Overview: The situation after pre-season testing

Overview: The situation after pre-season testing

4 March 2014 – Pre-season testing has been and gone in a flash, with the opening race in Australia now just around the corner. Although the early pecking order is still far from clear, the 12 days of running – or lack of it in the case of certain teams – have provided a solid base to work from, as GPUpdate.net outlines below...

Mercedes / 4972.644 km

From the very first day of testing at Jerez, it became clear that Mercedes had put together a strong package for the upcoming season. Throughout 2013, rumours had been building that the German manufacturer's powertrain was well ahead of rivals Ferrari and Renault, with the three pre-season gatherings all but confirming those suggestions. The team will, however, be slightly concerned about reliability ahead of the first race, with the final Bahrain test proving that its W05 is not bulletproof.

Williams / 4893.432 km

Following a massive restructuring process, which has seen Pat Symonds and a number of other key technical heads arrive, Williams launched its FW36 with a great deal of optimism. And that optimism has seemingly transferred to the circuit, with the Grove-based outfit looking both fast and reliable. Felipe Massa topped the combined Bahrain timesheets, while Valtteri Bottas's final day stoppage was the team's only major issue. What was a trying 2013 season could be quickly brushed to one side...

Ferrari / 4488.516 km

Ferrari, bidding to capture its first title since the 2008 campaign, is one of the more difficult teams to read after the pre-season test period. That said, the F14 T looks solid – even if it showed a few signs of frailty last week – and the drivers behind the wheel, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Räikkönen, are undoubtedly world class. In the all-important engine department, the brand appears to be occupying the middle ground, clear of Renault's troubles but lacking driveability compared to Mercedes.

McLaren / 4153.464 km

After a highly-encouraging start at Jerez, McLaren experienced a more challenging time in the heat of Bahrain. While Jenson Button says there is plenty of potential in the MP4-29, he later admitted that work needs to be done on the development front, with the car not yet where it needs to be. There is no doubt that the outfit finds itself in a better position than at this point last year, but in terms of pure performance, fighting for victory at the opening round does not look like being a realistic aim.

Sauber / 4039.320 km

Although Sauber features high on the testing mileage charts, the C33 has shown signs of being a nervous car to drive. Both Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutiérrez have been caught out on numerous occasions during the pre-season, with the former particularly aggrieved by the new brake-by-wire system. As Renault's powertrain struggles continue to affect four teams, the squad should be aided by its extended Ferrari partnership, but climbing out of the midfield bracket will be a tall order.

Force India / 3974.868 km

Force India made sizeable gains as the winter tests wore on. Having begun at a steady pace in southern Spain, the Silverstone-based team found another gear in the Middle East. It topped the timing screens on two occasions, and showed consistent pace over long runs. Additionally, its refreshed driver line-up has plenty to offer. The returning Nico Hülkenberg has proven that he is worthy of a top seat, while Sergio Pérez will be eager to make up for his humbling McLaren experience.

Caterham / 3313.128 km

Caterham is under massive pressure to move up the grid this season, with founder Tony Fernandes effectively describing it as a final chance. But although the team's latest creation was able to rack up the most pre-season mileage of the Renault contingent, it is lacking both one-lap and race pace. Kamui Kobayashi, who returns after a one-year hiatus, went as far as claiming that he would be better bringing a GP2 car to Melbourne's streets, hardly a ringing endorsement of the CT05...

Toro Rosso / 2436.384 km

Both Jean-Éric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat are confident that Toro Rosso's new car is fundamentally competitive, but they have been unable to prove their claims during the trio of pre-season tests. With the team switching from Ferrari to Renault power for the 2014 campaign, countless technical issues have, in a similar manner to the other three outfits supplied by the French company, restricted its mileage and left it in an unenviable situation ahead of the long-haul flight to Australia.

Red Bull / 1705.764 km

After four consecutive Drivers' and Constructors' world titles, Red Bull looks set to face a monumental task in 2014. While, as previously stated, Renault's power unit is troublesome, the design of the RB10 has caused problems of its own. Adrian Newey packages his cars as tightly as possible for optimal aerodynamic efficiency, but major cooling issues and multiple on-track failures suggest that he has overdone it this time. The team's factory will be a hive of activity over the next two weeks...

Marussia / 1686.084 km

Marussia has produced a solid, if unspectacular, car for the sport's regulation overhaul. After recovering from technical issues that saw it miss the majority of the first test at Jerez, and an IT glitch that severely hindered its running at the second Bahrain gathering, the team was able to put some serious miles on the MR03 last week. It is unlikely to set the world alight, but Ferrari power should move the long-time backmarkers ahead of key rivals Caterham and closer to the midfield.

Lotus / 1288.056 km

With Lotus completing the least pre-season mileage of all 11 teams and finishing at the bottom of the overall Bahrain timesheets, it would be a huge understatement to describe the team as 'on the back foot'. When the E22, fitted with Renault's faulty engine, was not being fettled in the garage during the two Sakhir tests that the outfit attended, it crawled around the track and on plenty of occasions broke down. Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado will be hoping for a miracle down under.

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Tuesday 21 April 2015

  2. Video: Grand Prix of Long Beach highlights 14:09

    Video: Grand Prix of Long Beach highlights

    Watch the highlights from the third round of the IndyCar season at Long Beach, which was won by Scott Dixon

    Indy
  3. Ecclestone casts further doubt on Monza 13:40

    Ecclestone casts further doubt on Monza

    Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone says that the future of Monza on the calendar remains uncertain, with its current deal expiring…

    F1
  4. Video: Ayrton Senna's first Formula 1 win 10:40

    Video: Ayrton Senna's first Formula 1 win

    Today marks 30 years since Ayrton Senna's maiden Formula 1 victory, when he dominated proceedings at a rain-soaked Estoril…

    F1
  5. Feature: Bahrain GP's key questions 10:12

    Feature: Bahrain GP's key questions

    In the build up to the Bahrain Grand Prix, GPUpdate.net posed five key questions and contemplated the potential outcomes.…

    F1
  6. Renault confident over permanent fixes 09:12

    Renault confident over permanent fixes

    Renault Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul says that the company will use the three week gap before the Spanish Grand Prix to…

    F1
  7. Video of the Day: Ecclestone on Formula 1 05:34

    Video of the Day: Ecclestone on Formula 1

    F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone discusses the current state of the sport with the BBC F1's Eddie Jordan.

    F1
  8. Monday 20 April 2015

  9. 17:03

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  10. Bahrain Grand Prix: Winners and Losers 16:32

    Bahrain Grand Prix: Winners and Losers

    Lewis Hamilton claimed his third win of the year while Kimi Räikkönen took advantage of Nico Rosberg's late brake issue to…

    F1
  11. Manor Marussia 'proud' of flyaway efforts 13:18

    Manor Marussia 'proud' of flyaway efforts

    Manor Marussia team boss John Booth says the outfit can feel "justifiably proud" of its efforts over the opening four flyaway…

    F1
  12. Video: Ricciardo's Renault engine gives up 11:36

    Video: Ricciardo's Renault engine gives up

    Daniel Ricciardo's Renault engine gives up in dramatic fashion at the end of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

    F1
  13. Ricciardo onto fourth engine after failure 11:32

    Ricciardo onto fourth engine after failure

    Daniel Ricciardo will move onto his fourth power unit at next month's Spanish Grand Prix, after his dramatic final lap failure…

    F1
  14. Rossi wanted longer fight with Márquez 10:12

    Rossi wanted longer fight with Márquez

    Valentino Rossi says he was disappointed not to take his battle for victory with Marc Márquez in Argentina onto the final lap…

    MotoGP
  15. Arrivabene: Räikkönen back on form 09:42

    Arrivabene: Räikkönen back on form

    Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene declared that Kimi Räikkönen is officially back on form after his Bahrain Grand Prix…

    F1
  16. Pérez hails 'one of my best races' 09:12

    Pérez hails 'one of my best races'

    Sergio Pérez reckons he drove one of the best races of his Formula 1 career en route to a points finish in the Bahrain Grand…

    F1
  17. Video of the Day: Grosjean in the kitchen 05:22

    Video of the Day: Grosjean in the kitchen

    Romain Grosjean joins Lotus chef Max Portioli in the team's kitchen at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

    F1
  18. 01:26

    Championship standings after Bahrain

    F1
  19. Sunday 19 April 2015

  20. Dixon jumps Castroneves to win Long Beach 23:33

    Dixon jumps Castroneves to win Long Beach

    Scott Dixon comfortably won a fast-paced Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday, helping his championship aspirations after…

    Indy
  21. 21:46

    Latest F1 photos: Sunday at Sakhir

    F1
  22. Vettel admits being unable to find rhythm 21:37

    Vettel admits being unable to find rhythm

    Sebastian Vettel says he wasn't able to find a good rhythm as he made several errors on his way to fifth place at the Bahrain…

    F1
  23. 21:25

    Latest MotoGP photos: Sunday at Río Hondo

    MotoGP
  24. Alonso encouraged after achieving objective 21:20

    Alonso encouraged after achieving objective

    McLaren driver Fernando Alonso says he was satisfied to achieve his pre-race objective by finishing the Bahrain Grand Prix…

    F1
  25. Rossi wins as Márquez crashes out 20:44

    Rossi wins as Márquez crashes out

    Championship leader Valentino Rossi claimed his second victory of the season in Argentina after a dramatic finale in which Marc…

    MotoGP
  26. Bottas pleased to fend off Vettel 19:56

    Bottas pleased to fend off Vettel

    Valtteri Bottas was pleased with his efforts after keeping Sebastian Vettel at bay during the closing stages of the Bahrain…

    F1
  27. Räikkönen left with mixed feelings 19:17

    Räikkönen left with mixed feelings

    Kimi Räikkönen was left to ponder what might have been after narrowly missing out on victory in Sunday's Bahrain Grand…

    F1
  28. Hamilton urges Mercedes to 'keep pushing' 19:08

    Hamilton urges Mercedes to 'keep pushing'

    Lewis Hamilton has urged Mercedes to "keep pushing" with development after another strong Ferrari performance in…

    F1
  29. 17:48

    In full: Bahrain Grand Prix race result

    F1
  30. Hamilton wins ahead of Räikkönen in Bahrain 17:46

    Hamilton wins ahead of Räikkönen in Bahrain

    Lewis Hamilton took his third win of the season with a commanding drive at the Bahrain Grand Prix, while Ferrari's Kimi…

    F1
  31. 15:46

    Follow the Bahrain Grand Prix live!

    F1
  32. Ecclestone happy with V6s if costs controlled 14:55

    Ecclestone happy with V6s if costs controlled

    Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has said that he would be happy for the sport to continue using the current V6 turbocharged…

    F1
  33. 14:21

    Starting grid for the Bahrain Grand Prix

    F1
  34. Video: Drivers meet the fans at Sakhir 14:16

    Video: Drivers meet the fans at Sakhir

    Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, and Ferrari pair Sebastian Vettel and Kimi…

    F1
  35. Haryanto secures first GP2 win in Bahrain 13:05

    Haryanto secures first GP2 win in Bahrain

    Indonesian driver Rio Haryanto claimed his maiden GP2 victory during the Sprint Race in Bahrain, passing Julián Leal early on…

    GP2
  36. Bell to make return at Indianapolis 500 11:15

    Bell to make return at Indianapolis 500

    Townsend Bell will return to IndyCar at next month's Indianapolis 500, driving for Dreyer & Reinbold Kingdom Racing. Bell has…

    Indy
  37. Video of the Day: Verstappen vs Sainz Jr. 05:12

    Video of the Day: Verstappen vs Sainz Jr.

    Toro Rosso drivers Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. go head-to-head in an autograph battle.

    F1
  38. Saturday 18 April 2015

  39. Castroneves takes record Long Beach pole 23:29

    Castroneves takes record Long Beach pole

    Hélio Castroneves will start on pole for tomorrow's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach after breaking the track record in…

    Indy
  40. Daly to replace injured Moran Jr. 20:34

    Daly to replace injured Moran Jr.

    American Conor Daly will fill in for Rocky Moran Jr. this weekend at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Moran Jr., 34, would…

    Indy
  41. 19:54

    Latest F1 photos: Saturday at Sakhir

    F1
  42. Button senses improvement despite problems 19:42

    Button senses improvement despite problems

    Jenson Button is adamant that McLaren is making strides despite the Briton being plagued by problems so far this weekend in…

    F1
  43. Márquez dominates to take Argentina pole 18:57

    Márquez dominates to take Argentina pole

    World Champion Marc Márquez took a dominant pole position after controlling qualifying at the Río Hondo Circuit in…

    MotoGP
more news