Jerez, Winter Test – THE POINT

With four-day test sessions in Jerez Spanish circuit, the first winter collective practice session has ended and 2015 Formula 1 World Championship is now starting.

We have been able to enjoy all winter work done by teams, especially by top teams. Finally, we returned to Formula 1 “shapes”, with a philosophy that has accompanied and characterized this sport, where the aesthetic is important. We got rid of those horrible noses.

Analyzing the results, chronometric results immediately stand out, proof an important evolution of a World Championship year. In fact, after 12 months, performance is improved of 3”. Important signal. We have to take into account that not all cards have been discovered yet.

The excessive power of Mercedes World Champions is scaring; their work has focused exclusively on 2014 version engine, aiming to eliminate (and they succeeded) the problems of reliability of last season, mainly related to transmissions between the Power Unit and change. The more than 2200 km put together by Lewis Hamilton (208 laps) and Nico Rosberg (308 laps) are a good sign for reliability. For consistency with which they completed the run, without trying to score time, and for the type of compounds used, they will be again the reference point for everyone. They know well where they can get and convey also an important serenity during the interviews.

Same work at Williams. For the British team, Mercedes PU is a guarantee. They have worked to decrease 2014 criticali situations related to reliability. With an average of 70 rounds per day, Bottas and Massa have put together over 1250 km.

The surprise, however, comes from Ferrari and Sauber, for their kilometers and performances. Clearly, you have to be down to earth, whereas best times have come with soft compounds, not used by all teams. Very interesting the top speed scored by the team of Hinwil. Compered to last season, they have certainly scored the best leap. The SF15-T has proven to be the best of the F14-T, confirming reliability. Even visually, it is very pleasant. But before praising, I would go easy. Competitors are fierce and very prepared.

Let’s arrive at Red Bull. Considering the different performances between the two teams owned by Dietrich Mateschitz, it is evident that Horner’s men have used the 2015 version of the French engine, paying negatively the development in terms of reliability. At Toro Rosso, seeing many kilometers put together by the two young rookies Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen, they have been on track with 2014 version, focusing the work on the chassis and gaining interesting performances.

Obviously, disappointing McLaren-Honda pair. Few kilometers put together from neo-pair Alonso-Button and little performance. The car seems quite innovative, but suffer from the combination of mechanics-hybrid-electronic of the Japanese PU.

Below expectations Lotus. It was the first contact with the new engine (they have switched from Renault to Mercedes) and this step have to be “absorbed”. They have arrived in Spain with a day late, but we expected more.

Now we will see what will happen in fifteen days in Barcelona, a circuit included in World Championship calendar. Teams will be looking even for performance, as well as development. Meanwhile, these will also be two political weeks, linked to the economic difficulties of Force India, Marussia and Caterham.

Gian Carlo Minardi