Perez on top again for Force India

2014 F1 season

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Sergio Perez was quickest again for Force India as the Mexican driver completed his pre-season testing. However his quickest time was no faster than his best effort from yesterday, when he also headed the times at the Bahrain track.

Fernando Alonso headed the times for part of the session before Perez edged out his best effort by less than a tenth of a second.

Technical problems continued to take their toll on the cars, forcing several drivers to first their tests early.

Among them was Lewis Hamilton, who went off at turn three in his Mercedes early in the session, bringing the red flags out. A gearbox fault later ended his running prematurely.

Pastor Maldonado’s day came to an early end three hours before the session concluded when his Lotus caught fire during a run.

A similar fate befell Marcus Ericsson in the Caterham, though by then there was less than an hour of the test left to go.

Jenson Button was sidelined with a technical problem early in the test and spent five hours stuck in the garage while the McLaren team rectified the fault.

However Marussia enjoyed another improvement to their pre-season preparations. For the first time this year Jules Bianchi covered more than a race distance during a test day, managing 75 laps.

Most teams swapped drivers today with the exception of Perez, Daniel Ricciardo and Pastor Maldonado. Their next spell in the cockpit will come at the first practice session for the Australian Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.

Driver Car Best time Laps Difference
1 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes VJM07 1’35.570 108
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari F14 T 1’35.634 122 0.064
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault RB10 1’35.743 66 0.173
4 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes FW36 1’36.507 103 0.937
5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes MP4-29 1’36.901 52 1.331
6 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari MR03 1’38.092 75 2.522
7 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W05 1’39.041 89 3.471
8 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault STR9 1’39.636 61 4.066
9 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari C33 1’39.976 106 4.406
10 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault E22 1’41.613 31 6.043
11 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault CT05 1’42.516 55 6.946

Bahrain tests combined times so far

Quickest lap time by each team:

Team Driver Time Gap
1 Mercedes Nico Rosberg 1’33.283 0.000
2 McLaren Kevin Magnussen 1’34.910 1.627
3 Force India Sergio Perez 1’35.290 2.007
4 Ferrari Fernando Alonso 1’35.634 2.351
5 Red Bull Daniel Ricciardo 1’35.743 2.460
6 Williams Valtteri Bottas 1’36.184 2.901
7 Sauber Esteban Gutierrez 1’37.180 3.897
8 Marussia Jules Bianchi 1’38.092 4.809
9 Lotus Pastor Maldonado 1’38.707 5.424
10 Toro Rosso Daniil Kvyat 1’38.974 5.691
11 Caterham Kamui Kobayashi 1’39.855 6.572

2014 F1 season

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Image © Force India

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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88 comments on “Perez on top again for Force India”

  1. Red Bull appear to be making some progress. I’d love to know how hard Ferrari were pushing; think we’ll see qualifying simulation from them before the test is out?

    1. Yes that lap time from DanR suggests that the car will be competitive IF they can keep it going.

      1. At this rate I have a fear no Renault powered cars will make it to the finish line in Melbourne…

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          28th February 2014, 15:27

          Have any of the Renault cars managed a race distance yet?

          1. @petebaldwin If you ask about a race sim then no. if you ask about a laps/day of running total then Caterham at least managed several of those

          2. petebaldwin (@)
            28th February 2014, 18:28

            A bit worrying for them all then really isn’t it… They won’t have the opportunity to pull into the pits and cool everything during the race!

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        28th February 2014, 15:29

        I’m not convinced. It appeared to be a low fuel run and it didn’t even get him within 2 seconds of Rosberg’s lap..

        Obviously we don’t know the full circumstances surrounding the lap but as it was Riccardio’s last session in the car before FP1 in Melbourne, I think it’d be safe to assume that it was as fast as he could go…

        1. With 165 BHP less compared to what Merc has i think the lap was good
          But its not enough RBR still need more.

          1. petebaldwin (@)
            28th February 2014, 15:49

            Someone was saying Renault were running their engines at 100% today… I haven’t seen it confirmed by anyone but apparently, that is the case.

            Also, according to the Autosport feed, it was the 2nd sector in which Mercedes were mighty and that sector is the technical twisty part of the lap….

          2. @harsha 165BHP is just over the amount that the MGU-K adds to the output. This indicates Renault are still having trouble with their KERS which has always been their Achilles heel. Unfortunately it’s an even larger part of the power system for 2014 and beyond…

        2. How do you even know that it was on a low fuel?

        3. @petebaldwin, where is all this information coming from? I’m relying on Keith to keep me updated but some of you seem to have much more access to what’s happening.
          Comedy spot: I followed the links in the NBC-S article to see if there is going to be any pre-AustraliaGP coverage at all and discovered that NBC-S would have over 200 hours of F1 coverage this year, unfortunately this year is still 2013 at NBC-S.
          Q: Why don’t more people watch F1.?

          1. petebaldwin (@)
            28th February 2014, 18:26

            @hohum @ialtair – info came from the Autosport live feed today. Obviously no-one other than the Red Bull team know exactly how much fuel was in the car but Ricciardo set his time one a one lap run. It may have been on high fuel but it wouldn’t really have made much sense to because races and qualifying will be run very differently (ie fuel saving & protecting tyres vs full power & getting tyres up to temperature for a flying lap)

            There was a distinct difference between those on race sims (1:39s – 1:41s) who I assume were fuel saving etc and those who weren’t (1:35s – 1:36s).

            Overall, no-one knows for certain what each of the teams are doing – it’s just educated guesswork!

          2. @Petebaldwin I was following autosport live too but in the past couple days they don’t update the time-sheets they only update the lap count, but that’s not the reason why I’m most definitely going to stop following them. They are somewhat incompetent, but they are in Bahrain and they are the premier publication of F1!
            Edd Straw replying to a fan question about fuel limit etc said and I quote

            “It also helps that Melbourne isn’t one of the most fuel-heavy tracks on the calendar.”

            This is obviously not true as the Albert park track is one of the most demanding on fuel as you may have heard since 1996 and recently when Pat Fry pointed that out.
            When an F1 journalist makes this statement as it is promptly replying to fan question posing for an engineer, it makes me doubt everything they know about F1 and obviously everything they have printed as inside info about F1 testing in 2014. Perhaps they should hire people that are really into F1 have the passion to work and get to know what’s inside F1, rather than transitory journalist that aim something else, if that is the case indeed. I’m being a bit harsh with autosport and everyone on the F1 segment, I should emphasize that it’s Straw that has been making some claims and printing some of the stories that make them look like as if they have superior knowledge of what’s about in Bahrain where autosport is staying.

    2. I should think so. It doesn’t make any sense arriving in Melbourne without having put the cars under their maximum stresses. That way if any issues come up you have 2 weeks to find solutions as opposed to just the race weekend to fix them especially if they are big issues.

    3. Only after some DIY air ducting that looks like someone has run a hose pipe through both sides of the car.

      But still its progress.

      1. Red bull always test with high fuel, to be truth ricciardo’s pace is good, even without considering Renault struggles, but mind that ricciardo was in and out so I believe they should have been able to run the electrical gizmos at a high rate for the qualy sims.

  2. Not too shabby, Force India.

    1. Certainly a good start, I wonder if they are continuing their design direction of lower drag than the big 4, if so could be good for fuel consumption as well.

      1. @hohum I was thinking the same thing. If this is the case, then they could have a big leg up on actual race pace as they won’t have to be as conservative over 58 laps in Melbourne.

        I’m thinking that right now, Pole position is a good bragging right and will be an historical record people look back on…but will not have much to do with determining who wins races this year.

        1. So how many poles will Seb go for?

          1. @hohum All of them. He needs his name somewhere other than DNF column, right?

        2. @neiana, exactly what I was thinking too, his mechanics are going to be busy.

  3. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    28th February 2014, 14:51

    Looks like sometimes all goes upside down. The favorites Mercedes and McLaren with halts? Of course they can be trying to get the edge in some areas and the problems are in the planned scenario, to see how far they caqn try solutions.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      28th February 2014, 15:20

      We discussed this earlier in the live thread.

      Mercedes may have encountered more issues but in the same breath, they have run a lot more laps and have put a lot more stress through the car.

      They have had various issues but crucially, very few repeat faliures. Unlike Red Bull who have repeated overheating problems or Sauber who are struggling with their break by wire system, Mercedes have had lots of niggly problems which have been solved and have not failed again.

      In theory, Red Bull (and the others struggling for laps) all still have these issues that Mercedes have solved but have just not put enough stress through their cars yet to experience them.

      Testing is all about finding issues and solving them. Red Bull (& co) haven’t had the chance to do that yet and will have to address it during the season. Considering it takes hours to fix minor problems with these cars, they are going to struggle in the early part of the season!

      1. break by wire” love it.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          28th February 2014, 16:09

          :D Freudian slip

          1. But a very appropriate slip at this juncture :D

  4. I really hope that Force India does well this year. They have been improving for a long time and have always been my favorite “under dog” team

  5. 122 laps!!! O_O

    But on a second thought, you’d think that they should actually be able to complete a lot more than that without breaking a sweat. They’ve been at the track for 8 hours and 30 minutes, minus the lunch break of course. If they can complete 60 laps in 1:30 hours, how can’t they regularly complete at least two times that in 8 hours, even with all the tweaking in the garages between runs. I really think they are all underutilizing the testing sessions, but then again, they are highly professional, and there must be a reason why 80 laps per day are more common than 150 laps.

  6. “Technical problems continued to take their troll…”
    that’s how I first read it )))

  7. Maldonados Lotus catching fire, the ultimate overheating problem.

    1. together with Caterham, that just shows that Renault’s problems are far from being resolved.

  8. Force India and Williams are looking really solid. If we think back to 2009 where it was the first year of substantial rule changes, I wouldn’t be surprised if they deliver similar surprising performances like the Toyota one-two in Bahrain or the Force India Pole in Spa. If 2009 is anything to go by, then I wouldn’t be surprised if this year we see loads of different drivers on the podium throughout the year. I know this is just speculation but I hope this is the case.

    1. I keep telling everyone….Marussia and/or Caterham almost HAVE to score points this year. At some point, just finishing a race is going to get you points in the first part of this season. And I’d love to see Hulk or Massa on the podium! I’m a Silver Arrow guy, but hey, I think they sport needs some drama.

  9. Yesterday I said it was final. Now it is as clear as day. Force India for the WCC and WDC! The only question is…which of their drivers?

    1. @mashiat: I hope it came from your ‘funny bone’ and not a serious statement.

      1. And yet if it were Button or Hamilton setting the pace and completing over 100 laps, plenty of people would be jumping on that bandwagon. I doubt we’ll get a surprise (ie midfield type team like FI) winner of the championship but I could see some surprise poles and race wins from that sort of team, definitely.

      2. Why would I state a joke like this after the results of yesterday and today? Of course I’m serious! Marussia also stand a pretty good chance of a podium this season. 119 laps across two days! Marussia’s technical directer is better than Renault + Red Bull’s. Take that Newey!

    2. hindu racing at its peak

      1. hahahhahhaha……mate thats funny

  10. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
    28th February 2014, 15:12

    Marussia appear to have really upped their game this year. Good on them!

    1. Yeah!
      Go Marussia!
      I hope…

      1. Go Marussia!

        1. Easy on the vodka now

  11. Keith your ‘Bahrain tests combined times so far’ table appears to have Williams above Ferrari although the time shown was slower :S

    1. Redbull too btw.

  12. LewisH reminds us that they are all running brand new gearboxes as well, history has shown us that gearboxes are a prime source of reliability problems, it’s going to be interesting times for the teams (and fans) this year.

  13. Wasn’t Lotus the team with the least testing kilometres last year? And they had a good season despite that.
    Mercedes was the quickest in testing in 2013, yet they had a pretty miserable season (at least in the beginning).

    I know it’s different, because of all the changes this year, but I think it’s too early to tell what’s going to happen when the real racing begins. It could all change when Melbourne arrives.

    1. @merioksa

      Mercedes was the quickest in testing in 2013, yet they had a pretty miserable season (at least in the beginning).

      Do you mean the end? If memory serves me correctly they got off to a solid start, in the mix with Ferrari and Lotus’ vying for second and third places.. It was after the summer break where they lost ground.

      1. That might be right.. Last season was so bad, I can’t even remember what happened.

      2. Up to monaco they were pretty lost, with the tyres and all that. After they got the situation under control, but by the time Vettel started dominating, the only car chasing him was… Grosjean.

  14. Looks like RBR is gonna be very competitive once the reliability issues have been sorted.

    1. Possibly. But they still lack pace compared to the Mercedes-powered teams. They do seem to be able to compete with Ferrari pretty soon tho

  15. I’ve had enough of testing now. I’m just looking forward to Australia :), I love the short turnaround between seasons. Much needed in today’s faster pace of life, it keeps F1 relevant and on people’s lips

  16. I for one will be happy if Perez beats the McLarens with any sort of regularity. I think that will be a Karmic response to being treated so shabbily by McLaren in 2013 and scapegoated for their lack of performance. I rate Perez as a pretty good driver. Hopefully in 2014 he can show the world that McLaren made a mistake.

    On the other side of the coin, I’m a bit concerned that Max Chilton will be unfairly ahead of some better teams/drivers just because the Ferrari power unit is more reliable. Imagine if Chilton actually won a race due to attrition… That would not be good.

    1. McLaren got rid of Perez because they think Magnussen is better. I trust their judgement.

      In regards to Chilton winning due to attrition: “To finish first, first you must finish.”


      1. @craig-o Magnussen probably is better than Perez. But the decision to bring him in supposedly wasn’t made until after the decision was made to jettison Perez. I think Perez did a credible job and didn’t deserve to be so unceremoniously dumped. Hence I’ll be happy if he beats the McLarens a couple of times this season. I’m not pulling for either driver, just looking for justice!

        In regards to Chilton winning due to attrition: “To finish first, first you must finish.”

        And who set a minor record for finishing all 19 races last season? Maybe that was your point and I missed the irony? Irony: Max Chilton winning an F1 race.

        1. @mortyvicar He done okay, but he failed to beat Jenson, with only 49 points to JB’s 73. It’s not as if Jenson had one of his best seasons either. As Martin Whitmarsh said, the only reason why Perez was axed was because “Kevin Magnussen exists”. I never felt Perez should have been with a top team in the first place anyway. I don’t feel he showed the consistency at Sauber required to perform week in, week out.

          There’s no irony at all. If Chilton finishes a race in first place and all the other drivers fail to finish due to either reliability of the car or the driver or team being unable to look after their fuel consumption or whatever, then that’s how it is. The fastest car isn’t always necessarily the best car, as McLaren found out in 2005, and again in 2012.

          1. @craig-o he was axed because McLaren were having an abysmal season which – more irony – fomented the palace coup by Ron and the subsequent axing of Whitmarsh (presumably as he hasn’t been seen since). Maybe that alone is poetic justice. If the MP4-28 wasn’t so bad Perez would have gotten a second year. They were happy to leave Magnussen in WSbR getting more experience. He was shoe-horned in at the last minute, regardless of what Whitmarsh politically said. The only thing I’m saying here is that I think Perez was hard done by, that he’s better than it looks from being dumped after one season and that I hope he can prove this by beating the McLarens and having a respectable showing in 2014.

    2. @mortyvicar, was it also “not good” when Olivier Panis won at Monaco? If tyre management can be defended as a crucial driver skill ever since F1 began, then surely car management must also be a virtue.

      1. @hohum What? That was completely different and irrelevant. Panis was a contender, not in F1 because of his father’s fortune. We all know that all things being equal, Max’s rightful place has been finishing every race he entered. At the back. But maybe this is what F1 has come to, no longer a contest of man and machine pushing themselves to the limit, unless the limit is one of tyre tread or fuel in the tank.

        1. @mortyvicar, I certainly don’t disagree with you, but I think that if you win a race ( without cheating) no matter how lucky you may have been, then that’s F1 and you deserve your moment of glory.

    3. David not Coulthard (@)
      1st March 2014, 4:09

      I think that will be a Karmic response to being treated so shabbily by McLaren in 2013 and scapegoated for their lack of performance.

      Errrr…didn’t McLaren help Perez find his seat for this year, as far as I know?

      About Chilton winning a race: I haven’t got any problem with that, nor Hungaroring 2008, Nuerburgring 2007.

  17. Based on test runs from all the teams and problems they’ve encountered, it would be easy to see some back marker teams scoring some points. For example:
    -24 vehicles on the starting grid.
    – 8 Merc powered cars….could easily have 2 failures over race distance. => 5 finishers
    – 6 Ferrari powered cars….2 failures due => 4 finishers
    – 8 Renault powered cars…4 failures due to heating problems/fires => 4 finishers
    So we’re down to 13 cars. Out of those
    – One lost to gearbox issues
    – One three lost to wrecks
    – One other lost to mechanical failure

    Suddenly your down to 8 cars completing the race. This may sound crazy, but looking at what we’re seeing from on track problems even in these last testing days, I could easily see a scenario like this coming to pass.

    I would throw in a car not finishing due to fuel limit issues, but at this point I think they’d know they were in trouble and go 80% just to finish the race and score points…so I doubt anyone will fail to finish for that reason.

    1. Oops, had a typo. Meant to predict 3 failures in the first race for the Merc powered cars, not 2 :-)

      They’re good, but even Merc is having failures right now. Anyway, the point is that it would be easy to see a back marker like Marussia or Caterham score points by simply managing to finish a race early on. Throw in a classic Grosjean or Maldenado overly aggressive move with more torque now and taking out 3-4 cars in one wreck….yeah, I think it’s going to be the year the backmarkers finally score points.

      1. Wow, and I also said 24 cars on the starting grid LOL OK, I’m having flashbacks to 2012,

  18. Interesting, fastest two days in a row and no one here is talking about Perez…I guess no matter what he will always be “slow”…no further comments…

    1. I suspect its because its so much slower than Rosberg managed last week. Even if the track is slower, its unlikely to be THAT much slower

  19. Seems that Button is surprised with RBR corner speed:

    We are faster on the straight. They know (Red Bull) for sure. He (Ricciardo) then passed me in turn 11, a high-speed left-hander. That was interesting. Something I have never experienced before. Therefore they also have their strong areas.

    (rough translation thanks to google)

    1. So thats where all the airflow is going. Adrian, can’t help yourself eh?

  20. big big risk for a farce like race in Melbourne. I think you Dave are not far off.
    add the silly looks, the short-shift and eco-drive-crap and then the NOT-loud-at-all cars.
    I feel sorry for the teams and engine-people struggling, as for the drivers trying their best.
    the responsible FIA heads still hide in their ivory towers. pathetic.
    the BIG BIG losers are us fans..
    Sorry to say. sad times.

    1. Gee Jock, I see it completely differently, I see automotive engineering playing a major part in F1 after a long absense due to engine de-rating and power equalisation, for me that is what makes F1 so much more interesting than spec series, which like sugar, are good in small doses but sickening in excess.

      1. Well Hum, difference of opinion. I like quick, cool and loud cars and drivers putting it to the edge. I like the magic of F1 knowing that we have had the best of the best.
        Creating excitement the new FIA way is the wrong way, I think. Slower cars, less noise, efficiency-eco-drive crap is not F1 to me. There are other series for that – formula Prius or something. We will see what happens. I think lots of fans will find it boring with 5 cars finishing and the winner is the best eco-driving one. Time will tell.

        1. Ah yes, I too want to see “drivers putting it to the edge” and I won’t stand for any “fuel conservation” parades, but I do like to see the engineers hard at work engineering.

          1. Me too, I have not been this excited before the start of a New season in years!

        2. What is a farce to me is the same driver/team combo winning 9 races in a row with no chance of a mechanical breakdown. I think a lot of us here think that the rule changes couldn’t have come at a better time.

          And I am happy there are still engines making noise – you know there will come a day when everything is electronic and they won’t make a sound!

    2. I said I could see a small number of cars finishing in an early race like Melbourne because there is still so much work to do and they’ve limited the testing too much. I didn’t say that was bad. In fact, I think it’s good for the sport that a mid field team has a shot at a podium and a back marker can score some points. At least it won’t be totally predictable.

      I’m sorry this seems to be so bleak for you, but the vast majority of the fans commenting on the forums/blogs seem to be excited to see how the teams will deal with the new regs. I think it’s awesome, and I will judge “quick” by how fast their lap times are after they’ve had some time to learn these cars and pull some performance back. Judging by Rosberg’s time last week, they are not far from being “quick” in the least. I think on some tracks, this may end up being the fastest setup in nearly a decade.

      As for how loud they are, well, they may not be as loud…but I like the sound of turbo engines.

      1. The sound may be different but the volume is going to be the same in my living room.

        1. @HoHum I always wonder about that! I only get the American NBC feed over here, although I have been known to pirate a SKY feed now and then when I can’t get info I want :-), but I can’t really tell how the cars sound very much and I certainly can’t tell how loud they are unless they stomp on an interview for Will Buxton in the pits.
          It’s clearly a factor for people at the race, but for me on TV, I can’t tell how loud they are anyway so it’s just not an issue.
          And the one or possibly two races I could even see in a year make my ears bleed anyway so I’m kind of relieved when it tones down a few decibels.

  21. 2 gearbox issues for Mercedes. We’ve been talking about how good their engines have been but we’ve also got that Singapore Lewis gearbox failure on our minds, why have Mercedes been the only ones at fault with their gearboxes in the last 5 years or so Red Bull has problems but they never seem to affect their championship and Ferrari miraculously never ever destroy their gearboxes. I think for 2014 there must be a real focus on monitoring the power-trains so no team or manufacturer cheats. Replacing the seals and gearboxes to Webber is over, there’s no more webber and I hope they can end this problem.

      1. Hamilton was still at Mclaren when his gearbox failed. The rest, i don’t know what you’re talking about really……

  22. Got to hand it to Ferrari.

    There is no team on the grid that is consistent enough to make the 3rd quickest car every year in a row.

    (Meanwhile, I pray that Red Bull or Force India aren’t quick enough to push Ferrari to 4th quickest on the grid)

  23. I predict redbull will do some setup work now and a few low fuel runs by vettel in next 2 days might show their pace. Hopefully they get at least one race simulation in.

  24. Carlos Furtado das Neves
    1st March 2014, 18:59

    We’ll see, we’ll see…
    Today another disaster, just like I expected, but SB is hopefull for Melbourne!
    And I believe tomorrow the problem is solved, and Vettel will run trouble free.
    This is a game of millions…

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