Section: Jerez (Spain)

F1: Jerez Test Day 4: Raikkonen top, but slow progress for McLaren

Kimi Raikkonen put Ferrari at the top of the Jerez timesheets for the third day in four as the first week of pre-season testing came to a close on Wednesday.

Raikkonen used soft tyres on a dry track to set the fastest time of the test under sunny skies, beating the time set by team-mate Sebastian Vettel on Monday by over a tenth of a second. Ferrari also completed more than a century of laps in a day for the first time this week with a total of the Finn’s 105.

There was more slow progress for both McLaren and Red Bull as the two former championship-winning teams struggled again for mileage. From its starting point on Sunday and Monday, McLaren has made progress, but a total of 79 laps over the course of the week is a long way off its pre-test target. Positives came from multiple-lap runs without major issues such as overheating, but smaller reliability problems kept it from running throughout the day.

The first run went all of two feet onto the pit apron before the car was rolled back and there was a similar issue as Jenson Button tried to take to the track and stopped in the pit lane on one of his afternoon runs. The team finally called it a day just over an hour before the end of the session when a fuel pump problem could not be fixed. Nevertheless, the team is confident it can be competitive when it is able to turn its power unit up to full power and chase lap times.

day4-button-issues

Red Bull had another slow start to the day as an ERS problem on its Renault power unit forced Daniil Kvyat to park the RB11 on the side of the track. After engine issues on day one, a broken front wing on day two and a full power unit change on day three, the team has only completed 164 laps, which means only McLaren has completed fewer over the course of the four days.

Defending champions Mercedes once again topped the lap count with 117 for Lewis Hamilton despite a half spin in the morning at the chicane. The total for the week comes to 517, a remarkable feat for any team on the first week of running with a new car. Although Mercedes is only interested in mileage this week, Hamilton set the third fastest time with a 1:22.172, which was 1.331s off Raikkonen and 0.153s off Marcus Ericsson in the Sauber. Ericsson’s time meant the two Ferrari-powered cars topped all four of this week’s sessions.

Elsewhere, Max Verstappen added another 97 laps to his tally for the week in the Toro Rosso and Felipe Massa completed 73 laps for Williams. Romain Grosjean took to the track for the first time this year and was impressed with his new Mercedes-powered Lotus. However, a power unit-related problem brought his day to an early end after 53 laps.

Jerez Test Day 4 Times:
1. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:20.841 105 laps 
2. Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:22.019 111 laps 
3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:22.172 116 laps 
4. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:22.553 97 laps
5. Felipe Massa Williams 1:23.116 73 laps 
6. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:23.802 53 laps 
7. Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:23.975 63 laps 
8. Jenson Button McLaren 1:27.980 35 laps

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F1: Jerez Test Day 3: Nasr quickest as McLaren-Honda makes limited progress

The third day of pre-season testing in Jerez saw Sauber’s Felipe Nasr at the top of the timesheets, while McLaren made limited progress with its new Honda-powered MP4-30 and Red Bull were delayed by a lengthily Renault engine change.

Of more significance to Sauber will be the 108 laps completed by Nasr as his lap time was still 0.5s shy of the benchmark set by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel on Monday. However, the quick lap will go some way to boosting his confidence after spinning into the gravel early in the session. The track was damp at the start of the morning but slowly dried under overcast skies to allow slick running for the majority of the day. Nasr’s nearest competitor was Kimi Raikkonen, who got his first taste of the Ferrari SF15-T. After two days of improvement with Vettel at the wheel, the Ferrari lap count increased again to 92 despite a slow start.

With the Mercedes W06’s Monday water leak fixed, Nico Rosberg added another 151 to his count on Tuesday to bring his combined total to 308 over two days in the car this week. The day was not quite faultless as the engine shutdown during one of his runs around lunch, but it did not keep the car in the pits for long. For what it’s worth, he set the third fastest time, 0.232s off Nasr’s time.

day3-rosberg-issues

McLaren had a productive morning, with Fernando Alonso matching the lap count of the previous two days in the first two hours, eventually finishing the day on 31. However, a loss of cooling water pressure that required a lengthily investigation of the Honda power unit and ended the day early.

Following two unproductive days with engine issues and a broken wing on Monday, Red Bull had another frustrating session when, after five laps, it had to change the Renault power unit in the RB11. The car made it back on track to notch up 48 laps in total, and although it is an improvement on last year, the team will be hoping for plenty of problem-free laps with Daniil Kvyat at the wheel on Wednesday.

Felipe Massa got his first taste of F1 2015 with Williams as the team completed another solid day with 71 laps. Carlos Sainz had a very productive day in the Renault-powered Toro Rosso with 136 laps, the second most after Rosberg. Pastor Maldonado was back in the Lotus and notched up 96 laps before stopping on track on the final run of the day.

Day Three Times:
1. Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:21.545 108 laps 
2. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:21.750 92 laps 
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:21.982 151 laps 
4. Felipe Massa Williams 1:22.276 71 laps 
5. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:22.713 96 laps
6. Carlos Sainz Jr Toro Rosso 1:23.187 136 laps 
7. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:23.901 48 laps 
8. Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:35.553 32 laps

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F1: Jerez Test Day 3: Mileage a ‘huge relief’ for McLaren

Racing director Eric Boullier said McLaren’s 32 laps on Tuesday were a “huge relief” after tracking down and fixing the problem that kept the team from running more than 12 laps on the first two days of testing in Jerez.

Even though the day was stopped short when a water leak popped up and forced the team to remove the Honda engine, Boullier said McLaren counted Tuesday’s efforts as progress. The team is expecting to be running again on Wednesday morning.

“It was very important and a huge relief,” Boullier said. “Ever since last night we are a little bit happier after the last lap of Jenson [on Monday] because we believed we had fixed the issues, but as I said yesterday, sometimes you just open the Pandora’s box and you pick up one and another one is coming. This morning it was just a relief to see the car getting out of the garage at 9:00 and running actually faultlessly for a few hours.”

Boullier said McLaren could have got the car back out on track at the end of the day but the team decided to focus its efforts on Wednesday.

“[Today] was a completely different. The reason why we didn’t run in the afternoon is different. It’s a third party component that created a water cooling leak. We had to take the engine open and everything to change it because it’s in the middle. We could have run, maybe, half an hour at the end of the day but we decided to stop the day and run properly tomorrow. The main issues are now away.”

However, to give an indication of how far behind McLaren is at this stage, Boullier said the team had completed less than 50% of its target for this test.

“It’s not enough, obviously. We are maybe less than 50%. But it’s better than nothing and at least operationally we have covered everything we wanted. The good thing as well is that the car is running, as you saw in the morning, 10 laps in a row so we have no design concept or conceptual issues or architectural issues with the car. The cooling is working, everything is fine.”

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F1: McLaren forced to end ‘encouraging’ day early

McLaren has been forced to cut short its third day of testing in Jerez due to a water cooling issue, ending its best day of pre-season so far.

After completing only a handful of laps on Sunday and Monday, McLaren finally got some mileage under its belt. Fernando Alonso completed 32 laps before lunch and at lunch tweeted: “Encouragaing morning here at the test! 32 laps. We keep learning about the car.”

However, shortly after lunch McLaren confirmed it would not be returning to the circuit on Wednesday. Jenson Button will take over for the final day tomorrow.
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F1: Jerez Test Day 2: Vettel top again as McLaren struggles continue

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel topped the times for the second day in a row at the opening test of the season in Jerez as McLaren again struggled and world champion Lewis Hamilton had his 2015 debut cut short by a water leak.

Vettel improved on his Sunday time with a 1:20.984 before rain in the final hour ruled out any further quick laps. The Ferrari completed a total of 78 laps – another improvement on Sunday – and was lapping in the 1:23s on longer runs. His time was 0.883s clear of his nearest competitor Felipe Nasr, who continued Sauber’s solid start to testing with 87 laps. Rookies Nasr and Max Verstappen in the Toro Rosso went out to get some wet weather experience in the final hour and were joined by some of their rivals as the rain eased ahead of the chequered flag.

Mercedes had already called an early end to Hamilton’s day after a technical problem resulted in a water leak on the W06. Initially the team had hoped to get him back out on track quickly, but the problem proved harder to resolve than it had hoped. Nevertheless, Hamilton still registered 91 laps in total – shy of team-mate Nico Rosberg’s mammoth 157 on Sunday, but still more than any other team managed on Monday.

Red Bull also hit trouble, limiting the RB11’s mileage for the second day in a row. On Sunday the team had power unit related problems but on Monday it was down to driver error. On his debut with the team, Daniil Kvyat made a mistake on a cold track and nudged the barriers – skewing and damaging the front wing.

day2-kvyat

With the pre-season just over a day old, Red Bull did not have a replacement at the track and had to remove the wing completely to allow him to continue to run. In total he notched up 18 laps, but was limited to practice starts at the end of the pit lane and therefore did not set a lap time. The team is having a replacement wing flown in to allow it to resume a proper test programme tomorrow.

Once again the McLaren-Honda was a rare sight on track and Jenson Button could only add six laps to match Fernando Alonso’s tally from day one. The team is struggling to get the new power unit communicating with the other systems on the car and the result was a lap 33 seconds off the pace. In its current state the Honda’s exhaust note is noticeably louder and throatier than its rivals, but it has yet to run smoothly or at high revs to make a fair comparison. McLaren hoped to get the car on track soon after lunch for more mileage, but despite several fire-ups it only emerged from behind the screens covering the garage door in the last 20 minutes of the day to add one extra lap to the morning’s five.

After receiving delivery of its car yesterday from the factory and building it overnight, Lotus made its 2015 debut in the second hour of running with Pastor Maldonado at the wheel. He went on to complete 41 laps but caused a red flag towards the end of the session. Lotus later confirmed the E23 had been curtailed by a drivetrain issue. Williams had a solid if unspectacular day as Valtteri Bottas set a best time of 1:22.319 and completed 61 laps while Verstappen managed 73 in the Toro Rosso and a best time of 1:24.167.

 

 

Jerez Test Day 2
1. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:20.984 87 laps
2. Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:21.867 87 laps
3. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:22.319 61 laps
4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:22.490 91 laps
5. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:24.490 73 laps 
6. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:25.802 41 laps 
7. Jenson Button McLaren 1:54.655 6 laps 
8. Daniil Kvyat Red Bull No time 18 laps

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F1: Jerez Test Day 1: Vettel top as McLaren hits early trouble

Sebastian Vettel ended his first day behind the wheel of the SF15-T at the top of the timesheets in Jerez, while in contrast the man he replaced at Ferrari, Fernando Alonso, managed just six laps at his new team McLaren.

Vettel finished half a second quicker than Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg in third, an encouraging start for Ferrari despite headline times being of limited significance in testing. Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber slotted into second after a late run on the soft tyre, ahead of Rosberg, who managed to accumulate a mammoth 157 laps – over two race distances of the Jerez circuit and more than double managed by anyone else.

Rosberg had been top mid-way through the opening day of testing but Mercedes were able to focus on long runs in the afternoon and he dropped below Vettel and Ericsson in the final few hours of the day. The German’s lap haulage is made all the more impressive by comparison to his rivals; Ericsson and Valtteri Bottas were the next closest with 73 each. He was beaten to the top of the chart by the 1:22.620 set by Vettel, who recovered from a slow start to record 60 laps of his own in the SF15-T.

Alonso managed just six laps before lunch and McLaren soon reported a “niggly” problem was keeping the Spaniard in the garage. With just half an hour left in the session the team fired up its engine again but the MP4-30 did not emerge before the end of the first day.

day1-alonso

Daniel Ricciardo only added 13 laps to his morning total of 22 in the striking black and white testing livery revealed by Red Bull on Sunday morning. The team struggled with two issues, the first a battery issue which caused a rear brake failure through the MGU-K and another “engine-related” issue later on. However, Red Bull has already improved on last year’s Jerez test where it completed just 22 laps in four days.

Williams and Valtteri Bottas managed just five laps in the morning but enjoyed a more successful afternoon. Though only finishing fifth on the timing screens, Bottas completed a flurry of runs in the final few hours and managed to extend his and the team’s mileage significantly.

Ericsson’s name sticks out at the top end of the timing screen but is proof headline times are of limited significance, with a late soft tyre run putting him in between Vettel and Rosberg. The Swede had triggered the first red flag of the 2015 season in the morning when he spun his Sauber on track. Toro Rosso rookie Carlos Sainz Jr caused a second in the afternoon after stopping in the middle sector, ending a day which saw him record his first 46 laps with the STR10.

Only seven teams completed a timed lap in Jerez as Lotus failed to arrive in time for the first day. It was due to arrive on Sunday afternoon so should participate in the second day of testing, while Force India is missing the entire Jerez test in order to maximise development time before the Barcelona double header at the end of the month.

Day 1 Times:
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:22.620 60 laps 
2 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:22.777 73 laps 
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:23.106 157 laps 
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:23.338 35 laps 
5 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:23.906 73 laps 
6 Carlos Sainz Jr Toro Rosso 1:25.327 46 laps 
7 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:40.738 6 laps

Read more at ESPN