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Michael believes 2014 challenge will be a tough test before the season even begins
Leading Formula One figures believe teams face an even tougher race against time than usual to get their cars to the first pre-season test at Jerez.
That’s according to Autosport’s Jonathan Noble, who reports that senior figures at McLaren and Renault believe the challenge of making it to Spain “will be on the limit.”
While some teams have indeed opted to skip the first test in the past, for what Noble describes as “extra time for wind tunnel development,” it is not an option most will take up this year.
Sam Michael, McLaren sporting director, said:
It will be on the limit. These days we have simulations, stress analysis and dynos that are much more sophisticated than when we had the last big rule changes, but you are still upsetting your systems that are quite methodical and procedural. Teams now have operational procedures to make sure they don't make mistakes, and almost all of those will go in the bin [for 2014] and we will have to start again. That is why you will see variations next year. All teams at all ends of the grid will have problems getting to grips with the new systems. I personally think you don't want to miss those tests. You want to be out there all the time.
Renault ambassador and four-time F1 champion Alain Prost agrees:
Last year at this stage of the year people were concentrated on the season - and not many people knew what was going on with the engine because they were focused on the racing. Then, when they realised, it's a wake-up. When you start to work on it, you can see the complexity of the situation on the engine on one side, and then the chassis/engine combination on the other. So it is absolutely normal that at this stage of the year people start to be concerned. Even the three engine manufacturers, if they are realistic and even if they have a lot of experience, they cannot be optimistic. But slowly it will go on as normal and there will not be a problem.