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Barcelona test results 2015: who is the first Mercedes pursuer?

Pirelli
Barcelona test results 2015
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Z twelve test days are over. Melbourne can come. Did we learn anything on the last 4 days of testing in Barcelona that we would have missed on the first 4? Not really. Mercedes is number one. The lead is terrifying. 8 tenths according to internal calculation. The pessimists say for a second.

It will stay that way for a while. The pursuers hope for upgrades and engine overhauls. Mercedes will also go for it, but the scope is getting smaller. You could tell from the remodeled Mercedes AMG W06, which made its debut in the second week of Barcelona. On paper, it should be half a second faster than the basic version.

But the lead over the competition has not increased. Because it also brought new upgrades. Williams, Ferrari and Red Bull, however, to a lesser extent. Everything on the Mercedes was new except for the chassis. Williams had a new rear wing, narrower side pods, baffles. Only the front of the Ferrari was new. And Red Bull modified the RB11 to be even more economical.

Williams in Barcelona just a little faster than Ferrari

The crowd behind Mercedes is extremely tight. And yet a sequence is now recognizable. As of March 1: Williams is slightly ahead. The car is quick on the straight, easy to drive and almost bulletproof.

'We only had two problems. One time Susie Wolff's accident, then a short electronics blackout due to a software error,' reveals the chief technology officer Pat Symonds. Nevertheless, the veteran is not entirely satisfied: 'Mercedes is too far away for me.' The time comparison: Williams and Mercedes were 0.708 seconds apart on the soft tire.

Ferrari never came back to the pits on the truck, but the Reds certainly had their ailments. A water leak on the last day. The technical problems became less and less during the test drives. Last week Ferrari cracked the 100-lap mark on three out of four days.

But speed still has to be found. Williams is faster on one lap and Red Bull over the distance. Williams was 0.213 seconds faster than Ferrari on Pirelli's Supersoft glue.

Red Bull is waiting for the nose upgrade

The big unknown is Red Bull. Contrary to the usual practice, only small changes were made to the front wing, the airbox and the in the last week of testingRear wing end plates.

The planned major facelift had to stay in the box. Because the short nose failed the internal crash test. So it didn't make sense to modify the rest of the car. The new package is based entirely on the ultra-short nose.

Like Mercedes, Red Bull refrained from using super soft tires. The fastest lap on the soft compound was 1.24.639 minutes. On the other hand, Ferrari's best lap with the brand 'Soft' of 1,24,078 minutes. A clear gap.

In return, Red Bull put in the better long run. When Ricciardo and Raikkonen were on the same tires at the same time, the Red Bull turned an average of four tenths faster lap times on the tarmac.

A lot now depends on whether Red Bull is ahead of the GP Australia still gets through the crash test. Sources from Milton Keynes claim that there is then a real jolt forward.

Lotus is Best of the Rest

The chasing trio behind Mercedes has room for improvement. This is followed by Lotus, Toro Rosso, Sauber, Force India and McLaren. In this order. Lotus was disappointed with the last week of testing. The reliability was right. Not the speed. 'We had hoped for a little more from the upgrades,' complained chief engineer Alan Permane. The aero package wasn't complete either.

Lotus set its personal best with a time of 1:24,200. Toro Rosso was in a similar range with 1.24.191 minutes. But the Mercedes engine from Lotus is trusted more than the Renault V6 turbo in the Toro Rosso. In terms of reliability and racing. When it comes to the use of electrical energy, Mercedes still has a huge lead over the competition.

At the big test final in Barcelona, ​​Sauber continued the good performances of Jerez. With 545 laps, the Swiss cars covered the greatest distance. Felipe Nasr's best time of 1: 24.023 minutes on the extra-soft tires was in the range of Lotus and Toro Rosso. The same applies here as with Toro Rosso. Lotus will pull the trump card Mercedes in the race.

McLaren with 2,250 kilometers under plan

Force India and McLaren will pay for the fact that they covered significantly fewer kilometers than the competition in the first two races. McLaren-Honda covered 1,751 kilometers in 12 days. Force India 1,699 in three days.

Nico Hülkenberg has no illusions. 'We'll have to nibble on it.' After all, after three marathons in Barcelona, ​​he knows that his car will likely survive the race distance in Melbourne. At McLaren it would be a miracle. The English-Japanese co-production had to end prematurely in nine cases.

Force India technical director Andy Green is fully committed to the race. 'With our half-new car and the shortened oneTest program, the jump into Q2 will be very difficult for us. We're lagging behind with the setup and now have to run a program in the simulator that we actually wanted to do four weeks ago. But we'll play to our strengths in the race. The car is reliable, we understood the tires very well and we have Mercedes power in the rear.

With 1.24.939 minutes on supersoft tires, Force India was around eight tenths behind the group with Lotus , Toro Rosso and Sauber. McLaren didn't finish under 1.25.225 minutes. However, with the 'soft' mixture. You have to subtract four tenths again. Button was a tenth slower than Magnussen on Sunday with 'supersoft'. Which was probably due to the higher temperatures. You have to compare Button to Sergio Perez in Force India. It beat the McLaren by two tenths under the same conditions.

McLaren-Honda only had one good day. Jenson Button completed 101 laps. And that showed that cars and engines have potential. When you can go to the limit at some point. But whenever Honda released full power, defects occurred. Team principal Eric Boullier fears that McLaren still needs the first four races to solve the teething problems. 'We should have made up the gap at the Spanish GP. We only managed half of the program that we set ourselves.' That was 4,000 kilometers.

In our photo show we show you the highlights of the second week in Barcelona - including many pictures that we have not yet been able to show you in the daily galleries.

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