Marussia unveils its 2014 car, the MR03

Marussia has become the latest Formula 1 team to unveil its new car, the MR03, on the third day of pre-season testing at Jerez.

The debut of the Ferrari-powered car was delayed because of a last-minute technical glitch that was discovered before the MR03 was dispatched from its Banbury factory.

But after fixing the issue, Marussia was able to transport the new car to Jerez and get it ready to join the penultimate day of action.

The MR03 has been two years in the making and is an all-new concept, which features new front and rear suspension designs.

Team principal John Booth said the MR03 is the product of a “young but experienced and extremely talented technical and engineering group”.

“To have designed a car that is true to the concept first conceived in early 2012, despite the integration of an entirely new powertrain and whilst pushing hard to attain our 2013 constructors’ championship objective, is a testament to the extent to which we have matured as a technical organisation,” he added.

The team’s latest Formula 1 design is their first to feature a Ferrari V6 turbo engine.

“We have nothing but good things to say about our new relationship with Scuderia Ferrari,” said Booth. “They are extremely professional and have been entirely supportive from the beginning.”

“There is excellent co-operation between our two technical groups in all areas of the new relationship and this has made the considerable challenge of integrating a new powertrain a great deal easier.”

The driver line-up remains unchange with Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton. Consistency is the main factor at Marussia.

“In view of the significant regulation changes, continuity is key, so it is highly beneficial to our technical team, and the engineering group responsible for developing the car in the field, that we retain the same drivers,” said chief engineer Dave Greenwood.

“What this means is that we have not only been able to optimise our monocoque design around an existing line-up, but we can focus all of our attentions on developing the MR03 with immediate effect.”

Let’s hope the Marussia MR05 has improved its performance to challenge the mid-field teams in the upcoming Formula 1 season.

Caterham presents its 2014 car at Jerez

Caterham CT05 1

The Caterham team presented their 2014, the CT05, midway through the opening day of pre-season testing at Jerez.

The team had initially scheduled an unveiling in the pitlane prior to the start of the morning’s running, but an issue with the car meant this was delayed.

Eventually the car was fired up and Marcus Ericsson was given the first opportunity to shakedown the new car on the circuit.

The new Renault-powered CT05 features an anteater version of the low nose that has become the focus of this year’s Formula 1 designs.

Caterham’s version is one of the most extreme, with its protruding section attached under a stepped upper element.

The Leafield-based outfit is heading into this seaon on the back of a disappointing 2013 campaign where it finished eleventh overall in the constructors’ championship behind rival Marussia.

It has brought Kamui Kobayashi back to improve its chances, as well as signing GP2 race winner Marcus  Ericsson.

Caterham owner Tony Fernandes said recently that he wanted the team to become a more competitive force in 2014, otherwise he would turn his back on the sport.

Team principal Cyril Abiteboul said such a strong stance from Fernandes was understandable.

“I think it is right,” he said. “We should not lose sight that this is also a marketing activity and in order to promote the product we have to be successful and you have to be visible in order to attract sponsors. Right now we are not.”

Caterham CT05 2

Red Bull unleash their 2014 challenger, the RB10

Will this be the car that will lead Red Bull Racing to title number five for Sebastian Vettel and the Milton Keynes-based team?

The RB10 seems to have the potential following the unveiling to the world’s press on the first day of pre-season testing at Jerez.

Like several rival teams, including sister outfit Toro Rosso, Adrian Newey’s design team has gone for a nose with a narrow protruding section at the front.

Last year’s campaign set a new record for Red Bull Racing with their star driver Sebastian Vettel winning nine consecutive Grands Prix. The team also secured its fourth straight drivers’ and constructors’ title in the process too.

The German will once again spearhead the team’s 2014 challenge, but he will have a new partner in the form of 24-year-old Daniel Ricciardo.

The Australian, who has spent the past two seasons with Toro Rosso, won the race to replace the sportscar-bound Mark Webber.

Renault will once again power the RB10, the tenth car to be created by Red Bull since it took over Jaguar’s entry ahead of the 2005 season.

The French engine manufacturer pledged a conservative approach to the 2014 season, saying “some compromises” had to be accepted to guarantee reliability.

Mercedes reveals their Silver Arrows, the W05

On the opening day of pre-season testing at Jerez, Mercedes revealed their 2014 challenger, the W05, to the world’s press as the new-look formula to the sport gets underway.

Mercedes hopes the W05 will earn the marque its first world championship as a works team since 1955.

Paddy Lowe, who has now taken over the role from ex-team principal Ross Brawn as executive director (technical), is satisfied with the work the Brackley-based team has done over the winter both with the development of the engine and the car.

“The whole team has done a fantastic job on the management of the project and its delivery,” said Lowe.

“We have hit our milestones and hit our targets but, as ever, we will only begin to understand how successful we have been once we begin running in anger on track.

“The new car is an elegant, but aggressive, design and, as is often the way, its beauty is much more than skin deep.

“The internal engineering of the car is extremely innovative and intelligent.

“Our team can be justifiably proud of its work so far – but none of us are under any illusions about the amount we still have to do before the first race in six weeks’ time.”

Last season’s campaign had been the team’s most successful, with three race victories and finishing second in the constructors’ championship.

Toto Wolff, who heads up the business side at Mercedes, is confident that the team can build on last year’s progress but echoed the comments of rivals such as Ferrari that reliability will be key.

“We have a busy winter testing period ahead of us and a long season where both performance and reliability will be critically important,” said Wolff.

“Lewis and Nico begin the season hungry for success and I am confident that our team will benefit thanks to the continuity of their work during the winter period.

“We have positive momentum after our second-place finish last season.

“Our clear target is to continue building up our team and we aim to deliver on every single race weekend in 2014.”

The new W05 certainly looks beautiful compared to its rivals. Hopefully the old saying that if the car looks quick, then the Mercedes will score big points and possibly the championship for either Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg.

Toro Rosso unveils the STR9

Scuderia Toro Rosso became the seventh Formula 1 racing team to unveil their 2014 challenger, on the eve of pre-season testing at Jerez.

The STR9 features that controversial nose design as part of the sport’s regulations for safety. It certainly has a distinct look that some may feel seems quite rude…

Designed by technical director James Key, the STR9 presents unique challenges in terms of interpretation this season’s regulations.

“The season 2014 will be very interesting from many different points of view. I call it a year of new strategy and news,” said team boss Franz Tost.

“We have had to design a new nose, new sidepods and new wings – never before have we started so early with the designs.

“The sidepods are bigger than in the past as we had to find space for the radiators. The team did a good job to place it without losing aero performance.

“Never before the last weeks have we worked as hard as with the STR9. The team was in factory until 2am to finish it but we managed it.”

In terms of the driver line-up, Jean-Éric Vergne will compete in his third season at Toro Rosso. He will be joined by 2013 GP3 Series champion Daniil Kvyat, who replaces Daniel Ricciardo.

The pair have already given the STR9 a brief shakedown during a promotional day at Misano last week.

Toro Rosso finished seventh in the constructors’ championship last year and is hoping that its switch from Ferrari to Renault will allow it to move up the competitive order.

Sauber reveals the C33

Sauber became the sixth Formula 1 team to unveiled their 2014 racer, the Ferrari-powered C33.

Unlike the other cars released this week, the Swiss-based team have created a far more pleasing solution to the controverisal nose design as part of this season’s regulations.

The Sauber C33 features a very low, snout-like nose. The front wing pylon’s attachments on the nose have been moved out as far as possible allowed by the regulations to channel as much air as possible under the car.

Chief designer Eric Gandelin said the team have focused on developing the C33 which will permit them ‘maximum flexibility’ under Formula 1’s new regulations.

“The radical changes to the technical regulations for 2014 mean that it’s even harder than usual to make predictions for the new season,” said Gandelin.

“We know what kind of package we’ve put together here, and we are happy with what we achieved, but it is difficult to foresee what shape our rivals are in. The earliest opportunity to gain an impression of where the teams are in relation to one another will come during testing.”

Gandelin added the team have made reliability a ‘high priority’ when designing the new car as they expect many teams to have problems at the beginning of the season. Sauber intends to concentrate on reliability in the first pre-season test at Jerez before introducing performance upgrades for the two Bahrain tests.

“The car will be fully functional, but without a number of performance parts, which will be introduced for the two tests in Bahrain” said Gandelin.

“On the one hand this gives us time to maximise the development of these performance relevant parts, and on the other hand we can run the car during the first test and check all the systems, which we feel is crucial, considering all the technical changes.”

In terms of the driver line-up, Esteban Gutiérrez will take part in his second season of Formula 1 racing and he will team up with Adrian Sutil, who joins Sauber after Nico Hülkenberg returned to Force India.

Ferrari unveils their 2014 challenger, the F14 T

This is the race car that Scuderia Ferrari hopes to win this season’s Formula 1 drivers’ championship following a launch on the F14 T.

The name was selected following a fans campaign. Over a million votes were cast in naming the Ferrari but the team will be relying on more than fan power if they’re to make a strong impression, particularly early on in the season.

The Maranello-based team’s 2014 challenger features a different nose design to the other cars revealed so far, with a much flatter concept.

Ferrari has retained its pullrod front suspension concept in the new design.

The T14 T is the first that will have been influenced by incoming Ferrari technical chief James Allison, who arrived late last year following his switch from Lotus.

Ferrari is hoping that the change in regulations this year, with the arrival of 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, will help it finally deliver the world championship that has eluded it in recent years.

Last season proved a disappointment when, after starting the season with a competitive car, it failed to maintain a good enough development rate during the campaign.

As well as the all-new racer for this season, Ferrari has welcomed back Kimi Raikkonen who replaces the Williams-bound Felipe Massa.

It will be fascinating to see how the two champions – Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen – will work together to drive the Scuderia back to championship success.

Silver racer from McLaren

After a difficult and challenging season for McLaren-Mercedes in 2013, the Woking-based team needs to deliver in terms of big results and their new MP4-29, launched online, certainly looks the business.

With Force India, Williams and Lotus revealing their cars as an computer-generated image, McLaren’s launch marked the first proper look at the new rules design.

The MP4-29 features that much anticipated take on the controversial nose design that teams have leaned to under the new regulations, with a narrow protruding section to meet the revised crash test rules without lowering the entire front end as the rule makers originally envisaged.

“We’ve never had such significant new regulations before,” said McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale. “Reacting to them, and managing those changes, while still pushing the performance limits, has been an extremely tough job.”

Neale mentioned that the team have taken a ‘pragmatic’ approach to the new regulations.

“We know that the need for consistency initially outweighs the need for performance – the winter tests won’t be about chasing set-up or refining the car; the envelope of performance is likely to be so wide, and so relatively unknown, that the winter – and to some extent the opening races – will be about understanding the operational boundaries of the car as best we can.”

“This year, more than ever, will come down to a development race,” he added. “I don’t necessarily think you can expect the car that wins the opening race to be the car that leads the championship charge, something we’ve often seen in the past.”

“No, it will be all about a team’s ability to react and respond. We already have an update package that we’re readying for race one, and we’re discovering new things in the [wind] tunnel, or in CFD, all the time. Once we start track testing, I think you’ll see an intense throughput of ideas and concepts – that’s the nitty-gritty that will win or lose the world championship.”

The MP4-29 was unveiled in a plain silver livery with basic MP4-29 branding. Hopefully some sponsors will make an appearance on the car after many seasons running the Vodafone branding.

In terms of driver line-up, Jenson Button will lead the McLaren this season and he will be joined by Formula 1 rookie Kevin Magnussen. The team’s third race driver is rising star Stoffel Vandoorne.

Two-pronged nose solution to the E22 from Lotus

Lotus revealed their solution to the new Formula 1 regulations’ controversial nose design with an two-pronged approach with the E22.

Although the team has already announced that it will not run its new E22 until the second pre-season F1 test in Bahrain, it issued two computer-generated image of the new car via its Twitter feed.

These pictures show off the the solution to the nose design, which features a split creating two downward-sloping points.

Front end aesthetics have been a huge talking point in Formula 1 over the winter, with the 2014 rules mandating lower front ends but a loophole allowing teams to meet this demand with very narrow protusions.

The Enstone-based team has taken an alternative route to McLaren and Williams, the other two teams to have shown the front end of their 2014 designs so far, both of which have gone for central ‘finger’ sections.

The Lotus image was released at the same time as McLaren held an online launch for its 2014 car.

Earlier on Friday Lotus announced that its team boss Eric Boullier had left, with the Frenchman now expected to head to McLaren.

Lotus will field Romain Grosjean and ex-Williams driver Pastor Maldonado this season, the Venezuelan replacing Ferrari-bound Kimi Raikkonen.

Williams releases images of their 2014 racer

Williams have become the second team this week to reveal the look of their 2014 racer, which includes that controversial nose design as part of this season’s new Formula 1 regulations.

The computer-generated render of the FW36 features a strikingly narrow, tapered nose. This ‘anteater’ design means the aerodynamics play an important part in maximise airflow underneath the car.

These set of images is just the car’s launch-specification, while an upgrade package will appear in the season-opener race.

Although the new 1.6-litre engines will be key to performance this year, Williams chief technical officer Pat Symonds believes his team has also been able to take a step forward with aerodynamic performance.

“F1 is still going to be an aerodynamic formula in 2014,” said Symonds.

“There are some significant changes: the nose is lower than last year and the front wing is narrower, which means the endplates are now more shrouded by the front tyre.

“The rear wing isn’t as deep as last year and the beam wing below it is no longer permitted, and we’ve also lost the ability to use the exhaust to enhance aero performance.

“I’m confident we we’ll be closer to the front aerodynamically than we were last year.”

The new rules have also led to changes in cooling and packaging that have influenced the design of the rear end.

“The demands on water and oil cooling may be slightly diminished, but the ERS system is significantly more powerful and hence needs more cooling,” said Symonds.

“We also have to cool the charge air from the turbocharger compressor which requires a substantial intercooler.”

The Williams FW36 also features a new eight-speed gearbox, with the team opting to produce its own unit having evaluated the possibility of purchasing one from Mercedes.

According to Williams, the gearbox ran on the dyno for the first time in November.

“We finished the gearbox relatively early,” said Symonds.

“It’s completed a lot of running on the test rig and at Mercedes HPP in Brixworth, but you can’t take reliability for granted.

“It’s a completely new ‘box and it has to cope with a lot more torque than was the case with the V8.”

Williams has also been able to get weight down to the minimum limit of 690kg, despite the fact over concerns that the demands of the new regulations would make this difficult for teams to achieve.

“The build of the new car has gone remarkably smoothly,” said Symonds.

“But it’s been a challenge to get the car down to the weight limit.

“It’s been achievable, but it hasn’t been easy because the new power unit is heavier than the outgoing V8.”

The Williams-Mercedes FW36 will make its on-track debut in the first pre-season test at Jerez, which kicks off next week.

It will run in the blue ‘heritage’ livery throughout pre-season testing.