By Daniel Wilson.
So, the first of three pre-season tests is over, and there are several key interesting points to take away from the past four days at Jerez.
Well, its clear that so far, Ferrari are the pace setters with the Italian team topping the time sheets for three of the four test days, with only Sauber new-boy Felipe Nasr blocking a clean sweep on Tuesday.
However, it hasn’t been plain sailing for McLaren, who are back in partnership with engine supplier Honda for the first time since the 1990’s. Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso have only collectively managed to complete 79 laps since Sunday as the team have struggled with endless reliability issues.
Meanwhile, world champions Mercedes seem to have picked up where they left off in Abu Dhabi, with the team completing nearly 500 laps over the four day test.
Nico Rosberg had more time on track as he racked up 307 laps while world champion teammate Lewis Hamilton had a somewhat more difficult time of it, missing the afternoon session on Monday with a water leak, and brought out red flags on the final day after a spin on track. Nevertheless, both drivers were pleased with the team’s start to the new season.
Red Bull have had a more topsy-turvy test with both drivers suffering some issues which restricted the team’s testing, although it is still a million miles ahead of where they were this time last year. However, many teams and fans are asking what lies beneath their camouflaged decor?
Sauber have had a much more positive time of it as well, setting quick lap times on consecutive days and getting sufficient track time, as have Williams. However, it was a more quiet and under-the-radar test for Toro Rosso and Lotus who again made a better start to 2015 than 2014.
Despite these improvements, the paddock was notably quieter than of recent years as three teams were absent – Marussia, Caterham and Force India.
Of course, financial difficulties mean Caterham are pretty likely to be absent from the sport but better news surrounding Marussia surfaced today as it was revealed that there is a plan to buy the company out of administration in the coming weeks. However, their situation remains a bleak one as any development for a new car would be extremely delayed.
Finally, Force India have got themselves into more difficulty after it was revealed they look set to miss all three pre-season tests and may just run their 2014 car in Barcelona, but insist they will be racing in Melbourne.
So, are you surprised by Ferrari’s pace?
Will McLaren Honda have an easier time in Barcelona?
What is the future like for Marussia and Force India?
Leave your thoughts and comments below!