Tag Archives: Happy Testing

Riccardo: We still need more time

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In an interview with the media, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo has admitted despite their disappointing test in Bahrain last week, he and his team are in a battle against time to have a competitive car before the start of the 2014 season in Australia.  The reigning Constructors’ Champions had a disappointing time at the Bahrain test last week, where both Sebastian Vettel and Ricciardo struggled with reliability.

Vettel did not leave his garage at all on the first morning of testing and only made an appearance on track 45 minutes before the session was called off. On the second day of the test, Vettel had a much better time of it and completed 59 laps in his RB10. Ricciardo’s time in the new Red Bull car were cut short by technical issues on days three and four, during which he only completed 28 and 15 laps respectively.

Following on from the test in Bahrain last week, the Red Bull rookie admitted that the team needed more time on track to work on ongoing technical problems if they are to challenge for a podium position in Melbourne in less than three weeks time. In his interview, Ricciardo stated the following:-

“I guess we still need more time. We have four more days coming up and hopefully we can maximise those. I have to say that on the run we did today the car did feel better. But unfortunately another problem arose and we couldn’t exploit that potential. I hope we can do more running next week.’

Over the past few weeks, Red Bull has surprised everyone generally with their poor start to the 2014 season. The team have experienced problems with their cooling on the RB10 alongside problems with the Renault Power Units and Energy Recovery Systems that have been well documented within the paddock and also through the media.

Ricciardo has a valid point though. Red Bull just need some more time just like the rest of the field to get to grips with the new challenge presented by the new technical regulations for this season. There is no doubt that the signs showed by Red Bull last week have taken a slight step in the right direction for them despite still struggling to gain sufficient track mileage that they would like.

Ricciardo further on in his interview stated that despite the problems they are trying to fix at the moment, the signs of progress with the RB10 are showing slowly. He stated:-

‘Obviously, I would have liked to do more this afternoon but we still have tomorrow ahead of us and it’s important to be ready for that. The car is definitely making progress though. It’s coming together bit by bit. We’d love a big chunk all at once but that’s not the way it works, so we have to be patient. But it is coming and we’re heading in the right direction.’

Despite everything, it is still pleasant to hear that Ricciardo is remaining positive about things at Red Bull at the moment. Of course it would be understandable for the team and also him to be worrying and have concern about their current lack of performance throughout pre-season testing. Ricciardo just like every other driver on the field understands that this year will be a continuous and steep learning curve and that patience and hard work will be rewarded sooner rather than later throughout the 2014 season.

The final pre-season test at Bahrain this week is Red Bull’s final opportunity to test the car’s reliability and Ricciardo is pleased that he gets a first crack at the Bahrain track when the third and final test starts on Thursday. Ricciardo said the following:-

‘I’m happy I’m doing the first two days. At this stage we just need laps and I’m just looking forward to get back in the car.”

Ricciardo will no doubt grab the opportunity in the final pre-season test to see if they can try and get to get a further understanding of their issues with the RB10 before the start of the season in Melbourne in a few weeks time. At this current stage, Ricciardo has managed to gain maybe not enough track mileage that he would have wanted but I believe he will try his best to try and build on the foundation and data he has already given the Red Bull team.

Alongside Ricciardo stating that Red Bull need more time to get on top of their issues, Red Bull race engineer Andy Damerum has also revealed that the team will have an updated car at the third pre-season test. Damerum stated the following:-

“We’ve made some very good progress, particular on day two, but we’ve also had a number of problems that have again held us back.  The engineering team will head back to Milton Keynes now to plan the next moves and we can only look forward and try to get everything in place for the next test.’

I do believe that as a result of last week’s test at Bahrain that Red Bull have taken some slight steps in order to try and work out through the issues that they have with their car. Of course Red Bull will be worried about the performance of the Mercedes team and the rest of the Mercedes-powered teams on the grid, but at this early stage of the season, it is far too early to tell if they will be competitive in a few weeks time in Melbourne.

But as I have stated in previous blog posts on Jones on F1, I believe if any team can fix these issues, it is Red Bull. Red Bull in my view has one of the best Technical Directors in Formula One in Adrian Newey who has all the experience needed to turn this around into a positive. The fact that they will be using an updated car this week in Bahrain shows the hard work, commitment and dedication from the Red Bull team in order to try and get their 2014 season off to the best start that they can possibly can.

Will Red Bull be able to put everything they have learnt from the first two pre-season tests and have a strong and consistent showing in the final pre-season test this week?  We can only wait and see.

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Raikkonen: Form for 2014 is unclear

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In an interview with the media, Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen believes that fans will have to wait until the season opening Grand Prix at Melbourne in order to see a true inclination of form throughout the field for 2014.  

After two pre-season tests, Mercedes have at least on the time sheets emerged as the team to beat and title “favourites” already for 2014. The Mercedes team was not only second on the list for most laps covered (eight behind Williams team), but Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton also set the two fastest times in Bahrain.

Despite the good form showed by the Mercedes team at last week’s test in Bahrain, Raikkonen believes that it is unclear still who has the form for the season ahead:-

‘I still can’t say how quick we are as it’s just the second test of the season and it’s hard to have an idea of what the order is among the teams. One thing’s certain, the more we get to know the car, the quicker we will be. I think that even after the next test in Bahrain we won’t have the answers and we will have to wait until we are in Australia to understand more.’

Raikkonen has a fair point. Despite Mercedes showing once again just how competitive and reliable they have been once again last week, it is still early days ahead for the 2014 season. The new technical regulations are testing every single team on the grid as they try to get to grips with the new changes. 

I believe just like Raikkonen the teams will have a better understanding after the Australian Grand Prix and a better platform to adjust their developmental programmes with this year’s cars with some much needed data behind them. 

Raikkonen added to this by stating that the Ferrari car still has a lot of work to do before they are hundred per cent ready to be competitive in 2014. Raikkonen said:-

‘The car is still a laboratory and there are various things we have to finish learning about and to test. I have to say there is still a lot of work to do before we can say we are a hundred percent ready.’ 

Raikkonen for me sums up the 2014 season so far. At this stage of the season, it is far too early to predict who has the current form, even though you cannot dispute that Mercedes is showing really good signs so far. Throughout 2014, the teams and the drivers will be constantly learning about the impact of the new regulations during Free Practice Sessions, Qualifying and also at Grand Prix. 

But there is no question that no team at this stage is a hundred percent ready and is fully competitive straight from the start of the season. Raikkonen who has returned to the Ferrari team since having last raced for the team back in 2009 has stated to the media that he is not worried about what his rivals are up to. Raikkonen stated the following:-

‘Certainly the Mercedes powered teams have gone well here, but we had our programme and there’s nothing to say that those who were quickest were on the same one as us. As I’ve said, this is a test and in testing you try things out and it won’t get serious until Melbourne onwards. We are not interested at the moment in chasing performance, rather we are looking for reliability to ensure we finish the opening races without any problems.’ 

Raikkonen has even admitted to the media that Mercedes have gone well last week at the test in Bahrain, even though things are still unclear in terms of the rest of the field and their form so far. But this is the whole purpose of pre-season testing and Raikkonen is correct. This is where the teams and the drivers push the cars to the extreme to find the limit, find out where the problems lie and work on viable solutions to improve their package. 

Mercedes’s performance might be worrying teams throughout the teams throughout the grid at the moment. But at the end of the day, Raikkonen makes a fair point about reliability. For me, reliability is going to be a crucial factor for the teams throughout 2014 and especially throughout the early part of the season. And I have no doubts that every team on the grid including Ferrari are striving to achieve this currently in order to get their seasons off to the best possible start. 

Raikkonen then finally added that Ferrari will be focusing at this week final pre-season test at Bahrain on car set-up and long pace runs:-

‘Even the laps we did on the softer tyres were not aimed at performance, but at evaluating what set-up to use for this type of tyre. I’m not concerned about the long runs the others did, as we are working on our own programme and we plan to do long runs next week.’

Earlier this morning, Ferrari’s Technical Director James Allison confirmed what Raikkonen said in his interview with the media and that the team are concentrating on race pace this week at Bahrain. I do believe that most of the teams on the grid this week will switch their attentions more closely to preparing for Melbourne next month and to focus on completing race distances during the four day test. 

I agree with Raikkonen. At this current time, you cannot predict who is in the best shape for the 2014 season. All signs point towards the Mercedes team who once again have shown how competitive, reliable and strong their package is currently. But anything can happen within Formula One and things can change very quickly indeed from one week to the next. 

The 2014 season is shaping up to be one of uncertainty and anticipation for all the teams, drivers and also the fans. All eyes will be on the final test at Bahrain this week and wondering if Mercedes can keep up their strong performance before the Australian Grand Prix in a few weeks time. 

But all eyes will also be on the rest of the teams such as Ferrari to see if they can take the challenge to them. Who knows what will happen?

Ferrari focusing on race pace in Bahrain this week

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In an interview with their official team website, Ferrari’s Technical Director James Allison has stated that the team will be focusing on race simulations during the final four day test at Bahrain this week. Last week, the Ferrari team were in action at the Sakhir circuit, putting in the laps in the second of three pre-season outings.

The team covered 287 laps (1553kms) over the four days of last week’s test at Bahrain – and finished sixth and seventh on the overall timesheets with Fernando Alonso just ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. In his interview with the team’s official website, Allison stated that the following:-

‘We came to Sakhir aiming to work steadily through the huge list of actions that we must complete. We wanted to maximise track time, working methodically in order to be ready for Melbourne. I have to say that, with the exception of the morning of the third day, we did just that.’

Allison has made a fair point. Ferrari it would seem despite the problems that they occurred along the way during last week’s test at Bahrain seems to be showing signs of improvement slowly. For Alonso and Raikkonen to be within the top six consistently on the timesheets is a good sign of progress for the Ferrari team who over the past few seasons have failed to start the season well.

Allison then added in his interview that last week’s test at Bahrain has helped them even more to get to grips and learning their 2014 car the F14 T. Allison added the following:-

‘We worked on learning how to get the best from the 2014 clutch and on tuning the new brake by wire system. We looked in detail at balancing the temperature of all the cooling fluids, a key part of this year’s rules, and we began gradually expanding the operating window of the new Energy Recovery System.

‘We have been able to start to open up our understanding of the handling characteristics of the car and to begin to learn what sort of set-up parameters the tyres respond to. Continuing with this work will be an important part of the programme over the last four days here in Bahrain.’

Just like every other team currently on the grid, the new technical regulations that are in place for this year are continuously pushing them to the limit. All the teams on the grid for sure will be using the final test at Bahrain this week to make sure that they take the last opportunity to test the cars and iron out any problems in order to prepare for the season opening Grand Prix in Melbourne in a few weeks time.

Allison also revealed in his interview that during those last four days that Ferrari will also concentrate on race simulations and performance in order to best prepare for the season-opening Australian GP. Allison said:-

‘For the last four days, our programme will see us attempt to operate the car ever more closely to the way that it will run in a race, providing invaluable practice for the drivers and subjecting the car and all its systems to the full rigor that it will need to withstand throughout the season.’

I believe that Allison has hit the nail on the head. Just like the Ferrari team under Allison, I think that the final test at Bahrain for the rest of the grid will now strive towards race preparation for the start of the season in Melbourne next month. We have seen over the past two testing sessions all the teams running their 2014 cars, trying to get on top of the new technical regulations and also get some much needed track mileage and laps behind them.

In my view, Bahrain this week will see all the teams switching their attentions to Melbourne and preparing for the Grand Prix. We have already seen that the Mercedes team during the Jerez test last month complete a full race distance with their car the W05 and currently it would seem have the advantage from doing so over the rest of the field.

And this might be worrying the rest of the field who have not yet managed to complete a race distance so far. But the final test at Bahrain this week is not only the final chance to iron out existing or any new problems that may arise over the four day period. But this final test will also be the team’s final opportunity to complete and achieve a full race distance that will give the teams the much needed data before the start of the new season in Melbourne.

Have Ferrari made the right decision to focus on race pace in the final test at Bahrain this week? We shall see.

Lotus could be “lead” Renault team for 2014

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In an interview with Autosport, Lotus’s Technical Director Nick Chester has stated that he can see no reason why they can’t be the leading Renault-powered team at the start of the season after an encouraging debut for the E22 in Bahrain this week

Having missed the first test at Jerez last month, Lotus are playing catch-up with the rest of the field but ended the week on a positive note as driver Pastor Maldonado completed 59 laps on his way to setting the fifth fastest time overall.

With Red Bull still struggling with the reliability of their car, Chester believes that the Lotus team can be ahead of the World Champions, Toro Rosso and Caterham in Melbourne, assuming they continue to make progress when the teams reconvene at the Bahrain International Circuit next week.

In his interview with the media, Chester stated the following:-

‘I think we could be the lead Renault team. We certainly haven’t gone badly this week compared to the other Renault teams and I know they’re having a few problems.  All we can do really at the moment is just focus on ourselves and do the best job we can. Because even if we’re the best Renault-engined team, we’ve still got to push on and catch the other guys.’

I do feel that Chester has a point to a degree. Despite missing the first pre-season test last month. Lotus has had a positive week at Bahrain this week since running their E22 car in anger on the first day of the test.  However, let us not forget that Lotus encountered problems with Romain Grosjean on the first day of the test this week with software and battery problems and Grosjean ended up ninth fastest overall.

But despite problems with Grosjean on the first day of the test, with Maldonado gaining fifth fastest in the final day of the test yesterday, the signs for Lotus look promising and seem to be showing signs of progress despite their late start to the 2014 season. Lotus will no doubt use what they have gained from both drivers throughout the test this week to make the necessary changes and improvements to the E22 in preparation for Melbourne in a few weeks time.

With four days of testing to come this week in Bahrain for the final pre-season test, Mercedes-powered cars are clearly ahead in terms of reliability, with the works team also showing convincing pace after performing qualifying runs.

At this stage of the season, Lotus cannot do this but even though Maldonado was more than five second slower than Nico Rosberg on Saturday, Chester is also confident Lotus can close the gap to the Mercedes team sooner rather than later. Chester said the following to the media:-

‘We weren’t running qualy sims for a start. He was on softer tyres with lower fuel, and we also know we haven’t really done any set-up work yet with the car. It is going to be tough by Melbourne, but they’ve effectively had a couple of very good tests now; they’ve got themselves to a good level. We’ve still got a lot of progression. I don’t imagine they’re going to make so much more improvement before Melbourne; we’ve got a lot to make.’

With all eyes on Mercedes and their performance this week from Bahrain once again highlighting how reliable and competitive they are, there is no denying that Renault’s power unit might be lagging behind those of both Mercedes and Ferrari. Renault have publically stated after the test ended in Bahrain yesterday that they have made slight improvements, they are behind their own schedule of development but are pushing with everything that they have to get back on track.

But ahead of the FIA’s homologation deadline next week, Chester has denied to the media there were particular concerns for Lotus because their problems have been limited to areas such as the V6 turbo hybrid’s software and its operation which he believes can be fixed.

Chester added the following:-

“I don’t think so, because mechanically they’re pretty close. I think where we have more work to do is on the mapping and software side. A lot of it is still operational software. We only really ran the engine at full power for the first time today, so there’s a lot in how we operate it and how we look after the energy management. That’ll get better quite quickly.

“[It’s] encouraging, because I feel we’ve made a step forward. It’s the first time really we’ve run it at full power – that was a step forward for us.’

Despite all eyes being on the Mercedes-powered teams and their engines, it will be interesting to see how Lotus with their engine supplier Renault will take the fight and challenge this season. There is no question that Lotus over this test session in Bahrain this week has made some steps forward with their car despite suffering a few problems along the way.

I think most people expected Lotus to encounter some problems this week. As Lotus did not turn up for the Jerez test and were at a slight disadvantage compared to the rest of the field. But the most important thing is that Lotus have managed to run their E22 car at Bahrain this week and gain crucial track mileage and data that will help them prepare for the final pre-season test in Bahrain this week and also to prepare for the season opening Grand Prix in Melbourne in a few week’s time.

Do I feel that Lotus could be the “lead” Renault team for 2014?At this current time, they have a slight advantage over other Renault-powered teams such as Caterham, Toro Rosso and even Red Bull who are also struggling with problems with the Renault engines.

However, you could argue that Caterham have led the way with gaining the mileage that Reanult have achieved at this early stage in the season after the team racked up 249 laps after the end of testing at Bahrain yesterday. Lotus have managed to put laps on the board when Red Bull and even Toro Rosso are struggling to do at the moment and signs for the team look more encouraging than they did at the end of last month.

But do I feel by the end of the season that they will become the “lead” team for Renault? Not without a fight from Red Bull who sooner rather than later will bounce back from their issues and problems with the RB10. How much can Lotus improve their E22 car in the final test session this week before the start of the season in Melbourne? Only time will tell.

Renault confident they have taken “several” steps forward after Bahrain

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Even though Renault are not where they would like to be after the second pre-season test at Bahrain this week, Renault’s Deputy Managing Director Rob White is confident that they have taken “several” steps forward.

After the disaster that was the Jerez test, Renault had hoped for a solid second test at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain. Even though signs of improvement were shown at Bahrain this week, Renault-powered teams managed just half the number of laps completed by the Mercedes runners.

They were also off the pace with Pastor Maldonado’s 1:38.707 the fastest time set using Renault power which was a massive five seconds down on Nico Rosberg’s best in the W05.

In his interview with the media, White said the following:-

‘We have had some set-backs, but we have definitely made progress and have taken several steps forward. The changes have improved the PU behaviour in the car and we are have accumulated valuable mileage. There have been stoppages, on our side and on the chassis side as well, but we have ironed out some important faults and allowed the teams to gain crucial experience of the car as a whole.

“We have seen that minor incidents can cause downtime that is difficult or impossible to recover. In particular, we lost more time than anticipated on the final day. While we are not at the level of operation and performance we would want to be, we have a more solid basis to work from, and we are moving in the right direction.’

I think everyone has been shocked by how Renault has performed from the first two pre-season tests at Jerez and at the first session at the Bahrain circuit. Heading into the first test session, I expected Renault to be the first to show its hand especially after dominating the sport for the past few years with the Red Bull team especially.

But there have seen signs of improvement for the engine supplier from Jerez. Caterham have managed to secure yet more valuable track mileage for themselves and also for the engine supplier. Despite the problems that the Red Bull and Toro Rosso teams have suffered this week, they have managed to gain more track time compared to the first test session at Jerez.

These signs of improvement will only allow Renault to build on what they have managed to gain so far from Bahrain. They seem to be taking small and positive steps in the right direction. I believe that Renault will use all the technology they have available , they will get on top of the problems they are having and will provide the rest of the grid and its customers a strong and reliable engine sooner rather than later.

Pressed further into the interview as to how far behind schedule Renault are, White said where they stand at the conclusion of the second test is where they had hoped to be halfway through the first. White said:-

‘We have made some good headway, in terms of PU performance and operation in the car, we are now in a situation we could have accepted mid-Jerez. We have solved some problems and revealed some others. We are not back on schedule but we are moving in the right direction – the running we have done is very valuable. The challenge is to improve the rate of progress, because the gap to where we wanted to be at this stage remains substantial.’

Despite everything that has been thrown at them from both of the pre-season tests at Jerez and Bahrain, Renault has made some slight improvements. Red Bull, Caterham and Toro Rosso have managed to gain some valuable track time and mileage and provide themselves and Renault with data that will no doubt help them try to sort out their problems currently.

Renault has admitted very publically over the last few weeks that there are behind their own schedule in terms of developing the chassis and the engine for the new season ahead. It would be hard not to worry behind closed doors when as an engine supplier facing new technical regulations, when trying to gain as much valuable data and track mileage as you possibly can and then to experience problems with your efforts so far, it is not the best start to a new season.

Alongside these worries, Renault’s engine rivals Mercedes keep showing their reliability and performance consistently and regularly which only add to the worries at Renault in France at the moment. But Renault for sure will be doing everything they can to build on what they have managed to achieve and this will spur them on for the rest of season.

In the latter stages of his interview with the media, White added the following:-

“We are some weeks behind where we wanted to be, and we acknowledge it will take time to unlock the full performance of the PU. We are working hard to get there and we are determined to succeed. We remain confident in the PU and its sub systems, we are just not at the level of operation and performance we want to be. The immaturity of the PU combined with the time lost to incidents, means the chassis work to prepare for the season is also behind schedule. From this point on we must pursue and accelerate an upward curve.’

Despite Renault and their customers not getting their 2014 campaign off to the best start, it is far too early to tell if there are any significant problems behind the scenes. Renault will sooner rather than later unlock the potential of their Power Unit and will be rewarded for their hard work they are currently doing in order to achieve this objective.

Renault has all the necessary resources, equipment and experience at their disposal to unlock and achieve their aims with their 2014 Power Units and iron out all the problems that have surfaced for them so far.  Formula One in 2014 is going to be a steep learning curve for all teams and engine manufacturers and I believe that it is too soon to discount Renault and their chances this season.

At this current time, it is not looking good for Renault even if signs of improvement have been made. With the media attention firmly on them, the final pre-season test at Bahrain will be all the more important for them. Do I think that Renault will show signs of improvement? Yes I do. Will it be enough? I do not know.

Rosberg still warns that it is early days for Mercedes in 2014

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In an interview with the media, Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg has urged the Mercedes team not to get carried away despite their blistering pace on the final day of the first test session at Bahrain.  The Mercedes team yesterday focused on short qualifying runs in the morning’s session, Rosberg crossed the line with a 1:33.283 to take the week’s final P1.

It was an impressive lap as not only was it 1.6s up on second place driver Jenson Button’s time but it also beat the week’s previous best set by Lewis Hamilton by almost a full second. In his interview Rosberg has stated that Mercedes need to remain cautious as lap times still don’t count for much. Rosberg said the following:-

‘In the morning I was doing some qualifying-style practices with lower fuel and that was good because I was feeling comfortable in the car.  I was able to push, we had a good balance and so I was pretty pleased with that. It’s early days to say where we were because the other guys didn’t take out as much fuel as we did, so we need to be very, very careful.”

There is no denying the fact that Mercedes are looking stronger and stronger as the pre-season testing goes on. Rosberg and Hamilton are once again showing that the W05 is looking extremely reliable and competitive and is able to consistently put in the laps around the circuit where other teams such as Red Bull are struggling at the moment.

Rosberg has every reason to be cautious. Even though he will be pleased with the way that his team have started the 2014 season, there is always room for improvement and there is no question that Mercedes will use the data gained from last week in preparation for the second test at Bahrain this week.

In the same interview, Rosberg was quick to point out that he did encounter two issues with the Mercedes W05 when he broke down out on track. The first occasion was that Rosberg said he stalled whilst doing a practice start and details of the second occasion were not released by the Mercedes team to the media.

Despite Rosberg stopping twice while out on the circuit at Bahrain, he stated to the media that the signs for him and the Mercedes are very encouraging. He stated the following:-

‘For sure it’s positive at the moment. In terms of reliability I managed to complete the race distance so that’s been good. Nevertheless the car did break afterwards so there’s still some way to go. So problems arising here and there, which is totally normal, and in comparison to other teams we are in a good position with reliability.’

Rosberg is right. You can never be too careful in Formula One. Over the past few weeks, many fans and figures within the Formula One paddock have publically stated that they believe that the Mercedes team are the “favourites” for the 2014 season. I do believe that the signs for Mercedes look promising and very strong even at this early stage of the season.

The fact that the Mercedes team are consistently able to perform on the circuit and have despite a few issues encountered along the way with Rosberg and Hamilton shows that they must be going something correctly. For Mercedes to complete a race distance at a time when all the teams on the grid are facing uncertainty and problems getting to grips with the new technical challenges is a remarkable achievement.

Heading into the final pre-season test at Bahrain, the Mercedes team have shown once again that they have made another step forward in their quest to make 2014 successful. To many, The W05 has once again signalled and highlighted many people’s beliefs that they are the team to beat at this stage of the season after their competitiveness and reliability once again was shown for all to see.

Will the final pre-season test at Bahrain this week show that everyone is justified in highlighting the Mercedes team as “high favourites” to take the title fight to Red Bull this year? We shall be watching with anticipation.

 

Toro Rosso suffering “major” issues after first test at Bahrain

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In an interview with the media, Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne admits that they have “major” issues having once again spent another day of testing stuck in the garage. On the fourth and final day of the first test in Bahrain yesterday, Vergne managed just 19 laps as his Toro Rosso mechanics and their Renault counterparts spent the bulk of the day attempting to his STR9 going.

With engine issue and other “teething problems” hurting Toro Rosso, Vergne finished Day Four’s running down in eight place and 6.554s off the pace of the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg. Vergne stated the following to the media:-

‘There’s no point in making negative comments, because everyone knows we are facing major problems and we are not alone in that. We knew when we came to Bahrain that there had not been enough time since the previous test to have solved all our issues. On the positive side, we have managed to fix some of them now.’

Vergne is right. Many teams throughout the Jerez test and also throughout the first test at Bahrain have experiences problems with their cars while pushing the limit and learning more and more about the new technical regulations that have introduced for this season.

Toro Rosso have experienced a fair range of problems with their 2014 car the STR9 from problems with their Renault engines to problems with oil leaks on their car. But despite this, Vergne was full of praise for the STR9 when it did get some running on the circuit and is confident that it will be a good package when it works properly.

Vergne added the following:-

‘Even if I have not done so many laps, it’s clear from those I have managed to complete, that Toro Rosso has done a good job to give me a car that feels nice to drive, if we talk about the elements that used to be the main topics before this year, such as the aero and mechanical side of the package. t’s frustrating, but we need to keep calm and not get stressed as there are still a few weeks before Melbourne.’

Vergne for me seems to have a fresh new attitude in preparation for this season. Last season saw Vergne in my opinion not having a strong season at all.  He did not have the consistency that Ricciardo had throughout the season and did not take some of the opportunities to keep him considered to drive for Red Bull for 2014.

However to give Vergne credit, he did secure a brilliant sixth place at the Canadian Grand Prix with an astonishing drive that demonstrated why he was considered as Webber’s replacement at Red Bull in the first place.

With all the new changes taking place technically in the sport this year, I think every fan expected most of the teams to be experiencing problems with their cars. And this is what testing is for; to push the limits and also fix any problems that happen along the way. But despite the problems that Toro Rosso are experiencing at the moment, it would seem that Vergne is confident that they will fix them as quickly as they can before Melbourne.

Vergne then finally stated within his interview that the team and himself will try once again to gain some much needed running in the final test session at the Bahrain circuit. He added the following:-

‘We will try again here in Bahrain starting on Thursday. Clearly, in Melbourne, just finishing the race will mean you have a good chance of scoring points.’

Vergne has the right attitude. At this stage, we all do not know what will happen at the final test session at Bahrain which is approaching this week. Reliability it would seem to Vergne will be all important for Melbourne. And I think he is right. At this current stage, it would seem that teams such as Mercedes and McLaren seem to have been able to consistently and reliably gain track time.

But I am sure that both drivers will try and acquire as much track time and mileage as they possibly can in order to give the team much needed data to start developing their car ready for Melbourne next month. This is now the final chance for all the teams on the grid to try and fix any problems that arise before the start of the season in Melbourne.

It would be silly to say that Toro Rosso will be able to fix the problems they have before the start of the second test at the Bahrain circuit. But they have showed signs of slight improvement from the first test at Bahrain this week. Will they be able to build on this at the second session? We shall see.