Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was fastest on the final day of the first pre-season test series in Jerez on Wednesday but McLaren’s hopes for a problem free day were dashed.
The Finn set the fastest time of the week with a lap of 1min 20.841 followed by Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and world champion Lewis Hamilton with all three completing over 100 laps on the day.
There was no such luck for Jenson Button as a difficult week for the new McLaren-Honda partnership continued.
Button failed to get beyond the pit lane in two attempts early on before a fuel pump issue cut short his afternoon having completed just 35 laps.
That took the Woking-based team’s tally to just 79 laps for the week.
McLaren racing director Eric Boullier warned on Tuesday that any more setbacks in testing would delay their chances of being competitive once the season gets underway in Australia in six weeks’ time.
“Unfortunately, we’ve had a few issues this week – all of which have been pretty small – but cumulatively they meant we were stuck in the garage for quite some time,” said McLaren’s engineering director Matt Morris.
“Still, our prime objective coming away from this test was to ascertain that the main car architecture worked, and we’ve done that.”
Red Bull have also had problems in the southern Spanish city, but they recovered from a power unit problem in the morning as Daniil Kyvat managed 62 laps, albeit only ahead of Button on time.
Double world champions Mercedes enjoyed another marathon day on the mileage front as Hamilton’s 117 laps took them past the 500 mark for the week.
“It’s been pretty amazing this week to see how reliable the car has been and how much mileage we’ve covered,” said Hamilton.
“We all loved the experience of last year and everyone wants to do it again. This is where you prove the car, looking for as many laps as you can, not searching for fast times.
“It’s been really positive from that perspective and every day here the car has got better as we learn more about it.”
It is also been a promising few days for the perennial minnows Sauber and Toro Rosso.
Ericsson and rookie Brazilian teammate Felipe Nasr were in the top two across all four days.
Meanwhile, the youngest ever driver in Formula One, Max Verstappen, got some more experience under his belt in the Toro Rosso as he was fourth fastest in a 97-lap effort.
There was also plenty of news off the track as Force India announced that their new VJM08 car is unlikely to be ready in time for the next test in Barcelona, so they will run their 2014 car in the Catalan capital later this month.
Meanwhile, there were reports that the financially stricken Marussia team could come out of administration in the coming weeks with the hope of still making it to the first Grand Prix of the season in Melbourne on March 15.
After four days of testing a total of 2294 laps were covered. Last year, 1470 laps were covered in total during the same period, with 11 teams on track instead of eight this year. The fastest time in 2014 was 1m23.276s (Kevin Magnussen, McLaren), underlining a huge increase in performance and reliability compared to a year ago.
Full combined results from four days of Jerez Testing
Full combined Laps by Teams
Full combined Laps by Engine
Low temperatures and a very abrasive track at Jerez: positive initial verdict from drivers on 2015 tyres
Increased laps and performance compared to start of 2014 shows phenomenal hybrid technology development
“The four days at Jerez were quite a straightforward test, with all the teams present getting in a lot more running than they did at this time last year: which just goes to show the phenomenal rate at which this hybrid technology has developed.“ Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said.
“We experienced varied weather conditions on a very abrasive track at Jerez and encountered no issues, with generally positive comments from the drivers. From a tyre perspective, the two tests in Barcelona later this month will be more representative, as long as the weather remains favourable.
“The provision of our ‘winter hard’ prototype compound – a specially created testing compound, with a fast warm-up – was clearly appreciated, as the drivers used it extensively. It’s clear that the new cars have already evolved a lot since 2014, and we anticipate further improvements before we reach Melbourne in March.”
Tyre sets brought to Jerez
284 of which 5 supersoft; 37 soft; 120 medium; 57 hard; 40 intermediate; 25 full wet
Tyre sets used
155 of which: 0 supersoft; 21 soft; 83 medium; 29 hard; 16 intermediate; 6 full wet
Pirelli’s special ‘winter hard’ prototype tyres (16 sets) were also brought to Jerez. Two sets of these are available per team for the total of the three pre-season test sessions. The ‘winter hard’ is a prototype tyre strictly for testing purposes only, which will not form part of the P Zero range in 2015. It is a hard tyre with a low working range compound, which allows it to quickly reach top performance even in cool conditions: well suited for European weather conditions in February.
Longest run per tyre:
The best times and their tyre choice of every day: