz in the Autosport article.

      “We are much better in the corners, but much worse than them on the straights.

      “Obviously, driveability is still the biggest concern of the team.”

      This seems like a contradiction. If the main issue is straights (power deficit) and they are good in corners then surely that contradicts driveability being the biggest issue. Also some of the issues relate to car setup, a car which is good through corners is typically slower at top speed because of the extra drag and if top speed is their problem then then a much quicker fix than increasing engine power would be to take off some downforce.

      If they can’t even tell Renault what to focus on then it’s always going to be hard for Renault to make the changes required.

      1. @jerseyf1 I think the problem is that the Renault power unit is basically bad in all areas. it has a power defecit, and it’s not very driveable. But there is no contradiction – you can have a chassis which is good through the corners; your apex speed will be higher than others’. But a power unit which has a lumpy power delivery will mean that either it doesn’t generate power out of the corner, or when the driver puts his foot down the power can come on too suddenly and cause oversteer.

        You can’t look at the power unit as being completely separate from the chassis dynamics. If you have a good chassis you can enter the corner at a high speed, but you can’t make any use of that advantage if you can’t get on the power at the apex and build speed at the corner exit. And advantage you may gain from cornering speed is then lost at the corner exit, and then that speed loss is carried all along the straight. Even the best chassis will be compromised through the corners by a power unit which lacks driveability.

      2. lol. They need more power, better drivability, better reliability and better fuel consumption. Pretty easy directions. Shouldn’t be too hard on renault, should it? ferrari got it right this year after all.

        as for the rest of your comment. It makes no sense whatsoever.

    14. Narrow, cross-ply tyres and minimal aerodynamics? Sounds like Nigel Bennett wants F1 to become a retro-racing class where the drivers compete in Maserati 250F’s, Mercedes W196’s, and Ferrari 156’s. Perhaps they’d wear cork and leather crash helmets as they race.

      Which would be entertaining, I must admit. But it would certainly not be F1.

      1. This is my problem with the “reduce downforce!” type statements. It’s not progress, it’s regress. If anything, I think we should be making the aero more stable, rather than less.

        Much of the car’s downforce right now relies on the front wing, which is easily washed away by following cars– so why don’t they reduce the reliance on front downforce, allow limited ground effects, and allow advancements in diffuser technology, to move the downforce to the middle and rear of the car?

        Finally, I think we’ve exhausted the limits of mechanical suspension. Unleash dynamic suspension, and allow the drivers to corner as flat as possible– if nothing else, it means when Malaysia/Monaco/Britain/Japan/Brazil turn into a monsoon during the race, the drivers have some control over their suspension settings, and incidents like Bianchi (and he was unlucky– Sutil went off at the same corner) will be less likely.

        All of that, and removing the 10,500 RPM limit on fuel flow (but keep the existing formula), allowing the engines to use the revs between 10,500 and 15,000 RPM, and I think we’d have some pretty good racing again. I agree with Mercedes and Williams– I don’t think the sport needs radical changes, but I think with some tweaks, they could significantly improve the racing, without endangering the drivers.

        It’s a complete reversal on the mindset of the past 10 years however, so I doubt it’ll happen.

    15. I know that Daniel Ricciardo has already been anointed as world champion caliber driver and some would say he’s on Alonso’s level because he had 1 year against a deflated/demotivated 4x WDC (who also had 2x the technical issues of dan – but i digress). Perhaps we jumped to conclusion a bit too soon, could it just be that the difference between the Red Bull team’s is the drivers? Daniel is a great kid but he’s gonna need a few more years at that level before he deserves the credit so many where willing to pour on him last year. Not sure about Kvyat, I dont trust his results in the russian GP and I dont trust that Red Bull promoted him for anything more than Russian exposure – but he seems pretty genuine and I think a russian WDC would do a lot for the sport so i wish him the best. Just saying we may see the first year in a long time that STR has better drivers than RBR.

      Just as a side note, we should assume it’s not only STR drivers than want to join the mothership – i’m sure members of the technical staff want to make the jump as well and this years STR challenger might be their calling card.

    16. “The main problem with Formula One is that it’s just too expensive for all but about four teams. I have to say that what goes on inside some of these big teams is absolutely ludicrous.”

      The phrase logic doesn’t make sense, if it is “absolutely ludicrous” then doesn’t matter.

      Well it seems it matters. So it is not ludicrous.

        1. weeeell, Redbull Honda next year then? McLaren only have a 1yr exclusivity deal ;)

          I just don’t recall ever seeing two “partners” going at each other like this. TBH I am surprised Renault have put up with it for so long.

      1. I love it.

        Rear end instability on a Red Bull? Eat that, Horner. Cedric is right about Newey too.

        1. Interesting. What I never did get going back to last year is that if RBR’s ‘only’ problem was being down on hp vs Merc, why did DR so well handle SV? Why did SV struggle so much relatively? That can’t have just been HP.

          I mean…I get that SV had just had a great run with a car that at least for him felt on rails, and I get that then having to deal with something less is hard to accept and enjoy coming off what you just had, but…

          And I get that maybe this new gen of car last year suited DR better perhaps, but again, if their only issue was lacking 70 HP, I wouldn’t have expected DR to handle SV as he did.

          1. he didn’t really ‘handle’ him that decisively, although it does appear it from the outside, SV had a LOT of reliability issues and missed a LOT of running because of them

            1. Yeah I ‘wonder’ if anyone has ‘calculated’ the number of times seb had a technical failure in the races that daniel was able to capitalize on Mercedes technical failures. Is it just 1 or more?

    17. When Red Bull are in their heyday, Horner seemed very happy and praising everything, but when Red Bull are in a diffuclt situation, all he can do is whine and ruin Red Bull image.

    18. Does this mean they will 3 to 4 secs up if they get it right. Gosh it will be totally horrendous then Hamilton’s WDC or WDCs will be totally hollow.

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