JAN 26th 2015

GRR Read Test: F1 Racing on Williams, Azerbaijan and controversial regulations

f1-racing-magazine-williamsIf you are one of those counting the weeks to the start of the new F1 season the February issue of F1 Racing will hit your hall floor with a welcome thud. Especially if you’d like to see Williams do well.

F1 Racing reckons they could do really well this year. ‘The making of a Merc beater – why the FW37 could take Williams back to the big time,’ trumpets the cover, with its ‘world exclusive’ pictures of said FW37, post nose-job, in its evocative Martini livery.

Inside there are 10 pages on why the new car is so good. The feature offers a thorough and convincing insight into the development of an F1 car. But then it would, wouldn’t it? The article was written by Pat Symonds who just happens to be Williams’ chief technical officer.

Not quite independent reporting then, but interesting nonetheless. Apart from a spread that offers up such Williams numerical nuggets as the number of cooling towers at Didcot Power Station and the number of people in the UK with the surname Williams. And before you ask, it’s 411,000.

We do however wonder what’s coming from F1 Racing next month. Ron on why McLaren-Honda is so brilliant? Whoever-is-in-charge-at-Ferrari-this-week on why Ferrari will clean up… no, on second thoughts…

Actually Ron must have been busy – F1 Racing’s McLaren-Honda feature is an I-was-there report from the pitlane in Abu Dhabi written by… a reporter. And jolly good it is too, a fly-on-the-wall story of ‘an historic first day… the return of an iconic partnership.’

Indeedy, but first there’s a tricky little problem with the wiring loom to fix. On this first day of testing test driver Stoffel Vandoorne gets just one lap in, in the interim car, MP4-29H/1X1.


But as team boss Eric Boullier says, ‘At least we have run. We all want to go to Melbourne thinking that we could win the race… I know we can dream.’

With Alonso partnering Button in what will be called the McLaren-Honda MP4-30 this year who knows where those dreams will lead?

What else has F1 Racing been up to this month? It’s checked out Baku, in Azerbaijan, which will host an F1 race in 2016. The challenging street circuit, some of it steep and narrow like Monaco, gets a cautious thumbs-up. Baku is easy to get to from the UK, has a sort of ‘Cannes vibe’, and boasts the second largest flagpole in the world. Sounds like it will be better liked than the now-ditched Korea GP.


This being the start of a new F1 season and all, there is controversy too. F1 Racing’s editor sounds off against a rule change that has meant Honda will have to freeze the spec of its new engine at the end of February while Ferrari and Renault can keep developing theirs throughout the year, in order to try to match Mercedes.

He doesn’t hold back: ‘It smacks of nothing more than old-school bullies ganging up against an ambitious and wealthy new boy from a respected family… F1 power brokers should be ashamed.’

Some things never change in Formula 1…

GRR Read Test verdict

Love it or hate it, F1 in 2015 starts here


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