Kate Walker is your guide to a team-by-team run-down of what happened on the fourth and final day of official Formula One testing at Jerez in Spain.
Testing focus: Ensure the SF15-T can fight at the front
Breakdown tally: 0
In today: Kimi Raikkonen
Total laps in Jerez: 349 over four days
Kimi Raikkonen concluded a successful week of testing in Jerez by setting the fastest lap of the test, a 1m20.841s effort that saw the Ferrari 1.2s ahead of the nearest challenger on day four. The Finnish driver had a smooth and trouble-free day, and in his post-session comments to the press Raikkonen praised the 2015 challenger, calling both the power unit and the car itself vastly improved on the 2014 models. Trackside, the SF15-T looked far more confident in the corners - Raikkonen has the pointy front end he’s been looking for.
Kimi Raikkonen: "For sure it's much better than what we had last year. I think the whole package is better all-round; the engine and the car itself, everything has improved.
“Obviously we still have a lot of hard work to try and improve things but it's a good starting point. We didn't do so many laps [in the wet] but it felt pretty nice compared to last year, and it's the same for the dry, the car is behaving well.
“No real big issues, just a few small things. We got to do a lot of laps and the weather has been tricky today and yesterday, plus it was windy today. Not ideal but it’s the same for everyone."
Testing focus: Smooth transition to Mercedes power
Breakdown tally: 1
In today: Romain Grosjean
Total laps in Jerez: 190 over three days
Despite missing out on the first day of testing Lotus were able to log more laps in Jerez than McLaren, with Romain Grosjean’s 53 laps on Wednesday bringing the team’s test total to 190 laps. The team were forced to bring a premature end to their day’s running shortly after lunch, when the data harvested showed that a problem was beginning to develop inside the power unit. No details of the issue have been released, but the team were able to complete their planned installation checks before calling it quits with a best time of 1m23.802s, good enough for sixth on the timesheets.
Technical director Nick Chester: “Even though it’s been an early end to our final day of running in Jerez, we’ve made fantastic progress over the past few days. We fired up the E23 Hybrid for the first time at Enstone last Saturday night, ran it for the first time on Monday, then completed a very useful haul of laps over the course of the test.
“Both Romain and Pastor have declared themselves happy with the car and we have a clear direction for future developments. Today we finished early as analysis of Power Unit running data suggested a problem was developing.
“The Power Unit will now return to Brixworth for a full investigation. We have a busy week ahead of us at Enstone to make further progress with the E23 and we’re particularly looking forward to the next test in Barcelona.”
Testing focus: Perfecting the Honda power unit
Breakdown tally: 2 in the garage
In today: Jenson Button
Total laps in Jerez: 79 over four days
A challenging week’s testing for McLaren came to a premature end in Jerez when the need to replace a fuel pump one hour before the chequered flag made it impossible for the Working team to get the MP4-30 back on track in time. It had already been a slow start to the day for Jenson Button, who missed out on morning track time when the car was in the garage thanks to unspecified engine issues. With 35 laps under his belt on the last day of testing - nearly half the team’s weekly total – Button managed a best time of 1m27.660s in an afternoon spent focussing on aero work.
Engineering director Matt Morris: “Unfortunately, we’ve had a few issues this week – all of which have been pretty small – but cumulatively they meant we were stuck in the garage for quite some time. Still, our prime objective coming away from this test was to ascertain that the main car architecture worked, and we’ve done that.
“One of the great benefits we’ve had in designing this car is the amount of work we’ve been able to undertake in close collaboration with Honda – particularly in terms of packaging.
“Today, we had a couple of stoppages, but we were still able to get on with our aero progamme – obtaining correlation data for the guys back at the factory, just so we can check that everything’s working as we expected. We head to Barcelona hopeful of further refining and developing the package.”
Testing focus: Miles on the engine
Breakdown tally: 1
In today: Lewis Hamilton
Total laps in Jerez: 516 laps over four days
The W06 Hybrid has proved itself to be the workhorse of the Jerez test, logging an astounding 516 laps - or 2,275 kilometres - over the course of four days despite some time spent in the garage resolving minor problems. Lewis Hamilton clocked up 117 laps of the Circuito de Jerez on the final day of the first pre-season test, just shy of two race distances, and that despite losing time over lunch while the team investigated a cooling problem. Third on the timesheets when the chequered flag fell, the defending champion set a fastest lap of 1m22.172s. Given that Mercedes’ focus has been on reliability over sheer pace, the Silver Arrows show no sign of ending their dominant streak.
Lewis Hamilton: “It's been pretty amazing this week to see how reliable the car has been and how much mileage we've covered. The team here at the track and back at the factories is so enthusiastic and energized which is great to see. We all loved the experience of last year and everyone wants to do it again.
“This is where you prove out the car - looking for as many laps as you can, not searching for fast times. It's been really positive from that perspective and every day here the car has got better as we learn more about it.
“I can't really say much about the performance of the car yet but it doesn't feel any worse than last year's, which is a good sign. I'm fit and ready to go - 117 laps today felt fairly easy - so I'm already looking forward to getting back to it in Barcelona.”
Testing focus: Defeat the gremlins
Breakdown tally: 1
In today: Daniil Kvyat
Total laps in Jerez: 166 laps over four days
The last day of the Jerez test was another difficult day for Red Bull, with Daniil Kvyat sitting out all morning thanks to an ERS problem that saw the young Russian bring out the first red flag of the day. The Renault power unit continues to be beset with issues despite progress made over the winter, and failing components limited Red Bull’s running time for the duration of the first pre-season test. Back on track in the afternoon, Kvyat managed 64 laps and a best time of 1m23.975s while working on medium and long runs.
Head of race engineering Guillaume Rocquelin: “A slightly frustrating morning for us, with an ERS problem. It cost us a few hours, but to be honest the track was a bit greasy again this morning so we probably didn’t lose too much meaningful running.
“Once we’d sorted the issue the car ran perfectly all afternoon and we were able to get through the key elements of the programme we had mapped out. This week has all been about establishing reliability and while we’ve had a few niggles the car is pretty much where we want it to be. We focused on medium and long runs all week and Dany was able to do more of that work this afternoon.
“We did lose track time over the four days and that’s always frustrating, as you inevitably have to scratch some things off the ‘to do’ list, but the major items were covered so I would say we’re leaving Jerez in pretty decent shape.”
Testing focus: Improve on a dire 2014
Breakdown tally: 0
In today: Marcus Ericsson
Total laps in Jerez: 302 laps over four days
At the end of a successful four days’ testing, Sauber were second on the timesheets thanks to a 1m22.019s effort from Marcus Ericsson. The Swiss racers were second for three of the four days of the Jerez test, topping the timesheets on day three. With a respectable 101 laps under his belt today, Ericsson is confident that Sauber’s annus horribilis is but a distant memory, telling the media that both car and power unit were a marked improvement on the 2014 model he drove at the post-season test in Abu Dhabi.
Head of track engineering Giampaolo Dall’Ara: “It was another productive day for the Sauber F1 Team. We concentrated on some academic measurements, which took quite a lot of patience from Marcus’ side, because he had to drive out and in, again and again. Overall the four day test was definitely very positive.
“There were hardly any reliability issues on the car, and definitely nothing major. The drivers and the team worked very well, and it was good to get to know each other. We will now analyse all the data in order to make further progress in Barcelona.”
Testing focus: Logging the laps
Breakdown tally: 0
In today: Max Verstappen
Total laps in Jerez: 353 laps over four days
For the second day running, Toro Rosso were able to put significant mileage on the STR10, with Max Verstappen logging 97 laps with a best time of 1m22.553s. While neither of the Renault-powered teams have had smooth running in Jerez, Toro Rosso have had the upper hand in the reliability stakes, logging more than double the laps of their colleagues in the senior team. With performance updates to come in Barcelona, Toro Rosso leave Jerez having bedded in their rookie pairing and with their planned test programme complete.
Technical director James Key: “It was good to run STR10 in anger and after overcoming some niggling problems on the first two days, we managed to do some really high mileage on the final two. That was useful, because it meant both our drivers managed to complete a full and comprehensive programme.
“Our focus has been entirely on reliability, while allowing the drivers to experience every aspect of the job. We haven’t done any work on performance so far and we will not do that until the end of the month, therefore we are not looking at our lap times for now.
“Well done to the drivers, who made no mistakes, gave us very precise feedback, learned a great deal and also allowed us to discover quite a bit about the tyres and the car. A good start and we must continue like this in the next tests.”
Testing focus: Build on 2014’s momentum
Breakdown tally: 0
In today: Felipe Massa
Total laps in Jerez: 278 laps over four days
While Williams didn’t log the mileage of the works team over the course of the Jerez test, it was a largely trouble-free four days in which the Grove racers were able to establish that their car is reliable and appears to be an improvement on last year’s model. Felipe Massa managed 73 laps on the final day of the test, with a best time of 1m23.116s achieved on a day when the focus was in aero data-harvesting, set-up work, and overall systems reliability checks. Williams leave Jerez confident that gains can be made before the teams travel to Barcelona.
Chief test and support engineer Rod Nelson: “Today was another trouble-free day and so we completed our programme for the week. Today’s focus was on aero and mechanical set-up, as well as working through systems reliability. We have highlighted areas we need to improve before Barcelona and leave here with a reliable package that is straight forward to work with. I think we are all very happy.”
Any other business
Force India did not run in Jerez, but plans to attend both Barcelona tests. It is now almost certain that the team will run with their 2014 car for the first week before launching the VJM08 at the final test.
Day four of the 2015 Formula One pre-season tests in Jerez saw four red flags. The first was caused by Daniil Kvyat, who stopped at Turn 9, while the second saw Lewis Hamilton spin between Turns 11 and 12, stopping the car at an angle across the track. With fifteen minutes left on the clock, a cardboard box blew onto the main straight, bringing out the third. The final red flag saw Marcus Ericsson run out of fuel between Turns 9 and 10 only a few minutes later.