Very infrequently did the whine of a turbocharged V6 shatter the silence around rural southern Spain today, as teams struggled to get their 2014 cars ready for the track. It was a very limited day of testing, with fewer than 100 laps completed in total by all teams; the lone incident which has been grabbing headlines was Hamilton’s crash into the tyre wall at Turn 1 following a front wing failure. With only 6 drivers putting a time on the board at the end of the session, it would be easy to declare today barren of any interest to the fans, but is that really the case? Here’s the low-down on what we have learnt from day one of winter testing.
The 2014 cars are no beauties
We’d already seen photos of several team’s cars for the upcoming season, but today was the first chance to really get a good look at what the outcome of the new technical regulations has been on the look of the cars. It wasn’t pretty. Red Bull pulled the covers off their RB10 early this morning to a storm of media activity, and whilst the new car is, in my opinion, one of the better looking cars which will be gracing the grid next season, it’s still not exactly beautiful. The prize for the worst looking car goes to Caterham, with this ghastly creation you can see below; Torro Rosso’s car isn’t much better, and neither is Force India’s. Mercedes, on the other hand, have managed to create a nose which looks really rather nice. It’s just a shame it won’t stay on, a fact which Hamilton will no doubt be very concerned about after his crashed into the tyres after just 18 laps due to the front nose collapsing at speed. Scary stuff…
The 2014 cars are not reliable
The new Ferrari is also no looker, but it turns out it’s not very reliable either, with Maranello’s latest creation shuddering to a halt after just half a lap with Raikkonen at the wheel. The news from the Italian team was that the car was stopped as a “precautionary measure”; in other words, it broke. Many teams failed to even get their car out on track, Mclaren amongst them, with Red Bull only managing to give Sebastian Vettel a chance to try out his latest ride just 15 minutes before the end of the session. This is something which I believe we will be seeing a lot of in 2014, as teams struggle to get to grips with the huge amount of new technology on the cars.
The V6 Engines don’t sound too bad
It was one of the biggest pre-season talking points, but after a few YouTube videos of the new V6 engines running on dyno’s caused a storm of debate over what the soundtrack to what the 2014 F1 season would be, we finally got a chance to hear the new turbocharged powerplants out on track. The whine of the turbo can clearly be heard as the car whirs around track under hybrid power, and whilst it’s certainly a change from the V8 howl we’ve become used to in previous years, the V6’s don’t sound too bad. If anyone’s lucky enough to visit a Grand Prix this year, I’d love to hear your opinion from the trackside, but through speakers they just sound different, as opposed to the speculated audible travesty they were built up to be.
Here are the times from today’s running, but it is worth noting that they essentially mean nothing. Every driver has said that their only focus today was to get used to the car, rather than extract the very best from it, and so these shouldn’t be taken very seriously.
Jerez test, Day One timesheet:
1. Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:27.104, 31 laps.
2. Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:27.820, 18 laps.
3. Bottas, Williams, 1:30.082, 7 laps.
4. Perez, Force India, 1.33:161, 11 laps.
5. Vergne, Toro Rosso, 1:36.530, 15 laps.
6. Gutierrez, Sauber, 1:42.257, 7 laps.
7. Vettel, Red Bull, No time, 3 laps.
8. Ericsson, Caterham, No time, 1 lap.
9. Button, McLaren, No time, 0 laps.