Author's note: Its a bit too late to post an article on Jerez tests, when the second test at Barcelona has already begun, but I think that's okay. And just to hint you: Jerez is pronounced 'Hur-ez', just a note cause I kept pronouncing it the wrong way (until I saw Ted Kravitz, from Sky F1 do the correct pronunciation) and happened to get embarrassed when I had to use that word in front of a crowd.
The first pre season testing just finished. And just like last year, Lotus, Ferrari, RedBull Racing, McLaren and Mercedes looked pretty good. In fact, include the Force India and the sauber who looked to be contending for the top 3 lap times.
So, what exactly did happen the last time when many cars looked pretty quick? Oh yea, 7 different winners in 7 races from 5 different teams. There's nothing that stops it from happening again..
A few conclusions that can be taken out of this first test.
Firstly, this isn't the first time Mercedes has looked really strong. Back in 2012, they looked at the top of their game, but ultimately its not Jerez that's gonna earn you points, its the podiums and race wins that determine the constructors and drivers championships. Sadly for Mercedes, it happened just 3 times this year.
Secondly, Ferrari , last year started off the season with a unimpressive car but one with 100% reliability. (it got better after the in-season testing) But unlike last year, Ferrari have pulled themselves together again and created a super quick F138 which when driven by Massa recorded the fastest lap this season in Jerez: 1. 17.6 They're onto something here! - Seb doesn't have plans for world domination.. probably Ferrari?
Thirdly, Lotus F1 team set the fastest laptime on day1 and Day4. First lap nutcase this year too? I think not. And Kimi's incredible comeback last season made sure that he's forever there in the 'rival' list of others. So
'not a first lap nutcase' and Iceman driver line up = Victories for Team Lotus.
Thirdly, Esteban Gutierrez, one of the rookie drivers on the grid, made sure his debut went pretty well. Cause it really did. He put the C32 well into the top5 laptimes of the day. It'll be interesting to see what he can do in the sauber. Podiums like Sergio? Wins? or is he going to be another 2012 Romain Grosjean or Pastor Maldonado? only time will tell.
McLaren Mercedes' first driver Jenson Button set the pace on the very first day of Testing. But after that, nobody really knows where they were. A few reliability issues restricted their testing time on day 1, but they seemed to have resolved all by the end of the day. Sergio Perez did a decent job with the MP4-28. But he did quote "It's much more different than I expected, the feeling," said Perez. "By sitting in a different seat, you have to adapt yourself to a different position, a different way to hold the steering wheel. Pretty much everything is different: from the pedals to the steering wheel."
We've covered Ferrari, Mercedes, Lotus and McLaren. Have I missed something? Yes! The reigning constructor's champion: RedBull racing. or now known as Infiniti RedBull Racing.
The fresh looking purple RB9 looked good. Just good. No great times set. But this is where we underestimate Adrian Newey's skills. Last year too, the RB8 looked like a mid-field car during the tests. Just when we thought "they're done", then they clenched the constructor's title in the 19th race. This year, Mark Webber debuted the RB9 on track, before reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel took over for the last 2 days. The response from both drivers were positive in terms of reliability and handling, as they mainly focused on aero work and as a consequence speed and reliability - they have to, 'cause thats what haunted them last year.
Now onto Barcelona, where home hero Alonso will be testing along with the launching of the new Williams. And also where the cars will get taste of a real F1 track.