Formula One: 2015 Jerez Test Recap

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.

Day 1 (February 1)

f1-2015-jerez-test-vettel-ferrariWith engine improvements allowed between seasons, it looks like Ferrari has taken full advantage. The two Ferrari supplied teams topped the timesheets on the first day of testing with the Scuderia’s new boy Sebastian Vettel leading Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson. The funny thing is that the two Ferrari teams combined for fewer laps than Nico Rosberg. The Mercedes completed 153 laps to Vettel’s 60 and Ericsson’s 73.

The interesting stories were at the bottom of the timesheets. The test started in Sunday but it wasn’t until the day before that Lotus installed and fired their new Mercedes engine for the first time so they were late to Jerez. And McLaren’s teething pains with the new Honda engines continued from the 2014 Abu Dhabi post-season test. They only managed six laps on-track on the day and timed in last.

  1. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:22.620
  2. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:22.777
  3. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:23.106
  4. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull-Renault – 1:23.338
  5. Valtteri Bottas – Williams-Mercedes – 1:23.906
  6. Carlito Sainz – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:25.327
  7. Fernando Alonso – McLaren-Honda – 1:40.738

Day 2 (February 2)

f1-2015-jerez-test-kvyat-rbrFor the second day running, Ferrari and Sauber were on top. It was Vettel leading Felipe Nasr in the newly blue Sauber-Ferrari. The 90 lap mark was popular among runners today as Vettel, Nasr and defending champion Lewis Hamilton each ended up around 90 laps plus or minus a lap.

It wasn’t a trouble-free day in the paddock. McLaren couldn’t get their new package sorted yet either. That was made all the more embarrassing when Pastor Maldonado went faster and longer than McLaren despite Lotus having a Mercedes engine in the back of their car for two days prior to this test day. Red Bull had the worst day as Daniil Kvyat broke the front wing early in the running which prevented the team from any meaningful running while they awaited a replacement.

  1. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:20.984
  2. Felipe Nasr – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:21.867
  3. Valtteri Bottas – Williams-Mercedes – 1:22.319
  4. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:22.490
  5. Max Verstappen – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:24.167
  6. Pastor Maldonado – Lotus-Mercedes – 1:25.802
  7. Jenson Button – McLaren-Honda – 1:54.655
  8. Daniil Kvyat – Red Bull-Renault – No Time

Day 3 (February 3)

f1-2015-jerez-test-nasr-sauberThe general consensus is that the Sauber is the least adventurous looking car on the grid. The sidepods aren’t sculpted tight. It has a lot of air intakes above the driver. And that nose looks absolutely ridiculous. However, they’re surprisingly quick. Most everyone is attributing that to the Ferrari engine but we’ll see how in-season development affects Sauber’s potential success.

McLaren got some decent running in during the day with Alonso completing 31 laps before cooling issues sidelined the car for the day. It also seemed as though Alonso was struggling with the drivability of the Honda engine and ERS unit. Drivability is also a concern at Toro Rosso as the car never seemed stable at any point in the lap. And an engine change limited Red Bull’s running on the day.

  1. Felipe Nasr – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:21.545
  2. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:21.750
  3. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:21.982
  4. Felipe Massa – Williams-Mercedes – 1:22.276
  5. Pastor Maldonado – Lotus-Mercedes – 1:22.713
  6. Carlito Sainz – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:23.187
  7. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull-Renault – 1:23.901
  8. Fernando Alonso – McLaren-Honda – 1:35.553

Day 4 (February 4)

f1-2015-jerez-test-button-mclarenOnly two of the eight cars at the test were powered by Ferrari (two were powered by Renault, three have Mercedes engines and McLaren is the sole Honda team) but those two Ferrari teams took the top two spots on the timesheets in each day of the test. Kimi Raikkonen went fastest to close the first test of the 2015 season by going fastest of the week. He and Vettel were the only two drivers to get into the 1:20s.

Each of the top three runners on the day topped 100 laps so they aren’t just running for speed. Finally finding some speed was McLaren. Despite being almost seven seconds off the pace, Jenson Button had to be over the moon that the team broke 1:30.

  1. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:20.841
  2. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:22.019
  3. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:22.172
  4. Max Verstappen – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:22.553
  5. Felipe Massa – Williams-Mercedes – 1:23.116
  6. Romain Grosjean – Lotus-Mercedes – 1:23.802
  7. Daniil Kvyat – Red Bull-Renault – 1:23.975
  8. Jenson Button – McLaren-Honda – 1:27.660

Best Times of the Week

  1. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:20.841
  2. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:20.984
  3. Felipe Nasr – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:21.545
  4. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:21.982
  5. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:22.019
  6. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:22.172
  7. Felipe Massa – Williams-Mercedes – 1:22.276
  8. Valtteri Bottas – Williams-Mercedes – 1:22.319
  9. Max Verstappen – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:22.553
  10. Pastor Maldonado – Lotus-Mercedes – 1:22.713
  11. Carlito Sainz – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:23.187
  12. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull-Renault -1:23.338
  13. Romain Grosjean – Lotus-Mercedes – 1:23.802
  14. Daniil Kvyat – Red Bull-Renault – 1:23.975
  15. Jenson Button – McLaren-Honda – 1:27.660
  16. Fernando Alonso – McLaren-Honda – 1:35.553

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