Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Special Feature - Ferrari and Mercedes looking strong after the opening winter test of 2015 in Jerez


The first winter test of the 2015 Formula One season at the Jerez circuit in Spain has finished and although the four day test was used as shakedown for teams, one outfit stood out above the rest. The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team completed a staggering 516 laps over the course of the four day test.

Despite completing the most number of laps of any team in Jerez this week, the Silver Arrows suffered a number of minor mechanical issues over the course of the test.

Ferrari powered cars topped the time sheets on each of the four days of the test with Sebastian Vettel topping the times on day 1 and 2 while Felipe Nasr was fastest for the Sauber F1 Team while Kimi Raikkonen set the fastest time of all over the course of the test in SF15-T with a 1m 20.841s.

While McLaren had previously run their new Honda power unit at the end of season Abu Dhabi test and at a filming day in Silverstone, their rivals the Lotus F1 Team, who also have a new power unit partner with Mercedes supplying them the Enstone outfit had never run an interim car. However when the team got underway in Jerez on Monday after missing the opening day they managed to complete some good mileage.

The Lotus F1 Team have completed 190 laps with their new Mercedes powered E23 despite ending the final day of running early.

Infiniti Red Bull Racing completed just 160 laps over the course of the four days. The team ran into difficulty on the second day after new driver Daniil Kvyat suffered a small accident breaking the front wing of the RB11 which meant that the team had to get permission from the FIA to allow them to run the car without a front wing which they were allowed to do why they waited for a replacement wing to be flown to Jerez.

The biggest surprise of the opening test has been the performance of the Sauber F1 Team who racked up the mileage with Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr in the C34.

At this stage in the testing programme it is still a bit too early to say who has an overall advantage but in terms of outright reliability so far Scuderia Ferrari are looking good in this regard having encountered just a handful of telemetry issues and nothing too serious. Obviously when it comes to the lap charts Mercedes are way out on their own as it would appear that the Brackley based outfit have just refined the design of last year’s championship winning W05.

The W06 is of course a brand new car in terms of design and the power unit. The next winter test in Barcelona which takes place from February 19 – 22 that will be extremely beneficial to the teams as it takes place at the Circuit Du Catalunya, a circuit that Formula One races on so they will be able to keep the data they collect from the next test for both the final one at the end of February and for the Spanish Grand Prix itself which takes place in May.

The Williams Martini Racing Team’s official test and reserve driver Susie Wolff will get her first opportunity to drive the new FW37 at the next test in Barcelona. It is unclear on what days the Scottish driver will be behind the wheel of the new car.

© Ben Johnston 2015

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