Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributors Vortex Motio and Mattp55
Day Two saw the reliability bug finally bite the seemingly invulnerable Mercedes platform not once but twice today; first for a sensor failure and subsequently for a drop in water pressure. Good news for supporters of Renault based teams as they can finally reassure themselves by pointing at the latest blots on the Mercedes copybook and repeating the phrase “See, we’re not the only ones” in a wishful and optimistic tone of voice, while gazing longingly at today’s lap totals in which both Red Bull and Toro Rosso managed a respectable 59 and 58 laps respectively, just about race distance.
Of course such thinking brings to mind Adam Savage’s immortal line “I reject your reality and substitute my own” as upon closer inspection Red Bull’s mileage was roughly half that of Williams, and though Mercedes did encounter some gremlins of their own today, they notably still finished 85 laps and were in the process of running RACE SIMULATIONS.
This really shows how far ahead the Mercedes and Ferrari powered cars are compared to their Renault brethren. Not to mention there were still reports of a “burning smell” (to be taken with a hefty helping of salt) early in the morning when the Red Bull was being wheeled back into the garage and the woeful day Lotus had, completing only 18 laps as they sorted through issues. They were willing to admit other teams had addressed these in Jerez but maintained they missed it on purpose because nothing would have been gained at the first test.
Foolish consistency is indeed the hobgoblin of small minds, but even Lotus realise there’s no way to justify both of those statements so instead we were treated to lots of pictures on Twitter, which nice as they were, still failed to impress as much as the 360 degree video of Silverstone that Mercedes released yesterday.
Of course, the whole point of testing is not to be perfect but to force into daylight all those problems one would like to avoid in competition. Any attempt to look beyond this will only result in disappointment come the season proper. In that regard, the only real meaningful numbers are laps completed and kilometres run.
So what really happened today?
Two of the Mercedes powered teams each strapped on Pirelli Super Softs today, and turned the fastest times of the second day (and the test) at Bahrain. The Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen was able to get his McLaren round in 1:34.910 while Nico Hulkenberg managed to get his Force India Mercedes round in 1:36.445 (+1.535).
To put this into context, last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix Friday afternoon practice session fast times were in the low 1:34’s, while Q1 was high 1:32’s. It is still early in the season and we can expect these times to continue to fall as teams will continue to extensively tune, test and develop aero, chassis set-ups and power units during the eight days of testing.
Having said that, the new McLaren Racing Director, Boullier praised the young Dane saying he “<em>is very quick over one lap and has been consistent and he is settling well into the team. Clearly he is one we need to watch for the future.</em>”
Further down the timesheet Ferrari were having another quiet but steady day in the hands of Alonso completing 97 laps. However there is a storm brewing over their engine. Both Mercedes and Renault have indicated they will be protesting due to the Italian team not having a protective cover over their turbo, for safety of course.
Caterham was flying the flag for Renault again, completing the most laps of any Renault powered car. Apart from getting 66 laps, Kobayashi also managed to go faster than reigning world champions by .5s.
Lotus only completed a total of 26 laps and 140km, but having skipped the first test their number will not be directly comparable to the rest, though it does give a good indication of how much running they will need to catch the others up. And catch up they have to do as mentioned before, their day was filled with issues.
Max Chilton in the Marussia brought up the rear as he could only complete 14 laps before a fuel system problem surfaced around midday. The work to identify and fix the issue took up much of the afternoon but the team were able to resolve it and return Chilton to the track for ‘three valuable laps’ before the end of the session.
Testing is the tabula rasa upon which all F1 followers project their innermost desires and fears, the Rorscharch test which provides no right or wrong answers, but provokes endless discussion with no hard answers to come until the first laps are turned in anger come Melbourne.
The big caveat is of course no amount of testing will ever properly simulate that stress of racing and even the runners with the most kilometres will still face unforeseen issues as the full potential of these cars are finally unleashed in the middle of March on the world’s most dangerous continent, a development we can all (except maybe RB et al) agree can’t come soon enough.
Testing in Numbers:
|1||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren Mercedes||1m34.910s||46|
|2||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India Mercedes||1m36.445s||+1.535s||59|
|5||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Mercedes||1m37.328s||+2.418s||116|
|6||Kamui Kobayashi||Caterham Renault||1m39.855s||+4.945s||66|
|7||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Renault||1m40.340s||+5.430s||59|
|8||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso Renault||1m40.609s||+5.699s||58|
|9||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber Ferrari||1m40.717s||+5.807s||55|
|10||Romain Grosjean||Lotus Renault||1m41.670s||+6.760s||18|
|11||Max Chilton||Marussia Ferrari||1m42.511s||+7.601s||17|
Cumulated test laps after two days:
|Constructor||Manufacturer||# of Laps||%||Difference|
Caterham is interesting… by far the leading Renault powered team (by nearly double the laps), and in high contrast to Marussia’s performance here as well.
|Manufacturer||# of Laps||%||% w/o skew|
Since Ferrari supplies 3 teams versus the 4 teams each for Mercedes and Renault, the “% w/o skew” compensates for that difference.
Two more days left… Note that the official PU freeze is February 28th, which is the 2nd day of the next Bahrain test session.