The first two days of testing are over and although we can’t take any timed laps from this test so far as to creating a serious order of whose quick and who isn’t competitive. This is mostly due to these cars being still over two seconds off the pace of the rear of the grid from last year’s test in large part prompted by reliability factors related to the major technical rules shift Formula One has experienced over the winter.
The large talking points so far are Red Bull’s reliability in early pre-season testing and McLaren’s “Mushroom” Suspension.
Ok so Red Bull, the reigning champions have had a nightmare of sorts the past few days. The first day of testing almost everyone had issues in starting the cars and no serious mileage was completed although this was generally anticipated. Red Bull in the closing stages completed a shakedown lap with Sebastian Vettel so lets put day one down to regulation changes teething problems.
Day two arrives, reliability is obviously still an on-going factor however a lot more mileage from the teams occurs compared to day one. By days end, the Mercedes driven by Nico Rosberg had completed 97 laps officially, considering the collective amount of laps completed on day one was 92 officially, the progress is an incredible feat.
Sadly for some the woes of day one continued and this was mostly apparent for the Renault teams including Red Bull Racing. Red Bull enters the track with Vettel on three separate occasions. Securing just 8 official laps throughout day-two of testing. The team elected to abort testing for Day two due to an issue related to Renault’s Energy store system. Toro Rosso faced similar difficulties on day-two whilst also running the same technology.
Rumours circulate of Red Bull additionally having cooling issues, Renault also went ahead saying that the energy source issues will be resolved overnight for day three of the first 2014 test.
Day three comes and Ricciardo makes his Red Bull Racing Debut. Taking over test-driving duties from teammate Vettel as scheduled. Unfortunately for Red Bull, it isn’t third time lucky. The team completed three laps before aborting the test day early. Some of the issues appear to be related to cooling and electrical issues.
The team aims to be back on track for tomorrow’s final day of this first test. It’s not a good start to pre season testing for Renault or for Red Bull however I believe it is possible for them to resolve and avoid too much of a significant setback. Despite the lack of running compared to some of the team’s rivals throughout this test, it is early in testing and given that one of Red Bull’s potential rivals, Lotus have elected not to enter this opening test and the mechanical gremlins most teams are still facing. It’s not the time to draw a conclusion on how Red Bull’s season could go just yet.
McLaren’s new MP4-29 2014 F1 entrant has the most interest from a technical perspective from this test, Ok car aesthetics aside. The concept behind the Woking team’s “mushroom suspension” is to replace the advantage that the banned rear beam wing used to possess by channelling the air velocity downwards underneath the car.
The system opens and closes the gap between the “mushroom’ blocks and the diffuser according to AUTOSPORT allowing for a small gap when at high speed reducing drag. Whilst at low speed, the gap will be closed, allowing for increased downforce which allows for an all round advantage throughout a lap.
The System’s legality has being questioned by other teams as to whether the part is structural to the suspension or a part of the bodywork. However if the FIA declare the system to be ok, the potential gain of this concept could be the new regulations version of the double diffuser or the F duct concepts.