The four day test at the Circuit de Catalunya is now complete with Ferrari setting the fastest time on three of the four days (utilizing the new ultra-soft tyres), but Mercedes logging almost twice as many laps – and using only medium compound rubber.
The Mercedes was bullet proof, which meant changing their driver scheduling to “avoid fatigue”(!), while Ferrari ran into cooling issues towards the end of the test.
After a bumpy start the Renault team logged solid mileage in the last two days with Kevin Magnussen, while Toro Rosso and Red Bull both ran solidly. Williams started slowly and ended badly but were saved by two solid days in between, while the 2015 Sauber ran as expected the team is still behind the Eight Ball in their preparations for Australia.
The decision to give rookie Alfonso Celis two full days in the Force India was odd given the limited testing time available and his ability to give feedback to the team, as opposed to the experience of Perez and Hulkenberg, but they put in useful mileage.
As expected, Haas had teething problems but responded well while Manor also struggled somewhat to put in meaningful laps with the new Mercedes power unit – not helped by Hatyanto’s crash on Thursday.
Things seemed to have improved dramatically at McLaren-Honda until a coolant leak sidelined the car completely on Thursday, adding to Fernando Alonso’s frustrations.
So now both we and the teams have just a few days to regroup before the second and final test March 1st.
Will we see then just how fast the Mercedes is or will they continue to sandbag?
Will Ferrari put in the miles or once again go for speed?
Will Honda finally come through for McLaren?
We’ll see next week…
With the FIA’s release of the first provisional entry list for 2010 and Sauber’s confirmation, it is time for an update. Confirmed data is in bold.
#1 Jenson Button
#2 Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes Grand Prix
Brawn-Mercedes #3 Nico Rosberg #4 Nick Heidfeld or Robert Kubica
Red Bull Racing
#5 Sebastian Vettel
#6 Mark Webber
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro
#7 Felipe Massa
#8 Fernando Alonso
#9 Rubens Barrichello
#10 Nico Hulkenburg
“Renault” F1 Team could be Prodrive or Gravity by next week Renault-Renault #11 Robert Kubica *has a release clause if team sold #12 Ho-Pin Tung (if Gravity) Jacques Villeneuve or Heikki Kovalainen (if Prodrive)
Force India F1 Team
#14 Adrian Sutil
#15 Vitantonio Liuzzi