Five things we learnt from F1 testing

Charlie Bennett05 Feb 2014 15:05

So F1 is back, and back with a…wet firework actually. Hardly anyone appeared on day one and, although more cars did plenty of running during the rest of the week, the number of stoppages and breakdowns are a cause for concern.

It was fascinating nevertheless, and here are five things’ we learnt from F1’s first adventure into the new era.

1. Red Bull is in trouble…

A sigh of relief has swept across the sporting world with the news that, for the first time in five years, Red Bull has had an awful start. The world champions had a disastrous test in-which they completed just twenty laps in four days due to the car suffering reliability issues. Designer Adrian Newey seems to have packed the rear of the car too close together that has resulted in it overheating. This isn’t an issue that can be fixed overnight and, although it isn’t yet a crisis at the team, there is plenty of cause for concern.

2. Mercedes and Hamilton look good…

Times set by the cars in testing are often too difficult to decipher. We don’t know what fuel level or setting the cars are running. However, Mercedes do look good and have confirmed many experts prediction that they will be strong this season. They had very few reliability issues and boast the strongest engine on the grid. Drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg looked comfortable and in a week where most teams had a bucketful of issues to overcome, Mercedes had a successful and almost trouble free four days. Rosberg completed a race distance run on his last day with consistent speed and Mercedes will be delighted with their first weeks work.

3. Renault engines have big problems…

Reliability is going to be a big issue this season as the teams get used to their new machines. Engines have been completely revamped and this will inevitably create issues early on. Mercedes seem to have produced the strongest engine and the teams which run these completed a total 875 laps. This is almost double the number compiled by teams with Ferrari engines, which also look reliable, but Renault, who supply Red Bull, seem to have big problems. Their teams completed just 151 laps amidst plenty of break downs. The champions and Lotus, who didn’t run in Jerez, may be regretting their decision to stick with the French suppliers.

4. McLaren can be optimistic…

After a poor season last year there can be cause for optimism for McLaren. Despite not running at all on the first day they did plenty of mileage and showed good pace, in total contrast to last year. Rookie Kevin Magnussen has impressed the team and has the aura of a man who can deal with the pressures at a top team, unlike the man he replaced, Sergio Perez. The team didn’t overly suffer from reliability problems and can be optimistic following a tumultuous 12 months.

5. The cars are much slower…

With smaller 1.6 litre v6 engines the cars are inevitably slower but the times from testing are a whole eight seconds slower than this time last year. That is a significant and noticeable difference. Whether that is a true reflection of the current crops capabilities is unsure but making the cars slower is an unfashionable move that goes back to 2004. In a sport based on speed, shouldn’t the rules be designed to allow these things to go a quick as they can?