#F1 Testing: 2nd Bahrain Day 1: Perez shines in the desert

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.
― HomerThe Odyssey

Bahrain Test 2 - PerezFrom 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.

Bahrain Test 2 - NicoLooking 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.

Bahrain Test 2 - KvyatAlthough 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.

Final results:

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
1 Williams Mercedes 128
2 McLaren Mercedes 109
3 Force India Mercedes 105
4 Mercedes Mercedes 89
4 Sauber Ferrari 89
6 Toro Rosso Renault 56
7 Ferrari Ferrari 54
8 Marussia Ferrari 44
9 Red Bull Renault 39
10 Lotus Renault 31
11 Caterham Renault 19

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
Mercedes 431 107 100%
Ferrari 187 54 50%
Renault 145 42 39%

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.

40 responses to “#F1 Testing: 2nd Bahrain Day 1: Perez shines in the desert

  1. The Judge,
    Do you know if there is any truth in the fact that the Ferrari engine is 75bhp down on the Merc engine? Because apparently, according to Andrew Benson, a senior Ferrari figure said “that the team believe their engine is about 75bhp down on the Mercedes, and they don’t understand how their rivals are getting so much power while staying within the fuel restriction introduced this year.”
    Have you got any knowledge of this?

      • I never said the senior ferrari member revealed it specifically to the BBC and nor did Benson say that he was told this. He merely stated that a senior ferrari figure had “revealed” this. To who, I don’t know…

          • Sorry, I wouldn’t have posted my original comment if I knew you were going to get so butt-hurt about anything that relates to Ferrari having a performance deficit. That’s why I asked, to see whether anyone else can shed some light on the matter. Not trying to insult your precious team…

          • Relax man.
            Now if I was in a foul mood, I would’ve said that British media always downplays Ferrari performance, even when Ferrari was the only team that gave Red Bull a run for their money.
            But I’m not in a foul mood….

          • Not my problem. I’m just trying to establish whether there is any truth behind this statement

          • Ok,ok, let’s bury the hatchet 😉
            It looks like Mercedes are a little in front, but a 75 bph advantage, that’s almost 10%, that’s a huge difference, I can’t imagine this being true.
            To me it looks like Mercedes are focusing more on speed, to take pole position and control the race from there, knowing that the others can’t attack continuously or they run out of fuel.
            Ferrari’s goal looks to be, a minimum fuel consumption with as little loss of power as possible, to maintain a higher race pace for a longer time.
            Mercedes might have a power and speed advantage, but at what time in the race do they cut down the power, to make sure they can finish with the 100 kg’s of fuel?
            If Ferrari can keep up their race pace for a longer time it might get really interesting between those two.

          • Cast your mind back to October/November when the teams were squabbling about tyres for this year. If I recall correctly Mercedes wanted wider rears to which both Ferrari and Renault said no, its not needed. FIA asked teams to submit data to Pirelli upon which Pirelli also said they need wider tyres. FIA decided nope.. same width.. so, I think Merc has more power but have turned the engine down a bit.

            Ferrari on the other hand was lobbying the FIA for an increase to 110kg fuel limit…

    • Whoaa….. hold your horses people….

      What do we know? Paul Hembery rather let the cat out of the bag when he made a comment in the Autumn last year suggesting the power/torque produced by a certain engine was highly surprising.

      Admittedly this was when Pirelli were pressing for larger rear tyres – so self interest is involved in his comment.

      It was commonly accepted he was talking about the Mercedes engine – for long and complex reasons I won’t go into now – and he probably was.

      Ferrari have regularly suggested we will see cars running out of fuel, whereas Mercedes and Paddy Lowe have said this is not a problem for them (I don’t have time to search for the comments, but we reported here at TJ13).

      Andrew Benson likes to delude himself at times he is an inside F1 spy, when in fact when anyone sees his shiny pate walking down the paddock – they run for cover…..

      So, it is likely Merc have more BHP, though use-able power is the key this year. It could be that if they run all their horses 100% of the time, they cannot finish the race.

      Ferrari have clearly been concerned over fuel use-age and may have tried to develop an engine focused on max fuel efficiency which is down on Merc’s BHP.

      The real point is that whilst a Renault employee could tell me that their engine was restricted to 250km in Jerez – no one knows what BHP their competitors have – and therefore nobody can tell anyone this information for sure.

      My information was – and to be fair this then came into the public domain, that Ferrari were going to push their engine to the max this test. If they did this today, they have a problem – but there’s still 3 more days to go – and maybe other factors meant this was not possible for them.

        • …. I know that. But check out Ferrari pre-test speak – they gave the impression that was what this test was all about….

          They didn’t say – day 1 race simulation, day 2…..

          Ok… we’ve got 3 more days – and I’m sure they’ll get to it.

          But rhetoric and subsequent action = disconnect….

      • Ok thank you. Do you think teams will start turning engines up to maximum power this week? Surely they would need to, seeing as they need info on how the engine performs at full power? If so, what day would be more likely?

  2. I will post it again as this is more suitable here:

    Well mates, I’m very worried (as a McLaren fan) with the comparision between the race sim of Magnussen and Bottas.

    FW36 by far was more consistent!

    I take the raw laptimes and applied those Hembery’s gaps between each kind of rubber and find this:


    It’s a bloodbath.

    Judge asked me ‘…where did you get the lap times out of interest?’

    I was at F1 Technical Forum (http://www.f1technical.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=17765&start=30).

    I ask for reference and I receive this: “Tobias Grüner of AMuS wrote down the laptimes of Bottas and Magnussens race simulations”.

    I really want to know if someone have any data that could confirm (or no – please no!) the idea that MP4-29 is a tyre-eater.

    Everyone saying that McLaren’s car is balanced and look good at high speed and low speed corners and now this…

    It’s quite weird to me.

    • Yeah I saw this, maybe Kevin was pushing harder than Bottas in the simulation. Who knows, we may get a better idea over the coming few days.

      • Not to sweat the times, most likely driving to different deltas for different reasons. Williams has highest miles, most likely getting closer to true pace. Also consider that engine is a stressed member of chassis so likely there may be other constraints involved. Following Mercedes program, the times for Rosberg today on heavy fuel were quicker than Saturday, likely you’ll see quicker times from McLaren tomorrow.

        The Judge has tweeted pictures of a new Mercedes floor, not sure if it’s an update or something broke. No doubt we’ll hear soon enough.

        • Great explain Matt.

          I saw some charts that compared the McLaren, Williams and Mercedes race simulations against Vettel’s race pace 2013 for Sakhir. Rosberg faster in the second stint (never imagine at this point).

          • Also in the first stint. It’s hard to compare times exactly, but where they were comparable NR faster in the 1st 2. The last stint we had laps 45-56 and Vettel was 30 secs quicker.

            Most likely down to the fact that even though last years cars were lighter, they had more fuel on board and were heavier at the beginning. Due to heavier fuel consumption, of course, by the end they were quicker due to lighter weight, as well as superior DF.

            Over full race distance no doubt last years cars faster, but after hearing about Kyvat’s adventures today the races may be much more exciting this year, LOL.

          • Will – I agree w/Matt, it’s likely Mac will improve as they learn more about managing fuel burn rates, car set-ups to be more friendly to the tires, etc.

            I just want to mention that the driver is going through a learning curve as well.

            Peter Windsor was out on course today watching the test from a corner that is a driver’s challenge, with multiple lines. He published two videos on youtube today from this experience. He noted that Magnussen may not have been using the wisest line at this corner, while Bottas was using a very different line. So Kevin may have been hurting his own tires. But K-Mag seems pretty bright, and I’d guess he’s likely to adjust his style over time.

  3. I think this is the only column that manages to make pre season testing actually sound interesting to be fair

    • … well if you ever get chance to go…. testing is absolutely fascinating…

      The sound of the cars, different gear shifts, ERS braking noises and performance on track is infinitely far more revealing than an FP1/2 or 3

      • Keep up the good work. It’s refreshing to see a bit of humour in there as well. I think f1 gets lost in its own self importance sometimes and that reflects in a lot of the journalism. Pitpass in particular is always on a bit of a downer about modern f1 I feel!

      • Keep up the good work. It’s refreshing to see a bit of humour in there as well. I think f1 gets lost in its own self importance sometimes and that reflects in a lot of the journalism. Pitpass in particular is always on a bit of a downer about modern f1 I feel!!!

  4. Nice analysis, as I’ve said before, getting more and more readable with each installment. Great job guys, I’m hoping you will keep this kind of insight as to what is changing and why team by team for each race weekend. That would be pure gold gentlemen. Us readers would be able to look at the development of each car as the season progressed and then look back at the end of the year. Anyway guys, your efforts are greatly appreciated.

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