Ferrari had a strong showing during F1 testing at Jerez this week, with the Prancing Horse lapping the fastest times of any team, even outdoing favorite Mercedes. Technical director James Allison opined on the SF15-T’s superb performance:
“When you bring a new car to the track, you’re always excited and worried and that is mixed with a profound home that all the hard work of so many people will be rewarded with performance,”
“We leave this test without having all our expectations met, simply because we would have liked to have done even more mileage and because you always want to be faster.
Despite Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen having the fastest lap, however, the Mercedes car was the one to rack up the most laps. The Silver Arrows put in 516 laps to Red Bull’s 166 and Ferrari’s 349. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton commented:
“We’ve put some decent mileage on the car this week and although you always want more, the reliability has been pretty special.”
Teams using Renault power-trains saw trouble, owing to a mechanical failure with a metal shaft in the oil pump. The faulty part was only discovered days before the testing at Jerez while conducting dyno testing, and there was insufficient time to correct it. Despite its negative effect on performance, however, Red Bull remained optimistic, and Renault engine director Cyril Abiteboul commented on the decisions:
“It is something that was working very well last year, but we decided to change and improve it a bit further with the overall packaging of the engine to also support Red Bull in their attempt to also have very good packaging. That is why we did not really care for that part.
“Usually you have very specific simulations, design tests, and validation protocol. But, honestly, we did not do it for this part because it is such a stupid part…”
McLaren had some difficulties with its new Honda power unit, mirroring struggles seen last December in Abu Dhabi. The team completed only 79 laps, far less than the Mercedes or Ferrari teams. Engineering Director Matt Morris commented on the performance with optimism towards the potential of the Honda power unit, which is still being perfected:
“Still, our prime objective coming away from this test was to ascertain that the main car architecture worked, and we’ve done that. One of the great benefits we’ve had in designing this car is the amount of work we’ve been able to undertake in close collaboration with Honda – particularly in terms of packaging.
“In tandem with that, we’ve really been helped by Mobil 1 – they designed a bespoke engine oil for us that’s been optimised around the Honda power unit.
“That meant we were really able to push the limit on packaging and installation because we’ve had the confidence of knowing the cooling limits of the rear end, and the transmission.
“The result is a beautifully packaged piece of kit, and it’s an area around which we’ll continue to push development throughout the season.”