Jerez: Day 2 Analysis
Day two of the Jerez test was all about the battle of the engines. It was not a productive day for any Renault powered car, their total laps for the day were 19 in comparison to Ferrari’s which was 100. But it was Mercedes who comprehensively racked up the most laps with 212.
The action on track for the first day of the Jerez test was somewhat a damp squib. The second day began on an much more artificially wet note. Pirelli decided to move its wet-weather running day from Friday to Wednesday in the anticipation that there would be actual precipitation in the afternoon, which there was not.
The cars got plenty of dry running in towards the end of the day and it was Jenson Button who set the fastest time with a 1m24.165. Compare that to last years quickest time on day 2 in Jerez. It was set by Lotus’ Romain Grosjean who managed a 1m18.218, so we are still some four seconds off of last years fastest time.
Red Bull were forced to call their day to a halt with a couple of hours of the test left. The RB10 was pictured with a lot of smoke coming from the back of the car in the garage. The team later confirmed that the issue was with energy storage. It has not been a productive two days for the champions, 8 laps were ran today 11 overall. Their time of 1m38.320 placed them at the bottom of the timing sheets and is not in any way representative, as it was taken in the morning when the track was wet. It’s very early days, but it is not the best of ways to begin your title defense. Sebastian Vettel traveled home early and will hope for better fortunes at next months test in Bahrain. Daniel Ricciardo will take over driving duties for the final two days.
McLaren finally got some mileage on the MP4-29 after not running at all on Tuesday. Jenson Button continued at the helm and successfully completed a few installation laps before setting a time early in the morning. His times gradually got quicker and quicker as the track dried out and he ended the morning session top of the time sheets. The McLaren was able to go quickest whenever it ventured onto the track, knocking off whoever would be perched on top spot. There was a period in the early afternoon where Jenson Button set his fastest lap time of the day at a 1m24.165 and then consistently ran to within a tenth of that time for three laps in a row. Button managed 43 laps and will hand the car over to rookie Kevin Magnussen for the last two days.
It was the rear end of the McLaren which was all the talk up and down the paddock. The Woking team have attached four vertical fairings on their rear suspension wishbone. These fairings seemingly are able to deflect air flow both down towards the diffuser and up towards the monkey seat in between the rear wing and diffuser. It could be an element which retains downforce in slow speed sections and minimises drag on the straights. The teams this year are looking for ways to replicate the downforce they had with exhaust-blown diffusers, given that this year the exhaust must exit from a central position out of the rear of the car. McLaren may just have found a small solution to the problem.
Kimi Raikkonen was in second place behind the McLaren and completed 47 for Ferrari. The Finn jumped up to second spot in the mid afternoon. Ferrari look like they are just getting to grips with the new engines for this year and Raikkonen was capable of setting some fairly consistent runs. Spaniard Fernando Alonso will get his first taste of the F14T chassis tomorrow and Friday.
Valtteri Bottas completed his last day at the test before Felipe Massa steps into the Williams car for the final two days. The Finnish driver had a productive day completing 35 laps and ending the day in third place with a 1m25.344, which was a little over a second slower than the fastest time of the day. Williams will be aiming to get more laps under their belt at the final two days, in order to better prepare themselves for the Bahrain test in February.
Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg came close to breaking into triple figures for the amount of laps the German completed, he did 97. The Mercedes car looks solid straight out of the box and the sheer amount of running will give the team and all Mercedes powered teams confidence in the reliability of the new power trains for 2014. Rosberg managed a time of 1m25.588, which was 1.4 seconds slower than the leader. The team brought a reinforced front wing to today’s test after Lewis Hamilton crashed off at Turn One after a front wing failure yesterday. Mercedes will be looking at maximum reliability for the last two days in order for them to break into triple figures for their lap count. Overall a wholesomely impressed day from the Brackley based team.
Force India had a very productive running schedule until Sergio Perez stopped at the first corner with smoke coming from the rear of the car. The team had run consecutively throughout the morning and early afternoon, completing a respectable 37 laps. There was a period in the late morning when Perez was battling former team mate Jenson Button for the top spot as they traded quickest times between them lap after lap. Force India will repair the car overnight in order to try and get some more running in tomorrow.
Sauber continued their running with Esteban Gutierrez once again in the cockpit of the C33. The Mexicans day was primarily devoted to slower installation and systems check runs. He ended the day in sixth place completing 53 laps with a time of 1m33.270. Gutierrez was responsible for one of the mornings red flags when the Mexican driver spun into the gravel at turn 5.
Caterham’s Marcus Ericsson was also responsible for one of the days three red flags when he ground to halt out the back of the circuit late on in the day. The Swede managed to beat Vettel’s time though and ended the day completing the most amount of Renault laps with 11 and a time of 1m37.975.
All three Renault cars, Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Caterham all suffered Energy Recovery System failures throughout the day. It is allegedly an issue with a malfunctioning component in the ECU, a problem Renault aims to rectify for tomorrow by sending new parts to the track overnight.
Toro Rosso had a dreadful day. Seemingly dogged by Renault’s issues, the team spent all morning in the garage, hoping that they would make it out onto the track at the close of play, which they did not do. Daniil Kvyat was supposed to be running for the team today and will be hoping to get some laps in the Toro Rosso at Jerez.
Marussia have managed to get their MR03 car to the circuit and they have set up their garage. The team hope to run the car tomorrow morning, although almost certainly not immediately. Lotus are absent from the test.
Tags: BOTTAS, Button, Caterham, Ericsson, F1, F1 testing, Ferrari, Force India, Gutierrez, Jerez, Kvyat, Mclaren, Mercedes, Perez, Raikkonen, Red Bull, Rosberg, Sauber, Toro Rosso, V6, Vettel, Williams