Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributors Vortex Motio and Mattpt55
In contrast to Jerez, where the primary goal was to have the car turn laps, for the first Bahrain test series, it’s more difficult to draw thoughtful conclusions from the data as the teams will have a variety of tasks and goals on which they’re focused, such as chassis work (aero and suspension), power units (endurance, fuel efficiency, power, systems integration), and tyre work (endurance, wear, degradation).
As expected the big Renault teams (Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Lotus) continued their trend of unreliability however Red Bull did turn in a quick lap before they were forced to stop again.
In his book Collapse, Jared Diamond holds up the colony of Greenland as an example of what can go wrong when humanity, which operates on a very rapid timescale, gets fooled by geological time, which moves much more slowly. For those of you who don’t know the story, the discovery of Greenland happened at the warmest time by far of the Medieval period, and that warmth was not only enough to sustain agriculture of the European sort, but persisted for over 100 years, enough to fool the colonists into thinking it would come back.
It didn’t of course, and their end was written with savagery and tragedy that is worth holding up as a mirror to these modern times.
Red Bull spent the morning hours inside the garage with cutting and grinding sounds originating from behind their barriers. Watching Red Bull struggle with the Renault power plant in a repressive society whose protests fill the #F1 Twitter feed, we are reminded of how F1 is still emerging from a golden period of unlimited sponsorship and TV money, and how that has kept the teams and the sport from having to come to terms with the inevitable and how the chaos in Red Bull is just an example of the FIA and FOM being at cross purposes in terms of trying to increase viewership versus increase revenue.
The thought that really sticks from reading Collapse is that when a society’s leaders interests diverge significantly from its members, that society is headed towards failure.
Mercedes look very good, with Hamilton running a race stint of 18 laps right around 1:40 and finishing his day early with 74 laps. Force India, in the hands of Hulkenberg topped the timesheets with a 1:36:880 while Adrian Sutil showed the Sauber is very reliable running the most laps – 82, beating McLaren by 1 lap!
Ferrari had a mostly uneventful day although they had a scare first thing with Alonso having to rush back to the pits with smoke pouring out of the back of his Ferrari. After a ‘fuel mix’ issue was identified and fixed he rejoined the track and managed to complete 64 laps.
Lotus had a number of problems however are confident it is software and battery related and can be fixed quickly. It is strange that none of these problems happened during their filming day or is this linking into Remi Taffin’s (Renault Head of Track Operations) statement 4 days ago that Renault are struggling to get the various systems talking to each other in the right way and have to prioritise? Speaking at the end of the day, Taffin is confident the engineers have made good progress.
“We can clearly say today we can run our power unit as we wanted. It is still not to the level we want but at least we have got the baseline to work from.”
“From tomorrow onwards we will be upgrading things and it will be like this until the end of next week. So we are happy on that side but obviously we also had some problems, which are under the table.”
Under the table you say? Does that mean you are hiding it from the teams/public or is this metaphorical “water under the bridge”?
“When we have some time to run we will have some new problems, although they will not be as big as we had two weeks ago, but we will still have to fix them. That is why we will see some cars running or not, some less or more. That’s where we are: on plan but still recovering.”
We have yet to see a front-running team with Renault power do significant mileage and while Remi maybe confident they are making progress, his words are not very confidence inspiring. That said…
This leads us on nicely to the green monster from Leafield. Test driver Robin Frijns did his part for Caterham and Renault by running 68 laps. Perhaps Newey should go and have a look at what they are doing to make the Renault last.
The battle that everyone is really looking towards is of course the one between Caterham and Marussia. This has now become a death match after Fernandes’ speech has Caterham employees quietly looking for work in McLaren’s road car division. Unfortunately Marussia were MIA, an IT configuration problem confined their car to the garage for most of the day, so we still have no baseline to properly compare them with (ignoring Jerez).
Williams had a trying day as well with a fuel system problem. Rod Nelson (Chief Test & Support Engineer) said after they replaced some components it became necessary to remove the power unit to investigate the fuel cell. Although they got some laps in at the end of the day this is not the start they were looking for in Bahrain.
End of day stats:
|Order||Driver||Team||Lap Time||Number of Laps|
|1||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:36.880||78 laps|
|2||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||1:37.879||64 laps|
|3||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1:37.908||74 laps|
|4||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren||1:38.295||81 laps|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:40.224||14 laps|
|6||Adrian Sutil||Sauber||1:40.443||82 laps|
|7||Robin Frijns||Caterham||1:42.534||68 laps|
|8||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:44.346||5 laps|
|9||Romain Grosjean||Lotus||1:44.832||8 laps|
|10||Felipe Massa||Williams||No time||5 laps|
|11||Jules Bianchi||Marussia||No time||3 laps|
Total laps by manufacturer:
Total pre-season testing laps by manufacturer:
Total pre-season testing kilometers by manufacturer:
Caterham has covered 704km, the most of any of the Renault teams.
Total pre-season testing laps by team:
Let us see what tomorrow brings us. Will Renault be able to solve enough of their problems to allow their teams to get some running or will we see Vettel pack his bags and go home early again?