Kevin Magnussen finished the second day of the Bahrain test on top of the time sheets, by a massive 1.5 seconds. The McLaren set the time late in the day on the softer Pirelli rubber. His time of 1m34.910 was two seconds quicker than Sebastian Vettel’s fastest lap at last years Bahrain Grand Prix. Nico Hulkenberg finished the day in second place in his Force India. The German had finished on top on day 1 and had looked to have set today’s fastest time until Magnussen’s lap at the end of the day. Hulkenbergs time of 1m36.445 was a tenth ahead of Fernando Alonso who finished third in his Ferrari, completing 97 laps.
Nico Rosberg ended the day in fourth place with a time of 1m36.965 after setting 85 laps in the Mercedes. Valtteri Bottas managed to complete the most laps out of the entire field with a mammoth 116. The Finn finished the day in fifth with a time of 1m37.328. Kamui Kobayashi’s Caterham set a time of 1m39.855 over the course of 66 laps and finished the day half a second clear of Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull in sixth.
Red Bull had a much more productive day, with Vettel racking up 59 laps. His time of 1m40.340 was almost five and a half seconds slower than pace setter Magnussen. Ricciardo takes over for the last two days of this weeks test. Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso finished in eighth with a time of 1m40.609. The Frenchman completed 58 laps for the day. Esteban Gutierrez was a tenth down in his Sauber, the Mexican managed to complete 55 laps as the Swiss team focused on car management and understanding the brakes. Romain Grosjean’s Lotus completed 18 laps in a time of 1m41.670. Max Chilton’s Marussia brought up the rear with a time of 1m42.511 having completed just 17 laps for the day.
Red Bull Racing are in trouble. Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo managed just four more laps than he did yesterday. The Australian completed 7 laps in the morning and brought Red Bull’s total laps for the week to 21, a desperately poor number – and one that will justify Lotus’ absence at Jerez. By lunchtime the team confirmed once again that the car would not run, and they would instead pack up early to return back to Milton Keynes. The factory will have to work hard over the next couple of weeks to rectify the RB10’s overheating and cooling issues. It will require a redesign of the whole rear end ‘coke-bottle’ area of the car and Adrian Newey is already back at base re-drawing and re-designing.
“It’s been a very difficult test,” said Team Principal Christian Horner. “We have had numerous Renault issues as well as chassis-cooling issues, which have affected our progress.”
Horner also confirmed that the problems they have can be fixed before the next test in Bahrain in the middle of February, “Despite the lack of mileage, what we have managed to learn shows that the problems should be solvable for the next test in Bahrain. Part of the purpose of this early test was to learn about any issues ahead of the start of the season and there will now be a lot of focus on the dyno over the next few weeks.”
Felipe Massa went quickest of the day on the damp Jerez circuit. The Brazilian was only in his second day of running for the team and he managed to set a benchmark time of 1m28.229, which was almost a second faster than nearest competitor and former team mate Fernando Alonso. The Williams managed to complete 86 laps in the process. Massa said: “I’m pleased with what I have seen in the team this week. For sure it is important to be competitive.”
The Ferrari of Fernando Alonso rounded the track the most times out of anyone with 115 laps without failure. The Spaniard finished the session in second place and the Ferrari is now capable of running seemingly without reliability issues and Alonso was able to conduct longer runs whilst practicing pit stops and launches from the end of the pitlane. The Italian team will be wanting to maintain this performance for the warmer Bahrain test.
Force India’s test driver Daniel Juncadella finished the day in third place after a fault-free day. The Silverstone-based team were hoping to gain more mileage after suffering problems with the car on all three of the previous days running and Juncadella racked up 81 laps setting a time of 1m29.457.
Day 3 pacesetter Kevin Magnussen completed the day in fourth place with a time of 1m30.806. The Dane managed to complete the most laps McLaren have had all test, with 110. Magnussen had a bad end to the day however. With less than an hour of the session remaining he spun the MP4-29 at the Ayrton Senna chicane and stalled the car, bringing out the red flags. Because of the lack of damage to the car, he was able to get out again before the end of the session, but crashed his McLaren into the barriers on the exit of turn 10. The test has proven to be a success for McLaren, who missed day one after failing to set up their car in time. They have the added bonus of a rear wishbone appendage that a lot of teams up and down the paddock will be trying hard to replicate over the next few weeks before the two tests in Bahrain.
Mercedes changed their testing plan in the morning and decided to split driving duties at the lunchtime break in order to allow Lewis Hamilton some more time in the car. Nico Rosberg started off in the morning and completed a massive 91 laps of the Jerez circuit in a little under 3 hours of running. The Mercedes looked extremely drive-able, even in the wet conditions. Rosberg was able to complete something akin to a race stint, he was able to roll around over 40 laps entering the pits three times for scheduled pitstops before leaving and continuing his race stint. Given that the track temperature barely made it into double figures all morning, it will not be representative of any real running as the cars and tyres will not experience these conditions again throughout the rest of the season. But Mercedes will be impressed by its mileage without reliability issues, a major plus before going to Bahrain.
Lewis Hamilton took over in the afternoon and completed 41 laps and set a laptime of 1m30.822. The Mercedes ran without fault all day and managed to complete the most mileage out of all the teams, with a combined total of 132 laps for the day.
Jules Bianchi surprised in his new Marussia. It was the first time the Frenchman had tried the new car and despite only completing 25 laps for the day, he ended up less than four seconds off Massa’s pace with a time of 1m32.222. Marussia had only managed to get their car up and running on Thursday after being unable to piece their car together back at the factory. The team are using Ferrari engines this year, and that could have a say in how well they perform when the season gets underway. The Ferrari and the Mercedes already appear to have the upper hand on the Renault engines.
Adrian Sutil was once again back in the Sauber. The German driver ended up in the barrier on Thursday and with just an hour and a half left of today’s session he spun his Sauber into the gravel just before the last hairpin. The Sauber did manage to get back out again for some more laps before the end of the day. Sutil managed to set a laptime of 1m39.941 and he completed 69 laps. Sauber have confirmed that they are struggling with braking issues this week, attributable to the new brake-by-wire system the teams are using. It explains why the Sauber car has been unable to set representative lap times all week. The Swiss team will hope to resolve their issues to get some proper running underway in Bahrain in February.
Caterham had to call their test to an end with a couple of hours remaining when they discovered a power unit component issue, which is another Renault problem. Kamui Kobayashi was running in the car for Friday and managed 54 laps. The Caterham team have had their issues this week but have come away from Jerez completing 74 laps, 34 more than Red Bull managed across all four days. Not as high as the team would have hoped, but given the Renault issues up and down the pitlane this week, they have made the best out of the bad situation, a point confirmed by Kobayashi, “My first day in the car may have ended earlier than we’d planned after another problem with the Renault engine, but, from where we’ve been earlier this week, it’s very good to have completed 54 laps.”
Daniil Kvyat has had a terrible week. He was unable to get any running in on Wednesday as the car never left the garage for reliability reasons and today the Russian only managed 9 laps setting a time of 1m44.016. Kvyat ended the day bringing out the red flags after stopping out on the track with Kevin Magnussen. It is very probable that Toro Rosso are having the same issues this week as the Red Bull team, on account for their similar chassis and engine partner.
What we have learnt?
- Mercedes have the edge. Their power units have completed a combined 875 laps in four days at the Jerez test. Ferrari power units have managed 444 laps and Renault just 151. All the teams have completed a total of 1470 laps over the four days.
- Mercedes have had great reliability for the laps they have done, they have completed six times the amount of laps the Renault has achieved. The Ferrari too had managed good reliability but did have to stop a few times on circuit with small problems. The Renault powered teams have had a torrid time. Completing 151 laps is not what they would expect and they will need to go away and fix the problems they have had in Jerez in time for Bahrain.
- Red Bull are in trouble. Just 21 laps for the week is not what the champions were hoping for. Cooling problems with their Renault Energy Recovery Systems will require a chassis redesign.
- Formula One got quieter. The new 1.6 V6 turbos still generate an impressive sound, but the noise is nowhere near to that of the V8 or V10 era.
- Pirelli may well have sorted their problems. Despite the cars not running at full pace and track temperatures being so long, the Pirelli’s held up and have not had any issues or complaints from any drivers. The hotter climate of Bahrain will prove to be a larger test for the tyre company though.
- McLaren have a trick up their sleeve. The team didn’t run on Tuesday so we never got a glimpse of the rear suspension fairing they are running in order to generate more downforce. Teams up and down the paddock will now look to copy the idea.
- Mercedes have a good base on which to build their car. Good high and low speed cornering and a solid engine is a great first step.
- Lotus haven’t missed a thing. With Renault suffering so many problems and plenty of their rivals not getting much mileage in, the Enstone based team have not really missed too much. They will have to hope for a quick car straight out the garage in Bahrain though to ensure they don’t lose out too much to their competitors.
- And of course, it all means nothing. We can’t read anything into the times, we don’t know who is running what program, with what fuel or how hard they are pushing on the track. Maybe we will begin a glimpse of the real pace in Bahrain on the 19th of February…
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
Caterham F1 team have confirmed Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson as their driver pairing for the 2014 season. The announcement now confirms the whole of the F1 grid for the upcoming season.
The team also confirmed Alexander Rossi and Robin Frijns as their reserve drivers.
It is the return to F1 for Kobayashi who left the sport when he was dropped by Sauber in 2012.
“It’s a great feeling to be back as an F1 race driver and I’m really pleased it’s with Caterham,” said Kobayashi.
“Throughout all our discussions I’ve been very impressed with where they want to take the team, and how much investment has been made already to help them achieve their goals.
“I first visited the factory in Leafield just before Christmas and it’s clear how hungry the whole team is to make progress.
“From what I’ve seen, Caterham now has everything in place to progress this year and for many seasons to come.”
F1 rookie Marcus Ericsson is a Swedish driver, the first of which to race in Formula One since Stefan Johansson back in 1991, who raced in GP2 last year and finished sixth in the table.
Ericsson said: “This is a very proud day for me and everyone has helped make my F1 dream come true.
“I’ll be making the step up to F1 with Caterham in 2014 and I’m already excited about the season ahead, and the first race in Australia in particular.”