Formula 1 McLaren

Fernando loves Ayrton, Jenson loves Alain

Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button announced as McLaren drivers for 2015

It’s now official, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button will race for McLaren–Honda in 2015. Kevin Magnussen doesn’t totally miss out and will remain with McLaren in the role of reserve and test driver.

Reliving the glory days of the last time McLaren and Honda competed in Formula 1 Farnando Alonso has confirmed his love of Aytron Senna.

“I have never hidden my deep admiration for Ayrton Senna,” Alonso said. “My favourite driver, my idol on track, my reference.

“I still remember, as a kid, the posters in my wardrobe, my toy cars in which I dreamed I would one day emulate Ayrton, and the kart that my father built for my older sister, and that I ended up falling in love with. That kart had the livery of one of the most legendary partnerships in the history of Formula 1, McLaren-Honda, the car that Ayrton drove, the same partnership to which I am now honoured to join, to take part in the next Formula 1 world championship.

“I am joining this project with enormous enthusiasm and determination, knowing that it may require some time to achieve the results we are aiming for, which is no problem for me.”

Meanwhile Jenson Button said it was Alain Prost who inspired him to become a racing driver. And in doing so he just became a lot cooler.

“Like Fernando, I am certain that McLaren and Honda will achieve great things together,” Button said. “I feel sure that, working together, all of us will pull incredibly hard to create a brilliantly effective winning team.

“I admired Ayrton Senna enormously, but, for me, it was the exploits of his McLaren-Honda team-mate Alain Prost that inspired me most as a boy. The way he stroked those beautifully brutal red-and-white cars to grand prix wins and world championships was to my mind poetry in motion, and I have tried to emulate his driving style ever since.

“Being a part of new-look McLaren-Honda is a wonderful opportunity for all of us, and I am very pleased to have been invited to do my bit. In fact, I am absolutely raring to go.”

You can read the full statement from McLaren-Honda after the break.

Formula 1 McLaren

Button v Magnussen: The final countdown

2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

McLaren is expected to announce its 2015 driver pairing tonight (Australian time). We can all pencil in Fernando Alonso for one seat. But what about the other?

Button or Magnussen?
34-year-old or 22-year-old?
266 starts or 19 starts?
126 championship points or 55 points?
£12 million or £500,000?

These are the questions facing Ron Dennis and his board. It’s believed a decision has been made. We’ll just have to wait and see what it is.

[Source: BBC]

Formula 1 McLaren Red Bull Racing Video

2014 German GP: Felipe Massa crash

Felipe Massa crashes out at the 2014 German Grand Prix

Amateur footage uploaded to YouTube gives us another look at the opening lap crash from the 2014 German Grand Prix involving Felipe Massa and Kevin Magnussen. You can also see Daniel Ricciardo forced way off track to avoid the incident.

The race stewards investigated the crash and decided neither Massa nor Magnussen were responsible and no further action was taken. Of course, the drivers don’t always see it like that.

“Luckily I am OK but I am not happy,” said Felipe Massa. “I was in front going into the corner, and so to have another race ended by another driver is not easy. I am doing my best, the team are doing their best, and we just aren’t getting the chances we need.

“Going into the first corner I was near to Valtteri but had to back off to stop an accident, sadly some others didn’t do the same. I am obviously very disappointed.”

Meanwhile, Kevin Magnussen defended himself saying he was unable to avoid contact with Massa.

“A real pity: I think I could’ve had a decent race if I hadn’t had the accident at Turn One,” Magnussen said. “I need to see a replay of the accident, but I feel that, if I’d had somewhere to go, then there wouldn’t have been contact with Felipe.

“I did my best to try and avoid the accident, but there wasn’t much else I could do.”

Caterham F1 in pictures Ferrari Lotus McLaren Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing Toro Rosso

2014 Australian Grand Prix in pictures

2014 Australian Grand Prix

Here’s your first proper look at the 2014 Formula 1 cars in action. We’re lucky to get the first race in Australia and this is especially the case this season with such dramatic changes to the cars and their technology.

We’ve got over 100 photos for you to savour and, yes, we probably did get a bit carried away in the Red Bull photo archive. Although, interestingly for them, there aren’t many pics to choose from on race day showing the RB10 in full flight, so you’ve got lots of background material to admire.

Mercedes AMG has also come to the party with a better than usual selection of images as well. Which tends to be the case when one of its drivers wins a grand prix!

Formula 1 McLaren Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing

2014 Australian GP: Post-race press conference

2014 Australian Grand Prix

While Daniel Ricciardo’s result has been taken away from him it’s hard to know for sure how much advantage, if any, he gained if his car was pumping in fuel faster than it should have been. In reality he crossed the line second and therefore much of what was said post-race still rings true.

For the first two years of his career Ricciardo had the luxury of learning his craft at a relatively young age while being shielded from the F1 spotlight by Mark Webber. Despite his disqualification there’s no way anyone can think Daniel is still in Mark’s shadow. He’s his own man, Australia’s own man and we like what we see!

Oh yeah, they also asked some questions of Nico and Kevin too.

Formula 1 McLaren Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing

Nico Rosberg wins 2014 Australian GP

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG

As I write this belated race report take your mind back to a time where all fuel flow monitors were created equal…

Nico Rosberg cruised to a dominant victory in Melbourne to start what could be a dominant year for the Mercedes AMG team. And yet the headline story is the second place finish by Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo who became the first local to stand on the podium in his home race.

Also deserving of huge plaudits is Kevin Magnussen who earned his spot on the podium with a flaweless debut in his Mercedes-powered McLaren.

Jenson Button had to be content with fourth place and watching his junior teammate steal the limelight. You sense after the season Button and McLaren endured in 2013 both will be over the moon with these results.

Fernando Alonso went quietly about his business and finished fifth. On current form it will be a surprise to see Ferrari win a race in 2014, yet they will be there or thereabouts. They came close in 2009 of course, but can they again build a car commensurate with Alonso’s undoubted talent and guile?

On any other day Valtteri Bottas would be attracting plenty of attention. The young Finn, in only his second season, drove like a man possessed to grab sixth place. His inexperience was on show when he clipped the wall and broke a wheel—and luckily nothing else—but he was able to recover from that, and a five place grid penalty for a pre-race gearbox change, to earn himself some very handy championship points. Without his error he would have found himself fighting for position with two world champions. Not bad after starting from P15.

Elsewhere Daniil Kvyat was another debutant to do well, crossing the line in tenth place for Toro Rosso. He was unable to upset his teammate, though, and Jean-Eric Vergne finished one place ahead in a pleasing result for the junior Red Bull outift. Renault will also be pleased to see three of its cars in the top 10, given four failed to finish (three due to mechanical issues).

Kamui Kobayashi’s return to F1 with Caterham lasted one corner and he took the Williams of Felipe Massa into the gravel with him.

After the race the crowd went wild for Dan Ricciardo as he accepted his trophy for second place. It was a great moment for F1 and motorsport in Australia.

And now is the moment we have to remind you all that Ricciardo’s podium moment in the setting sun was taken away from him by the FIA late in the night after declaring his car had “exceeded consistently the maximum fuel flow of 100kg/h”.

Our Daniel was disqualified and all other drivers move up one position. Ricciardo and Red Bull have no world championship points.

Red Bull have said they will appeal the FIA’s decision and were it not for the fact that the FIA spoke to Red Bull during the race to warn them that Daniel’s car was in breach of the regulations and to fix the problem we might think they were half a chance to have Daniel’s P2 reinstated.

Red Bull will claim they were just doing what they needed to do to remain competetive in spite of (what they will say is) a dodgy fuel flow monitor and that they didn’t actually break any rules.

We don’t expect there will be any joy for Daniel and his team.

If nothing else we do know that the RB10 can go the full race distance and, more tellingly perhaps, that Daniel has the pace to mix it with the best, including the four-time world champ on the other side of the garage.

That gives us hope that someone may be able to challenge Mercedes at some stage during 2014.

Formula 1 McLaren

F1 winter testing: Bahrain I day 2

Kevin Magnussen, McLaren MP4-29

Pre-season testing lap times aren’t always a reliable guide as to who is fast, yet McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen can do no more than his best and overnight in Bahrain his best (1:34.910) was 1.5 seconds better than anyone else.

“The team is doing a great job to help me,” Magnussen said afterwards. “They’re giving me really good guidance and making me feel confident.

“There’s a lot of discussion about lap times, and it feels good to get some good times recorded, but winter testing is just that—testing. It isn’t about times.”

The young Dane only managed 46 laps in the MP4-29, the third fewest of the 11 drivers who took to the track. Second fastest was Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg (1:36.445) with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso (1:36.516) close behind.

The fourth quickest time was posted by Nico Rosberg (1:36.965). Despite racking up a healthy total of 85 laps the Mercedes W05 stopped twice on the Sakhir circuit with technical glitches and necessitated red flags. Valtteri Bottas (1:37.328) was the busiest man of the day with 116 laps under his belt in the Williams.

Kamui Kobayashi (1:39.855) was sixth fastest and enjoyed a good day in the Caterham. Also able to be positive, for the first time this pre-season, was Sebastian Vettel (1:40.340) who won’t care that he only went seventh quickest on the day and will be happy to have managed 59 laps. In the five previous days of winter testing Red Bull had only managed a cumulative total of 35 laps.

Daniel Ricciardo will be at the wheel of the RB10 for the next two days in Bahrain and the team is cautiously optimistic it can continue to without further issues.

Red Bull’s sister team Toro Rosso also had a good day with Jean-Eric Vergne (1:40.609) completing 58 laps. Esteban Gutierrez (1:40.717) was ninth quickest in the Ferrari-powered Sauber.

Bringing up the rear were Romain Grosjean (1:41.670) in the Lotus and Marussia’s Max Chilton (1:42.511) who could only manage 18 and 17 laps respectively.

Focus is beginning to move from the woes of reigning world champion constructor Red Bull and onto Lotus. Speaking after testing Trackside Operations Director, Alan Permane, didn’t shy away from his team’s issues.

“Obviously we fell way short of what we want to achieve here which is a strong tally of laps at a representative pace,” he said. “The car itself has looked solid at the pace we’ve run so far, but you only learn so much from lapping at our current level.”

Formula 1 McLaren

F1 winter testing: Jerez day 3

Kevin Magnussen, McLaren MP4-29

Kevin Magnussen made the most of his first official day on track as a McLaren driver by topping the lap charts in Jerez overnight. His time of 1:23.276 was almost half a second faster than next best, Felipe Massa with Williams (1:23.700).

Magnussen’s efforts were made more impressive by the fact he only ran in the afternoon session, as the morning was handed over to Jenson Button. Combined, the McLaren drivers covered a total of 92 laps; 30 more than any other team.

The 21-year-old Dane admitted to having butterflies before taking to the track but understands it’s too early to get carried away with McLaren’s early season pace.

“Happily, everything worked as it should, and the car felt good,” Magnussen said. “I’m pretty pleased with our reliability—to have done as many laps as I did in just half a day was pretty positive.

“I’m not taking too much from the fact that I set the fastest time—I was pushing, but it wasn’t a balls-to-the-wall lap. We wanted to get good data and learn about the car, so I think everyone is pushing out there.”

Red Bull would love to be in McLaren’s shoes right now and after three days of testing the four-time constructors’ champions are yet to record a flying lap time. Daniel Ricciardo’s first day at the wheel of the RB10 lasted just three installation laps before the team shut up shop in the morning session.

“We worked hard yesterday to make the changes it was felt were necessary to overcome the problems we identified and we were hopeful of a more successful day today,” said Race Engineering Co-ordinator Andy Damerum. “Unfortunately, the measures we took only partially solved the issue and, as with yesterday, it’s more sensible to stop and dig deeper into finding a solution. It’s obviously not where we want to be and naturally the whole team is frustrated by these issues.

“This is where the whole team pulls together and I’m sure we will get these problems fixed.”

Lewis Hamilton (1:23.952) ensured Mercedes was well represented and he joined Jenson Button (1:25.030) to see the four fastest times of the day were set by Mercedes-powered cars.

Ferrari slotted in with the fifth best time after Fernando Alonso (1:25.495) racked up 58 laps in his first day driving the F14 T. Nico Hulkenberg (1:26.096) put in a more modest 17 laps in his Force India debut.

Jean-Eric Vergne (1:29.915) saved some face for Renault by locking away 30 laps in the Toro Rosso STR9. However, he was the only Renault-powered driver to record any flying laps on the day. Adrian Sutil (1:30.161) registered the slowest time of the day in the Sauber C33 after 30 laps at the wheel.

Robert Frijns (Caterham) and Max Chilton (Marussia) did not record any times, logging 10 and five installation laps respectively.

Formula 1 McLaren

2014 McLaren MP4-29 revealed

2014 McLaren MP4-29

Damn, that nose on the MP4-29 pretty ugly. Let’s hope that’s the worst of what we see in the coming weeks.

A full suite of press material, videos, photos and PDFs showcasing the MP4-29 can be found after the break. But what’s just as interesting in the McLaren material is what is not said.

Firstly, there is not one single mention or explanation of that horrendous nose in any of the official guff below. It’s too late McLaren we have noticed it and it is fugly.

Secondly, the name Martin Whitmarsh is not present at all, which means we can surmise Big Ron has wasted no time and sent Whitmarsh packing and signed off on his P45.

This ties in perfectly with today’s big F1 news that Eric Boullier has resigned from Lotus with immediate effect. It’s expected Boullier will replace Whitmarsh as McLaren’s Team Principal; not Ross Brawn, or Sam Michael as one fanciful rumour suggested this morning.

While there’s no official announcement on Boullier’s arrival just yet, McLaren has confirmed it has signed key staff from the likes of Red Bull and Lotus, including Ciaron Pilbeam formerly race engineer to Mark Webber.

Also, last year we were informed Vodafone would be ending its long-term relationship with McLaren and that the Woking-based team would announce its new title sponsor in December 2013. It stood to reason that a team such as McLaren would already have a new deal in place and it would just be a matter of time before we found out who it would be.

Then we were told the sponsorship announcement would be put off to coincide with the launch of the MP4-29 to maximise the exposure for said new sponsor. That made perfect sense, too. But last week the word from McLaren was there would be no title sponsor announcement in the short-term future but they’ve still got heaps of cash anyway so no need to panic.

And yet, with all of these dramatic changes taking place at McLaren you get the sense that panic stations are indeed the order of the day. No wonder Ron Dennis is back in the building.

Formula 1

Formula 1’s lucky numbers

2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

As the new F1 season draws near we can start getting all excited about the numbers the drivers will choose in this new era of permanent numbers.

Former world champion Kimi Raikkonen wants number 7 apparently. But so does Jules Bianchi. A bitch fight to settle it perhaps?

Other numbers nominated to date include:

  • Fernando Alonso (14)
  • Valtteri Bottas (77)
  • Jenson Button (22)
  • Romain Grosjean (8)
  • Kevin Magnussen (20)
  • Felipe Massa (19)
  • Sergio Perez (11)
  • Nico Rosberg (6)
  • Jean-Eric Vergne (25)

It’s not known yet if Daniel Ricciardo has selected a preference. Do you think he will stick with the number 19 he raced with in 2013 or choose something new?

We wonder, if our Mark was still in F1 if he would choose number 2, just for a laugh?

[Source: Planet F1 | Pic: Toro Rosso/Getty Images]

Formula 1 McLaren

Kevin Magnussen to drive for McLaren in 2014

Kevin Magnussen, McLaren

We knew it was coming and yesterday’s announcement from Sergio Perez gave McLaren the freedom to confirm Kevin Magnussen will drive for the team in 2014.

The 21-year-old Dane, son of former F1 driver Jan Magnussen, won the Formula Renault 3.5 championship this year and has already immersed himself into the McLaren way.

“I’ll put it simply: this team is the best,” he said. “It’s been my dream to drive for McLaren ever since I was a small kid, and it’s no exaggeration to say that I’ve dedicated almost every day of my life to achieving the goal of becoming a McLaren Formula 1 driver.”

Magnussen is also looking forward to working with Jenson Button, 12 years his senior. “In Jenson, I have absolutely the ideal team-mate,” added Magnussen. “He’s extremely quick, obviously, but he’s also very experienced and superbly capable from a technical perspective. He’s a Formula 1 world champion, which is what one day I also hope to become, and I’m determined to learn as much as I can from him.”

As you would expect, McLaren Team Principal, Martin Whitmarsh has high hopes for his young charge, saying Magnussen “is clearly very talented and very determined, and we therefore have high hopes for him. Moreover, every time he’s tested our Formula 1 car, he’s been very quick and very methodical, and his feedback has been first-class.

“Furthermore, the manner in which he won this year’s World Series by Renault 3.5 Championship was truly outstanding, showcasing as it did not only his impressive natural pace but also his increasing maturity and ability to structure and manage a championship campaign.”

McLaren’s full statement is available after the break.

Formula 1 McLaren

McLaren set to ditch Perez for Magnussen

Kevin Magnussen

The Formula 1 silly season is in full swing with word McLaren will replace Sergio Perez with reserve driver Kevin Magnussen, who first tested with the team at Abu Dhabi in 2012.

Magnussen has just collected the Formula Renault 3.5 title and looks set to follow the path of Robert Kubica and Giedo van der Garde as former champions who have made the progression to Formula 1. The 21-year-old Dane would also follow the path of his father, Jan, who made his F1 debut in a one-off race with McLaren in 1995 and also drove for Stewart in 1997 and 1998.

Officially, the word from McLaren Team Principal, Martin Whitmarsh, is: “The fact is at the moment we haven’t confirmed our driver line-up, we haven’t signed contracts with drivers.” But Autosport reports a deal with Magnussen has been agreed and awaits official sign-off.

It’s worth noting, British driver, Oliver Gavin, who races with Jan Magnussen at Corvette Racing in the American Le Mans Series has sent his congratulations to his teammate via twitter:

A lack of consistency is understood to be behind the decision to release 23-year-old Sergio Perez, who joins Pastor Maldonado as another current driver looking for work in 2014. With Nico Hulkenberg still the favourite to replace Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus, there’s not much on offer if you don’t have seat secured in 2014.

[Source: Autosport]