Ferrari performance ‘eye-opening’ – Rosberg

2015 F1 testing

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Nico Rosberg has described the performance of Ferrari during the opening three days of the Jerez test as ‘eye-opening’ for his Mercedes team.

Despite covering a total of 308 laps over his two days in the car – far more than any other driver – Rosberg says that the team are weary of Ferrari’s perfomance so far.

“We’re keeping an eye on the opposition and Ferrari especially have been an eye-opener for us in the last couple of days,” said Rosberg.

With two Ferrari-powered cars on top of the time sheets over all three days so far, Rosberg says Mercedes’s focus has been purely on reliability.

“Our goal here was to do mileage, because our weakness last year was reliability and so we had a big focus on that – to have a really reliable car for this year, because it costs us some points last year,” explained Rosberg.

“So that’s been the goal to start off, because it’s important to find the problems now when we still have time before Melbourne. If you see problems in Barcelona, it’s going to be a short time to Melbourne and more difficult to solve them. Anything that you can find here is going to be easier to solve.”

Rosberg’s day was briefly interrupted after his engine cut out just before the hairpin, forcing him to stop the W06 on the circuit.

“There was some sort of fuel issue, so the engine cut off on my in-lap, but that was easy to fix, Rosberg explained to the media at the end of the session.

“We did find some weaknesses in the car already, but they’re going to be easy to fix, so we’re on the right track. We also had telemetry problems with the car not sending the data back to the team from the car, and that’s always a bit of a risk.

“Still, we’re confident that we can start the season well and also be strong in terms of development.”

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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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41 comments on “Ferrari performance ‘eye-opening’ – Rosberg”

  1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    3rd February 2015, 17:00

    I know it’s just testing, and I know sometimes testing performances can be tweaked by the teams (just to hit the headlines), but 2 Ferrari powered teams have topped the 3 days, and even when they didn’t cover the amazing amount of laps Mercedes got, they are not having problems such as Red Bull 2014 or McLaren 2015. So it looks promising, and I hope Ferrari, with either of their drivers, can achieve and surpass that goal of 2 victories this year.

    1. Wow dude. Do you really think think Ferrari will beat Mercedes? EVERYONE Knows Ferrari put less fuel, Ferrari always show their hand far to early, for instance, look at Qualifying ALL Last year, Ferrari in Q1 always near the front, then at the end of Q3 Ferrari were always like four tenths back, then race pace…wow! They were like at least 1.5 off Mercedes long run pace. IN Abu Dhabi at one point of the race Mercedes were two seconds faster than EVERYONE ELSE. There’s no way Ferrari have closed that massive gap already.

      1. Wow dude. Read his comment again. He said nothing about beating Mercedes, just that he’s hopeful Ferrari can surpass their target of two wins.

        1. I think wins are unrealistic for Ferrari, the occasional podium is the best result they can hope for.

          1. I’m no Ferrari fan, I’ll never ever be… However, I respect their accomplishments and this year might be good for them. Although I’m a bit sceptical about their front wing design philosophy stopwatch doesn’t lie. I’m worried how effortles they stay on top of the timesheets. On the other hand, Nico did 90 laps without refueling, staying within a second of SF15-T time – GP length is around 70 – clearly indicating that Merc powered cars are chasing something else.
            Let’s hope Ferrari will chase Merc powered cars in Melbourne ;-)

          2. @b-azza77 You could be right, we’ll have to wait and see. Considering how difficult it was to beat Mercedes last year for any team I can see the merit in your view. Occasional podiums would signify an upswing in form for Ferrari compared to last year all the same. Alonso only managed two all season in 2014.

        2. Just one more piece of data: 2014 Massa on Jerez start-finish line 307,6 km/h, this year 291,1 km/h.

      2. Wow, you must be FIA’s engineer to know Ferrari’s fuel load.

    2. Totally agree with you, it does look promising! However I’ve been hopeful far too many times in the past after seeing Ferrari’s times in pre season to get my hopes up just yet. Still I think if they bounced back from last season to win two races this season on merit I’d be delighted.

    3. As others have pointed out, some caution does need to be exercised until you can correct for fuel and tyre compounds.

      If you look back to 2013, for example, Lotus topped the times in two of the first four days of testing – now, whilst Lotus did produce a reasonably competitive car that season, it wasn’t leading the pack either.

      Similarly, in 2014 Mercedes chose to spend much of the opening test focussing on reliability and long distance performance testing rather than chasing outright speed. Again, in this test Mercedes have overwhelmingly focussed on long runs rather than outright speed – for example, on the first day Rosberg’s best lap time came during a 16 lap stint, whilst Vettel’s best lap came during a four lap stint.
      Overall, whilst it is likely that the SF15T is an improvement over the F14T – if only because it probably couldn’t get worse – I still suspect that it is a little too early to judge just yet how effective it is until we have a better indication of their performance over an extended stint.

  2. Well , that shows how things can change quickly. Just a few days ago Nico had written off Ferrari from the title.
    I know Merc may be a leg up but it may end up to be very different from last year.

    1. The “Vettel will see my tail light”

      Now “the eye-opener”

  3. Still early days, however, Ferrari seems to have indeed improved.

  4. Wow, what if Ferrari really turns out to be a title contender!? Who could have predicted that last year.

    1. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
      3rd February 2015, 18:06

      @paeschli Not Alonso. :-)

  5. he is not fooling anybody this is probably just a ploy to get some attention off themselves so that they can quietly keep going by their program without too many people spying on them

    1. i doubt that would happen though

    2. Is that why Lowe and Lauda yesterday sent A. Cowell & A. Costa to see “how quiet & still fast the new Ferrari with Vettel goes through the corners”…..Spying goes both ways. Mercedes are no super heroes.

  6. Testing is NOTORIOUSLY unreliable, the general public really cannot take ANYTHING at all from it apart from perhaps an indication of where reliability woes may be more likely to strike.

    The times that are set are completely unrealistic and represent absolutely nothing in terms of what qualifying and race pace of that team is going to be come Melbourne – Last year we had a Marussia top out the time sheets at a test, we also had Ferrari topping day one at a test and look how that turned out?

    I am happy to be proven wrong but I’d put money right now on Mercedes still being well ahead (at least 0.5/lap) come Melbourne.

    1. Yeah dude. The last race of the the season in Abu Dhabi Mercedes were two seconds faster than everyone else before that happened to Rosberg. So I would say Mercedes are still at least 1.8 seconds faster than Ferrari on race pace (Cause no way Ferrari have closed that massive gap) and still like 1.5 seconds faster than Red Bull on race pace. I think people are forgetting about the race pace. Last year Mercedes race pace was like 2 leagues about everyone else. Plus the Mercedes is even MORE Efficient this year. Everyone is getting far to much carried away.

  7. Mercedes are sandbagging, these times mean nothing, this track is unlike any of the main ones but it does have a abrasive surface, Mercedes are working on tyre wear and degradation, I expect the next test for |Mercedes to work on pace.

    1. I believe Mercedes is running a different program unrelated to the top speed. Once they collect all the data for reliability and tire wear, they will come back to top speed related stuff. The last 2 days of testing will give a better overall picture which is 70% close to the Racing conditions in Melbourne.

      My assumption is that they (Mercedes) will stun everybody with their pace in the last 2 days of the Testing.

      For Ferrari. I still think 2 wins in 2015 will be a long shot. 3rd in WDC would be a great achievement for them. Alonso is a very smart guy. He would have stayed on if he had seen at least 50% chance of the WDC with the Scuderia in 2015. These kind of stuff cannot be hidden behind the wraps from Alonso and why would they?

      Williams could be good challenger. I am hoping some little magic with RBR & Riccaiardo like last year. As far as McLaren Honda is concerned , I am really clueless and I cannot even speculate or wild guess. It could be Super Good, Super slow or “Meh” car. None of the possibilities can be ruled out.

      Last but not the least I think there will be strong Mid Field rivalry between Lotus, Force India, Torro Rosso & Sauber.

      My Rankings
      Williams or Ferrari or McLaren
      Force India
      Lotus or Torro Rosso or Sauber

      Although we cannot rule out the chance of a midfielder disrupting the Williams, Ferrari , Mclaren order.

      1. I am afraid we will be seeing FI closer to the back of the field rather than in the middle of it this year. Apparently they have not been able to solve their cashflow yet and might not even have the new car ready for the first Barcelona test due to suppliers waiting to get paid before delivering @tmax

  8. As a merc fan I would still like them to be ahead but also would appreciate a challenge from good team like Ferrari and Mc-Honda. I would like this year to be like 2007, Lewis fighting against Kimi, Alonso, Vettel ect. So far I see good sign from Ferrari, hopefully its not just testing.

    1. I hope the Mc-Honda is one happy meal for Alonso

  9. I believe noting untill the first race. Testing is just eye candy for me.

    The rest is just phony wars and smoke and mirrors.

    Ferrari, Mclaren etc. always get hyped at some point during testing due to flashes of speed or consistant runs. Then at the first race it turns out they have a dog.

  10. We are approaching a situation where a convincing and sound case can be made in illustrating a rejuvenated Scuderia. This is not valid on the basis of headline times, but the SF15 T has been reliably pretty much the fastest car on track in all conditions in the past three days. Dichotomizing this from Ferrari’s cultural tendency towards showboating is tricky, but a wayward or recalcitrant Ferrari has equally been an absent sight according to my trackside colleagues. But the F14 T was well-balanced, or at least appeared so in Fernando’s capable hands, so we are reliant on this hurried recapitulation from an unfriendly Finn when making any inferences about the SF15 T’s dynamic properties. Far better then to say that the upbeat remarks from Sauber about the new Ferrari powertrain upgrades represent the best evidence of a stronger 2015 campaign for the Scuderia.

    We have no hard evidence yet of an improved Ferrari, but it is undeniable that the atmosphere surrounding the team is positive.

  11. After the first four day test in Jerez last year, these were the top lap times.

    1. Kevin Magnussen, McLaren, 1m 23.276s, 162 laps
    2. Felipe Massa, Williams, 1m 23.700s, 133 laps
    3. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1m 23.952s, 121 laps
    4. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1m 24.165s, 83 laps
    5. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1m 24.812s, 78 laps
    6. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1m 25.344s, 42 laps
    7. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 1m 25.495s, 173 laps
    8. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1m 25.588s, 188 laps
    9. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 1m 26.096s, 17 laps
    10. Sergio Perez, Force India, 1m 28.376s, 48 laps

    Which is why everyone was saying, correctly, that the Mercedes PU was by far the strongest.

  12. Anyone remember the first day of 2013? Button was also top of the time sheets…

  13. Kimi and Vettel seem to be happy with the new car, especially Kimi comparing it to last year’s. That’s probably more relevant than lap times as to how much Ferrari have improved.

  14. “the team are weary of Ferrari’s perfomance”

    As a Ferrari fan, I have much the same sentiment.

    1. +1!
      World-weary, not world-champs.

  15. Don’t get my hopes up Rosberg! I would love a Hamilton vs Raikkonen battle for the title.

    1. I want a battle like 2010. Vettel, Hamilton, Rosberg, Kimi and Alonso. To the last race.

  16. Not wishing to be pedantic but ” Rosberg says that the team are weary of Ferrari’s perfomance so far.”
    After three days of semi testing, they are ‘weary‘?

    1. Wary. Not weary. @willwood is allowed the occasional oopsie.

  17. I fit turns out that Ferrari has a winner while McLaren continues to muddle about in the mid-field, I’m not sure Alonso’s motivation will ever recover.

  18. I think it’s more about the usual ‘Oh! Look at my rival’s pace’ type of statement which comes out every year. I personally don’t bother about these times from any teams at all. We can get only a slight idea only around the last 2 days of the final test.

  19. Alonso jumping ship might have little to do with Ferrari’s fortunes and more of optimism about Honda. He could have wanted a Merc like advantage to get a sure shot at the title. Ferrari will not be able to do that with limitations on the changes that can be done to the engine.

    With only Honda being able to change 100% of the engine and the teams now knowing where the performance comes from, it was an easy decision moving to Honda and hoping for a world beater I think.

    At max, he would win it like Hamilton or at worse fight for wins in a Honda instead of Ferrari. A win-win for him and a change of scene as well.

    Coming back to Ferrari itself, the PU being the handicap I am sure it is rectified now to give them much needed power. It might not match the Mercs but I think it won’t be seconds off pace like last season.

    They had only one way to go after the disastrous 2014. Can’t do worse than that.

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