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 2 September 2014

  2. Honda open to customer teams from 2016 07:12

    Honda open to customer teams from 2016

    Honda says it would be open to supplying customer teams in Formula 1 from the 2016 campaign, having clarified that its power...

    F1
  3. Monza memories: Closest Formula 1 finish 05:07

    Monza memories: Closest Formula 1 finish

    Relive the closest finish in Formula 1 history at the 1971 Italian Grand Prix. Peter Gethin took the chequered flag first,...

    F1
  4. Monday 1 September 2014

  5. Video: Ronaldo, Button go for a spin 18:57

    Video: Ronaldo, Button go for a spin

    Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo went for a spin with McLaren driver Jenson Button at the Circuito del Jarama on...

    F1
  6. I won't give up in title fight, Hamilton vows 18:04

    I won't give up in title fight, Hamilton vows

    Lewis Hamilton insists that he will not give up in his quest for the 2014 Formula 1 title, as he looks to cut Mercedes...

    F1
  7. Van der Garde gets another FP1 outing 16:00

    Van der Garde gets another FP1 outing

    Sauber reserve Giedo van der Garde will get his seventh practice outing of 2014 at the Italian Grand Prix. The former...

    F1
  8. Honda can match Mercedes, Arai reaffirms 14:09

    Honda can match Mercedes, Arai reaffirms

    Honda's motorsport chief, Yasuhisa Arai, has reiterated his belief that the Japanese manufacturer will be able to match...

    F1
  9. Lotus drivers back Parabolica changes 13:42

    Lotus drivers back Parabolica changes

    Lotus duo Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado have backed the decision to replace the gravel trap on the outside of Monza's...

    F1
  10. Ricciardo collects Lorenzo Bandini trophy 12:50

    Ricciardo collects Lorenzo Bandini trophy

    Daniel Ricciardo collected the Trofeo Lorenzo Bandini at a ceremony in Brisighella, Italy on Sunday. The trophy, awarded...

    F1
  11. 11:13

    Photos: 2014 VKV City Racing Rotterdam

    F1
  12. Álex Márquez seals Moto2 promotion 11:07

    Álex Márquez seals Moto2 promotion

    Álex Márquez, the younger brother of reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc, will step up to the Moto2 class with the Mark VDS R...

    MotoGP
  13. Force India duo confident over Monza chances 10:37

    Force India duo confident over Monza chances

    Force India drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Sergio Pérez are hopeful of putting together a more competitive showing at this w...

    F1
  14. Márquez had 'score to settle' after 2013 09:14

    Márquez had 'score to settle' after 2013

    Repsol Honda rider Marc Márquez says he had a "score to settle" with Jorge Lorenzo at this year's British Grand Prix, having...

    MotoGP
  15. Monza memories: Button caught out at restart 05:00

    Monza memories: Button caught out at restart

    Relive the drama as Jenson Button is caught out by a slow Safety Car restart at the 2000 Italian Grand Prix.

    F1
  16. Sunday 31 August 2014

  17. Aleshin's condition upgraded to stable 15:57

    Aleshin's condition upgraded to stable

    Mikhail Aleshin will remain in hospital but his condition has been upgraded to stable following his huge IndyCar practice...

    Indy
  18. Verstappen damages wing during Rotterdam run 15:42

    Verstappen damages wing during Rotterdam run

    Dutch youngster Max Verstappen has had a minor crash during his first public Formula 1 outing at the VKV City Racing event...

    F1
  19. Williams plans to retain Massa, Bottas – Smedley 14:31

    Williams plans to retain Massa, Bottas – Smedley

    Williams Head of Performance Engineering Rob Smedley says the team plans to retain current drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri...

    F1
  20. 13:51

    Latest MotoGP photos: Sunday at Silverstone

    MotoGP
  21. Márquez beats Lorenzo for 11th win of 2014 13:50

    Márquez beats Lorenzo for 11th win of 2014

    Marc Márquez came out on top in a battle with Jorge Lorenzo to claim his 11th victory of the season in the British Grand...

    MotoGP
  22. Lotterer open to more Caterham outings 11:49

    Lotterer open to more Caterham outings

    André Lotterer says he is open to more Formula 1 outings with Caterham, having made his debut in the sport with the team at...

    F1
  23. Gastaldi adamant Lotus can revive fortunes 10:09

    Gastaldi adamant Lotus can revive fortunes

    Deputy Team Principal Federico Gastaldi is adamant that there is 'plenty to look forward to' at Lotus, despite the squad...

    F1
  24. 06:00

    Latest IndyCar photos: Saturday at Fontana

    Indy
  25. Power finally captures title, Kanaan wins Fontana 05:54

    Power finally captures title, Kanaan wins Fontana

    Will Power's voice cracked audibly as he spoke to his team on the cool-down laps at Fontana on Saturday night.  Three times...

    Indy
  26. Video of the Day: Formula 1 in every Renault 05:00

    Video of the Day: Formula 1 in every Renault

    Renault drivers receive an unexpected, special welcome whilst arriving at a supermarket car park.

    F1
  27. Saturday 30 August 2014

  28. 18:24

    Latest MotoGP photos: Saturday at Silverstone

    MotoGP
  29. Márquez beats Dovizioso to Silverstone pole 15:01

    Márquez beats Dovizioso to Silverstone pole

    MotoGP championship leader Marc Márquez claimed pole position for the British Grand Prix in cool and cloudy conditions...

    MotoGP
  30. Maldonado anticipating tough Monza weekend 13:18

    Maldonado anticipating tough Monza weekend

    Pastor Maldonado is anticipating a tough time for Lotus as Formula 1 heads to the high-speed Monza for next weekend's...

    F1
  31. 12:30

    Photos: Red Bull's 50 Formula 1 wins

    F1
  32. Márquez quickest despite fall at Silverstone 10:48

    Márquez quickest despite fall at Silverstone

    Marc Márquez set the fastest time during the third practice session for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, before...

    MotoGP
  33. Aleshin in 'serious but stable' condition 10:09

    Aleshin in 'serious but stable' condition

    SMP Racing driver Mikhail Aleshin is in a 'serious but stable' condition following a violent accident during practice for...

    Indy
  34. Video of the Day: Singapore winner's trophy 05:00

    Video of the Day: Singapore winner's trophy

    View the winner's trophy for this year's Singapore Grand Prix, inspired by the Singapore Airlines logo.

    F1
  35. Aleshin airlifted to hospital after violent crash 04:50

    Aleshin airlifted to hospital after violent crash

    Russian rookie Mikhail Aleshin has been airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center in California after a violent...

    Indy
  36. Friday 29 August 2014

  37. Castroneves chips into points lead with Fontana pole 23:57

    Castroneves chips into points lead with Fontana pole

    Helio Castroneves picked up his second pole position of 2014 at the most crucial time possible: On the eve of the...

    Indy
  38. 23:57

    Latest IndyCar photos: Friday at Fontana

    Indy
  39. IndyCar to lose Houston, switch Toronto for Mosport 20:17

    IndyCar to lose Houston, switch Toronto for Mosport

    IndyCar confirmed today that the Houston street course would not be a part of the 2015 schedule.   Twice a sight of...

    Indy
  40. Season finale preview: Power heads three-man fight 19:51

    Season finale preview: Power heads three-man fight

    The MAVTV 500 at Fontana will be the ninth consecutive time that the last race of the year will determine the champion, and...

    Indy
  41. 16:00

    Latest MotoGP photos: Friday at Silverstone

    MotoGP
  42. Márquez stays fastest in second practice 15:26

    Márquez stays fastest in second practice

    Repsol Honda's Marc Márquez remained in charge during Friday afternoon's second practice session for the British Grand...

    MotoGP
  43. Mercedes drivers react to crunch talks 14:53

    Mercedes drivers react to crunch talks

    Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have publicly responded to the clear-the-air talks staged at the team's...

    F1
  44. Ex-Caterham staff start legal action 14:26

    Ex-Caterham staff start legal action

    Ex-Caterham staff have started legal action against the F1 team's new owners, claiming unfair dismissal. Having...

    F1
  45. Video: Verstappen drives F1 car in Rotterdam 14:04

    Video: Verstappen drives F1 car in Rotterdam

    Max Verstappen made his first public outing in Formula 1 machinery on Friday, the 16-year-old getting behind the wheel of a...

    F1
more news