The first day of testing in two weeks commenced and many questions posed in Jerez were to be answered in the hot desert of Bahrain. Would the new Lotus work? Would the Mercedes powered teams continue their excellent mileage record? And crucially, have Red Bull and Renault’s problems been resolved?
For Red Bull the answer seemingly is no. They spent the majority of the morning in the garage, with Sebastian Vettel waiting and chatting to team members in the team hospitality units in the paddock. When the RB10 finally made its way on to the track, it was only to complete some installation runs to make sure that the car was to run smoothly. It was in the middle of the afternoon that the car brought out the red flag. Sebastian Vettel jumped out from the cockpit and took a fire extinguisher to hand to the rear of the over heating Red Bull. The German even escorted the car back to the garage on the back of the tow truck it was placed on. There was a distinct smell of scorching in the pit lane when the car returned to the garage. Vettel managed to complete just 14 laps for the day with a lap time of 1m40.224, over three seconds off pacesetter Hulkenburg’s time. Prior to the breakdown Vettel was setting personal best times and slowly making his way up the time sheet, albeit over 3 seconds off the pace. The worry now is whether the problem is still with the overheating at the tightly packaged rear end of the RB10 or whether it is a Renault fault. It is more than likely that both factors will still be an issue. The Renault on the Red Bull does not spool up during the engine start up quite like that of the Ferrari’s or the Mercedes’. It is likely to be a long night for the Red Bull mechanics as they seek to improve the car before Vettel takes the reins again tomorrow.
Nico Hulkenberg finished the day top of the time sheets with a time which was quicker than the fastest race lap at last years Bahrain Grand Prix. The time puts to bed the argument from many members of the paddock who believe that this years cars are too slow. The time was set on the harder Pirelli rubber as well as the smaller 1.6 V6 power units. Hulkenberg’s time was 1m36.880 and he completed 78 laps for the day. The German took over the top of the times mid way through the afternoon from Lewis Hamilton. The pace will give hope to Force India, who do look to have a solid base for a car and a reliable power unit.
Ferrari had Fernando Alonso in the car for this first day of testing. The morning did not start so well when the Spaniard brought the first of the red flags out after a couple of minutes. The back of the F14T was smoking even on the way out of the pit lane. Alonso did manage to finish the day in second place to Nico Hulkenburg with a time set late in the afternoon which was 0.999 tenths off the Force India’s pace. Ferrari had managed to run reliably throughout the rest of the day and their car does appear to be genuinely quick. The Ferrari has yet to set long run lap times like its Mercedes-powered rivals, so it is unclear to see where they stand in the pecking order at the moment.
Adrian Sutil managed to complete the most amount of laps for the day with 82. The German only managed to set the sixth fastest time of the day and was some 3.5 seconds off the pace. The problems Sutil faced in Jerez, with the new brake-by-wire systems the teams run for 2014, have apparently cropped up once more. Sutil brought out a red flag earlier in the day for spinning off the circuit and it would appear he is still having trouble adapting to the new rear braking feel in his Sauber.
Lewis Hamilton’s day came to an end with over an hour of the session remaining. The British driver was out of the car and talking to his team mate and other members of the team before the end of the day. Hamilton had also suffered with some rear braking issues. The brake by wire electronics in the Mercedes were not working correctly and will be changed overnight ready for tomorrows session. The Mercedes was on top of the time sheets for the early morning and again in the early afternoon, before Hulkenberg bettered Lewis’ time of 1m37.908. The car once again as in Jerez looks very quick, reliable and consistent.
Kevin Magnussen was running in the McLaren today and set the pace for the morning session. The Danish driver has been impressing members of the paddock with his raw pace straight out of the box. The McLaren was still running with its rear wishbone blockers. Magnussen was doing shorter aero runs in the morning and focused on longer consistent runs in the afternoon. The MP4-29 ran reliably throughout the day with no issues and completed one less lap than Sutil with 81 laps. Out on the circuit the McLaren still does appear to be a very stiff chassis, it noticeably oscillates more than most other cars on track.
Robin Frijns was running in the Caterham today and managed to complete the most amount of laps by a Renault-powered car, with a mammoth 68. The Caterham team will be impressed by their reliability and will hope to complete more running for the rest of the test without the issues suffered by their Renault-powered counterparts. The time of 1m42.534 by Frijns was still some way off the pace, a whole 5.6 seconds to be precise, and they will be looking to find some more performance in order to close that gap by the end of the testing at the weekend.
It was another lowly day for the Toro Rosso team, Daniil Kvyat has barely had any running in the 2014-spec car so far, having run into various issues back in Jerez and today the Russian only managed a total of 5 laps. His lap time of a 1m44.346 put him slightly quicker than Grosjean’s Lotus in 8th place. The Italian squad, much like their sister team Red Bull, need to get more running under their belt soon if they are to get any useful information and set-up work complete on their car.
The Lotus E22 made its public debut at the hands of Romain Grosjean. The French driver completed just 8 laps and set the slowest lap time of the day with a 1m44.832, almost 8 seconds off the pace. The Enstone-based team are going through their installation runs for the first time since their shakedown as they did not complete any running at the Jerez test. The team will be hoping for maximum reliability from the Renault power unit and more laps for tomorrow.
Williams’ Felipe Massa and Marussia’s Jules Bianchi did not manage to get a lap time on the board at the close of the day. The Williams had a fuel system issue for the majority of the day and Massa only just manged to get onto the track at the close of play, setting just 5 laps. Jules Bianchi completed one installation lap early on before a problem revealed itself and then only managed a couple more laps right at the end of the days running.
Felipe Massa was top of the time sheets at the end of the four day test in Jerez. The Williams driver was in the car for the second day in a row and managed to set a time of 1m28.229 on a damp circuit. Fernando Alonso finished in second place nine tenths down on former team mate Massa. Force India test driver Daniel Juncadella finished the day in an impressive third place with a time of 1m29.457. Kevin Magnussen was in fourth place with a time of 1m30.806 in the McLaren. Lewis Hamilton ran in the afternoon after taking over from team mate Rosberg. The Brit finished the day in fifth with a time of 1m30.822. Jules Bianchi impressed in the Marussia claiming sixth place with a time of 1m32.222. Adrian Sutil’s time of 1m36.571 was some way off the pace and over 8 seconds slower than leader Massa. The other Mercedes of Nico Rosberg completed his running in the morning with a time of 1m36.951. Kamui Kobayashi’s Caterham managed more laps on Friday and set a time of 1m43.193. Russian driver Daniil Kvyat finally got some running under his belt and set a time of 1m44.016. Red Bull’s woes continued as Daniel Ricciardo stayed in the car for the day although got limited running after the team announced they were quitting the test at lunchtime. The Australian managed a time of 1m45.374
McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen finished day 3 of the Jerez F1 test on top of the timesheets. The Danish driver took over from team mate Jenson Button at lunctime. His time of 1m23.276 was the quickest of the week so far. It was four tenths quicker than second placed driver Felipe Massa in the Williams. Lewis Hamilton came third with a time of 1m23.952 in his Mercedes. Former team mate and morning runner Jenson Button did a time of 1m25.030 which was the quickest time of the morning session before he handed over to Magnussen. Fernando Alonso was in fifth in his Ferrari with a time of 1m25.495. Nico Hulkenberg set a time of 1m.26.096 in his Force India. The times then dropped off significantly toward the back of the field. Jean-Eric Vergne had an unreliable day and ended some 6.6 seconds off the pace with a time of 1m29.915 which was marginally quicker than Adrian Sutil’s Sauber which managed a 1m30.161. Caterham’s test driver Robin Frijns completed 10 laps but did not set a laptime. Marussia managed to take to the track for the first time in their new chassis with Max Chilton behind the wheel, the Brit only completed 5 untimed laps though. Red Bull called an end to their day in the early afternoon with gremlins striking Daniel Ricciardo throughout the day. The Australian only managed to lap the circuit twice, with the RB10 breaking down 5 corners into its first run of the day. Testing resumes tomorrow.
Kimi Raikkonen has gone quickest at the first day of testing in Jerez. The F14T 2014 car lapped the circuit in 1m27.104 on a quiet day where teams were struggling to get their cars prepared in order to do laps at the test.
The Finn had stopped on track earlier in the morning on its first run, but later in the afternoon managed to lap the circuit 31 times and go quicker than the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton was the first on track and subsequently was one of the only runners to consistently lap up some mileage. The Englishman managed to get his laptime down to a 1m27.820 before suffering a front wing failure on the start-finish straight. The front wing dislodged itself underneath the car and caused Hamilton to lock-up late and put his Mercedes W05 into the barrier, bringing his day to an abrupt end. Hamilton was the most active driver, conducting 18 laps, up until his crash. Bottas came third in the Williams late in the day with a time of 1m30.161, with Perez’s Force India slotting in 4th place with a laptime of 1m33.161.The Toro Rosso of Jean Eric Vergne had conducted plenty of running around the southern Spanish circuit in the morning. The Frenchman clocked a 1m36.530 to end the day in fifth, followed by Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber, which rounded off the actual lap times with a 1m42.257.
The Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel finally got running in the last 15 minutes of the day, after suffering from a rear suspension issue all day. The Caterham was due to be released this morning but had suffered an issue managed to get just one installation lap completed by the end of the day, whilst the Williams team also had some problems throughout the day but managed to get Bottas out late on to get some running in before the chequered flag.
Jenson Button’s McLaren was unable to leave the garage after the team had discovered electrical and hydraulic problems with the new MP4-29. They are hoping to fix the issues and be up and running for tomorrows session.
The Marussia had not made it down to the test, however the car in now in transit and they are hoping to get some mileage in later on Wednesday.