Button and Magnussen Preview Chinese Grand Prix 2014

April 14, 2014

Jenson Button

Age                                         34 (January 19 1980)

GPs                                         250

Wins                                       15

Poles                                      8

FLs                                        

 “After a disappointing race in Bahrain, I think we head to China with a bit of a point to prove – we need to get some points on the board, and get another race under our belts that demonstrates the pace that we feel this year’s car has.

 “That won’t necessarily be straightforward – Bahrain showed that, the top two cars aside, the racing this year is fast, fraught and very evenly matched. The margins are so slim that it’ll require us to get everything right: a focused practice, problem-free qualifying sessions and a clean race to try and establish ourselves at the forefront of that chasing pack.

 “But I’ve always enjoyed racing in China – I won here in 2010, and I’ve always had good results here for McLaren. While it’s not necessarily a track that perfectly suits our package, I think we can pull everything together and have a stronger weekend.”

 Kevin Magnussen

Age                                         21 (October 5 1992)

GPs                                         3

Wins                                       0

Poles                                      0

FLs                                        

 “I came away from the last race feeling like I didn’t get the maximum from either myself or the car, so the couple of days’ testing in Bahrain, and my preparations for this race, will hopefully allow me to rediscover my comfort zone with MP4-29.

 “I’m looking forward to this race – it’s a track I’ve only seen on the TV, but it looks to have a real variety of corners. The first turn looks like a real challenge, but, most interestingly, I think we’ve going to see some spectacular speeds, and a lot of overtaking along the back straight, which is one of the longest in Formula 1.

“The first three races have seen different cars and drivers emerge as the closest challengers to the Mercedes drivers. I still think it’s a bit early to be able to see a competitive order emerge among all the teams battling for points, but our aim this weekend will be to try and consolidate our position at the forefront of that chasing pack.”

 Eric Boullier

Racing director, McLaren Mercedes

“It’s never easy to come away from a grand prix with two retirements, so it’ll be important to get some further points on the board in China this weekend.

 I think there are reasons to be encouraged by our general performance: the chasing pack in Bahrain was extremely closely matched, but we were in the thick of it, and see the potential to hopefully edge clear.

 “We’re aggressively developing MP4-29: we know we have a good baseline, but it’s a concept that requires development. We have some useful steps in the pipeline, and the key to success this year will be, firstly, the quick translation of those concepts into useful components; and, secondly, getting those steps to work successfully at the track.

 “I think we’ve got good correlation between the windtunnel and the track, and our designers are encouraged by what’s already been brought to the track. We’ll have another little step for China, and will hopefully be bringing more key updates to every race.

 “The Bahrain race was rightly acclaimed as a thriller, and I think we have all the ingredients in place for another exciting contest in China this weekend.”

McLaren Preview Chinese Grand Prix 2014

April 14, 2014

2014 Chinese Grand Prix – preview

 #ChineseGP

#McLarenLIVE

 Formula 1 returns to the Far East for round four of the 2014 world championship, the Chinese Grand Prix. The race takes place just outside Shanghai, China’s industrial and financial capital, and the on-track action is always frenetic thanks to the Shanghai International Circuit’s huge straights, wide run-off areas and notoriously unpredictable weather.

 Shanghai International Circuit facts & stats

Even now, 10 years after the Shanghai International Circuit first hosted a grand prix, the sheer scale of the venue is breathtaking. Its two nine-storey pit buildings, the 29,000-seat main grandstand and the ornate team pavilions in the paddock give the track a dimension that sets it apart from other circuits around the world.

 The 5.451km track was built on marshland deemed unsuitable for housing in 2003. To shore up the wallowing wasteland more than 40,000 concrete pillars were inserted into the ground – something that the track’s designers, Hermann Tilke and Peter Wahl, described as “a huge undertaking”. Construction work was completed in time for the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix in September 2004.

 The clockwise layout contains an eclectic mix of corners, from the 270-degree ever-tightening Turn One to the fast esses in sector two. The final sector incorporates the longest straight on the F1 calendar, at the end of which lies the best overtaking point on the lap, a second-gear hairpin.

 Temperatures are expected to be much cooler than at the last couple of races, and there’s always the chance of rain on China’s eastern fringes in April. Four Chinese GPs have been affected by wet weather, and the 2009 edition was one of only eight races in F1 history to be started behind the Safety Car due to poor weather.

 Pirelli will take their Medium and Soft tyre compounds to China, as they did in Australia and Bahrain. The Soft tyre is expected to give better performance over one lap, with the Medium compound, which performs well on cooler track surfaces, expected to be the better race tyre.

 McLaren has won the Chinese Grand Prix three times, Jenson magnificently leading home a one-two at a deluged event in 2010. The Shanghai International Circuit is another new racetrack for Kevin Magnussen, but he’s already proved this year that he’s a very fast learner.

 Shanghai International Circuit – the stats you need

Race distance                       56 laps (305.066km/189.559 miles)

Start time                               15:00 (local)/07:00 (GMT)

Circuit length                        5.451km/3.387 miles

2013 winner                           Fernando Alonso (Ferrari F138) 56 laps in 1hr36m26.945s (189.778km/h)

2013 pole                               Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes W04) 1m 34.484s (207.692km/h)

Lap record                             Michael Schumacher (Ferrari F2004) 1m32.238s (212.749km/h)

 First race                                2004

What makes it special          The mighty architecture, the longest straight in F1, and the passing into the Turn 14 hairpin

Wins from pole position      5

Track abrasiveness              Medium. The track is relatively smooth, but the long corners make it demanding on tyres – particularly the front-left

Pirelli tyre choice                  Soft (Option)/Medium (Prime)

2013 winning strategy         3

Fuel consumption                Medium. The flowing nature of the racetrack makes fuel less of a strategic factor than in Bahrain, for example

Brakewear                              Medium. There are a couple of big stops, particularly into Turn 14, but the brakes have plenty of time to recover

Weather                                  Mixed. Nearly half of the Chinese GPs to date have been affected by wet weather. It is often chilly in China during April

DRS zones                             2 – one on the start-finish straight, the other on the approach to Turn 14

Turbo Effect                          Low, due to not much acceleration from low speeds

Safety Car likelihood            43 per cent – there have been two Safety Car periods in a couple of Chinese GPs

Grid Advantage                    The left side of the grid holds a slight advantage.

Pitlane time                           21s

 McLaren at the Chinese Grand Prix

Wins                                       3 (2008, ’10, ’11)

Poles                                      2 (2007, ’08)

Fastest laps                           3 (2005, ’08, ’10)

 2014 drivers’ championship

1 Nico Rosberg                     61

2 Lewis Hamilton                   50

3 Nico Hulkenberg                28

4 Fernando Alonso               26

5 Jenson Button                   23

6 Sebastian Vettel                  23

7 Kevin Magnussen              20

8 Valtteri Bottas                      18

9 Sergio Perez                       16

10 Daniel Ricciardo              12

11 Felipe Massa                    12

12 Kimi Raikkonen                7

13 Jean-Eric Vergne             4

14 Daniil Kvyat                       3

 Constructors’ championship

1 Mercedes                            111

2 Force India                         44

3 McLaren                              43

4 Red Bull                               35

5 Ferrari                                  33

6 Williams                              30

7 Toro Rosso                        7

Bahrain GP – A long night for 3 points for Ferrari

April 7, 2014

Sakhir, 6 April – Lewis Hamilton took his second consecutive win of the season, ahead of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, the two of them joined on the podium by Sergio Perez for Force India. The other winner under the floodlights in the desert was the sport of Formula 1, as the race was absolutely spellbinding, with duels throughout the field from start to finish. Unfortunately, the two Ferrari drivers could only play supporting roles, Fernando Alonso coming home ninth, one ahead of Kimi Raikkonen as the F14 T showed up its Achilles Heel, namely a lack of top speed.

The first ever Bahrain night race got underway with Kimi ahead of Fernando on the grid for the first time this season and the the two F14 Ts were side by side soon after the start, with the Spaniard pushing past the Finn, so that they were 7th and 8th, until the Finn was hit by Magnussen in the McLaren and dropped to ninth. At the front, the two Mercedes duelled wheel to wheel, with pole man Rosberg dropping to second behind Hamilton. Massa shot up four places to third in the Williams, ahead of Perez in the Force India, with Bottas fifth in the Williams ahead of Button, the Englishman in his 250th GP, ahead of Fernando. On lap 5, Hulkenberg got his Force India ahead of Fernando, who in eighth spot, was leading the non-Mercedes powered championship. Raikkonen and Vettel were in close attendance, until Fernando extended the gap slightly on lap 9.

Both Ferrari men ran a three stop strategy, as did the majority of the field, going for Soft, Soft, Medium and finally Soft in terms of the tyres they ran. They made their last stops together on lap 41, during a Safety Car period, the other visits to pit lane coming on laps 12 and 28 for Fernando and 13 and 33 for Kimi.

Lap 19 and Fernando had to cede 6th place to Perez. One lap later and Kimi was passed by Button, so the Finn was now ninth. The race leader, Rosberg, came in on lap 21, taking on Medium tyres, while Kimi was clearly struggling as he had his mirrors full of Vettel. With the whole field having stopped, the order on lap 23 was Hamilton, Rosberg, Bottas, Massa, Hulkenberg, Perez, Alonso seventh, Button, Raikkonen, ninth with Vettel tenth.

Then, a huge crash when Maldonado in the Lotus hit Gutierrez’s Sauber, tipping the Mexican right over, thankfully with the car landing on its wheels, brought out the Safety Car, so Fernando and Kimi came in on lap 41 for their third and final stops, fitting Medium tyres. Behind the SC, Fernando was tenth, with Kimi right behind him. Despite trying all they could to make up places, the fact that they were swamped from behind on the straights, while those ahead were out of reach, meant it was a lost cause today.

Fernando finally passed Button for ninth on lap 50, where he would stay to the flag, Kimi right behind him. For the Maranello squad, it was a very long night for 3 points. However, there is no rush to pack everything away, as all eleven teams will be testing here at the Sakhir circuit on Tuesday and Wednesday, as part of the relaxation of the in-season testing ban that had previously been in place.

McLaren Race Report Bahrain Grand Prix 2014

April 7, 2014

2014 GULF AIR GRAND PRIX

 

“Only one team were demonstrably quicker than us today, but sadly they were a lot quicker than us”

 

#BahrainGP

#McLarenLIVE

#Jenson250

 

Bahrain International Circuit, Sunday April 6

The 2014 Gulf Air Grand Prix, the 10th to be held at the Bahrain International Circuit and the first to be held under floodlights, was a disappointing event for all at McLaren.

An unremarkable qualifying performance – Jenson gridded sixth and Kevin eighth – was followed by a race showing that could have resulted in a decent points-scoring finish, for Jenson at least, but instead ended in a double DNF owing to clutch problems on both cars.

 Drivers’ championship                                       

1 Nico Rosberg                     61

2 Lewis Hamilton                   50

3 Nico Hülkenberg                                28

4 Fernando Alonso                               26

5 Jenson Button                   23

6 Sebastian Vettel                  23

7 Kevin Magnussen              20

8 Valtteri Bottas                      18

9 Sergio Perez                       16

10 Daniel Ricciardo              12

11 Felipe Massa                    12

12 Kimi Räikkönen                7

13 Jean-Eric Vergne             4

 

Constructors’ championship

1 Mercedes AMG                   111

2 Force India                         44

3 McLaren                              43

4 Red Bull                               35

5 Ferrari                                  33

6 Williams                              30

7 Toro Rosso                        7