Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributors Vortex Motio and Mattpt55 (Updated – 21:26 GMT)
“Ah how shameless – the way these mortals blame the gods. From us alone they say come all their miseries yes but they themselves with their own reckless ways compound their pains beyond their proper share.”
― Homer, The Odyssey
From the sounds of the cutting and banging emanating from the Red Bull garage this morning in Bahrain, it is clear that the dominant themes of last week continue apace. Red Bull have well and truly lost the plot, compounded by Renault’s compete failure to deliver a usable PU, they now face a long and harrowing road filled with misery and heartbreak to once again reach home and challenge for the championship
Or to put it in Google Translate speak (from AMuS live ticker, which is completely awesome):
17:14 From the Red Bull box way we hear anything good. The hood was removed, smoke comes out of the box and from the outside is clearly the sound of fire extinguishers to hear in action. We hope that the teething problems are eliminated if Vettel rises on Saturday in the car.
In addition to the comedic stylings of Google translate the adventuresome reader might also learn that one factor that might currently be tipping the balance in favor of Mercedes is that the entire engine is manufactured “in-house” outsourcing only energy storage, whereas Ferrari obtain the turbo charger from Honeywell and Renault their pistons from Pankl. Furthermore there seems to be some disagreement amongst how much to rely on Nissan’s hybrid expertise with Red Bull arguing for more Japanese involvement and the French (not surprisingly) not being so keen to take advantage. It would also appear that both Ferrari and Renault are using the same battery (juice?) supplier.
Looking at lap totals might for a moment give hope to those who are looking for Mercedes to stumble, but it turns out that at just 89 laps, Nico spent the afternoon working on launches and pit stop procedures, having turned in most of those laps by lunchtime. Mercedes have also clearly given thought to the possibility of overheating at some of the hotter venues as evidenced by their testing of what has already been dubbed the “Cannon” outlet.
Their closest rivals at the moment are McLaren who had a rather astonishing 109 laps, second in lap count only to Williams with a thoroughly ridiculous 128, whose horse is becoming less dark by the second and may be able to take advantage of their relentless reliability to scoop some podiums and make their way back towards the sharp end of the stick as the season progresses. Force India, at the moment their main rival also completed a rather impressive 105 laps, the main difference being their inability to complete a race distance without short retreats to their garage.
Sauber occupies a lonely spot, trailing behind both FI and Williams in it’s program due mainly to chassis issues last week. Still, Adrian Sutil completed 89 laps which is a far site better than Raikkonen’s Ferrari, which managed just 54 laps and spent most of the morning in the garage with a small problem and the subsequent decision to fit new parts.
Although it may appear that the worst is being saved for last, Renault powered cars did provide some measure of excitement on the track today as Daniil Kyvat’s handful of a Toro Rosso not only did 56 laps but provided remarkable wheelspin, not just on launch but apparently in several different gears as the rookie looked to dial in his throttle technique while turning up the volume. To be fair, multiple drivers were spinning their wheels in multiple gears, not just in launch mode, demonstrating that Mercedes early concerns about torque were not entirely unwarranted.
Close on the heels of Kyvat came Raikkonen with 54 laps, having taken the morning off Ferrari got right to it in the afternoon for some solid work. Still, rumors abound regarding the true strength of the Ferrari PU, and although their ultimate pace has yet to be displayed, it is clear their program still lags that of the Mercedes runners.
The worm has finally turned for Marussia, and they managed a very workmanlike 44 laps to Caterham’s dismal 19. The grudge match for last point has just gotten very interesting, and it prompted one cheeky questioner to wonder whether Caterham might actually be lapped by Marussia in their quest to actually finish the race without breaking down in Melbourne. Similarly, Kobayashi’s desire to run a GP2 car though understandable given Caterham’s pace, would likely prove pointless in Melbourne as they would still have to install a Renault PU.
In the silver linings department, Daniel Ricciardo set a new fast lap for a Renault PU at 1:37.908, though they only managed a (not so) grand 39 laps for the day, still in search of a cooling solution that will work with Newey’s design, though mostly with angle grinders and hammers by the sound of it. Their erstwhile rivals Lotus meanwhile managed just 31 laps, with the reliability of their new 122 parts not much better than the old 122 parts.
In short not much has changed since last week and as things stand Mercedes are looking best for the moment. Nothing stays the same for long though, and there is no doubt that both Red Bull and Ferrari will leave everything on the table in their effort to catch up Mercedes before Melbourne.
|POS||DRIVER||TEAM||BEST TIME||BEST / TOTAL LAPS|
|1||S Perez||Sahara Force India||01:35.3||34 / 105|
|2||V Bottas||Williams||01:36.2||113 / 128|
|3||K Raikkonen||Scuderia Ferrari||01:36.4||43 / 54|
|4||N Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas||01:36.6||55 / 89|
|5||A Sutil||Sauber F1 Team||01:37.7||41 / 89|
|6||K Magnussen||McLaren Mercedes||01:37.8||13 / 109|
|7||D Ricciardo||Infiniti Red Bull||01:37.9||19 / 39|
|8||M Chilton||Marussia||01:38.6||23 / 44|
|9||D Kvyat||Toro Rosso||01:39.2||10/55|
|10||P Maldonado||Lotus||01:40.6||24 / 31|
|11||K Kobayashi||Caterham F1 Team||01:42.3||11/19|
Testing Analysis Bahrain Day 1
Here are the laps completed today, by team:
|Pos||Constructor||Engine Manufacturer||Today’s Laps|
Three things jump out pretty quickly, when we measure by lap counts… First, the teams running Mercedes engines are more reliable. (We’ll measure that below.) Secondly, at the bottom of that table it’s nice to see Marussia is not parked there again. Marussia’s total today, 44 laps, is better than all four days last week (29 laps).
Finally, the two premier Renault teams, Lotus and Red Bull, both had low lap counts for the same reported reason, exhaust issues…
If we try to measure power unit reliability today, we see:
|Engine Manufacturer||Ttl Laps||Median laps / team||vs Mercedes|
Wow! The last two columns speak loudly…
One thing that is ubiquitous for all teams is that test laps lost while making repairs in the garage is costly.
So for the next three days, we will examine these lost laps… what is causing them, and what is the likely effects upon the teams. We’ll look at test goals for each team, and how well they may be meeting them. Such knowledge may be as accurate of a predictor of early race performances as the fastest test lap of the day, if not more so.