After losing time to an electrical failure on day one and a hydraulic failure on day two of the first pre-season test in Jerez, Mercedes were back on track for day three. Nico Rosberg racked up a massive total of 148 laps, easily topping the distance charts for the day, in the W04 as the team continued to evaluate the new car.
148 laps of the Jerez circuit is a long, long way to drive in a Formula One car. Each lap is 4.428km long, which means Rosberg covered a little over 655km in a single day – over two full race distances. Esteban Gutierrez in the Sauber was next on 110 laps, some way behind Rosberg.
Although Mercedes put a lot of mileage on the new car, which is essential at this stage of testing, their work is only just beginning. With only 12 days of pre-season testing in total, and two mostly lost to reliability issues, the team has to effectively squash its testing schedule into 10 days – not ideal for a team that wants to win races this season.
But Mercedes are clearly going about recovering from their early setbacks as well as they possibly can. After his running ended prematurely on day two, new Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton said, “If we can get 110 to 120 laps per day then that would be a good comeback.” The team has easily beaten that aim, and will no doubt look to do so again when testing resumes on day four.
During his first day of testing as a Mercedes driver, Lewis Hamilton crashed the team’s new W04 in Jerez, Spain this morning after a failure of a hydraulic line to the right-rear brake caliper caused a loss of rear brake pressure. Hamilton escaped unhurt from the crash, but the car suffered some damage to the front wing and front suspension. Mercedes sat out the rest of the day’s testing in order to make the necessary repairs, but will be back in action tomorrow morning with Nico Rosberg in the cockpit.
It’s only the second day of pre-season testing, but Mercedes have now had problems on both days that have resulted in limited running. Yesterday saw the car stop on track due to an electrical failure after only three runs in the morning, and today’s accident happened after only 15 laps. The lack of running will be frustrating for all at Mercedes. After all, testing is all about spending time on the track to learn about the car and troubleshoot issues.
On the plus side for Mercedes, it is still early in the testing schedule, which means there is time to iron out issues like those yesterday and today that negatively impact the reliability of the car.
Hamilton will be back in the car for the final day of the Jerez test on Friday.
Poland’s Robert Kubica yesterday completed his first day of circuit testing since sustaining serious injuries in a rally crash in February 2011. Kubica drove a DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain, and reported afterwards that his day had gone well.
Robert Kubica: “My first day of testing in a DTM car was great fun and I learned a lot about the series and the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé. The first installation lap was in the dry, then a few heavy showers of rain came down and we had to wait for the track to dry out. All in all, it was a good experience, getting to know the car in different weather conditions. I was able to get to grips with the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé and felt very comfortable in the car, even though after my long break it meant adjusting to the high downforce that a state-of-the art DTM race car produces. I’m very pleased with my performance on this first day of DTM testing and had no problems whatsoever in the car.”
During a day that was interrupted by early showers, Kubica completed 114 laps of the circuit, equivalent to 456.570 kilometres, which is approximately one and a half Formula One race distances and comfortably more than two DTM race distances. Mercedes did not quote lap times in their press release, but a Polish source suggested that Kubica’s times were within a few tenths of experienced DTM driver Gary Paffett, which is very impressive for Kubica’s first test in a downforce-producing car in two years.
Whether or not Kubica will be able to drive a single-seater remains to be seen – there are still doubts about the mobility of his right arm in the confined space of a Formula One cockpit. Nonetheless, his comfort in a DTM car indicates that he is fit for racing at a high level and that means it should not be long before Robert Kubica is competing on a race track once again.
See photos of Kubica’s DTM test: Kubica tests Merc DTM car – photo gallery
Caterham have become the latest team to announce a launch date for their 2013 car.
The new Caterham will be called the CT03, and will be rolled out into the pitlane for the world to see at 08:45 on the morning of 5 February 2013, shortly before the first day of pre-season testing gets underway in Jerez, Spain. As yet, only Charles Pic has been announced as being part of the team’s 2013 driver line-up, which suggests that the young Frenchman will also be the first to drive the new car.
Photos and analysis will be available on chrisonf1.com as soon as the team unveils the car.
For the full launch and testing schedule, as revealed so far, click here.