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Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  20 Feb 2014   |  5:05 pm GMT  |  196 comments

Kevin Magnussen posted the fastest time of the second day of testing in Bahrain as Mercedes-powered teams once again set the pace.

The McLaren rookie’s best time was set late in the afternoon on the super-soft Pirelli tyres. The Dane’s late run dropped yesterday’s fastest man Nico Hullkenberg to second on today’s timesheet. The Force India driver posted a best time of 1:36.445, 1.5 seconds adrift of Magnussen. Third quickest was Fernando Alonso, the Spaniard continuing Ferrari’s solid performance in testing with a time of 1:36.516.

Nico Rosberg was fourth for the works Mercedes team, finishing four tenths off Alonso’s time. The German, who was concentrating on race simulations, stopped twice on circuit in the morning, however, with unspecified issues. Nevertheless he managed to rack up 460km.

Afterwards, Mercedes Executive Director Paddy Lowe said: “Our day today was slightly troubled compared to other recent days; however, we still managed to get a lot of mileage done. We experimented with the medium tyre and found this to be a slight improvement on the harder compound, with more consistency.”

Red Bull Racing, meanwhile, at last enjoyed a profitable day, with Sebastian Vettel completing 59 laps in the troubled RB10.

The champion only managed 14 tours of the Sakhir Circuit yesterday before a mechanical issue halted progress. According to the team’s Race Engineering Co-ordinator Andy Damerum that issue hadn’t hindered the team’s overnight progress.

“We had a very good day,” he said. “We were able to fix the problem we had yesterday very quickly and there were no lingering issues, so we managed some good running today.

“We’re not out of the woods yet and we still have a lot of work to do but the direction we’ve taken is looking like the right one,” he added. “After a successful morning we tried some new elements late in the day, which we had been waiting for. Sebastian felt those were a big step forward, so overall a very encouraging session.”

It was a better day too for Williams. Yesterday, Felipe Massa had been restricted to just five laps by a fuel system problem but the Grove team made up for lost time today, with Valtteri Bottas logging a massive total of 116 laps in the FW36. The Finn finished fifth on the timesheet with a lap of 1:37.328.

Behind Bottas, Kamui Kobayashi, taking over from Robin Frijns at the wheel of the Caterham CT05, finished sixth, though his 66 laps weren’t without problems.

A telemetry issue held the Japanese driver back in the morning but despite the problems Kobayashi, who will hand over to Marcus Ericsson tomorrow, branded it a “useful day’s work”.

“It was good to be back in the car and even though we had quite a few interruptions in the morning with a telemetry issue, we still completed 66 laps which is another useful day’s work,” he said.

“Reliability is going to be so important this year, and it’s good that the issues we’ve had here have been fixed well enough to allow us to keep running. It’s also good to finish the day with a relatively quicker lap, but even though everyone knows lap times don’t really mean anything in the tests, it’s good for the team to start to see us unlocking some of the car’s performance.”

Toro Rosso, meanwhile, look to have overcome some of the problems that have plagued it. Jean-Eric Vergne completed 58 laps today, though the Frenchman did bring out the red flags just before 1pm and then completed only a handful more later on.

Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez also halted proceedings in the afternoon, the Mexican driver being stopped by an electrical problem with his C33.

It was a tough second day in the car for Lotus’ Romain Grosjean. The Frenchman had a troubled first outing yesterday and the gremlins struck again today as the E22 completed just 18 laps.

Finally, Max Chilton also hit trouble. After a solid start to the day a fuel system problem led to extensive work in the garage, although he emerged for three more laps just before the end of the day’s running.

Bahrain Test 1 – Day Two Times
1. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:34.910s 46 laps
2. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:36.445s  +1.535s 59 laps
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:36.516s  +1.606s 97 laps
4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:36.965s  +2.055s 85 laps
5. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:37.328s  +2.418s 116 laps
6. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:39.855s  +4.945s 66 laps
7. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:40.340s  +5.430s 59 laps
8. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:40.609s  +5.699s 58 laps
9. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:40.717s  +5.807s 55 laps
10. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:41.670s  +6.760s 18 laps
11. Max Chilton Marussia 1:42.511s  +7.601s 17 laps

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1

Hamilton just did a 1:34.263 on Softs (not Super Softs, which is impressive regarding the fact that this test is not over yet.

Currently they’re just a second away from 2008 and 2009, fast than 2010 and about two seconds apart from the times of 2012 and 2013.

And since is not over yet, I think there is some more to come. I guess they’ll gain another 0.8 seconds in qualifying on a Banzai-lap.

Here are the qualifying times of the past:

2013: 1:32.330 (Nico Rosberg, Mercedes)

2012: 1:32.422 (Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull)

2010: 1:54.101 (Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull)

2009: 1:33.431 (Jarno Trulli, Toyota)

2008: 1:33.096 (Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber)

My best guess is that we’ll see something like a 1:33:400 lap in qualifying 2014. That’d be just 1 second slower than last year, which I’d find impressive regarding the higher weight, the loss of the exhaust blown diffuser, the beam wing, the smaller front wing and the shallower rear wing. (For sure the time loss wold be greater on more winding tracks.)

Take that and Rosberg’s statement that he had wheel spin in 5th gear on the straight and I think we have a recipe for some spectacular driving.

2

2010 was on a different track configuration, the “Endurance” layout versus the “Grand Prix” layout used the other years.

Will the reduced temp (presumably, ‘cos it’s at night) help or hinder the quali times?

3

So the points rule that was invented to keep SV and Red Bull from winning another set of titles will backfire spectacularly. The first six races will see one or two non-RB winners and they will build up a nice championship lead, only for the Bulls development work to come good mid season. Then from a low position thanks to the double points fiasco SV will dominate again. Who says RB have not planned these ‘difficulties’ from day one to throw others off the scent…

4

Today Hami is even more faster than K Mangussen yesterday, fascinating. is there different cars’ top speed data available?

5

Hi James,

Off topic.. Are you employed by our Channel 10 here in Melbourne?

If so, is Rusty’s head actually out of proportion to his body as it seems on TV?

Cheers

6

James,

Can the teams do any of the drivability and setup development work with the driver in the car and running on track? Do communications between the car and engineers allow for that?

7

They can do whatever can be done by the driver using the controls on the wheel etc, which is quite a bit – differential adjustments, brakes, fuel mixture etc

They can’t do anything with suspensions or wing angles, obviously

8

Ah OK. So no wireless softwared upgrades from the pits. Thanks for the clarification.

9

Mclaren looks quick and Magnussen has certainly looked impressive so far ..Even though the time was set on a supersoft, i dnt believe Mclaren will give the exact benchmark to rivals, they should have atleast 1-1.5 sec more in hand, might just be practicing quali simulations with the rookie on a high fuel mode with supersofts…Atleast Mclaren looks to be in a position to fight for podiums consistently and Magnussen already looks quicker than Button

Ferrari and Mercedes are the two teams who look to be in a very strong position. They were hardly perturbed by the Mclaren or the Force India timings and have been focussing and doing good long runs. Red bull might get handicapped inspite of a good car, if the Renault powerunit is down on HP as kobayashi was mentioning

10

If teams are not using the maximum power and posting these fast times then there’s hope the cars will be as fast as 2013 or even faster which is good eh.

Watched Crofty sticking out the microphone for the sound of some cars on track and am still not convinced about the sound. But if the cars are faster and we have good close racing I can live with that. Some say you don’t need ear plugs……we shall see when at the circuit.

Has McLaren found their key sponsor? If not then I can understand Kevin’s fastest time set on supersofts. Next test will unleash the true speed. Melbourne will be interesting and Sepang will be hot so we’ll know the true reliability form.

11

If the cars can’t do a full race distance at something approaching racing speed F1 will be a laughing stock.

It’s a big ask on 100kg so It will be quite an achievement if they can do it.

We don’t want to see drivers touring round at 7/10ths to save fuel and/or tyres. Or in Renault’s case engine shafts !

12

Gotta love pre-season testing with all of these new regs. The chatter is fascinating. I find myself spending hours on this webiste everyday James, keeping up to date with all the latest news and hearing what other fans think.

It’s utterly fascinating!!!

Bring on Melbourne

13

@ SteveS

No, I understand the reliability issues will mainly be an issue in the first couple of races maybe the first 5 races or so.

14

P.s Is everyone as excited about this F1 season as I am? Just so much unknowns love it! lets hope the racing is good this yr.

15

Hi James,

Question on the pecking order. Who do you think even at this early stage has the edge? surely it is one of the Mercedes powered engine teams either McLaren or Mercedes themselves.

Even with Redbull running longer today it seems that the engine side of things is quite under powered at this stage, 20 -30 km down on straights is what we are hearing and that is quite a disadvantage!

Cant blame Ricciardo if the car is slow..

16

You have to wait to the second Bahrain test when all the development parts come on the cars

Clearly the Mercedes powered cars look strong, in reliability terms, but the performance differentials are far from clear at this stage

Be patient!

17

Early daze.

But the McLaren trajectory has been a steady, consistent line upwards, from the beginning of last season, and the steepest amongst the teams.

Also, this is a team that knows how to win, and has a long history of achieving that.

I like them better than Mercedes Team, for these two reasons, and they should be considered favourites for championships.

That being said, it is too early to devine anything meaningful, yet, and even the spread between the last test and the first race may well be decisive.

Add to that the long season with double points for the last race, and the season remains completely open to championship outcomes.

18

I want to see in Malaysia, that’s where we will see who has cooling or not? When the cars have to run full chat at any weekend I reckon there is going to be a lot of fragility, so if a solid but slow running arrusia or caterham play the game they could be in for first ever points even if they are 2 laps down!!

19

Ferrari look a dark horse be interested in any comment on thier long run pace???

20

Just as important as lap time and reliability is fuel consumption. As we all know as more HP is required from the power unit, consumption will go up. And with the 100 kg limit, are we looking at economy runs?

So one has the fastest car, but it won’t make it to the end of the race.. Any thoughts on this James and Co??

21

It means the 160 or so HP from the ERS system is absolutely vital if you want to complete the race in the points. For most tracks with heavy braking zones, keeping the ERS full won’t be a problem. Silverstone, Spa, and Monza are the three where I think the teams may have problems.

Still though, the torque band is so huge that short-shifting won’t be the end of the world, and they do have that extra top gear now.

I think on the “economy” runs, what you’ll see is the cars topping out around 12k RPM, instead of digging into the redline.

If it’s too bad this year, they’ll increase the fuel limit to 110kg or something, I expect.

22

What is interesting is the amount of time some teams are taking to fault find and solve problems, particularly software/electrical. Come Melbourne, I can see a few missing entire sessions.

23

No, they find them now, they figure out why they happened, and then they don’t happen in Melbourne. That’s the whole point of testing. Test ’til something breaks, find out what broke, fix it so it won’t break again, repeat.

With these cars being essentially brand new designs, I’d be more worried if they weren’t breaking down.

24

That’s true, but come Melbourne when they really start to crank it up, more gremlins are sure to appear, and the complexity of the new power trains suggests some repairs aren’t going to be that quick to do in the early part of the season.

25

could be a case of lacking expertise. Alonso hinted at it in an interview today, f1 is full of fantastic mechanical engineers and aerodynamicists and i imagine they have some pretty great electrical engineers but perhaps they’re lacking the software engineering expertise to really get on top of coding and programming problems quickly. Boullier said he would have to make some personnel changes already at mac so maybe that’s what he meant.

26

I am going to be at the clark stand.. I hope to atleast see a few cars race pass… or atleast conk out infront of me 🙂

27

I want to see Ferrari FINALLY producing a car worth Alonso’s 5 year investment.

28

yes Rod even i wish they same for 2014

Atleast this seson Ferrari should go toe to toe with RBR / Mclaren & Mercedes for WDC. The car in terms of pure pace alone, not just reliability.

If Ferrari can sustain the pace and car development thoughout the season. I am cert Fernando will bag the 2014 WDC.

Forza Fernando…

29

Damn right!!, i have alittle alter set up praying it is so

30

go Williams!! love to see pastor’s face right now.

31

James…is it possible for redbull and Renault to turn the power down on the recovery and kers systems? I bet i am not alone in thinking that this could be a PR demo as i do believe they have more serious problems. Ones that cant be ‘fixed’ overnight

32

I’m sure it is, and they probably have. If the problem is really in the MGU-K, then they’ll have to (or stay under 100km per unit).

Problem is, the MGU-K provides significantly more power than it used to, and while the MGU-H can capture energy, all it can do for power output is reduce turbo lag– all the electrical motive power has to go through the MGU-K.

33

The heat on the units must be un believable. Adrian does like a very tight car and i wonder if he has just pushed too far. The red bull is really pinched in the rear however,have a look at the ferrari and its tiny, i wonder if the running in 24hr racing and road cars has brought in some new system of cooling. They have done something pretty clever in that covered area,same as merc.my thought is that the teams gaveup last year and must have focused on the 2014 cars, no wonder alonso and co had a smile on their faces

34

They don’t have any problem turning the wick down… their problem is turning it up!

I find it very hard to understand how they can have arrived at this point with the MGU-K shaft not having survived more than a 100km sim on the dyno. What have Renault been doing for the past year?

It would seem that for the Lotus film day the Renault engine must have been running without any ERS.

35

Nail on the head! They have some serious work to do before oz. I didnt hear anything about a shaft failing, i just thought it was a software and heating issue but your explanation brings a new light on the matter. If it is a failing of the entire pack then they do have some work on their hands. I wonder if they are running at min power so that the chassis can be shaken down

36

The reliability of even the “good engines”, the Merc and Ferrari units, continues to be marginal at best. Alonso and Rosberg both broke down today. This season, or at least the start of it, is going to be like F1 in the 1970’s, where simply reaching the finish line was a great achievement. We may see some GP’s where only half a dozen cars complete the race.

37

Strange day for McLaren, they spend most of the day in the garage and then mid afternoon they bolt on a set of super softs and go for some quick headline laps.

Who were thy trying to impress, potential sponsers or Ron perhaps?

I seem to remember them posting some fast times in testing last year. Perhaps they are trying to convince other teams that their rear suspension is something they should spend resources on developing whilst they already know it will be banned.

38

“whilst they already know it will be banned”

http://www.formula1.com/news/technical/2014/0/1145.html

The relevant bit being “has been cleared as legal by the FIA”.

39

Well, it is nice to see Red Bull finally put on a descent amount of laps. I hope they will come around in time to be a contender for the WCC as well as the WDC. Lose or win is not what matters most, but having as many contenders as possible does to me.

Still early days but McLaren look handy. I would really enjoy seeing them back to the sharp end comes the season, and it would seem that they won’t be far from it.

Mercedes… to be fair I am not so sure. They have put down more laps than any other team. Lots of people seem to think that reliability is going to be primordial, so they seem well placed. Do they have the speed?

Ferrari is looking to be as always, or almost always, a serious contender. Yet this year it seems they are more up to it, if you know what I mean.

Lotus is still an unknown factor. Their first two days of testing were not very encouraging. As with Red Bull, I hope they are able to be as competitive as they were last season comes Melbourne.

If I had a wish, it would be for Williams to be back with the best. I still see them as part of the big three, with of course McLaren and Ferrari. At the least, they look much better off than they were last year. Lets just hope it happens for them.

Having those five teams fighting it out all through the season would be…I don’t have the words for it. Marc

40

That’s my hope for the season too. 5 teams fighting it out at the front would be great. If Renaults engine is so poor it really does dimish some of the achievement in winning the title though.

Everyone on that grid wants to beat Vettel, but it’s not the same if he’s hobbling round in a car which is 2+ seconds slower. That’d be like beating Usain Bolt in the 100m when he’s running in flippers. Likewise I think Grosjean had a good chance this season, the Lotus wasn’t that far off late last year, he’s another driver that will simply not figure irrelevant of driver talent.

I want to see the best of the best going head to head in fairly equal machinery.

It’s one thing a team having a car which is a little faster, but potentially the difference in speed between the Renault and Mercedes powered cars will be like the difference between Red Bull and Caterham last year – and that isn’t good for the sport.

So my fingers are crossed that Renault sort it out so that RBR and Lotus can have cars that are somewhere in the region of the Mercedes & Ferrari powered cars.

No one really enjoyed the latter part of 2013 or 2011 in F1 because the RBR was so dominant, and in 2014 I really hope no one has a dominant car so we can have a really close title battle with multiple drivers in the mix.

41

Or Sauber or Force India, would be great to see either of them take the title, I would pay good money to see that.

42

May your wish come true 🙂

43

Renault seems to have got on top of their hard and software problems but their engined teams cannot as yet use their power unit at 100% because one problem still remains to be solved and it will take some time to put right, maybe even a couple of races time wise.

And again like Hulkengerg yesterday Magnussen was on soft rubber today.

44

The Dane was not on soft, he was on new super soft rubbers, Hulk on new soft and Alonso on used softs

45

Magnussen was on Super Soft, Hulk, ALonso and Rosberg were all on softs.

46

Would be nice to know if McLaren are biasing the car to achieve the days fast time, supporting their Rookie or the novel rear suspension is actually an advantage. This year is going to be interesting.

47

They could just be testing out all the tyres – mclaren always like data and given Kevin is a rookie he might want to experience every form of racing in his new machinery. I don’t think it’s chasing headlines, after last year, if they even get a podium or two it will be considered an upswing – the weight of expectations is on Mercedes, mclaren are pretty safe now.

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