What We Learned At Jerez

  1. Mercedes are getting more reliable.  Nico Rosberg set the tone for the four-day test with his opening day tally of 157 laps. In all, Mercedes notched up the most laps of anyone with 516 – 308 of which Rosberg completed in his two days in the car. Sebastian Vettel admitted some ‘lap envy’.
  2. McLaren made a stuttering start.  In marked contrast the new McLaren-Honda partnership  got off to a poor start with Alonso and Button completing just 12 laps across the opening two days. In total they managed 79 laps, the equivalent of most teams’ single day running. Eric Boullier was hoping that after their first day problems that they would be able to put in 60 laps in one day, but a whole raft of engine problems including oil leaks and failing fuel pumps made them pack up early.
  3. There was a positive reaction to Red Bull’s new camouflage livery that they rolled out in Spain. Christian Horner told reporters it had been inspired by a Sebastian Vettel helmet design from last season and made it difficult for other teams to spot innovative tweaks to the bodywork. A new official livery will be unveiled before Melbourne.
  4. Ferrari had a very encouraging first test ending the week with the fastest time of all set by Kimi Raikkonen on Wednesday afternoon. The SF-15T was fastest on three of the four days – and it was another Ferrari-engined car, the Sauber of Felipe Nasr in Banco do Brasil colours, that took the glory on Tuesday.
  5. Sauber were accused of putting in low-fuel runs on soft tyres to get some cheap publicity at the top of the timesheets. On Day Four they tries running with so little in the tank that they ran out of fuel and brought out a red flag, later tweeting that it was caused by ‘taking fuel out for a fuel check’.
  6. Kimi Raikkonen, Romain Grosjean, Felipe Massa, Marcus Ericsson (who had tested last year’s Sauber in Abu Dhabi) and Pastor Maldonado all said their cars felt better than last year’s model. Lewis Hamilton said his W06 felt the same as the W05.
  7. Renault suffered from limited running of their new engine unit thanks to worries about what they call “a stupid part” of the engine.  The part in question is a small metallic shaft that is an integral part of the Renault ERS water pump.  Renault's managing director Cyril Abiteboul revealed that it had failed in dyno testing at the Paris factory last week – and so teams had to limit their stints in case it failed out on the track.
  8. Daniil Kvyat got the unofficial ‘Mr Stupid’ hat. On Monday morning Daniil Kvyat ran off the track during an early installation lap damaging the only front wing that the team had built for its new RB11. And so all serious running came to an end. The Red Bull team had decided to build the car very late and it had only just passed the crash tests in time. Christian Horner decided to save a bit of face by sending Kvyat out without a front wing for a few laps, presumably to simulate what an opening lap might be like when he hits Sergio Perez or Marcus Ericsson.
  9. Lotus arrived at the circuit late and only managed  to get the car out on Day Two. However their first forays with a Mercedes engine yielded 41 laps and a very happy Venezuelan: "We ran with a lot of fuel, we didn't touch the set-up, but the car seems to be consistent, quite reactive, easy to feel, the sensations are good.” Said Pastor Maldonado.  It's a good first day."
  10. Force India missed the test as well because they hadn’t got their car ready, preferring to go straight to Barcelona on February 19th. But on Day Three of the test they revealed that it might not even be ready until the final test of the season.