Considering the limits to testing that has been imposed in Formula One, the winter tests have become extremely crucial for any team trying to judge the performance of their new car, the feel of the new engine ,performance of the new tyres and judge their development during the winters.
Despite the fact that nowadays most of the car’s performance is predicted by merely working on a simulator and feeding in the numbers, yet nothing can substitute making the driver drive the new chassis taking it out for a spin. With many teams having already released their car and others doing so at the beginning of the test, all the teams except Force India and Caterham will take part in this test with their drivers taking the reins of the car on alternative days.
Starting February 1st, we’ll have all these teams with their drive rs running their 2015 cars for more and more laps, taking out more and more mileage, trying different simulations and working with different fuel input, all in a bid to make sure that the actual performance of the car matches the one predicted in the simulator. A Formula One car involves loads of numbers and calculations. Any team for which the numbers from the run on the track matches the one predicted on the simulator, goes away happy and satisfied knowing that they’ve had a successful winter and their car is ready for Melbourne.
Apart from the power unit, aerodynamics and chassis, the track run is also very essential to predict the performance of the tyres as Pirelli will release its new rubber for the 2015 season before the start of the testing.
Speaking of the track, the Circuit de Jerez is a 4.48 km track located in southern Spain. Since these tyres only work when they’re raised to a particular temperature, despite the winters, these tyres reach that high temperature easily since the surface of the track is an abrasive surface. But, this has a downside. Considering the surface, the teams are not able to run the softer compound tyres which only they’ll be able to use in the first race in Australia. Otherwise the track has an interesting layout with a good mix of slow and fast corners, thus helping the teams gather all the necessary information.
Speaking of the teams, starting from the winner of last year’s Constructors title, Mercedes will be displaying their new W06 after releasing first photos over twitter recently. Nico Rosberg will take the car for a spin on day 1 and 3 while the last year’s champion Lewis Hamilton will have the responsibility on day 2 and 4.
Red Bull having had a difficult 2014 ( in their standards) with just three race wins in the entire season, will be running the new RB11 for the first time on Sunday with Daniel Ricciardo taking the steering on day 1 and 3 while Daniil Kvyat taking the RB11 on day 2 and 4.
Ferrari now with Sebastien Vettel in place of Fernando Alonso, and loads of reshuffling in their administration and even a new race director after failing to win a single race last year, displayed their new car the SF15-T recently. The first run of the car will be handled by Sebastien Vettel with Kimmi Raikonnen taking it for a spin later.
The much anticipated McLaren MP4/30 which marks the return of Honda in the sport as an engine supplier was released online a couple of days back. After a dissappointing couple of years, a lot is expected from McLaren this year and also from Honda who has had a very succesful partnership with McLaren in the past, the most prominent being the season of 1988 where McLaren-Honda partnership won 15 of the 16 races. The new car will be run for the first time of Sunday, February 1st with new recruit, two time world champion Fernando Alonso having the opportunity to run it on day 1 and 3 with Jenson Button taking the car on day 2 and 4.
Williams, yet to launch their new car, the FW37 will also be running it for the first time in Jerez with Valtteri Bottas taking the wheel on day 1 and 3 with the Brazilian Felipe Massa on day 2 and 4.
Force India having earlier released the images of their new car, the VJM08 with a new striking livery decided not to run their car in the first test here in Jerez and has shifted their entire focus on the second winter test.
Sauber also released their new car, the C34 with a very charming blue livery and will be run in Jerez on day 1 and 3 by Marcus Ericsson and day 2 and 4 by Felipe Nasr.
The Lotus E23 hybrid which will be powered by a Mercedes power unit this time was one of the first cars to be released this year. Pastor Maldanado will run the car on day 1 and 3 while Romain Grosjean on day 2 and 4.
Torro Rosso released their new car, the STR10 just one day before the beginning of the Jerez test. It has two new rookies in its driver lineup this season :Carlos Sainz Junior who will run the car on day 1 and 3 and Max Verstappen taking the steering on day 2 and 4.
Although these test don’t give us a clear picture of the season shaping up, it does offer these teams a good idea of how their 2015 might shape up. A lot of eyes will be on the top 4 teams-Mercedes, McLaren, Ferrari and Red Bull who will aim to start their 2015 campaign in Melbourne on a high. Naturally what we will see here in Jerez isn’t the final structure of the car or a showcase of its performance. The actual scenario will only be visible to us when those five red lights eliminate in Melbourne!
Engineer in the making. Loves cars, Formula One , Tennis and Tech. Big fan of the 80s and 90s era of Formula One. #KeepFightingMichael