F1: Teams focus on reliability during 2015 pre-season testing




The re-season testing has concluded and interesting results are come up. The focus this season seems to have shifted from clocking fast laps to clocking more miles around the track. The teams are trying to gather as much data as possible that might be crucial during the race.

Nico Rosberg has set a world record by completing 157 laps on the first day of testing in a brand new car

Nico Rosberg has set a world record by completing 157 laps on the first day of testing in a brand new car

Nico Rosberg has set a world record by completing 157 laps on the first day of testing in a brand new car. In fact Hamilton and Rosberg together have completed 516 laps which add up to a little less than 1500 miles. This is a strong statement for the other teams who barely could manage 350 laps.

To turn up and do 157 laps on the first day is taking the mickey, said Red Bull team principle Christian Horner and added that “Mercedes are still the benchmark”. Challenging that may be Ferrari who have been the quickest during testing but reliability still seems to be an issue with the team. It can be easily seen from the fact that while Mercedes were constantly doing 30-40 stints Ferrari rarely did a stint with more than 10 laps. Kimi said “This year is a completely different story to last year”. He added that “I have a good feeling straightaway when I went out. We have improved in all areas. It is definitely a positive start”.

McLaren seem to be struggling in the pre-season testing as they covered the least distance in testing. Honda has returned to F1 as McLaren’s engine supplier after a gap of seven years. Both may take a bit of time before finding a competitive package. Perhaps the best looking of the lot, the McLaren cars struggled to keep up with the front runners. The cars also seemed significantly slower on the straights which could be a major point of concern for the team. Sources have reported that the car was running only on 50% of the power and that major changes are still due on the car.

Felipe Massa turned out to be the fastest in Spain on the opening day while McLaren continued to be bundled with technical faults. Jenson Button failed to reach double digit lap figures as the team was restricted by a hydraulic leak. Williams as a team seem to be looking more competitive this season as they build on the good work done by them last year. On the same day, Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson who logged in with 122 laps said “It was a productive day and the best one of the pre-season so far”.

On the second day of testing at Spain, Jenson managed to complete more than 100 laps which is an encouraging sign for McLaren. Mercedes however stole the show as Nico Rosberg set the fastest lap time for the day followed by Valtteri Bottas of Williams and Sauber’s Felipe Nasr in third. Sebastian Vettel was fourth and Button on fifth spot by the end of the day. Max Verstapen of Toro Rosso did over 139 laps on the second day to gather important data for the team.

The teams are clearly not interested in posting quick lap times but gathering information and car telemetry data. This year’s change in the regulations may have some role in this shift of paradigm. The FIA has mentioned that there would be no penalty for an engine change during the weekend however, the teams would be penalised in case any component in the power unit is replaced. This means that the components have to work through the weekend flawlessly hence the increased burden on reliability.

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Anjan K Merkap

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