First Test Week in Bahrain
Last week saw the 1st of two test weeks set in Bahrain, before the commencement of the 2014 Formula One season in Melbourne, Australia in just 3 weeks’ time.
The first day of testing on Wednesday did not go well for Red Bull, with Sebastian Vettel left kicking his heels in the garage for five hours, although he did manage to tweet “At least I’ve got my overalls on.”
When Vettel eventually got out on to the track he managed to complete just 14 laps before having to retire with over an hour remaining of the session. There were reports of a smell of scorching coming from his car which would suggest that the Red Bull is still suffering with an overheating problem. This may be due to their very compact designed rear end.
Both Mercedes, and McLaren continued to show not only good times, but also reliability. Force India, who are also using the Mercedes built engines produced the fastest time of day one of testing. Nico Hulkenberg in the Force India finished ahead of both Alonso and Hamilton.
It was not all bad news for Renault engines though, as the reserve driver for Caterham, Robin Frijns, managed to stay out on track nearly all day.
Thursday saw Kevin Magnussen for McLaren posting the fastest time of the day, proving he is going to be a force to be reckoned with for his team mate Jenson Button.
Magnussen said “It’s a dream every time I get in the car. It’s just so cool to be here and to be driving. I’m really enjoying it. Unfortunately, we didn’t get too many laps completed this morning, but the afternoon was good for us.”
Fernando Alonso also had a good day and managed to complete 97 laps, and recorded the third fastest time for day 2.
Although Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel had a better day, and completed 59 laps, he was still well off the pace being set by the Mercedes powered cars,
The third day of Formula One testing in Bahrain on Friday, not only saw Lewis Hamilton finishing with the quickest time, he also beat all the other drivers by 3 seconds. It was his old team mate Jenson Button who got the closest to Hamilton’s time, whilst Button completed 103 laps in total.
Red Bull’s 3rd day of testing turned into another frustrating day for them, as Daniel Ricciardo managed only 28 laps, and only 5 in the afternoon session.
Even Lotus, who are also using the Renault engines struggled, with Pastor Maldonado responsible for causing 2 red flags.
Mercedes continued to dominate on day 4, as Rosberg set the fastest time of the week. His time of 33.283 seconds, beat everyone else by at least 1.627 seconds.
McLaren are also proving to be a strong team this season, but they are still falling short of the pace that the Mercedes team are setting.
Red Bull’s nightmare continued on the last day of testing this week, and they are still six seconds slower than Mercedes. Ricciardo only managed 15 laps in the RB10, before it spent the rest of the day in the garage whilst the engineers tried to repair it. Ricciardo stated the obvious when he said “In all honesty it wasn’t a great day,”
With only one more week of testing left to go, Mercedes are already the front runners for winning the 2014 Formula One Championship, and some people are already putting their money on Nico Rosberg to take Vettel’s crown away from him this season.
So what does the testing so far mean for Red Bull?
There is a real possibility that the Red Bull’s will be playing catch up in the early stages of the season. The third and final test in Bahrain this week, will see most of the teams looking to run their cars under race conditions. This allows teams to find out how the cars respond when they are pushed to the limits. It will also allow each team to work on fuel management to prepare them for the first race of the season.
With the Red Bull’s struggling, there is a real chance that they will not be able to run under race conditions. What this means for Red Bull is that they will have no way of judging how their cars will perform in Melbourne in three weeks’ time. Even Lotus are ahead of Red Bull at this stage in pre-season preparation.
With the first race of the Formula One season only weeks away many are predicting that this season is going to be more open than last season. There is a real air of excitement already building amongst F1 fans, regardless of which team or driver’s they follow, as this new chapter to Formula One gets under way.
Whatever happens in the 2014 Formula one season Pillow Motor Sports will keep you informed and up to date on all the news and developments.