F1 2014: First Bahrain Test Preview

Following a couple of weeks rest after the first pre-season test in Jerez, teams have moved to Bahrain for the first of two pre-season tests there. After missing Jerez, Lotus will be in attendance meaning all eleven teams will be on track.

One of the key talking points after Jerez was Renault’s unreliability. All three Renault teams in attendance – Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Caterham – suffered with engine problems as they shook down their cars after the winter break. It was world champions Red Bull who suffered the most however, struggling with cooling. They managed a total of 21 laps over four days – 125 less than the nearest non-Renault team managed. Mercedes on the other hand enjoyed a lot of reliability with the Mercedes powered cars of the works Mercedes GP team, McLaren, Force India and Williams managing a combined 875. Ferrari powered teams completed 444 laps (with one less team), while Renault managed with 151 also with three teams.

Kevin Magnussen set the fastest time of the test on his McLaren debut – a 1:23.276 on day three. He was followed by Felipe Massa making his debut for Williams with 1:23.700. Lewis Hamilton went third fastest overall with 1:23.952. As well as race drivers, test drivers Daniel Juncadella (Williams) and Robin Frijns (Caterham) made their testing debuts for their new teams. A breakdown of the statistics from Jerez showed that Nico Rosberg completed the most laps (188).

Lotus chose not to attend Jerez, meaning that Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado will get their first proper taste of the E22 on track this week. The team did complete a 100km filming day with the car, giving it its first shake-down. Marussia arrived late in Jerez, giving Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi limited time in the car.

The schedule for Bahrain is as follows:

Red Bull: Vettel/Vettel/Ricciardo/Ricciardo
Mercedes: TBC
Ferrari: TBC
Lotus: Grosjean/Grosjean/Maldonado/Maldonado
McLaren: Magnussen/Magnussen/Button/Button
Force India: Hulkenberg/Hulkenberg/Perez/Perez
Sauber: TBC
Toro Rosso: Kvyat/Vergne/Kvyat/Vergne
Marussia: Bianchi/Chilton/Chilton/Bianchi
Caterham: Frijns/Kobayashi/Ericsson/Kobayashi

All eyes will be on the Renault powered cars to see if they have overcome any of the problems that hampered them in Jerez. In particular, the focus will be on Red Bull to see if they have fixed their cooling problems and Lotus, who have not yet run fully. Teams powered by Ferrari and Mercedes will be able to continue their programmes after significant running in Jerez. A second test in Bahrain will commence next week on the 27th of February after four days of running this week.

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