#F1 Testing: Jerez 2015 – Day 2, afternoon

Brought to you by TJ13 track side reporter Adam Macdonald (@adamac39)

McLaren managed to make it out again for one more lap and so finished the day on a grand total of 6, the same as yesterday.  The work will continue long into the night as they work to combat the stuttering engine they have in the back of the MP4-30.  At a race track where their power has won 3 consecutive Grand Prix from 1987 to 1989, the frustration will set in as they lose vital time to test.  If mileage is the key to ironing out the creases of the new technology, then this will undoubtedly be a massive setback.

Marcus Ericsson cut a confident figure in the paddock, a changed man from the driver we saw enter the sport 12 months ago.  Of course, he would have been happy with the promotion to a more established team and one that has a (slightly) more secure presence in the paddock, but the manner in which he held himself was different as he enjoyed a day off.  However, maybe it was merely a second season air of confidence, but it filtered down to the rest of the team.  Sitting in the paddock hospitality, the whole Hinwil outfit feels like a different entity.

Felipe Nasr commented on his running today saying, “we took a nice step forward on the car. A nice combination of chassis and engine so I’m looking forward to see how we can develop on that.”  Having completed most of their running for the two days and finished second on the timesheets two days in a row, with two new drivers, they have every right to be content.

These test sessions will be vital for Nasr as he makes up for the limited running he had in his test role at Williams last year. Having spent a lot of time in the simulator recently he said he feels ready for the season ahead.

Nasr Sauber afternoon

Lewis Hamilton grinding to a halt sent the twittersphere into raptures as fans of the World Champion bemoaned his poor luck in Jerez, making reference to the spin which ended his first day of testing last year.  Either way, 91 laps before any kind of technical issue is good going for a test session which is in principal a shakedown before the real work in Barcelona.

The only red flag of the day was brought out by Pastor Maldonado after he stopped out on track shortly after 3:30pm.  A drivetrain issue was credited for curtailing the running for the day, although they won’t be too disappointed given that at one stage they had looked unlikely to arrive on the circuit in time to run today. Though he denied any problems surrounding sponsorship money, it would erroneous to say that all is secure for the Venezuelan.

He said, “we were more focused on mileage than performance. We are still looking for some programmes and taking some data.”  Although he has driven the new car in the simulator, the new partnership with Mercedes still has a long way to develop before even the next test in Barcelona.

The rain came down on the Cadiz countryside blanketing the circuit in relative darkness.  First as a mere trickle and then more strongly later on, it gave the ideal opportunity to try the 2015 intermediate tyres out.

With just under 40 minutes of the day to go, Max Verstappen and Felipe Nasr ventured out onto the track with an intermediate set of boots on.  The young Dutchman completed a handful of laps before the chequered flag fell. Not before Sebastian Vettel had one last journey out onto the track, although nobody could stop top his time set earlier meaning he ended the second day leading the field.

The skeptics will point to the need to please shareholders and sponsors by setting headline laps, but having their two powertrained cars at the front cannot be seen as a bad thing.  No doubt the Italian sports magazines will be awash with ‘Forza Seb’ tomorrow though; such is life.

Red Bull will be disappointed with their day after Daniil Kvyat broke their only front wing present.  Evidently it was not worth risking their replacement later in the day in the downpour or on the drying track after.  For a team that has made such loud noises about returning to winning ways they have been underwhelming.

wingless RB

The big winner with the rain was photographers who were afforded the brief opportunity of snapping away on a drying track at the end.  The glistening cars circulated just long enough for some shots of value.

And finally, the 20,000 people that were reported to have turned up today must have been so inspired by the Red Bull livery that today they came in fancy dress wearing the same.  The crowd was far smaller than that as the sleepy feel to the circuit felt almost asleep towards the end of the day. The 117,000 fans that turned out for Moto GP in May are clearly far less interested in watching those on four wheels test.

In truth, not an awful lot garnered from this afternoon’s limited running – unless of course you have been living under a rock for the past 13 months.

42 responses to “#F1 Testing: Jerez 2015 – Day 2, afternoon

  1. Seems Mclaren Honda had the same issue as yesterday, control electronics not working properly thus not able to run the power unit properly (seems everything else is working just fine). Even getting 14 laps over 2 days is good going for them, given the complexity of the power unit. Hopefully they’ll fix this issue and Alonso will get some decent running tomorrow. Not holding my breath though.

    • ” … getting 14 laps over 2 days is good going for them …. ”

      No it’s NOT

      It’s pathetic ……

      This is even worse than Renault last year !

      Haven’t Honda / McLaren ever heard of dyno rigs or test mules ?

      The benchmark was the Mercedes PU’s at last years first test.

      Honda = FAIL

      • And no one believed me when I said that succes 20+ years ago doesn’t mean that they’ll have succes right now.

      • Success in the past means nothing now. 2015 will be a tough year for McLaren Honda. But it’s far too early to declare it a failure after 2 days of testing the MP4-30 and Honda Power Unit. Seems if they can nail down the sensor issue and nothing else crops up then they should get some decent running before the end of the test.

        McLaren Honda are doing a lot better than Renault and Red Bull did this time last year. They’ve at least set a time, not had to get the power tools out to add cooling to the car to prevent the Power Unit from catching fire. The first test was always going to be a tough one for McLaren Honda. Also it’s worth remembering that the power unit being used is a development version. The race power unit is not due until the final test. Problems caught now and resolved should be fixed on the race version before it hits the track. That’s the real moment of truth for McLaren Honda. And I fully expect McLaren Honda to struggle throughout 2015, I ain’t expecting any wins or podium places (barring bad weather).

        • And yet red bull did win in 2014. So nothing is impossible. it’s just that honda had an immense opportunity because of the extra year to develop and for that the test is just one big shame till now…

          • Developing a power unit is one thing, actually running it on track for the first time without the usual restrictions is another thing entirely. I’m not surprised in the least at the troubles McLaren Honda are having and I expect it will take the rest of the season to get the power unit working at full capacity in terms of power and reliability.

      • True but so so disappointing. F1 needed Honda to be good this year but McLaren might as well put another car in the skip. I’d bet Ron’s seething behind the calm exterior and on his knees to Toto behind the scenes begging for a Merc engine back!

        • The time to be disappointed is if the testing woes from the first 2 days continue throughout the rest of the pre season tests and continues even when they bolt in the race specification power unit. People seem to be expecting miracles from McLaren and Honda in this first test. The real test for all the teams is race day down under. No hiding behind “Just usual testing issues” then.

          • ” People seem to be expecting miracles from McLaren and Honda in this first test. ”

            No – I’m not

            But I was expecting – given the extra year to develop – that Honda would produce a decent engine.

            That’s not expecting a miracle – simply them doing their job right !

          • I admire your optimism. But you’ve only got to look at how Mercedes ran straight off the bat in the first test last season as the true barometer. McLaren have had the same full works advantage as Mercedes did for the last 18 months and they still can’t string more than two laps together. Not good enough from both Honda and McLaren to be honest. I wonder how long Alonso’s patience will last.

  2. I think Ferrari and Sauber are show-boating to please the fans and motivate the foot-soldiers in the factory.
    As for Honda – Jesus Christ on a Pogo stick. Considering they had all of last year to learn from the mistakes of three other manufacturers and again from the abysmal Abu Dhabi test until now, their performance so far is abysmal at best. They have to pull the same rabbit out of the hat like Renault Red Bull last year. But they only have one team to pull in the data and I doubt they collected much yet.
    Merc? – meh. The cynic in me says they stopped deliberately, so people won’t turn off even before the first race.

    • People are turned off by PPV rip off TV

      Not by one team’s dominance – and maybe Williams could challenge even that ….

    • If McLaren Honda can nail down the sensor issues, then I expect they’ll be able tootle around the track slowly. Again it’s a development power unit, if the race power unit has the same issues then you can start cranking up the “McLaren Honda Epic Fail Bandwagon”.

      As for Mercedes ? Lewis usually has issues in testing that prevents the car running. Though they probably got the data they needed and called it a day. Doubt they’ve bothered to show the car’s true pace yet.

      • ” Again it’s a development power unit ….. ”

        So was Mercedes last year

        And it wasn’t a dog in ANY of the chassis it ran in – not just the works team.

        This is not a McLaren fail – it’s a HONDA FAIL !

        • Keep in mind Mercedes probably gave McLaren the bare minimum information on it’s power unit to prevent it’s secrets being passed onto Honda. McLaren are a team in transition. Saying Honda have failed after 2 days of running a complex power unit in a brand new car is a tad premature. The time to judge is race day down under. If the problems persist or they can’t get within the 107% rule in practise and/or qualifying then you can say Honda Fail. Until then it’s very much a work in progress and I doubt it will bear fruit until 2016 or 2017. 2015 will be a development year of hell for McLaren and Honda.

          • If you don’t have access to the details of a power unit you can’t package it properly and combined with the aero being wrong (as PP pointed out as soon as he started work at McLaren) then you were always going to end up with a sack of spuds for a car. One of the main issues on the MP4-29 was the front end not generating enough down force, PP recognised it and had an impact there.

            I think people forget just how complex F1 cars are and that it wasn’t so long ago when it was a common sight seeing a car becoming nothing more than a flaming heap of metal and engines turning into shrapnel.

          • @ Fortis

            It’s certainly original thinking

            Front engined

            Front wheel drive only from the engine

            Rears driven only by electric motors

            Front tyres wider than the rears.

            Reported to have 1250 bhp in total !

            Many people said the Deltawing & ZEOD wouldn’t work …. but they did.

            I’ve a suspicion it might be very quick and surprise people. The only problem they ( Nissan ) have had is in reliability. If they can fix that – who knows ?

      • Ermm. If you have a calendar, please have a look at it. The first race is in little over two months. That’s about the time they had since the test in AD and they’ve solved absolutely nothing since then by the looks of it. Another advantage that Honda had. The other manufacturers couldn’t run their prototypes at the end of 2013 in an official test.
        And even if they find the problems tomorrow, if it isn’t something minor they might run out of time producing the parts until Melbourne.

        • I know how much time they’ve got and how much pressure that puts them under. The power unit was run in a car that was not designed for it (for all we know they solved the issues from that test and the ones in Jerez are entirely new). Either Honda McLaren solve the issues in time for the first race of the season or they fall flat on their faces. That’s crunch time, not day 2 of a pre season test. I went into the season with low expectations for McLaren Honda, thus I’m not really surprised or bothered. No point lambasting McLaren Honda unless they rock up to the first race and fail to make the 107% rule. Even finishing the first race will be a success of a sort.

          What will make me happy in 2015 ? Williams winning races when Mercedes screw up. The wild hope is a title challenge, but that I think is a fools dream.

          • As others have said – hats off to your optimism, but how are they going to get out that? Even though their offering was disastrous last year, Renault went home from Jerez with 181 laps worth of data. McLaren would have to run close to 90 laps each of the remaining days to start at least in a position as bad as Renault’s last year. TJ13 have been saying since mid season that Honda’s exclusive contract with McLaren is likely to bite them in the arse.

          • It’s not optimism, it’s called being pragmatic with the full understanding things may well go tits up. They’ve managed 31 laps today, think there’s a rumour that they are running the development power unit scheduled for the next test.

            It could bite Honda in the backside, however that all depends on if they’ve made a mistake in the design and development of the power unit as Renault did. We’ve as yet not seen the race specification power unit used, so it’s hard to say where McLaren Honda are exactly. Running a power unit in multiple cars only pays dividends if you are following the correct design path. Advantage Mercedes.

    • As for Honda – Jesus Christ on a Pogo stick.

      A little premature.
      I’m actually encouraged that they seem to rolling the dice rather than playing it safe. I’m going to stick my neck out and predict that they win at least one race this season.
      Feel free to mock me – but not before the season is over.

      (And if nothing else’s so certain, they will credibly be able to invoke the reliability clause…)

  3. As a Williams fan, it makes me laugh to say this, but I’m perhaps most excited this pre-season by the McLaren-Honda MP4-30.

    The chassis is surprisingly slim at the back. I think this analysis from F1i illustrates this perhaps the best, (www.f1i.com/f1i-features/la-mclaren-mp4-30-la-loupe/ ).

    Mark Hughes new article on how different the design philosophy is between the MP4-29 & MP4-30 is very helpful as well, (www.motorsportmagazine.com/f1/lessons-learned-for-mclaren/ ).

    Regarding the Honda power unit, we already know from the MP4-30 that they’ve done one or two things correctly… the PU is a tidy package (probably split turbo?), and judging from the size of sidepod inlets, the cooling requirements are very competitive.

    Looking forward to seeing this thing develop, (last Barcelona test, Melbourne, etc).

    Given how Red Bull started last year at Jerez, and then won races… anything is possible.

    • From what I’ve read the Honda ISN’T a split turbo

      I agree with you about McLaren tho – that looks like a good chassis

      But will all the ducks line up for McLaren – as it did for Red Bull in 2014 – and allow them to win a race ?

      Hmm – not so sure – I think Mercedes will have addressed the brake / overheating problems in this years car.

      • You can’t really compare McLaren-Honda and Red Bull. The “miracle cure” of the Renault engine was delivered by Red Bull, not Renault. RBT sent a crack team to Viry and Toro Rosso went engine testing at AVL in Graz. Honda only have one team to begin with. Most of the problems could be solved by programming, rather than having to make new parts. On top of that, the RB was the class of the field in aerodynamics. On most tracks they made up time in the corners – even on Merc to offset the losses due to reduced power and MGU-K delivery. The engine wasn’t fully sorted out until around Canada. Even with Podromou, I doubt the new McLaren can hold a candle to the RB11 in the aerodynamics department.
        BTW, could the camouflage paintjob have to do with the fact that Podromou would spot certain Newey ideas easier than other engineers?

          • Yes he did hippo and for more than half the race, he was at the back complaining how bad the car was compared to the Saturday.

          • Oh, come on Fortis. He was at the back, because he started from the pit lane. He still ended up 7th right in Alonso’s gear box. And I think most would have complained if driving with a Monza config anywhere but Monza. It was one of the numerous needless gambles RB did. He was more than once abused as a guinea pig for risky strategies last season.

      • “From what I’ve read the Honda ISN’T a split turbo”

        Scarbs said a couple of days ago on Peter Windsor’s TRE youtube channel that, “…we know that Honda are already running a split turbo much like the Mercedes.”

        I’d guess no one knows for sure yet. Either way, very tidy packaging with much potential!

  4. Oh boy, Alonso just can’t catch a break, jumped from a donkey last year right into a potentially worse donkey in McHonda, only to see last years donkey looking a lot better.

    • Mind you, he didn’t go to McLaren, because he wanted to. He did, because he speculated on a Merc seat with stayingat Ferrari at a higher salary as a backup. Plan B failed first, when Mattiachi ditched him for Vettel and then the opportunity went at Merc (would only have happened had Lewis not won the title). McLaren was not a dream-transfer.

        • More likely: Lewis would have dropped Mercedes. Remember that he had made some insinuations about the team favouring Rosberg early last season (I think it was Monaco). A return to McLaren would have a certain appeal for Lewis as it would allow him to emulate his hero – winning in a McLaren-Honda.

          • I think in that situation, both sides would try to make it look like they dropped the other. Not that it would be very different, but I’m glad Hamilton dodged that bullet and got his 2nd title. I hope he wants titles more than money as I am pretty sure he is all set for the rest of his life, if not longer.

  5. Well, McLaren-Honda don’t seem to have gotten over their problems from Abu Dhabi. They had 2 months to fix them and seemingly it’s not enough (problems may be too complex or answers are hard to come by).

    The design may look good and all that but if the car can’t string laps together over a race-distance then McLaren are in for a hell of a year. And with the bitchiest prima-donna of the whole paddock at the wheel of it, imagine the drama that will unfold…

    Ferrari look decent, so do Williams. Mercedes got some decent mileage in before the Barcelona test so it looks alright for them as well. I don’t think anyone is really showing their hand right now, for obvious reasons. I can picture Mercedes just running their PU at 50% or something just to make sure that they gather enough data to work with for the Barcelona test.

  6. Ferrari trying desperately to get into some italian media grabbing headlines by setting faster laps than anyone else just as they did last year IIRC only to disappoint come the start of the season. One wonders if they really are getting much meaningful running in….

  7. @ KimKas –

    Alonso to get first moan at McLaren


    McLaren has confirmed that at next week’s pre-season testing in Jerez, Fernando Alonso will be the first of its drivers to moan about the car.

    ‘It’s a show of faith,’ admitting one Woking insider. ‘We hired Fernando because we know what he’s capable of. He is as good as anyone out there, especially at moaning. So it’s only right that he gets first go in the car and then a chance to moan about it.’

    However, McLaren is keen to point out that Jenson Button will also get plenty of chances to moan about the car in Spain next week. ‘There are no favourites here,’ our man insisted. ‘Jenson is a world class driver and can deliver world class moaning. Our ideal is for both drivers to get an equal amount of time to moan about the chassis and the engine, and then to sigh and tell reporters there’s a lot of work still to do.’

    ‘Simulations and data can only tell us so much,’ our mole continued. ‘It’s not until you get a real driver out there on a real track that you can really get a sense of what there is to moan about.’

    McLaren is famed for the attention it devotes to pre-season moaning, even running all moans through a special measuring machine it developed in the mid-‘90s known as ‘the Mansellometer’.

    c/o sniffpetrol

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