For the first midseason test of the 2015, all the teams, except Manor-Marussia, stayed on after the Spanish Grand Prix for more running at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona. While the teams have already run two pre-season tests and a Grand Prix weekend at the track in the last three months, teams are still doing development work.
For all the passion that the Spanish have for motorsports, they really do have a terrible Grand Prix. The Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona has been absolutely dreadful since they put in the Tilke-chicane in the final sector. They can support four MotoGP races but I’d put it down to high ticket prices and terrible racing as to why Spain can seem to barely support one Formula One Grand Prix.
Anyway, there was a race yesterday in Spain. For the first time this season, Nico Rosberg found his way to both the pole and the top step of the podium as he scored his first win of 2015.
While Ferrari is back in contention this season, the battle that fans are focusing on isn’t silver vs. red. The big battle is between Hamilton vs. Rosberg. Having missed out on pole and finish behind Hamilton in each race, the Bahrain Grand Prix could have been the turning point for Nico’s season. Either he could turn it around and prove himself a contender or he would fall out of the hunt before returning to Europe.
While there were some promising moments during the race, Rosberg once again collapsed under the pressure. Even before his big mistake, he was never going to win. The winner was, once again, Lewis Hamilton.
After a three-month off-season and a month of testing, it’s all to do again for the stars of Formula One. As is tradition, Formula One returns for another year with the Australian Grand Prix. While a new season often starts with a lot of questions, the only real question that most are asking is Lewis or Nico?
The first step in answering that question came in the first race of the season. Unlike last season, it was Lewis who took first blood and won the first race of the 2015 World Championship. Considering all the drama that happened during the weekend, it was almost as if the battle at the front of the field was just a backdrop to everything happening off-track.
With less than two weeks to go before the first Grand Prix of the season in Melbourne, the second test at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona was the final chance that the teams got to get ready for the 2015 season.
For some teams, it was more of the same. Mercedes was at the front of the pack while McLaren struggled to get some consistent running in. Other teams found some much-needed form. Williams found some speed in the final test of the pre-season and Force India finally ran their 2015 car with as much mileage in three days as McLaren had in three weeks.
After barely making it to the first test at Jerez after firing up the car for the first time the day before the test started, Lotus showed that the Mercedes engine is a lovely piece of kit. Two of the four days of the Barcelona were topped by Lotus, including the top time of the weekend.
While Lotus thrived, the likes of Red Bull, Ferrari, Williams Mercedes and McLaren all struggled for consistency during the first test at a track on the 2015 Formula One calendar. Sure, Mercedes is likely to dominate F1 for the second straight year but everyone looks a little vulnerable in testing.
Usually the Formula One off-season seems to last forever before the stars of F1’s travelling circus return to the track for pre-season testing. However, if the two-month layoff between Abu Dhabi and Jerez seemed short to you, imagine how short it must have seemed for the teams.
After this first test, the off-season probably seemed far too short for McLaren who barely got any running in over the four days. Lotus was also hoping for a longer break as they missed the first day because they only fired their new Mercedes engine for the first time the day before the test began.
Up front, two of the familiar suspects found themselves frequently near the front of the timesheets with a very unexpected pair of faces in the top two all week.