McLaren Preview Chinese Grand Prix 2014

April 14, 2014

2014 Chinese Grand Prix – preview

 #ChineseGP

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 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

McLaren Day 2 Test Bahrain 2014

April 13, 2014

Test report – Bahrain day two

 Date                             Wednesday April 9 2014

Driver                           Kevin Magnussen

Location                       Bahrain International Circuit (5.412km)

Today’s laps/km           26/141

Overall laps/km            128/693

Best laptime                 1m36.203s

 Programme                  Kevin Magnussen was once again behind the wheel for the second, and final, day of running in Bahrain.

                                     The day’s programme began well, with the team able to complete its planned aerodynamic correlation work; however, a car problem pitched Kevin into the Sakhir gravel just before lunchtime, and the team spent much of the remainder of the day repair the subsequent damage to the chassis.

                                     Kevin was able to return to the track for the final half-hour of running, during which he set his fastest time of the day, but the lengthy repairs meant he was only able to complete 26 laps.

 1 Lewis Hamilton                       Mercedes          1m34.136s        120 laps

2 Jean-Eric Vergne                    Toro Rosso       1m35.557s        64 laps

3 Kevin Magnussen                  McLaren           1m36.203s        26 laps

4 Sergio Perez                          Force India        1m36.586s        63 laps

5 Daniel Ricciardo                     Red Bull            1m37.310s        68 laps

6 Jules Bianchi                          Marussia           1m37.316s        93 laps

7 Giedo Van Der Garde             Sauber              1m37.623s        77 laps

8 Fernando Alonso                    Ferrari               1m37.912s        12 laps

9 Marcus Ericsson                     Caterham          1m39.263s        66 laps

10 Felipe Nasr                           Williams            1m39.879s        64 laps

11 Romain Grosjean                  Lotus                1m43.732s        17 laps

12 Pastor Maldonado                Lotus                1m55.613s        4 laps

 What’s next                  The team returns to the UK and completes its preparations for next weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix

 Test dates                    Two days (April 8-9)

Red Bull Day 2 Test Bahrain 2014

April 13, 2014

 

Wednesday 9 April 2014

 BAHRAIN TEST – DAY TWO

Driver: Daniel Ricciardo

Car: RB10

Laps: 67

Best time: 1:37.310

Circuit length: 5.412km

Fastest Lap: L. Hamilton (1:34.136)

 After a morning hampered by an electrical issue, Daniel Ricciardo got through 67 laps of the Sakhir Circuit in the afternoon on the final day of the first in-season test in Bahrain. The problem meant that aerodynamic work scheduled for the early part of the day had to be carried over to the afternoon, with the result that Daniel spent most of the afternoon running short data-gathering stints.

 “We had a few issues this morning which limited our running, but the afternoon was a lot better”, said Daniel. “This afternoon was about gathering a lot of data for the aero guys, so there were no real performance runs, just pure testing. At the end of the day we got a few medium-length runs in and a few balance changes, like we did yesterday. So, not really a day for the timesheets, but one for the people at the factory and the guys behind the laptops.”

 Race Engineering Co-ordinator Andy Damerum added: “It was a bit of a mixed bag today. We had planned to do a chunk of mapping work this morning but we discovered an electrical issue that put paid to most of our morning.

We had a fairly strict schedule run plan today, so that mapping work then got moved to the afternoon and we got through it successfully and got a lot of data from that. No real performance runs at all and most Daniel’s running was out and in stuff, but I think the amount of information we gathered will make a few people back at the factory extremely happy.

Then in the last three quarters of an hour we had a chance to get through a few test items. So, a pretty successful day in terms of the afternoon work but obviously we would have liked to have had a totally smooth day in order to get through the whole programme. But it’s all good value and we’ll head home tonight having learned a lot and with a lot more information to sift through in the coming days.”

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