f1f12014graham benge

Formula One 2014… The wait is nearly over…

…. and for many of the teams the recent weeks of testing under the new regulations have been fraught with problems as they come to terms with the demands and complications of the new hybrid power trains. Red Bull, for example, required some precision hacking of cooling holes in the bodywork as their heat dissipation calculations clearly went a bit awry.
The season begins as traditional in Melbourne but for some of the teams it will be another massive test session. Expect Friday’s sessions in particular to be topsy turvy in terms of times. As they say ‘the old order changeth’..!
So who are we likely to see actually racing not just car sorting?
Well, so far the Renault engined teams all have problems, the Mercedes engined teams don’t and Ferrari are very impressive.
Expect Mercedes with Lewis and Nico to feature well. They are one of the few teams to actually complete a race distance. Ferrari also look very strong but the battle between Alonso and Raikkonen will consume a lot of management time! Force India have also gone very well.
Red Bull are struggling with power train and chassis issues and have only run a hundred or so laps in 12 days of testing. Lotus also look to be on the back foot with their package.  I don’t expect Seb to be a strong contender in the early races but watch out for his team mate Ricciardo. He’ll go well once Adrian Newey sorts the car.
It’s the same at Lotus where Grosjean will feature if they can get the car sorted, and Williams are completely revitalised with the expection of a new career lease of life for old soldier Massa.
McLaren also look strong once more with Ron back in charge, Eric Bouillier joining him on the pit wall, and Jenson with new boy Magussen showing well.
Look out also for the new cars’ noses… They are as many, as varied and some are as ridiculous as a clowns’ convention.
So what have all of the teams learned about the extremely complex new hybrid power trains? Not enough apparently! Expect a race of car failures, as for most of the teams reliability will prove to be a major issue, and, at this stage, there is no guarantee of a full grid come Sunday. I can’t wait!
Graham Benge
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