Pre-season testing is all over and the rule changes have given all the teams problems over the 12 days. The next time we see the cars will be on the other side of the world in Melbourne, Australia where we are in for a fascinating start to the 2014 season.
We’ll start with Mercedes who I feel have done the best job out of all teams. Over the 12 days, Hamilton and Rosberg managed 974 laps and that’s very impressive. On the last day of testing though, Hamilton found himself in the garage all morning as his engineers had a gearbox issue that needed to be fixed. Hamilton eventually headed out in the afternoon and managed 70 laps. He also set the 2nd fastest time across all of the pre-season sessions, a 1:33.278. It was Massa in his Williams who set the fastest time in testing, a 1:33.258. Back to Mercedes for a minute though, they have had a fantastic time and I’m confident Hamilton and Rosberg will be on the podium at the Australian Grand Prix. Both drivers have, of course, down-played that Mercedes are the favourites this season but they do look very good, very good indeed.
Next, Red Bull. To be honest, they have had a daunting time. The RB10, simply, kept breaking down. They had a couple of issues with overheating and at this current moment in time it seems the major components within the RB10 are compacted too tightly. It seems Adrain Newey will have to go back to the drawing board in this compartment. Over the 12 days, Vettel and Riccardo managed 320 laps which was only three more laps than Marussia. That, I think, puts it in perspective. Red Bull are in trouble and I think we won’t see them on the podium until the second half of the season which may shock you but I do believe that will be the case. I also think Red Bull won’t finish the first and second race due to reliability. After the first couple of races, who knows, they may grab a couple of points.
Ferrari and McLaren next. Both teams have done very well. They managed 875 and 812 laps respectively. Ferrari and McLaren look to be behind Mercedes and Williams (I talk about Williams below) in terms of reliability but both teams have put in good lap times. Of course, we were not sure how much fuel were in the cars at that current time. Ferrari and McLaren were around one second off the fastest times that were set in pre-season testing.
Finally, Williams. I think Williams will do very well at the start of the season, their car is reliable, more reliable than the F14T and MP4-29. Massa set the fastest time across all 12 days of testing, a 1:33.258. Williams managed 936 laps. Bottas set the fourth fastest time of pre-season testing, behind the two Mercedes drivers.
It’s not long now until the 2014 Formula 1 season gets underway in Australia. For me, the main question is how many cars will actually finish the race? As a guess, I am going to say that (and this may shock you) 15 out of the 22 cars will finish the race. It’s going to be a fascinating season, probably not for the mechanics who may have their work cut out but for the spectator it will be a brilliant watch.
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