The first race weekend of the season may seem a long way away, yet this weekend Formula 1 2015 really gets under way. The first pre-season test starts on Sunday morning thus starts the long and bumpy road to Melbourne. Along the way the new cars will be put through their paces at a four-day test in Jerez followed by a further eight days of testing in Barcelona.
Topping the time sheets at the first test means nothing, getting mileage on the new chassis and finding out the areas in which the teams can improve the car is the focus up and down the grid. With cool track temperatures, cars running different programmes, running with different fuel loads, unreliability and red flags we won’t necessarily find out who is really on top until race day in Australia. Although the teams will have a great amount of data after the opening four days, it will mean little when they arrive in Barcelona for the second and third tests due to the vast differences between the two circuits.
The first test is the first time that the fans get to see the new cars hit the circuit for the first time, something that all fans look forward to on the opening day of the test. Not only are the cars brand new, but the driver line ups are also different. Perhaps the biggest story of the season heading into the new season is Fernando Alonso’s McLaren return. The Spaniard will partner Jenson Button at the Honda powered team, fingers crossed the relationship with the team doesn’t end in the manner in which it did in 2007.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) January 29, 2015
With Fernando Alonso swapping Ferrari for McLaren it was up to Ferrari to partner Kimi Raikkonen with a big name; Ferrari went about trying to lure Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull and were successful in their approach. Daniil Kvyat will partner Daniel Ricciardo at Red Bull. Two teams have opted to completely change their driver line up. Toro Rosso have opted to promote from within, the highly rated pair of Carlos Sainz, Jr. and Max Verstappen will lead the teams challenge whilst Sauber have gone for a line up consisting of Brazilian Felipe Nasr and Sweden’s Marcus Ericsson. Mercedes, Williams, Force India and Lotus have all opted to retain their 2014 line ups.
With the test kicking off tomorrow, some teams are still yet to launch their 2015 challengers. Red Bull who have admitted they are behind in terms of the development of the RB11 should be ready for the first test. Force India have this season opted for a change of livery with the main change being the green being replaced with silver the team did not actually show their 2015 car, the team opted to show the 2015 livery on the ’14 model.
Whilst they were first to have an official launch, however Williams did show a picture of their 2015 car in a magazine before the Force India livery presentation.
— Sahara Force India (@ForceIndiaF1) January 21, 2015
Lotus were next to show off the car that they hope is a vast improvement on last season, and now with a Mercedes engine the team are sure of better luck in 2015. Perhaps the most anticipated launch of the winter was the McLaren MP4/30. Much to the surprise of everyone the Woking based team have opted for a silver car, contary to belief that the silver would be dropped due to their new engine partner in Honda. Whilst there was shock the new livery has been met with great praise and is a vast improvement on last season.
Mercedes have released a number of images of the W06 and the car that is believed will be the class of the field. The defending champions had a shakedown at Silverstone on Thursday as well as a filming day. Both drivers were present but unfortunately a snow storm cut Lewis Hamilton’s running short. Ferrari, alongside their new driver line up, were next in showing off the SF15-T and there were no surprises with the livery much like the Mercedes, both having a lower nose than last season; a lot of the changes won’t be clearly visible until testing is under way.
In terms of livery Sauber have gone under a huge change. With the backing new boy Felipe Nasr and his sponsors the car has seen quite a makeover opting for a yellow and blue livery which is bound to stand out.
Testing is always exciting and highly anticipated, with the drivers getting to grips with their new toys and struggling with the cool winter temperatures; the timesheets can definitely be deceiving.
Make sure to come back to Kettle at the end of each test for a round up of all the action and the talking points.
Are you excited for the new season? Have your say in the comments section below.