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Mar 04, 2014

F1 Test at Bahrain: A Brief Review



F1 Test at Bahrain: A Brief Review

After a few weeks’ break since the last test, the fleet of this year’s 1.6 liter turbocharged Formula One cars showed themselves once again, this time for the next preseason tests at Bahrain. The last test at Jerez was full of surprises, especially with rookie driver Kevin Magnussen from McLaren topping the lap charts, and team Red Bull struggling to put down laps throughout the week.

Mercedes-powered cars continued to lay down many fast laps, this time with the Williams car piloted by Felipe Massa coming out on top with the fastest time. While the Williams and Mercedes teams were quick, they did not come out of the week without their share of problems. Mercedes suffered multiple errors, leading team driver Nico Rosberg to believe that Mercedes still is not ready for Melbourne in terms of reliability. Williams had to deal with overheating issues, and McLaren was burdened with an engine change and multiple gearbox issues. Nevertheless, Mercedes, McLaren, and Williams have certainly built up some public excitement for what they may bring to the start of the season.

While the Mercedes-powered teams have been drawing a lot of attention during the preseason tests, there are other contenders to watch out for. Ferrari drivers Alonso and Raikkonen posted 5th and 7th in best lap times at the test, with hopes of further improvements as team members have stated that there is still plenty of room for improvement in car setup. Perez and Hulkenberg with Force India slotted themselves in the 6th and 8th positions, showing great strengths primarily in car reliability.

Matters with teams Red Bull and Lotus have unfortunately been less than stellar. Both teams have faced a heavy share of problems, holding them back from getting any significant time on track. Even worse for Lotus, as they missed the first test at Jerez, putting them in critical mode for analyzing what little data they have. Sebastian Vettel has been dealing with multiple breakdowns, and recently admitted that the car is not up to part with the competition in terms of pace.

Now we are left to wait over the next two weeks to see what each of the teams bring to the table at Melbourne. Some teams have been more successful than others in different respects, but there still has not been any clear dominant force. While other teams have been underperforming to their expectations, we still can’t rule them out as competitive forces, as Formula One always has new ways of surprising us.