Testing resumed earlier this week at Barcelona, as Circuit de Catalunya played host to the second installment of 2015 Formula 1 pre-season test. All the teams, including the absentee from the first test Force India, participated in it. The sole Indian team however entered the four-day test with their 2014 car.
The circuit in Barcelona is regarded by the experts as a track where the actual potential of the car comes out; asthe aerodynamic performance of a packageis rigorously tested here. So testing this week was very vital in one way or another for all the teams.
During the first test at Jerez we did understand a few things about how all the teams are shaping up for the new season. But this week’s first Barcelona outing, gave the teams a further chance to sharpen up their teeth before the final test, and for Australian Grand Prix next month. Most of the teams got some new bits and pieces of updates to Barcelona. But it has been noted that; the introduction of most aero packages for Australia and beyondwill only be done during the last test.
So the following is what we have hopefully fathomed correctly over the 4 days at Barcelona;
The Mercedes package continues to impress us
It was certain from Jerez that the team again had a strong car for this year, and the Barcelona test attested that notion that even further. Once again Mercedes were not out to chase times, but they were there to do everything else apart from that. The car looked good on every given scenario, and it didn’t even need the super-soft to put a benchmark on the timesheets.
Nico Rosberg’s 1.24.231 with medium compound on the final day was good enough for the second fastest time of the weekend; such was the imminent pace of the car. The test program for team was once again all about race simulation, long runs, reliability checks and aero measurement. Although on the technical side, Mercedes did bring in a new centrally supported rear wing, but it is expected that they might fit in more aero parts before the final test.
Ferrari stamped its long due authority
Though it certainly looks like another year of Silver Arrow dominance, but the race for the being second in the championship is now certainly heating up. Ferrari, just like Jerez, once again had a very efficient and a productive testing week. The team got in some new engine updates this week, and the whole package looked fast.
The Scuderia seem like a team which is slowly, but very effectively,getting back where they belong. They look much more ‘liberalized’ under new boss Maurizio Arrivabene, and it is now imminent that they have the upper hand in the battle for ‘best of the rest’.
The Red Bull, and more importantly Renault, looked a bit reliable this week
It may seem that Renault has once again given heavy headaches to Red Bull, but at least this week the whole Red Bull package looked a bit reliable at Barcelona. They easily covered 400 plus laps during the week, however their pace wasn’t staggering.
Daniel Ricciardo did top the tables on the second day, but it was albeit on a soft tyre run. Reliability is always a good sign, and when you are using a Renault engine, it is a solid base to work upon. But making the whole package reliable is not the only thing which Red Bull will be worried about at the moment.
Everything is so quiet at Williams
Overall the Williams of Felipe Massa posted the 5th fastest time of the week during the second day of the test. However, like Jerez, nothing out of the extra ordinary was reported from, or about, the team. However, with reliability on their side, as the team has already clocked up 680 plus laps during the two tests, Williams will be happy with their ‘dull race simulation’ programs.
And, smart money is on the fact that, they are not at all chasing times and are more focused on aero measurements, hence the radio silence. Anyway, in Formula 1, sometimes no news is actually good news.
Lotus scored 3 out of 4 this week
Topping three of four days is a good sign, however, in order to do that achieve that,Lotus had to use the softer compounds. But as reported by the drivers, and as the timesheets reflect, the E23 looks miles better than its predecessor. However, it was unquestionable that the team was indirectly seeking times by ‘evaluating the car’ on the soft and super-soft.
Whatever it maybe, the fact is, they are obviously overall in better shape now than they had been in the whole of last year. And completing361 laps and 1,680 km at Barcelonawas a testament to that. Besides, learning every little detail about the new Mercedes Power United package will still be the priority for the Enstone squadnext week.
Talking about Sauber, Toro Rosso and their youngsters
After having a very positive test at Jerez;the Sauber team unfortunately had toendurea very hectic week at Barcelona. Even though the team clocked in some healthy lap mileage, but unlike Jerez, the pace of the car this time didn’t bother the timekeepers.
Toro Rosso also had a very productive test in terms of roping in the laps. But with the fact that both the teams are harboring 3 newcomers, and a fairly inexperienced Swede; lap numbers are key. However, it might be a possibility that immediate rivals Lotus this year may have jumped ahead of Toro Rosso, and might have gone further in distance from Sauber.This, for both, Toro Rosso and Sauber, will already be a huge set-back.
Force India’s tyre evaluation hunting
Testing with last year’s car is not an ideal thing to do when all your rivals are getting up to speed with their latest installments. But, something is better than nothing. And Force India now at least has a very accurate understanding of this year’s rubber.
As reported, this year’s tyres have different construction and casing, but their compounds have remained the same from last year. However, the super-soft has a different compound altogether, hence, in the tyre comparison department; the team did learn a lot. Hope this helps them with their new 2015 challenger later this week.
Time is running out for McLaren-Honda
McLaren are 50% behind in their testing program, or at least that is what the team announced whilst having to endure anothertroublesome week.The MGUK seal issues throughout the week halted the team’s ambition to gather up some laps and long runs with the car. And sadly their program ended prematurely after Fernando Alonso’s crash on the final day.
Time is the enemy; and the difference between failure and success in Australia can now only be foundat the final Barcelona test. But the boys at McLaren are still very positive. In fact, both the race drivers remained confident about the car. And the word around the paddock still is that; if McLaren overcome these technical issues, they have a good car under their wings. However, a good car is worthless if it stays in the garage all the time; hence it is time to buck up, and quickly. (ThisisF1)