#F1 Testing: Jerez 2015 – Day 4

Final day of the first test of the 2015 Formula One season will be a bright and relatively warm day, after overnight showers have washed away any rubber left on the circuit.  We will see the following running:

Ferrari Raikkonen
Sauber Ericsson
Mercedes Hamilton
Williams Bottas
Red Bull Kvyat
Toro Rosso Verstappen
McLaren Button
Lotus Grosjean

Daybreak here, we're in for a warmer day if conditions remain as they are

Daybreak here, we’re in for a warmer day if conditions remain as they are

09:00 –

Track temperatures at 6°C as we wait for the track to dry out before there will be any meaningful lap times.

It appears McLaren-Honda’s tiger is still sleep this morning.  It came out, saw the sun, retreated to the garage and has not been seen since.

Red Flag brought out by Daniil Kvyat in the RB11 as the team encounters more issues.  They must be thinking this track is cursed for them! Car currently being recovered, after the off at turn 9. Red Bull engineers on the back of the recovery truck.

We have a green flag once more, but hardly a rush to get back out on track as there are very few dry lines.  Some wind would be useful to help dry the tarmac.

10:00 –

Max Verstappen in his STR10 rejoins with the shadows getting shorter on the track, which should help dry damp patches.  Though the sun is out it is still rather cool at the circuit, particularly in sector 1.

If Christian Horner thought it was “taking the mickey” doing 157 laps on day 1, I wonder how he feesl now after 2 more disastrous days?

Jenson Button continues to be a tease as he remains in the pits.  The McLaren team says their running schedule has all been expected given the new Honda partnership.

A few dry lines are forming on the track, especially in the fast middle sector. Raikkonen fastest currently with a 1:33.022.

McLaren revving up again, powertrain sounding far more healthy now as they look to build on the first 3 day’s work.

Only Massa and Grosjean on track who currently are placed 3rd and 4th.

11:00 –

We have a red flag, as Lewis Hamilton stops out on track between turns 11 and 12.  The World Champion spun and was unable to continue.

Back to green flag conditions now then as track temperatures start to climb, slightly.

The first time of the day set for McLaren is a 1:30.706 as Button eases into the morning.

12:00 – .

Track temperatures are almost up to 20°C as we approach the middle part of the final day here.

Kimi Raikkonen is the only one out there circling, also topping the time sheets, with a 1:22.537.  All of this running if the team are to achieve Maurizio Arrivabene’s target of two race wins this year.

Hamilton heads back out onto the circuit as it turns into a fantastic morning at the Circuito de Jerez… as you can see below from our exclusive trackaside video…

Oh dear... Kimi spins at the Ayrton Senna chicane

Oh dear… Kimi spins at the Ayrton Senna chicane

Ericsson the only driver currently on track.

13:00 –

Button now out for a third time today, but runs at over 5 seconds off the pace.  The Honda powertrain not being run at full spec yet, but a more positive day for those at Woking.

How many engineers does it take to tend to an F1 car.  Dan Knutson reports at least 18 behind the barriers.  For anyone wondering why the screens are not present at race weekends, it is because for the regular season there are rules preventing them.  They do not apply to testing though, hence the secrecy.

Once more we are quiet out on track after Kvyat returns to the Red Bull garage. 12 laps added to his total.

Hamilton seems to be struggling to warm up the hard tyres as he has a wobble turning.  This is the reason Pirelli bring a special Winter Hard tyre to Jerez, as it builds heat quicker and has a larger operating window.

Verstappen comes close to setting the fastest time of the day, but it is worth remembering that he is using the soft tyres.  They are said to be up to 1.5 seconds quicker around the Circuito de Jerez than the medium Pirelli tyre.

14:00 –

Kimi Raikkonen takes a trip off the track on the medium tyre.  Those out there are settled into long runs as the track temperature rises to 23.3°C.

Jenson Button’s programme is interrupted by an oil leak. No word as to why, but a problem which is very characteristic of the Jerez shakedown.  The Honda powertrain still requiring fine tuning to work well in tandom with the MP4-30.

The Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat now out again and goes green in sectors 2 and 3 to post a 1:24.300.

Marcus Ericsson has rejoined after a quick break and moves onto 57 laps for the day.  Felipe Nasr spoke yesterday of the need for more downforce on the Sauber as they push for points this year, although could the fact that neither Sauber driver drove a high downforce previously play into their hands?

Lewis Hamilton goes green in each of the three sectors to go second fastest for the day.  A 1:22.497 takes him within 1 second of Raikkonen’s leading time.

15:00 – 

Hamilton really turning the screw now as he goes second with a 1:24.786.  The more worrying part, he barely looks to be pushing the car as he effortlessly canters around the 4.4km track.

Although the sun continues to beam down here the air temperature is only 12.2°C. The westerly wind is slowly getting stronger making it quite nippy in the shade.

Kimi Raikkonen sets a new fastest lap, a 1:20.841.  Purple in all 3 sectors, that was quick! Sector 1 – 19.458, sector 2 – 33,582 and a 27.801 in the final sector.

That time from Kimi was the fastest of the week – something to excite the tifosi!  Of course, Mercedes still have something in hand, but the turn in of this year’s challenger seems far improved to that of 2014.

McLaren inform us of a fuel pump issue for Button. Overall though they will be happy with their day.

16:00 –

And that is that for McLaren-Honda as they will not be able to get fixed in time for the end.  We’ll next the new Anglo-Japanese partnership in Barcelona, in 15 days time.

The Ferrari is back out once more, but it will struggle to beat the time set earlier as the track temperature has now dropped.

Marcus Ericsson now improves to go third fastest.  The Sauber team have impressed this test, though team members think there is still much more to come from the Swiss outfit.  An exciting 2015 awaits if this is the case.

As the track temperature continues to fall with the lowering sun, the lap times get higher and higher. Felipe Massa is unable to get his medium tyres working properly and the lap times reflect that.

Quite peculiar, something has blown onto the pit straight which brings out the red flag here.

13 minutes to go and it is Ericsson who cannot wait to get back out there.  Unfortunately, he stops on track between turns 9 and 10 effectively bringing an end to the proceedings here.

Sauber confirm over Twitter the reason for stopping; they had run out of fuel!

17:00 – The chequered flag is out and testing in Jerez, in 2015, is over.

 

 

Summary

A crisp and bright start to the day gave promise of productive final day of testing at the Circuito de Jerez.  The cars were out straight away, though we were forced to wait for any meaningful lap times with the track being slow to dry after the overnight rain.

Sauber enjoyed a strong showing throughout the four days, with this being their ‘weakest’ as it was the only one they did not finish in the top 2.  They were forced to settle for third place as they sought to iron out any creases in the upgraded powertrain in the back of the new-look car.  Ericsson and Nasr will leave Spain very content that they have a car that can cahllenge for points this year and not endure the problems that bugged the team throughout 2014.

McLaren managed 35 laps today as they edged closer to running the car at full power.  A more positive day today saw a more upbeat crew start to pack up their equipment confident of success in the year ahead.  Having two of the more experienced drivers on the grid will aid their development, as team member’s commented on the difference Alonso’s presence makes in the garage.  The heir of confidence that surrounds the Asturian encourages those at Woking.

Red Bull had another poor day by their standards as an early stop and continued engine problems made their test “less than ideal” in the words of Daniil Kvyat.  Some irony in the fact we had heard Christian Horner only a couple of weeks ago boasting of their unusual punctuality in delivering the chassis on time this year.  However, with rumour of the car receiving significant upgrades before the next test in Barcelona and a planned upgrade after the flyaway races (first 4) things are reasonably positive for the Milton Keynes team.

It was much more positive test for the RB junior team Toro Rosso.  97 laps completed today aided their cause as they aim for 5th place this year.  Some may write this off as far too ambitious, however, with the promise the rookies have shown it is hard to imagine they will not be there or there abouts this year.  The pair are in “superb” physical condition according to the team’s trainer, which I can well believe.  Carlos Sainz Jr. barely looked to have worked up a sweat as he talked to the world’s media yesterday, he certainly one to watch closely this year.

Lotus arrived fashionably late and at one point looked in danger of a repeat run of last year, as they failed to run at any length before the second day’s afternoon.  However, on day 3 they managed the longest run on the soft tyre, 19 laps, which saw them return in better conditions than expected.  With two more tests to get the new Mercedes powerunit working well with the E23 chassis they still have more work to do, but are well placed to bounce back from a poor 2014.

A largely anonymous test for Williams saw them avoid the limelight and the headlines times.  Nobody should be in any kind of doubt that they are in a strong position to repeat their success of 2014 and possibly even take 2nd place from Red Bull in the WCC.  Without ever trying to push the FW37 to any kind of limit it is difficult to judge their progress, but with consistent aero tests being conducted, their focus for the test was clear.  An aggressive rear end design in Jerez makes the car, in part, an experiment.

Ferrari can take great solace in the fact they were 1-2 for the fastest times in Jerez, with Kimi pipping Sebastian to the top spot by only a tenth of a second.  With the power issues that troubled them last year they have clearly been able to operate with a higher downforce setup at the front end, which will suit both drivers as they both prefer the car this way.  An important year for the Maranello based team as they look to prove that Fernando Alonso was not the driving force over the past 5 years and to bounce back to consistently being at the sharp end of the grid.  With so much aero work being done carrying sensors behind the front wheels they seemed to focus on turn in to corners and with James Allison at the helm of the aerodynamics department they have every reason to be hopeful of a good season.

And finally, last year’s World Champions Mercedes sent out a warning to all their rivals with the 516 laps they completed, fueling rumours they may be even further ahead than last year.  Therefore, they will enter the year as favourites after spending much of the final day working on the rear of the car.  The flowviz paint was seen at the rear of the car previously as they look to work on the downforce of the W06.  Predictably coy when speaking about their chances for the coming year, both Hamilton and Rosberg will know they are in a great position to push on from here.

The sun sets here in Jerez as the F1 fraternity retreats and will start preparations for Barcelona, in 15 days time.

Above: Ferrari engineers begin the packing up of the equipment, as the sun sets over the Circuito de Jerez.  The F1 fraternity now retreats to their respective bases and will start preparations for Barcelona, in 15 days time.

An enjoyable week here in Jerez ends with the promise of competition throughout the grid as the positive news regarding the return of Marussia broke this morning.  Louder powertrains, a closer midfield and the promise of a titanic battle at the front will give any fan of the sport high hopes for the season ahead.

Advertisements

16 responses to “#F1 Testing: Jerez 2015 – Day 4

  1. Nice to see Sauber continuing their strong start to the season with another 112 laps today. Whilst unspectacular, they appear to have made a very reliable car so far.

    Mercedes have done the most laps of any team in the test, so I guess the little problems they have had are a perfect opportunity to eradicate any weaknesses in the car.

    Looking forward to seeing what Red Bull delivers in Barcelona, their car is hugely aggressive, with a trick S Duct, extremely tight sidepod fitment at the front leaving a huge space to exploit airflow towards the rear of the car and blown front brakes.

    Ferrari I am reserving judgement on until Barcelona and teams start turning the engines up a bit more and start bringing aero upgrades, but the car looks very planted and clearly both drivers are confident.

    Macca’s engine sounding rough is an interesting topic, and I think it boils down to the ECU and hardware not talking properly/optimised to the power unit yet, giving the effect it is missing a cylinder. Either that or it is the torque distribution from the electronic power cutting in roughly.

    Excited already for the first race of the season, and the Lotus is definitely the best looking car on the grid in my opinion.

    • I agree with much of that – apart from the Lotus comment.

      It’s a good looking car, but I think the McLaren will look awesome.
      At the moment it has a stealth paint job far more subtle than that of the Red Bull – rather than scream ‘look at me, I’m trying to hide something’, it’s so boring that no one has noticed how interesting it is. The temporary long nose also disguises what is a pretty radical car (IMO).

      Also, no one has a front wing anywhere near as beautiful as that of the Mercedes… which is a work of art.

      in general, all the cars look pretty good to me this year – excepting the Sauber nose.

    • The last time I heard a Honda F1 engine was at Barcelona 2008 , and that sounded rough, and it was the loudest by some margin, too. And it was trundling round at the back…too much horsepower lost as noise?

  2. Interesting that Merc were doing detailed aero work in the coke-bottle area today.
    Suggests that they already have the front end fairly well sorted.

  3. The Merc seemingly looking very good on track and they don’t even seem to have many updated parts. Craig Scarborough has mentioned on twitter that they have yet to bring aero updates as it is mainly 2014 spec parts they have on and will probably mean that their rear end will be more tightly packaged. Lots more in hand for Merc it seems.

  4. I know its early yet, but if the Ferrari makes good on the promise it has shown at the test, then it seems we may have a chance of real racing this year between teams. And this possible turnaround of fortune was achieved over 1 winter. What the hell have they been doing at Ferrari for the last few years, then? Apart from producing bricks on wheels.

Leave a Reply