Tuesday, 19 February 2013 by

Speculation about the first test at Jerez

Test times, especially at the first test, usually provide little useful information because the teams are usually testing for reliability and long distance runs rather than single lap pace. The only obvious conclusion from this first testing is that no team has introduced a radical design that will dominate the season in the manner of Brawn in 2009.

Philip Horton on F1 Zone notes that Red Bull will be happy to have completed so many laps without any reliability issues. Meanwhile, Mercedes had many mechanical issues and may not have solved the reliability problems that plagued Schumacher's final season. Also, no other lower team look to have moved up to the level of the top five teams.

Close study of the times may reveal some speculative information. Ted Kravitz has tried to account for variabilities over different fuel rates on the BBC. He thinks that Ferrari and McLaren seems to be largely on similar pace as last year with Lotus also just behind them. The two main differences are Red Bull and Mercedes. Red Bull appear to slower than those teams. Since the McLaren looked the quicker car in the last two races 2012 so this should not be unexpected but this does not account for the Red Bull being slower than Ferrari. If Ted is correct then either the Red Bull is slower or the Ferrari is quicker. Meanwhile, Rosberg in the Mercedes looks quicker than would be expected whilst Hamilton looks slower. Rosberg seems to have shown the Mercedes has potential so when Hamilton gets used to the car his choice to change teams may not turn out as bad as many predicted.

Image © Leo Hidalgo