Mercedes Laugh All The Way To Success During Pre-Season Testing
Formula One
In Formula One pre-season testing is a difficult gauge in which to measure accurately the performance of each individual team against the other. Pre-season testing is laden with teams opting to use different strategies, it could be a tyre performance test or a long fuel run. Winter testing isn’t about the fastest lap times its about the number of laps completed.  Why? well because more laps completed means reliability and reliability wins races as does outright speed. Typically the final day of pre-season testing is the only day you get a decent measure of who is going to be where come the start of the season proper. This is what we know so far. McLaren Honda have had a poor winter test season, the new Honda engine has been plagued by reliability issues and the team as a whole have completed fewer laps than anticipated. Jenson-Button-Barcelona-Test-2015 Indeed McLaren started the pre-season test schedule as it finished, in the pit lane garage attending to yet another reliability issue when it should have been out on the circuit. McLaren expects a difficult start to the season and says five races will elapse before it is fully up to speed. Ferrari began winter testing by setting the fastest times, looked good for the marketing campaigns but its a bit of a smoke screen. Overall the team had trouble free runs and look reasonably well placed to do better than last season where they struggled even to make regular podium finishes due to an under powered engine and a lack of down force. Sebastian-Vettel-Pre-Season-Test-Barcelona-2015 Ferrari will not be going for the title but are aiming to win 2 races, a low ambition for such a team but probably grounded in reality at the expectation of Mercedes continuing their dominance in 2015. Williams who now have Mercedes power looked well sorted, again trouble free during winter testing both Massa and Bottas appeared to be quick and it may well be Williams will out grow its ambitions of 2014 perhaps seeking to nip at Mercedes heals from time to time. Willians-Mercedes-Bottas-Barcelona-2015 Red Bull will be without a few key technical staff that made it such a success over the last few years. Winter testing was, on the whole trouble free, testing suggests they will make up a cluster of three teams fighting to scrap over the third step of the podium. But there are questions over the outright speed of the Red Bull with a fast and ambitious driver in Daniel Ricciardo they could again repeat the slap in the face success by winning races. The lesser funded teams to watch out for will be Force India however it was ‘forced’ to  delay the launch of its 2015 challenger and as a result put in fewer laps. Despite this the car had a trouble free first run but the team is facing financial difficulties and has recently asked Bernie Ecclestone for funding assistance, though it confirms it will be fighting fit to make it too Australia in 12 days time. Force-India As if to underline the point that the final day of pre-seaon testing is the most revealing Mercedes didn’t set the fastest time, that honor fell to Williams driver Valtteri Bottas who recorded 1m 23.063s on Sunday. So you would think Williams are the team to beat. No not at all, Nico Rosberg set a time of 1m 22.792 not on the last day but on Friday, that’s around 1.2s quicker than the Williams. There is winter testing for you, the final day wasn’t the most revealing it was probably the most confusing. But no one will be confused about the fact that Mercedes will continue to dominate with Williams, Red Bull and Ferrari fighting for scraps and McLaren hoping they complete more that a dozen race laps come the Australian Grand Prix. Final day pre-season testing times from Barcelona: 01/03/2015 1. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1m 23.063s, 89 laps 2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1m 23.469s, 129 laps 3. Felipe Nasr, Sauber, 1m 24.023s, 159 laps 4. Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, 1m 24.527s, 85 laps 5. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1m 24.638s, 72 laps 6. Sergio Perez, Force India, 1m 25.113s, 130 laps 7. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1m 25.186s, 148 laps 8. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1m 25.327s, 30 laps 9. Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, 1m 28.272s, 36 laps  Nico-Rosberg-Barcelona-Pre-Season-Test-2015
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