Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuito de Jerez, 2015

Vettel leads for Ferrari as Mercedes pile on the miles

2015 F1 testing

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Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuito de Jerez, 2015Sebastian Vettel was quickest on the first day of testing for Ferrari but Mercedes impressed by covering almost 700 kilometres with their W06.

In stark contrast to the opening test day of last season, there were few major problems or stoppages suffered by the teams throughout the course of the day.

After the traditional early installation laps, Daniel Ricciardo became the first driver to set a lap time during the 2015 season with a 1’29.141.

There was a brief stoppage early on when Marcus Ericsson spun in the first sector, but the Sauber driver was able to keep the engine running and recover back to the pits and the session was quickly restarted.

It took just over an hour for the fastest time of last year’s Jerez test to be beaten, as Nico Rosberg posted a 1’23.106 during a run in the second hour where he consistently lapped the W06 in the 1’23s.

In the second hour, we saw the first look of Fernando Alonso in the McLaren-Honda MP4-30. The two-time world champion completed a successful installation lap before returning to the garage and only made brief, single-lap appearances during the mid day.

Next it was the turn of Valtteri Bottas to take the new FW37 out in public for the first time. With Lotus announcing that the E23 would not arrive until later in the day, that meant that all seven cars had now taken to the track.

Just like in 2014’s opening test, Rosberg and Mercedes began to ominously log lap after lap in their new car, running comfortably longer and quicker than the opposition.

It wasn’t until after the lunchtime lull that other teams began to push. Vettel’s Ferrari and Bottas’s Williams both rejoined the circuit to put in quick times to get within a second of Rosberg’s benchmark.

With just over three hours remaining in the day, Rosberg had already completed his 100th lap. No other driver had even managed a third of this total by this stage of the day.

Despite running the fewest laps of anyone bar Alonso, Vettel suddenly set the fastest time for Ferrari, becoming the first driver to breach into the 1’22s. Daniel Ricciardo set a purple first sector on the way to setting the third fastest time, before Vettel shaved two tenths off of his fastest time.

Compared to the many headaches teams suffered during the opening day of last season’s testing, there was little disruption to the on-track action. Only with an hour to go did Carlos Sainz Jr bring out the second red flag of the day after his STR10 ground to a halt on the circuit.

When the session restarted, Marcus Ericsson made a surprising jump up to second fastest with a 1’22.777 to be within a tenth of the ultimate pace. In the final half an hour, Vettel then shaved a further half a tenth off his fastest time.

2015 F1 testing day one result

DriverCarBest timeLapsDifference
1Sebastian VettelFerrari SF15-T1’22.62060
2Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari C341’22.777730.157
3Nico RosbergMercedes W061’23.1061570.486
4Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault RB111’23.338350.718
5Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes FW371’23.906731.286
6Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Renault STR101’25.327462.707
7Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda MP4-301’40.738618.118

2015 F1 season

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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74 comments on “Vettel leads for Ferrari as Mercedes pile on the miles”

  1. I am sure the Mercedes have rattled its rivals, big time!

    1. To be fair, Mercedes racked up the miles in last year’s pre-season tests.

      1. Surely but with rivals also upgrading their engines, nobody expected Mercedes to be so reliable out of the the box to rack up a mammoth 157 laps which is more than 2nd and 3rd put together.

        1. It is quite rare for 1 team to be so reliable straight outta the box. These are the most laps completed by a team on the opening day of testing; 2014: 31
          2013: 89
          2012: 105
          2011: 99
          2010: 102
          2009: 65

          1. All of this at Jerez?

      2. Exactly!

        I think that’s why the rivals should be scared. Very ominous. I expect another two horse race for the title with Hamilton and Rosberg.

        I can see Williams having a difficult and frustrating year. Notoriously they have a good one, then struggle the following year. I just think the Mercedes engine was an enormous boost for them.

        I don’t expect a thing from Ferrari, and Red Bull will have to start adjusting to life after Newey.

    2. Who says the other teams could not have done the same if they wanted to. Each team does his own testing program.

      1. To be fair, I think all teams would run as much as they humanly could if they’re there with their new car… It’s completely invaluable.

      2. Well, its pretty clear that neither Ferrari nor Red Bull were able to. And even Williams took some time to get everything running before doing all their laps, same goes for Sauber

  2. All of them can and will improve. Even Vettel’s time was set on mediums on 15-lap run.

    1. Anyone else watch coverage of Vettel lapping? I noticed the car is much more stable then last year, especially the rear. It seems Vettel was throwing the car into the corners and it had good balance. I remember Allison saying they were going to concentrate on the rear of the car for this year and leave the pull rod in the front as there wouldn’t be enough time.

      This looks promising. Car looks much more stable exiting corners.

      1. With the design focus being on Raikkonen’s set-up since mid last year Ferrari is starting to make real progress. Alonso’s pace improved a great deal over the season and it must have been tough for him to actually leave in the very end. He knew the 2015 car was going to be much much better and probably a lot better than the McLaren. Vettel pulled a coup as he will benefit greatly from the design initiative as he has a driving style most similar to Kimi.

  3. A day that compared and contrasted with 2014 in equal measure.

    A theme that certainly carried over from 2014 was the maturity of the Mercedes programme versus their rivals. Having only completed a shakedown at a sleety Silverstone prior to today, the W06 promptly completely two race distances on its first full day of testing: something that is virtually unheard of for a prototype racing car of any kind. Rosberg completed nearly 100 laps more than the next highest lap tally with no major technical issues: it that regard, Mercedes are perhaps a month ahead in its 2015 programme, an advantage unquestionably born of the way in which their 2014 pace advantage allowed them to start 2015 development earlier.

    In terms of clashes with 2014, it was a mercifully more aesthetically pleasing field of cars, there is no real minger on the grid, but more importantly the reliability has been really rather excellent. A single stoppage on track today could match even the smoothest of days at Bahrain in 2014, and this allowed teams to post laptimes infinitely faster: five seconds faster than the headline times this time last year. Could my cerebral cortex compute linking Vettel’s name to a red car, though? Not a chance…

    1. infinitely faster…

    2. @countrygent, if your cerebal cortex is having a problem imagine what is happening to Freds’.

  4. Is there a previous precedent for 157 laps for the first day of testing at Jerez?

    Mighty, mighty, mighty impressive! Especially considering the pace.

    1. I’m sure in the Schumacher years they used to pound around their circuit nonstop all year round. Nothing can top that!

      1. Ferrari in the Schumacher years had 2 test-teams, the test-drivers with 2 cars going round in Fiorano all through the year and the race-drivers, sometimes in Fiorano, sometimes on other tracks going with 2 cars for an average 3-4 days per week. Topping that would require a rule change and a fifth car with a fifth driver. Btw, numbers and estimations in this post are taken from the ITV pre-race show for the 2003 Italian GP.

        1. I’m not quite that sure, but if I correctly remember McLaren and Ferrari would complete up to 20000 km or so in pre-season testing in 2000 or so. I could not find any source so don’t take it as proven but I am quite sure.

  5. Last years best Sauber time in 4 days of testing: 1´30.161
    Sainz´ time of today is 1.8 seconds quicker than last years best time on day one and 4.6 seconds faster than Toro Rosso´s best last year time in all 4 days.

    So while you can´t read too much into test-times, it already seems clear cars have made quite a big step over the year. If Ericsson in a Sauber can run more than a second faster than Hamilton in last years Merc, how much will lap-times tumble when everyone is showing their speed?

    1. In a way, yes, but I think that the gap between last year’s times and today’s is a bit exaggerated. Last year the teams were just trying not to break down the cars, so they ran very conservative settings. While today the drivers were able to push more or less from the start.

      I think that in Barcelona we will have a better idea of the difference between 2014 and 2015 cars.

  6. If reports are to be believed that Force India will miss the first race in melbourne then f1 is in a really bad state and all this because of Mercedes wanting these stupid expensive engines but the worse thing is that it will be another year between teammates who are mediocre at best.

    1. Uh, Mercedes wanted these F1 engines? How exactly did you figure that out?

      “Mediocre at best”?? Really? Are you sure you are not commenting on the wrong page? :P :P

      1. Alonso , Ricciardo , Vettel , Raikkonen , Bottas , Button , Hulkenberg and even Massa or Grosjean would have beaten Hamilton last year and i dare say that Rosberg will beat him this year.

      2. Not to mention that Mercedes actually offer the least expensive package to their customers.

        Oh, and lets not forget that Ferrari wanted to have engines play a big role so that it wouldn’t be fancy aero ruling the day too. And Renault indicated they would quit if not for changing the engine to something more modern as well.

        Yeah, so much nonsense in that post (the bit about FI is true, but its got more to do with both Roy Sahara and Mallya being chased by creditors/in the nick because of it) than with the price of engines as such.

    2. Hope there’s somebody nearby to fetch your toys back…

    3. Get your facts straight. It was Renault and Ferrari who pushed for these new engines.

      1. No , Ferrari didn’t want these power units. Right now f1 is a mess and something needs to be done otherwise it will be all over.

        1. Lol somebody give this guy a biscuit. Somehow you are just gonna have to accept that Lewis is a 2 time world champion, with a real chance of adding another! lol

        2. F1 has financial problems now but had before this technology you call ‘stupid’. However, reading your comments I get the impression that your major problem isn’t with F1 or the engines but “who’s winning”…

      2. Kgn11, my understanding of the situation is as follows – Renault were the outfit that was the keenest at the start for the new engine format that we see now and pushed, both in public and in private, quite aggressively for the engines that we see now.
        Even now, though they are still behind Mercedes in terms of their engine, they are still supportive of the current technical avenues that are being adopted (even if they’re not entirely happy about the development restrictions imposed).

        Mercedes, meanwhile, seem to have initially taken a neutral line on the matter, and if anything initially preferred a continuation of the V8 engine format for a few more years. However, as the negotiations continued and tweaks were made to the engine format, Mercedes gradually became more enthusiastic about the proposal and eventually, like Renault, came to support the idea, albeit more subtly and quietly than Renault’s rather public campaign.

        In the early stages of the negotiations, we know that Honda and VW also sent representatives to the talks; Honda, we now know, were broadly supportive of the idea, whilst although the regulations were originally written with VW’s support (Newey has claimed that it was VW who pushed for the four cylinder approach at the start).

        Ferrari, though, have been the one party that has generally been the bitterest critics of the new engine format – they pushed hard to postpone the new engine rules for as long as possible, fought hardest to have the regulations changed to high revving normally aspirated engines and generally tried to disrupt the talks as much as possible.

        The only thing that they did like about the current engine regulations is the fact that it has put a much larger emphasis on the engines rather than being a purely aero dominated formula – however, they’re still trying to have the engine rules overturned and replaced with something that they are less likely to struggle with.

        As for cost, well, whilst the teams are currently footing the development costs, the old V8’s were not that much cheaper – the initial development costs of the V8’s were, once you adjust for inflation, similar to the engines today.

        To a certain extent, the fact that most teams didn’t have to pay for initial development – being backed by manufacturers who ran their own engines – and the fact that, in later years, the prices of the engines were artificially held down by the regulations, made the V8’s appear cheaper than they were.
        Renault, for example, were still spending €120 million a year on their V8 engines in 2013, and even though they wrote off half of those costs as advertising expenses, they were still charging their clients €60 million a year collectively.

    4. Those engines that Renault wanted you mean, and now they screwed up they don’t want it anymore!

    5. Actually, Mercedes weren’t the ones who demanded these new engines, in fact they were against it at first. BBC Article from 2010:

      “Mercedes and Ferrari had been reluctant to agree to the move as recently as a month ago, believing that it was an unnecessary expense at a time when F1 was trying to reduce costs.”

      Renault were the ones who most wanted this engine change.
      BBC article from back in 2011:

      “…only Renault of F1’s current engine manufacturers were fully behind the rules”

      “The debate was made more difficult because Renault made clear that it would consider quitting F1 unless the new rules were introduced.”

      Mercedes didn’t lobby for these rules to create an advantage, they just did a much better job than everyone else. Of course, you might say Mercedes are now being hypocritical, considering how they now want to keep the engines, but the truth is that they (along with Ferrari) were pretty much forced into this engine formula by Renault, and now that it’s here the cheapest solution will actually be to keep the rules stable.

      In fact, Renault also want to keep the current engines, and have even stated that the engines will get cheaper with rule stability:

      The main cause of increased costs is development costs getting passed on, so any change in engine regulations now will just increase costs. The current engines aren’t even that much more expensive than the V8s (around £21 million compared to the V8’s £14 million), but the V8s were subsidised (due to Max Mosely’s cost cutting efforts) and thus only cost teams around £7 million. The high prices of the new units for customers is mainly the FIA’s fault for not imposing any sort of price cap on what manufacturers can charge customers (probably because Max Mosely isn’t part of the FIA anymore).

      Also, as a final point, I’d like to point out that Mercedes charged their customers LESS for their engines in 2014 than Renault did (in fact I believe they had the cheapest engine of all the manufacturers) despite supposedly spending more on engine development than Renault and Ferrari.

    6. @Equinox, Force India’s trouble are not so much because of Formula1. Vijaya Mallya has an airlines which borrowed heavily from various banks. He tried to be like Sir Richard Branson, but he was nothing like him and the airlines was making huge losses. Sahara the other partner had many schemes of investment and SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) found not so legal, pending investigation. Nonetheless now Subroto Roy (Sahara head) is in jail.
      So the troubles of Force India promoters are their own and nothing to do with or connected to Mercedes. I believe any F1 teams with their promoters in legal and financial trouble will find it hard to continue and focus on F1.

    7. Also, are you seriously calling Hamilton and Rosberg “mediocre”? Remember that Hamilton matched Alonso in his rookie year, out-qualifying him 9-8 and having 6 poles to Alonso’s 2 poles, and led the championship for 80% of the season (round 4 in Spain to the final round, where gearbox issue put him to the back of the field). Ultimately they finished level 109-109 on points.

      I love Jenson and he’s a fantastic driver (particularly in the wet), but remember that in Hamilton and Button’s last year together in 2012, Hamilton out-qualified Jenson 17-3 (7 poles to 1 pole) and outraced him 7-3 in a two car finish. In fact, as Hamilton had a gearbox penalty in China and his car had rear suspension issues in Japan, the only time Jenson finished ahead in a two car finish without Hamilton being disadvantaged was in Australia. The points were only so close because of Hamilton’s terrible luck that year – James Allen had a good article on it: The article doesn’t even take into account Spa (taken out by Grosjean) or Brazil (since the article was published before Brazil, where Hamilton was taken out of the lead by Hulkenberg, another 25 points lost), so the total could have easily been around 130-140 points lost from bad luck. Meanwhile, Jenson can only really point to about 30-40 points lost to bad luck – gearbox failure in Italy, gearbox penalty in Japan, taken out by Kobayashi in Korea and some pitstop problems. Still reflects McLaren’s unreliability and bad organisation that year, but he was nowhere near as unlucky as Hamilton who retired from 3 GPs while leading and lost another almost certain pole and win (Spain) due to McLaren’s pit crew messing up again (this time with fuel loads) – just those 4 GPs are up to 100 points lost.
      Over their two years together, Hamilton was ahead 44-14 in qualifying and 27-20 in a two car finish.

      Rosberg meanwhile is blindingly quick, previously out-qualifying Alex Wurz 15-1, Kazuki Nakajima (2014 champion of Japanese Super Formula) 27-9, and Michael Schumacher 41-17. Excluding Germany and Hungary this year, he is currently tied 18-18 in qualifying with Hamilton. Excluding his rookie season, he also out-pointed his teammates in every season he has been in except for Hamilton in ’13 and ’14, including outpointing Schumacher 324–197 over 2010 – 2012.

      Hamilton and Rosberg also had stellar junior careers, both winning the GP2 championship at their first go. Using the FIA’s superlicence points system (with 40 points required for a superlicence), Rosberg would have had a total of 63 points over the previous three years at the time of his debut, while Hamilton would have had a whopping 98.

      1. Typo at the end of the second paragraph:
        *Over their three years together

    8. Thanks, Equinox. I haven’t had a good laugh like that for quite a while!

      1. me too. dark star, or what?

  7. So it’s a Mercedes championship again this year. But not a bright start for McLaren-Honda.

    That should be W06 in the result table.

    1. Hmmm…well…it may be a Merc Championship again…we didn’t really need to see them do 157 laps today to suspect that possibility, but then…we don’t know what the competition is going to bring. That includes Mac Honda who probably ran exactly the day they wanted to. Systems checks. Analysis. That kind of thing. Way way way too early to be assuming they had a bad day. They may have had an excellent day for all we know.

      1. You’re right. I think I’m expecting too much from Mac Honda. They’re the only team I have my hopes pinned on to challenge Mercedes.

      2. @robbie, may your glass always stay half-full.

        1. While the smiles from the drivers could have been simply starting a season with new odds @hohum, I do think Alonso meant it when he said the chassis felt fast; that’s at least one thing better than last year, and they already knew the engine would likely be a matter of time. Like @robbie, I am not yet giving up on McLaren – maybe they do not screw up this time!

  8. The team that shocked me the most today was Sauber. I fully expected them to be slow and unrealiable, having struggeled on track in 2014, and off track financially over the winter (if rumors are to be trusted). Surely they were doing low-fuel runs, but for the first day of testing, lap time and lap count were pretty impressive.

    At the front however, it seems that every advantage Mercedes has, results in another advantage down the road. While other teams are basically doing system checks, engine mode checks and heat checks, Mercedes are past that, and run full scale aero tests. Besides, by doing that amount of laps, they must have a pretty decent database by now to build a reference setup upon. It really feels like they are atleast 1 pre-season test ahead of their rivals.

    1. From what I read, the Sauber had soft tyres on Ericcson was going all out, and even so wasn’t even fastest. Assuming the soft tyre is about a second quicker than the medium it doesn’t look as impressive. I hope i’m wrong, but don’t read too much into the timings either way.

      1. It was indeed set on softs, but on AUTOSPORT they reported that he ran wide at the final corner and even so was only 0.087s behind Vettel’s pace-setting time.

        To be honest though, at this stage of the test (with different fuel loads and test programs etc.) the most important thing is doing plenty of laps. And Sauber did the second-highest number of laps along with Williams, with both doing 73 laps (only behind Mercedes who did an uncatchable 157), so I think it was a very impressive display from the team considering where they were with reliability for most of last season.

        1. To me it just says no-one was pushing really. Empty tanks and super softs are probably not the most interesting program to run. I doubt that Sauber is just one tenth behind Ferrari, and faster than Mercedes in equal conditions.

        2. Well said @polo, @williamstuart, I agree with all of what you say, yet I still think Sauber, and Ericcson, will be pretty happy with today’s work; also, even if they pulled quite a bit of tricks to get to that time, last year they didn’t have reliability or speed to even get remotely that far.

        3. @polo – I wonder if there was a Sauber sponsor in the stands? Or if deals are still being done… it always looks good to be near the top of the rankings.
          On the other hand, they did a genuinely impressive number of laps. I hope they can use the data well and avoid another pointless season.

    2. Yup. I’m sure that car was carrying very little fuel. It’ll make Marcus feel happy (as shallow as that may be) seeing himself infront of some big names, settle him in to the team, and hopefully attract some much-needed sponsorship.

      I firmly believe that car will be right at the back. It just looks like a backmarker! Plus, it’s a pretty uninspiring drive line-up. I just think Sauber have had their day. Their finest moment was James Key’s 2012 car, where they cocked up with Perez in Malaysia. They should have been 100% behind him in going for the win, picked up a boat load of points, and a boat load of cash to go with it.

      Plus, I don’t have faith in Kaltenborn, I have to say.

  9. Am over in Spain visiting family & like last year was able to go to Jerez to see the cars today.

    First thing I noticed is that the engines are noticeably louder this year compared to a year ago. They also just seem to sound better overall.

    Something I really didn’t like is that on throttle there’s a traction control type mis-fire sound going on when there coming off some of the slower corners & it sounds absolutely horrendous.
    At first I thought it was an engine that was about to blow but it was happening all day so its clearly just something the teams are doing with the exhaust blowing again :(

    Although we didn’t get to hear it much the Honda sounds fantastic, Easily the best sounding engine of the current formula. Don’t know what Honda do but they always seem to end up with engine’s that produce a great sound as they had the best sounding V8 & V10 during those engine formula’s as well.

    The cars also all looked a lot faster compared to last year so all that talk from Pirelli about the cars been 2-3 seconds a lap faster seems like its going to be correct.

    Won’t be there tomorrow but were hoping to go back for Tuesday/Wednesday.

    1. I’d also say that I think the talk of Mercedes dominance & the people penciling them in as champions already could be a bit premature.

      Its true they did a lot of laps, Had no problems that i’m aware of, were quick straght out of the box & looked just as good as they did a year ago.
      But I have to say that standing at trackside watching the Ferrari & Red Bull both look just as good & i’ve seen some speculation from the media over here that most of the bits on the Red Bull are still from the 2014 car.

      Not sure its going to be as cut & dry as people think.

      1. …Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes for winning the 2015 Driver’s and Constructor’s double for the second year in a row!

    2. Here is a video i found which lets you hear this appalling traction control style noise the cars are making now-

      Most of the cars are doing it & it just sounds awful, Thought we had got rid of those sorts of misfire sounds when traction control & later the blown diffusers were thankfully banned.

      1. It may very well change before the season, in last year’s tests the engine sounds changed a lot before Melbourne as the designs weren’t locked in until February 28th.
        This is the first time the teams have run these engines on track – last year most of the engines sounded similarly gruff and throaty in testing but were producing much smoother sounds by the time they got to Melbourne.

        That said, I don’t mind the sounds in that video at all, they sound fine to me.

        1. if it sounds anything like traction control then i don’t think i’ll bother going to silverstone this year as i couldn’t stand the horrible misfiring noise that tc used to make.

          was similar in 2013 when they had those blown diffuser things, it made the engines sound horrendous when they started the off throttle exhaust blowing nonsence.

          the noise it makes in that video is just as horrendous, an awful mix between tc & the off throttle exhaust blowing. i’ve seen other videos where it sounds even worse, i seriously hope they don’t continue to make noises which make it sound like the cars are broken.

      2. It wasn’t really clear on that clip but if it sounds like a blown diffuser maybe it’s a blown turbo ie fuel injected into the exhaust to keep the turbo up to speed when off throttle.

    3. Interesting, what do you find unique about the Honda noise?

      1. @ciaran I only heard it go past me properly once as they were having big issues most of the time & it was popping & banging away as the Renault’s were this time last year obviously running sick.

        But the 1 time where it sounded healthy it just sounded like it has a slightly different pitch than the others. I also heard it fired up in the pits & it just sounds better somehow, When it does some proper running & there are more video’s out there you guys will get what i’m on about.

        Its like there old V10/V8’s, They always sounded a little different to the others, A slightly higher pitch at the top end & I always liked that.
        Compare these V8’s for instance-

        There Indycar engine is the same, Just has that slightly higher pitch which makes it sound nicer somehow-
        Honda –
        Chevvy –

      2. @ciaran
        I don’t remember hearing anything like that:

    4. @RogerA, I think you need to be honest with yourself and rephrase your first sentence to:

      “Am over in Spain watching the cars at Jerez & like last year was able to visit the family.”


    5. Thanks for sharing your experience! I’ve heard the Honda noise, it seems just incredible.

    6. Are the engines seriously noticeable louder, is there any evidence or is just perception, i’d be interested to find out if there is or not. They produce more power, but then I thought Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari might have been running last years engine due to homologation etc. Also, from all the footage i’ve seen the Honda sounds almost as if it is limited, apparently it cuts out over too much throttle use or something. If that’s true would it be due to cooling requirements thanks to the size zero car?

  10. Ok so the Merc now sounds like the Ferrari, Last year the Merc sounded much lower and throatier, this year its much higher pitched, I almost cant tell the difference between the Ferrari and the Merc.

    The Honda sounds like last years Merc, throaty and much lower pitch. Haven’t heard the Renault yet.

    I feel sorta sorry for Alonso, I know its a new car and they are starting out like the team last year but it sucks he only got to do a few laps. At least its not as bad start as Renault last year. The next 3 days will tell us how well Honda is sorted with their package.

  11. From various technical analyses I have read, the McLaren chassis looks really good, it has slim sidepods, a complex Red Bull-esque front wing and a very tight rear end (which I find very impressive considering it’s Honda and McLaren’s first year together so cooling would have been a big hurdle – many teams had much wider rear-ends in 2014 due to cooling problems).
    You can never trust teams talking about their own expections, but there has been a lot of talk about the Honda engine having huge potential and rumours that it has the horsepower to potentially challenge Mercedes (depending on how big of a step Merc have made with the engine).
    Alonso has also described the car as extreme, aggressive and innovative after driving it (as well as saying he was proud and happy) and predicted that Mercedes will win fewer races this year – drivers such as Jenson and Anthony Davidson have said in interviews that even during an out-lap you can generally tell if the car is going to be a very good car or not – Anthony Davidson said that when he tested the BAR Honda in 2004 (he was their test driver that year), after doing one out-lap he came back and said the car was really, really good – and it ended up finishing second in the championship that year with 11 podiums (10 of them scored by Button).

    With Peter Prodromou (formerly Adrian Newey’s right-hand man at Red Bull) on board at McLaren now and seeing a technical analysis of their 2015 car, I am pretty sure they will have a strong car aerodynamically this year. As long as the Honda engine delivers, I am sure we will see them at least challenging for podiums at certain points in the season, if not the occasional race win. However, I imagine reliability will be a problem for them (Ron Dennis has said that he is not worried at all about the Honda engine’s performance, only about making it reliable) so I can’t see them sustaining a title challenge against a Mercedes that will no-doubt have improved reliability this year.

    1. Let’s hope it won’t be too much like their MP4-18 then @polo, fast when they could keep it running :)

  12. How about this performance by Vettel & Ferrari? 60 laps and the best time -with medium tires no less- is quite impressive. Just as impressive as the reliability of the new Mercedes. Ericsson made the best out of the new Sauber, and even though he managed to make the 2nd best time with the softer tires, it speaks loudly of the capabilities of the new Ferrari engine. It’s kind of strange that everyone else in this forum focuses on Mercedes and McLaren, considering that today’s results may very well mean, that a dominance by the German team is not as certain for 2015 as many have predicted, and that Alonso & McLaren won’t be a factor for the better part of the new season.

  13. I’m very glad to performance of Sauber, good luck for the next days!

  14. Too early to draw any other conclusions other than Mercedes is absolutely ready.

  15. Only powertrain work is done in jerez.

    1. Merc had flo-vis paint on their car at different points yesterday. Unless you want to argue that flo-vis paint is used for powetrain work?

      1. Red Bull also had a lot of it on, yeah. 100% legit just powertrain work as there is plenty of time for testing each year.

  16. Good decision by Jenson , not running on the first day !

  17. Looks like Vettel is going to get his fifth championship this year with the Ferrari engine being half a second ahead of the rest.


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