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Report: F1 2014 Testing Day 2 & 3

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On: Fri, Jan 31, 2014 at 10:28AM | By: Nick Bakewell

Report: F1 2014 Testing Day 2 & 3

Now that testing’s commenced, the world of F1 is once again publicly in motion. Flurries and drifts of rumor and speculation are rapidly piling up as the teams continue to pound their cars around Circuito de Jerez, revealing and exorcising a myriad of technological demons resulting from the complex new power units at the heart of this year’s cars.

The biggest news at the moment regards McLaren’s 2014 contender, the MP4-29. After a season of brutal disappointments, McLaren have it all to prove this year, and prima facie they seem to have happened upon a significant technical advantage. The 2014 regulations are tailored specifically to reduce aerodynamic downforce at the rear of the car, which in turn lowers the cars’ effective cornering speed and traction. McLaren, however, appear to have designed their rear suspension in such a way as to claw back a portion of that downforce, by way of making the suspension arms themselves an aerodynamic element. The results are immediately apparent, as over the past few days the McLarens have been comfortably faster than any other car on track. Rookie Kevin Magnussen even recorded the fastest lap time of any 2014 car yet, and it was only his second time behind the wheel of an F1 car. If the design is determined to be legal (and there doesn’t seem to be any reason it shouldn’t be), then McLaren should start the season with a clear advantage over the rest of the field, as the components involved are a fundamental part of the car’s design and thus not easily replicable. Fingers crossed, because I really, really want them to see them take the title this year.

Mercedes continue to hold the highest number of laps recorded, at 167, followed by Ferrari with 136 and McLaren with 135. Reigning champions Red Bull look to be in some trouble, however, having delivered just 14 laps in total between their two drivers. Current World Champion Sebastian Vettel left the circuit early yesterday following a fiery retirement, followed shortly by team principal Christian Horner and chief designer Adrian Newey. With their cars catching fire and their drivers leaving the circuit in what I’m sure could be described as “a huff”, things aren’t looking so rosy for the ostensibly ironclad Bulls.

All in all, it’s still too early to be making any concrete predictions; it’s just testing after all. That said, I can’t help but feel that the issues we’re seeing here are portentous of the way the season’s going to go. As a McLaren fan, that makes me very happy.

Also, a brief addendum: doctors have reported that they’ve begun the process of bringing F1 legend Michael Schumacher out of his medically induced coma. Schumacher, who holds the record for the highest number of F1 world titles achieved (seven), gravely injured himself in a skiing accident almost a month ago, and is thought to have sustained permanent damage to his higher cerebral functions. Nothing is known as yet, but the general belief is that the worst is over, and that his doctors can now begin the process of exploratory recovery. Our thoughts go out to Michael and the Schumacher family; we’re all pulling for you, champ.

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