Jerez Test Day Four – Opinions

And with today’s chequered flag, the first pre-season test in Jerez has come to an end. It certainly has whetted the appetite of fans ahead of the 2015 season, prompting many talking points which will keep us going for the next seven days as the circus moves north to Barcelona for the next two tests. Many of this weeks trends defined today’s running, with Ferrari and Sauber heading the timesheet while Mercedes opted for longer runs and consistent times. McLaren suffered yet more technical troubles, and Williams slipped under the radar, working away in their usual stealthy manner – just another day at the office. It was indeed a day where plenty of on track action could be found. Evidently, most teams have proceeded past the bedding in process with their new cars and today, mileage was adequate if not spectacular across the board. Obviously, the three centurions – Raikkonen, Ericsson and Hamilton – enjoyed satisfyingly productive days, yet even at the bottom of the mileage stakes, the quantity of laps were acceptable. No team was cut adrift of the pack in the manner that McLaren were at the beginning of the week. Jerez Day 4 Mileage However, that does not mean to suggest that the teams unanimously enjoyed trouble free running. Red Bull may have recorded their highest mileage of any day so far, with 64 laps, but Kvyat’s progress this morning was curtailed by an ERS issue. In regards to reliability, this week has been concerning for the former champions, with engine related issues hampering their progress on three of the four days, while Kvyat’s adventure on Monday was an unwelcome and costly escapade. The Russian was far more productive today, yet Red Bull go into Barcelona with some serious catching up to do. Elsewhere, the Mercedes powertrain proved that it is far from infallible today, as Romain Grosjean’s day ended 53 laps in on account of a Mercedes issue. Enstone ended their 20 year relationship with Renault in order to become a Mercedes customer and on the basis of today, reliability may not be the area in which they reap the rewards. However, the Renault unit’s improvements are somewhat of an unknown quantity at the moment, due to the disparity of running between its two customers – in the Toro Rosso, Renault power looks impeccable, but in the RB11, it appears suspect. Elsewhere, Ferrari consolidated their excellent week’s work with another timesheet topping performance, as Kimi Raikkonen set the week’s best time of 1:20.841 – a time which, regardless of the fuel loads or engine mapping, is highly respectable. Ferrari continue to impress and have certainly captured the attention of Mercedes this week. It will be fascinating to see if they can retain this momentum heading into the two Barcelona tests and to see whether they have shown their hand early, or if there is still dormant pace within the SF15-T. If the latter is the case, then Ferrari are real contenders in 2015.

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