Niki Lauda says Mercedes is on track for the start of official 2014 testing, despite the huge challenge of the all-new turbo rules.
Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports rumours that world champion team Red Bull's boss Christian Horner had floated the idea of delaying for a week the start of winter testing late this month.
"Nothing is being moved," Mercedes team chairman Lauda insisted. "The plans are going ahead for late January.
"The task of big for everybody."
The report said the German squad is currently testing its new V6 engine, energy recovery technology, gearbox and cooling systems in a hybrid chassis on the test bench.
Lauda admitted that cooling the 2014 package is one of the greatest challenges.
"We are constantly learning new things," he said. "Suddenly you are managing things like water pressure and intercooling.
"Oil and water must be in a precise temperature window," added Lauda. "Once you go just a few degrees above a certain limit, everything stops (working)."
The triple world champion said he sympathises with the customer teams, who unlike the full works teams like Mercedes and Ferrari are unable to do "any comparison testing".
"They are doing their cooling (development) only on the basis of information provided by the engine partner," said Lauda.
And he thinks Mercedes and Renault, each with three non-works customer teams, have a slight advantage over Ferrari, who are only supplying customer engines to Sauber and Marussia in 2014.
"Four teams is four sources of information," said Lauda. "Everyone is having their individual problems, so we can learn faster and respond sooner."
Ferrari on track for late January launch
Ferrari is edging close to having its 2014 car ready for the start of winter testing.
Reports in the Marca sports newspaper (Spain) and the authoritative Autosprint (Italy) say the Maranello-built single seater is set to be launched on either the 23rd, 24th or 25th of January, a few days ahead of the opening test at Jerez.
Marca correspondent Marco Canseco said the car, whose official name will be decided by fans via an internet poll, will "almost certainly" undergo its mandatory FIA crash tests this week at the CSI technical facility in Bollate, Italy.
He added that Ferrari has already been testing the all-new 2014 electrical and energy recovery systems in a 2011 chassis, although the turbo V6 engine will not be run at an actual circuit until Jerez late this month.
But Alessandro Stefanini, the Autosprint correspondent, said the 2014 package will be run over a couple of "filming days" prior to its official debut.
He said the most likely car launch date is Thursday 23 January or Saturday 25 January, with Friday less likely for Enzo Ferrari-linked "superstitious" reasons.
Giorgio Piola, the well-known F1 technical illustrator, believes Ferrari has decided to revert to a more conventional pushrod layout for its front suspension this year, after the innovative 'pullrod' cars of 2012 and 2013, according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
Red Bull gets approval for 2014 Austria GP
Austria's return to the formula one calendar will definitely go ahead next year.
Earlier, although circuit owner Red Bull was given an official spot on the 2014 calendar, organisers did not have all the necessary local approvals in place.
Having demolished the old A1-Ring in Spielberg, and relaunched the 'Red Bull Ring', the energy drink company found itself limited to allowing a mere 40,000 race-day crowd to gather.
But Kleine Zeitung newspaper reported on Friday that local authorities have now granted Red Bull's application for a total race weekend crowd of 225,000 for the late June event.
And administrator Harald Schnedl has also been reviewing a full noise, emissions and traffic engineering concept, submitted by Red Bull for the 2014 race.
"I have granted the major events permission," he confirmed to the newspaper.
His approval was granted under a new events law, which does not allow formal appeals to be filed.
Ferrari to push Raikkonen into new simulator
Kimi Raikkonen will be expected to work hard this winter at the wheel of Ferrari's new simulator.
The Finn is no fan of the technology, but its importance has grown in recent years under the regime of very limited track testing.
Still, it was only a year ago that Raikkonen, then at Lotus, insisted he "learns nothing" in a simulator.
But Ferrari has invested heavily in the technology, even if president Luca di Montezemolo would prefer if his red cars could test on a real track.
"It's a joke," he is quoted by Reuters. "We have been forced to invest a huge amount of money in this terrible, artificial, machine instead of being allowed to test here (Fiorano) and at Mugello.
"Kimi will be extremely busy since the beginning of January to work in this strange machine that I don't like at all," Montezemolo added.
Reliability 'number 1 challenge' for 2014 - Horner
Christian Horner has singled out reliability as "the number 1 challenge" for the start of the 2014 season.
The Red Bull boss has admitted that even the world champion team, having won the last four double world championships on the trot, will have "several sleepless nights" ahead of the start of winter testing late this month.
Horner said it will be a "hugely busy winter" as teams prepare for the radical new regulations, including the new turbo V6 power unit.
"As you know," he told Finland's Turun Sanomat newspaper, "Adrian Newey does not have a reputation for having a car ready ahead of time, so I am sure there will be several sleepless nights before the car is in running order."
However, he said it is a similar challenge for every team on the grid, with the unique task of each producing a totally new car for the new rules.
"Reliability is the number one challenge," said Horner, "but of course we also want a lot of performance from the car from the very start in Australia.
"It means the amount of work in front of us in phenomenal.
"We did a good job in 2013 but it wasn't perfect, and that motivates us to improve on those areas in which we did not meet our targets.
"That doesn't mean that we expect to win next season. We want to win, but the competition is very hard, and we know how quickly everything can change at the top in F1.
"Nothing can be taken for granted," Horner added.
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