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Report: F1 2014 Testing Day 4

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On: Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 9:08AM | By: Nick Bakewell

Report: F1 2014 Testing Day 4

And so it is that the first of F1’s pre-season tests comes to a close—not with a whimper but with several bangs, as the teams running Renault engines were forced to pack up and leave early, hampered by some fairly significant technical issues. More ill news for defending champions Red Bull, as a series of electrical and heat-management gremlins saw them complete a scant 21 laps over the course of the four-day test. Speculation abounds that the issues inherent in the Red Bull car (christened the RB10) are the result of chief designer Adrian Newey’s overly aggressive packaging of the car’s power systems. Whatever the case, the majority of fans who are sick of seeing Red Bull endlessly march from title to title are understandably sanguine about this season’s prospects.

The surprise of the day came by way of former Ferrari second-fiddler Felipe Massa, who set the fastest lap of the week in his brand new Williams FW36. Previously, the lap record for 2014 cars had been held by McLaren’s Jenson Button and subsequently his rookie teammate Kevin Magnussen. Following a rainy morning, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso set the pace in the F 14T as the track dried out in the early afternoon, but was quickly eclipsed by Massa in the Williams, who continued to ramp up his performance as the day wore on.

Based on the facts and stats we’ve seen so far, it seems that the Mercedes-powered cars are going to be the ones to beat. The Mercedes works team managed to get their car bedded in enough to run a full race simulation, upwards of 90 laps, complete with pit stops, while the McLarens and subsequently the Williams were the fastest cars on track all week. The Ferrari-powered cars also seem to be making decent progress, and arguably sound better, if nothing else.

Now that the first round of testing is wrapped up, we’ll have to wait until the 19th of February to see the results and changes implemented, when the teams descend on Sakhir International Circuit in Bahrain for a further week of testing. With all the data they’ve accumulated this week, the teams will be running absolutely flat out over the next three weeks to apply updates to the cars and rectify the plethora of issues plaguing the new powertrains. Red Bull and Renault in particular, I imagine, will be burning the candle at both ends in the days ahead.


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