Grand Prix 2014 Australian Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

24 years old. Apprenticeship fully served, and finally arrived in one of the two seats that you've been working towards sitting in for years; that of the quadruple reigning champions. And to start with, your home Grand Prix. All you need is for the car and engine combination to maintain its previous stratospheric standards...

At time of going to press, testing has shown little sign that Daniel Ricciardo's dream will be realised. Although, it has to be said, at time of going to press, testing has not been quite as indicative as it could have been. We don't know who is going to be fast and we won't know until the lights go out in Melbourne.

Ricciardo's team-mate, paradoxical pantomime villain and quadrakaiser Sebastian Vettel is going for his tenth race win in a row, although early suggestions are that his assault on double figures might not be as straightforward as some of the previous nine. At Jerez, getting to double figures in terms of laps was a struggle..

Ricciardo will have to make sure he performs well this season to make sure he keeps the dream seat ahead of Daniil Kvyat, presuming the young Russian puts Jean-Eric Vergne's F1 career to sleep in a dignified and respectful ceremony.

Lotus, meanwhile, have very little money, necessitating the parachuting in of Scrooge El Duck as their driver to back up 2012's other panel-beater Romain Grosjean. Their nose looks rather different to anything else out there, and is closest in design to Williams' 2004 walrus nose. Which doesn't save the fears.

McLaren and Mercedes will back up their silver cars with a British World Champion, a Mercedes engine and a plethora of team principals. Button is, of course, the Melbourne specialist. They've got some running in at Jerez; it is unknown whether either are quick, but neither are stationary.

Fernando Alonso's Ferrari hegemony is about to be challenged by Kimi Raikkonen's arrival. Raikkonen won in Australia last year, so he's got form, and this race will be the first to tell us if Ferrari team radio this year will be a story of two passionate racers abusing their engineers, or two old men moaning about their backs.

Sauber's driver line-up is the most boring thing in Formula One since the US Grand Prix of 2005.

Nico Hulkenburg gets ready for his third consecutive last year before he is signed by a big team. A poor Force India will lead to the Hulk crying himself to sleep, while team-mate Sergio Perez comforts him with stories about how McLaren isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Williams have an interesting partnership; Felipe Massa released from the suffocating stranglehold of the Alonso anaconda and partnered with an almost-ripe pretender in Valteri Bottas. They have a new old livery, a new sponsor and new hope. Williams-Mercedes still doesn't sound right.

And, hey, the 2014 Australian Grand Prix has to be the best chance for Marussia and Caterham to actually score a point; only 9 of the other teams' engines need fall apart and 6 of them are made by Renault! Race finishing expert Max Chilton could be the beneficiary. Although he could actually finish 11th if there are only 10 finishers.

So, all that's left to talk about is Melbourne itself. Despite the rugby and cricket last year, the Grand Prix itself has been quite Pommie friendly in the last several years! The yellow lines at the edge of the track bordered by green walls have been a sign of F1 starting for a number of years, and there has been good racing backed up by poor reliability. And, boy, do we expect poor reliability...


Podium Finisher
Prediction, Mercedes 1,2 with team orders to hold place from the first pit-stop. JB third, Alonso fourth, Massa fifth. Both Red Bulls out with drive-train issues.


World Champion
RasputinLives No doubt the Aussie Press will bill Vettel as some sort of villain for the way he ended ( denied) Webber the world title and they will beef up Ricciardo as some great Aussie hope and anything less will be viewed as some sort of Red Bull conspiracy already


I think fuel consumption will be an issue as Mercedes have been running too close to the limit in the past whist I think JB's smooth style will help ala Prost in the 80s


I think Hamilton will get pole but he may run into turbo problems for using excessive throttle and getting use to the brakes


The best will always adapt to whatever Formula. At the risk of sparking another JB debate, was he not the same smooth driver who was having serious tyre issues in 2012. With the nature of the changes this season and the many unknowns, it's too early to say who's going to struggle and who isn't and car behaviour is obviously likely to be a major factor than ever.


Rooters Reporter
I don't think there's any doubt that since 2008 F1 has moved from an on the limit every lap formula towards a tyre/fuel management formula, and this helps some drivers and hurts others.

Whilst I agree on the first part I think any advantage one driver has over another with regard to driving to save fuel is marginal since it is instructions from pit wall that dictate how how hard they can push. If anything the fuel saving only serves to repress the drivers and prevent us from seeing most of them at their very best. Long gone are the days when you could see which F1 cars and drivers had the ability and endurance to push every lap from lights to flag. *

*Oddly enough in recent years the trend has been quite the opposite in Le Mans series. How bizarre is that?


Champion Elect
I agree that the fuel saving probably will be very frustrating as it limits the drivers. However, I do think it will give some drivers an advantage as particular driving styles will be inherently more fuel efficient than others. So whilst some drivers will have to change very little, others may have to make significant changes to the way they drive the cars. It's difficult to put a number on that though, I could easily believe that the impact of this is much less than other factors.


Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
I hope you're right @Lewyw04 as he was pretty exciting to watch last year in World Series.

I'm just interested to gage where everyone else thinks he'll be after seeing him in testing. It certainly seems to have hushed the 'why was Perez dropped' people a little.


World Champion
Prost was a master in the turbo days because he seemed to be able to eke more out of the car in an era where fuel consumption was critical

Senna did get the better of him by making full use of the scoring system then and pushing to the limit...but he did have races where he encountered turbo problems pushing to the limit

McNish alluded that him and Kristensen were evenly matched in sportscars with turbos but Kristensen just always use to be able to eke out more because of his smoother style

The drivers are only using 100 litres of fuel which is really pushing it


It seems that they might have struck lucky in switching to Mercedes engines for this season. Reliable, and fast (all the merc teams were near the top of the timesheets in testing).


World Champion
I think Pat Symonds was behind the switch, I'm not sure if it was luck, as I read an article not sure where, think it might have been Joe Saward, but Symonds knew that Renault were having trouble in F1, and had downsized quite a bit and would struggle.

He seems to have been right.

There's also the Toto Wolff factor which might have helped actually.
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