Formula 1 testing 2014: Gary Anderson's day one verdict
|By Gary Anderson||Tuesday, January 28th 2014, 17:16 GMT|
Ex-Formula 1 designer Gary Anderson will be providing technical insight for AUTOSPORT throughout the 2014 season.
At the end of the first day of winter testing at Jerez, he answered the key questions raised by the 2014 F1 cars' debut runs.
Only 93 laps were completed today by eight cars. Why have the teams struggled to be ready?
I am a bit confused as to why some of the top teams, for example McLaren, haven't been able to go out at all.
Ferrari managed 31 laps, which was very respectable.
I suspected that if anyone managed more than 20 laps and could do more than four or five in a row, that would be some achievement.
This shows just how complicated it is to get on top of the new 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 power units.
Last year on the first day of the Jerez test, the fastest time was a 1m18.861s. Today, Kimi Raikkonen set the pace with a 1m27.104s. Why are the cars so slow?
We have not seen anything like the full potential of these cars. Nobody will have run with the full electrical power available or the true braking performance needed to charge the battery pack. So there is time to come.
But you might only be talking about two or three seconds this week, so we are looking at a significant drop in lap time.
I'd imagine we might see a 1m24s or at best a 1m23s this week. It seems that the cars could be four or five seconds slower this year but tomorrow will tell us a lot more.
Given the problems, will teams be able to recover ground and get their cars ready for the first race in Australia on March 16?
Yes, they will get a lot sorted out. Will they be reliable in Melbourne? No, because the systems are complicated and nobody will be 100 per cent on top of it.
There will be a lot of crossed fingers on the pitwall because you never know when you are going to hit problems that you haven't yet catered for.
It's hard to predict how many will finish, some will be limping, but while in recent years we have been looking at 18-20 cars making the chequered flag in a normal races, that will be massively reduced early on.
Mercedes was ahead in terms of laps this morning, but then missed the rest of the day after Lewis Hamilton crashed when he lost his front wing. So has Mercedes thrown away what was a very handy head start?
The fundamental car seems to be underneath the team. The reason for the front wing failure has not been revealed and there will be a lot of overtime being done at Brackley tonight with parts coming out overnight.
Ferrari, having stopped on its first lap, completed 14 more laps, so yes Mercedes did lose that initial advantage. But the car still completed more laps than the rest.
Will tomorrow be similar?
Yes, more of the same. Everybody will come in, open the garage door and have no idea what to expect and many will have to work all night.
These cars are all new and even the routines when the car comes into the garage after a run have changed dramatically or are being created new here. It's an incredibly steep learning curve.
If you had to pick one team to be in charge of based on where it is so far, which would it be?
Red Bull. The car only did three laps, but that's about reliability and functionality and it will improve. But the RB10 looks a very logical, well-designed car.
That's very unfortunate for anyone hoping to see F1's dominant team struggle...
Have we learned anything definitive from day one of testing?
There are ugly noses and even uglier noses! It's interesting to see variations in car design in this area so it will be good to see which concept everyone hones in on as things develop. These cars will look very different mid-season compared to now.