Formula One superstars kick-off 2015 season at Jerez for pre-season testing.
It might be Superbowl Sunday, but at Jerez in Spain it’s the turn of Formula One’s biggest names to hit the track together for the first time as the official 2015 pre-season test kicks off.
Mercedes and Williams have officially unveiled their cars in the Jerez pitlane this morning, although we’d already seen both cars from previously released images. Nico Rosberg will drive the Mercedes today, with Valtteri Bottas in the Williams.
New Red Bull to star
In terms of a proper new reveal, we should get our first view of the Red Bull RB11, a car with which ace designer Adrian Newey has already played down expectations as he has said engine supplier Renault is chasing a 60bhp deficit to Mercedes.
“It’s been very much about understanding what we learned last season and setting about optimizing the car from those lessons,” said Newey, who takes a “step back” from his F1 duties this year. “It’s fair to say that our Achilles Heel last year was the power from the engine. It takes time to overthrow an advantage like that.
“I think we should be realistic about our expectations this year. Renault are doing a fantastic job at working away at reducing that, I’m confident they’ll meet the challenge, but it’s about reducing that deficit. We can score the odd win, but we can’t count on it. It’s about building for the future.”
New chief designer Rob Marshall added: “Last year’s car was a very new car; the regulations changes were very comprehensive.
"We’ve identified the areas where we can make improvements and we’ve worked hard on those. So basically there will not be a great deal that’s visible to the naked eye, but a lot of work’s gone on to those bits that are hidden.
“We were firmly beaten last year, we know we need to improve on both sides. If we can do enough with the engine, and enough on the chassis side, then hopefully we can compete and win some more races.”
Daniel Ricciardo will get the first run in the car today, with new team-mate Daniil Kvyat installed tomorrow.
What else to look out for
Vettel’s first taste of the Ferrari will give him a scale of the task ahead of him, as he attempts to succeed where Fernando Alonso failed. Speaking of the Spaniard, we will see him in action too as McLaren kicks off its new Honda generation.
Elsewhere, Carlos Sainz Jr takes the wheel of the new Toro Rosso, with Pastor Maldonado scheduled to run for Lotus, but not in its new E23 as it doesn't appear to be ready. Caterham refugee Marcus Ericsson will drive the freshly-livered Sauber.
Force India have not attended this test, and neither has Manor (formerly Marussia) or Caterham, the future of both appearing to be bleak.