Tuesday, February 10, 2015


2015 is here and we're 2 months away from the first race. It's been a nice short winter to be honest, I didn't really feel the withdrawal symptoms much this time. The new cars have been launched fast and simple, no big launches with fancy settings and the such. All 8 teams have showed their cars and run them at the first test of the year in Jerez, Spain.

Ferrari seem to be topping the time sheets but as usual testing times are not representative of anything. Or are they? If you know what to look for you'd know that Mercedes are still strong and probably not concerned about fast times. They are reliable, qualifying times can always be worked out later. McLaren's troubles are expected, we'll see how good Honda really is soon.

Engine Manufacturer Test Mileage - Jerez

Engine Manufacturer Miles Kms
Mercedes 2707.4 4356.98
Ferrari 2011.3 3236.74
Renault 1428 2298.04
Honda 217.4 349.8

Team Test Mileage - Jerez

Team Miles Kms
Mercedes 1419.7 2284.76
Sauber 1051 1691.43
Toro Rosso 971.2 1563.02
Ferrari 960.2 1545.31
Williams 764.9 1230.94
Lotus 522.8 841.29
Red Bull 456.7 735.02
McLaren 217.4 349.8

Driver Test Mileage – Jerez

Driver Team Miles Kms
Rosberg Mercedes 847.4 1363.77
Hamilton Mercedes 572.3 920.99
Raikkonen Ferrari 550.3 885.57
Nasr Sauber 542 872.28
Ericsson Sauber 509 819.15
Sainz Toro Rosso 503.5 810.29
Verstappen Toro Rosso 467.7 752.73
Vettel Ferrari 410 659.75
Massa Williams 396.2 637.61
Maldonado Lotus 376.9 606.61
Bottas Williams 368.7 593.33
Ricciardo Red Bull 231.1 371.94
Kvyat Red Bull 225.6 363.08
Grosjean Lotus 145.8 234.67
Button McLaren 112.8 181.54
Alonso McLaren 104.6 168.26

Pirelli Tyre Stats

Tyre sets brought to Jerez : 284 of which 5 supersoft; 37 soft; 120 medium; 57 hard; 40 intermediate; 25 full wet.
Tyre sets used : 155 of which: 0 supersoft; 21 soft; 83 medium; 29 hard; 16 intermediate; 6 full wet.

Pirelli's special 'winter hard' prototype tyres (16 sets) were also brought to Jerez. Two sets of these are available per team for the total of the three pre-season test sessions. The 'winter hard' is a prototype tyre strictly for testing purposes only, which will not form part of the P Zero range in 2015. It is a hard tyre with a low working range compound, which allows it to quickly reach top performance even in cool conditions: well suited for European weather conditions in February.

Longest run per tyre:

Soft: Maldonado (Lotus) 19 laps Day 3
Medium: Rosberg (Mercedes) 29 laps Day 1
Winter Hard: Rosberg (Mercedes) 34 laps Day 1
Hard: Rosberg (Mercedes) 42 laps Day 1
Intermediate: Rosberg (Mercedes) 25 laps Day 3
Full Wet: Nasr (Sauber) 4 laps Day 2

The best times and their tyre choice of every day:

Day 1: Vettel (Ferrari) 60 laps 1:22.620 Medium
Day 2: Vettel (Ferrari) 89 laps 1:20.984 Medium
Day 3: Nasr (Sauber) 109 laps 1:21.545 Soft
Day 4: Raikkonen (Ferrari) 106 laps 1:20.841 Soft

In four days of testing a total of 2294 laps were covered. Last year, 1470 laps were covered in total during the same period, with 11 teams on track instead of eight this year. The fastest time in 2014 was 1:23.276 (Kevin Magnussen, McLaren), underlining a huge increase in performance and reliability compared to a year ago. Each team is allocated a total of 135 sets for testing purposes throughout 2015.

Car Analysis

Although everybody says that testing doesn't mean anything, if you know what to look out for you'd know some hidden trends that would shape this coming season. Of course I wouldn't know because I'm not some F1 engineer with 20 years experience. But with the help of JA on F1 technical adviser Dominic Harlow, formerly chief operations engineer at Force India and Williams, we can look at drawing some conclusions about relative performance. The original article can be found at James Allen blog - JA on F1.

Mercedes – Hamilton

He was faster than Raikkonen on similar wet track conditions in the morning (10:15 to 10:30)
Hamilton changes to dry tyres and continues the run, he completes 37 Laps in total without refuelling. That’s around 54Kg of fuel so likely that the base fuel load is 60Kg or more, quite high, in other words. It looks from the consistency of the dry times and the length of the runs (several at 15 timed laps) that Mercedes don’t change fuel level all day, only tyre compound in the afternoon.

Mercedes were clearly concentrating on reliability at this test; after all reliability was the only thing, aside from the collision at Spa, that stopped them winning all the races last year. For optimum testing it is obviously best to keep the fuel level constant between outings, to be able to draw conclusions on set up changes etc.

Mercedes top speed is a bit lower than some rivals, particularly Williams, but also Lotus. The Mercedes engined cars still look generally the strongest in a straight line however. Hamilton’s laptimes are continuously at a similar level. Unlike Raikkonen and Ericsson he doesn’t do any slow ‘charge management’ laps for the ERS. (These are laps where the focus is on recharging the ERS, for maximum performance the next lap.) So hamilton is in race mode, rather than qualifying mode here, not pushing for performance lap times at all.

Ferrari – Raikkonen

Raikkonen starts with a couple of longer runs through wet to dry track conditions to check crossover and subsequent dry tyre performance. It appears from the graph that Raikkonen’s laptimes become quite a lot quicker after 13-30, suggesting a reduced fuel level. He is also using the Soft tyre which is 2s faster than the hard so we can’t be sure.

During Raikkonen’s performance runs in the afternoon he is always putting in ‘charge management’ laps suggesting he is using the full 4Mj/Lap ERS-K deployment but can’t supply this continuously in Jerez. In other words, this is clearly a Qualifying mode rather than a Race one. Although the Ferrari seems improved and the drivers report a better handling car, with superior Energy Recovery System, it looks like they were using either lower fuel levels or enhanced engine modes compared to Mercedes who were in ‘Race trim’. The Mercedes is still likely to be quicker but the gap could be smaller than in 2014. We will learn more in the Barcelona tests.

Sauber – Ericsson

Ericsson’s pace is typically slower than Hamilton or Raikkonen until around 16-00, when he starts a series of runs commencing with a quick lap and seemingly running down from a high fuel level. On his final run he runs a slow lap, followed by his best time and then backs off again suggesting some ‘charge management’ therefore a high level of ERS-K deployment.

The run continues until almost the end of the day when there is a short Red-Flag. He then returns to the track and immediately runs out of fuel.This is called a run out. Given that Sauber could not have planned the Red Flag and said that they carried out a run-out test it would appear that the fuel load in the car on ERI’s fastest lap is unlikely to have been more than around 25Kg (an advantage of at least 1.1s over HAM).

As a general note, people have been saying that the care are faster than last year, which is not surprising as they have had a year of development. What is interesting is that, compared to 2013, the laptimes were still quite a lot slower, 1m 18s was the quickest lap then, as opposed to 1m 20 this year, so perhaps this is another indication we haven’t seen everything from the cars and that the aero is still perhaps a bit behind 2013 levels.

Jerez F1 Test – Fastest times of the week

1. Ferrari – Raikkonen – 1m20.841s
2. Sauber – Nasr – 1m21.545
3. Mercedes – Rosberg 1m21.962
4. Williams – Massa – 1m 22.276
5. Toro Rosso – Verstappen – 1m22.553
6. Lotus – Maldonado – 1m22.713
7. Red Bull – Ricciardo – 1m32.338
8. McLaren – Button – 1m 27.660s


So what can we take away from all this? Mercedes is still the team to beat. They are reliable, fast (even if they were sandbagging) and they have 2 drivers hungry for more success - Rosberg to get his first world title and Hamilton to equal his hero Senna.

If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my t-shirt design for Lewis Hamilton fans below (designs for other teams and drivers also available), click on image.

No comments: