Final Testing in Bahrain
With the final testing in Bahrain for the Formula One teams now completed, and with just one week before the first Grand Prix of the 2014 season, the firm favourites for this year seem to be Mercedes.
The Mercedes-powered cars continued to dominate the winter testing and have managed so set the fastest times on 11 of the 12 days.
The Mercedes powered cars picked up from where they left off last week, and claimed the top 3 spots on day one. There was however good signs that the Red Bulls were improving after getting off to a disastrous start to their pre-season testing in Jerez.
Sebastian Vettel completed 75 laps in total over the 4 days of testing, and managed to set his fastest lap. Vettel said “we have learned a lot but would have liked to get more laps completed”. He said that they had been beset with technical problems, and “these problems can take a long time to repair”.
Vettel went on to say that in Melbourne “we are not the favourites – the speed is not there compared to some other teams”
Ferrari are still struggling to match the pace of the Mercedes-powered cars even though they managed to complete a lot of laps this week. Ferrari team principle Stefano Domenicali said that “Mercedes are a monster and we are much smaller, but we can do a fantastic job”.
Ferrari’s main concern is that their engine, is some way short of the Mercedes built engines, regarding power-for-fuel-usage. Also there is a problem over the reliability of the car after experiencing running issues in the final testing week in Bahrain.
It was not only the Ferraris who experienced an attack of the gremlins. McLaren started off their winter testing in a good position but have slipped backwards slightly in Bahrain. Jenson Button said that “We’ve done some very good testing, we’ve been reliable, we’ve done some long runs, we’ve got a good understanding of the car, but at the moment we’re not quick enough.”
The two other teams using Mercedes engines, Williams and Force India also did well in the final testing in Bahrain, especially the Williams team. Felipe Massa clocked the fastest lap in Sakhir this winter, closely followed by both Rosberg and Hamilton.
At the end of last season no one would have predicted that we would see the Williams team as being one of the favourites alongside Mercedes.
Although Force India were not as quick as the other Mercedes-powered teams, they did show good reliability. They managed to run for three consecutive days clocking up 100 plus laps.
The Lotus team continued to have problems during the last week of testing in Bahrain, and, even if these can be fixed before the Australian Grand Prix, Lotus will still be under prepared for the race.
So what does all this mean for the Melbourne race next week? Well to be perfectly honest, no one is sure. The rumours from the pit lane is that we can all expect to see a highly unpredictable race where reliability could be the deciding factor.
London Grand Prix?
Jenson Button reckons that a London Grand Prix is a step closer to reality. A government consultation on closed-road motor sports in the UK could possibly clear the way for a London F1 race. The idea is for a circuit 5.1 km long and consisting of 14 corners which would also include great landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Trafalgar Square.
Bahrain to Name Corner after Schumacher
After consultation with Michael Schumacher’s family, The Bahrain International Circuit has announced that it is to name the first corner of the track after Michael Schumacher.
Bernie Ecclestone Cleared in Fraud Case
Bernie Ecclestone has won his case against Constantin Medien over a £84 Million fraud claim. However the judge, Mr Justice Newey did say that he found it ‘impossible’ to regard Mr Ecclestone as a ‘reliable or truthful witness’.
Formula 1 to go to Long Beach?
Long Beach officials are going to decide on Tuesday whether the famed California street venue remains an Indy Car weekend, or whether it will be opened up to bids that would open the way for Formula One to race there. Long Beach has held several F1 races in the past, and it is no secret that Bernie Ecclestone approached Long Beach officials last year about the prospect of an F1 event taking place there.