The third and final pre-season test will start tomorrow with teams getting the final opportunity to prepare their cars for the start of the season. The Australian Grand Prix is just over two weeks away and with the raft of regulation changes already proving to make life difficult for some teams, these four days could be crucial.
Teams will be hoping to get a lot of laps under their belt, in particular Red Bull and Marussia who have had particularly difficult starts to testing. Red Bull have suffered from reliability and cooling issues while Marussia were hampered by a computer virus which kept their running to a minimum in Bahrain just last week. There is no denying that Mercedes powered cars look to have the strongest package so far, completing significantly more mileage than their rivals with Ferrari and Renault power. Times aren’t the be-all and end-all in testing, in fact many things can change between now and the first race, but at the last Bahrain test the top ten drivers (in terms of combined lap-times) featured seven Mercedes powered drivers. So far in eight days of testing Mercedes have completed 2041 laps, Ferrari have completed 1000 laps, and Renault have completed 768 laps. Granted, Lotus missed the first test and Marussia missed half of it and had incredibly limited running in Bahrain last week, but that doesn’t account for the over 1000 lap deficit.
Williams’ test driver Felipe Nasr completed 87 laps on his one and only day of testing – that is more than reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel managed in four. For full statistics from Bahrain and Jerez, follow the links.