Due to the late arrival of its car, Force India remains an unknown, whilst McLaren...Though much is made of lap times, let's not forget that 'to finish first, first you have to finish', and based on the statistical evidence - not to mention Wolff's revelation - Mercedes isn't going to be threatened any time soon.
Engine Manufacturer Test Mileage
Team Test Mileage
Driver Test Mileage
Best Times Barcelona - Both Tests
Pirelli has nominated the tyres that will be used in the Australian, Malaysian, Chinese and Bahrain Grands Prix. In Australia, Pirelli will bring the P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft compounds: well-suited to the varied demands and wide range of potential weather conditions experienced at the semi-permanent Albert Park facility in Melbourne.
The Sepang circuit in Malaysia is well known for its abrasive asphalt and high ambient temperatures, making the P Zero Orange hard and P Zero White medium the best choice for the second race of the year. The P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tyres are nominated for China: the best choice for the comparatively high degradation expected as a result of the demanding track layout, which leads to close racing and plenty of strategy.
P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft will also be used in Bahrain: a varied circuit that is tough on the rear tyres, where the grand prix now starts in the late afternoon and ends in the evening. This leads to falling ambient and track temperatures as the race goes on. Although the range has evolved from 2014, with a new rear construction designed to distribute forces and temperatures more evenly, these nominations are the same as those made for the equivalent races last year.
|Grand Prix||Super Soft||Soft||Medium||Hard|
It's no surprise to learn the dominant team of last season is still the fastest this year, but Mercedes pace was still a surprise for its rivals. Nico Rosberg's fastest time on the soft tyre was more than 0.2s clear of the best from Williams and Ferrari on the super-soft, suggesting a healthy margin over the rest of the field. It should be noted that the Circuit de Catalunya was an unusually strong track for Mercedes last year - it was a full second ahead of its Red Bull in qualifying and nearly two seconds ahead of Ferrari - so while it is undoubtedly still ahead it may not have achieved as great a percentage increase as its rivals. Mercedes won't stand still ahead of the start of the season, however, and the onus is very much the rest of the field to catch up.
Strength: Unmatchable pace and the best reliability record of the field over the three tests. It sounds like a championship-winning combination.
Weakness: These things are relative, but both drivers struggled with set-up at the final test with excess oversteer on the medium tyres. It may be an issue isolated to cold track conditions, but worth keeping an eye on.
Quickest lap at Circuit de Catalunya: Nico Rosberg 1:22.792 (soft)
Lap count over three tests: 1,350
A good result in Australia: A one-two is expected in both qualifying and the race
A bad result in Australia: Anything other than maximum points
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