The UPS logo on the FerrariThe dick butt cartoonBest racing I have seen in years  Well OK – two weeks – mostly ‘cause I’ve been a bit slack. I think I might have mentioned that Albert Park was a sodding awful circuit sometime in the past and so it was proven with two fine races at Sepang and Shanghai showing that the snoozefest that was the Australian decidedly un-grand Prix was not how the entire season was going to play out. OK so the racing for the lead in either race was not a thrill a minute dicing but there was some great action down through the field and at least one surprise result based on a perfect strategy for the stinking hot conditions that are prevalent in Malaysia at this time of year. And some weird shit in China just to give you a laugh if you start thinking this stuff is serious.


  We’ll start with the weird stuff first shall we? Not so much in Malaysia as it is just too damned hot but Shanghai threw all sorts of oddness in our direction. During Friday practice a spectator ran across the start/finish straight in front of Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India before diving head first through a gap in the fencing on the pit wall. Well OK, we’ve had mad monks and pissed off Mercedes employees doing similar craziness before but this idiot wasn’t protesting anything. Oh no…According to reports he just wanted to have a go in a Ferrari and thought that the admission price (which to the average Chinese worker is probably the same as a house or two) meant that he could have a drive. Was probably a bit pissed that the rozzers at the paddock gates wouldn’t let him in so he chose the most direct route. He was then prevented from entering the Ferrari pit by a couple of mechanics who handed him over to the always polite Chinese coppers who have undoubtedly sent him off for a brief bit of “re-education”. Needless to say security was a tad tighter come Saturday which briefly halted some of ITV’s commentary team from getting into the circuit. Shouldn’t have left your pass at the hotel Johnny.. Ah – isn’t it wonderful to visit lands with such a deep history and knowledge of motor sport. Can’t wait to see what happens in Azerbaijan…

  In hindsight the next bit of silliness was quite appropriate considering the now missing afore mentioned idiot. One of Ferrari’s sponsors, UPS, thought it would be a great wheeze to run a campaign in which they would create their logo on the car out of a collage of facebook home page pictures submitted by fans. One can only assume there was no actual person checking these before the creation went off to the printers or one doubts that a cartoon of “dick-butt” would have made it through. Nice to see some fans still have a sense of humour, even if UPS and Ferrari didn’t. Come Saturday Ferrari had blacked out dick-butt with a nice cheap permanent marker (I wonder if they are cheaper in China where they are made?) but that didn’t stop the wags who have access to this interweb thingy posting photos of proudly smiling drivers Seb and Kimi holding up the offending logo. And April fools days was ten days past. Perhaps it was submitted on April 1. More please, gave everyone a laugh.



  And now to the stuff that is all about the four black round rubbery things on the flat black tary stuff. Team by team may be easiest and we can match it with some of my pre-season prognostications to see just how much of a genius I am (not). Well I, like Nostradamus before me, correctly surmised that Mercedes would be crazy to change anything and they didn’t. Except perhaps how much quicker they are than last year. Utterly dominant in Oz they were heading in that direction again in Sepang until a bit of a strategy blunder on lap 4 saw both cars pit for a change of tyres under yellow flags while the Ferraris stayed out. This meant that Nigel – sorry – Lewis and Nico had to do 2 long stints on the harder and slower compound black round rubbery things while trying to catch the Ferrari of Vettel who’s car was very friendly to the softer and faster compound. Needless to say they didn’t and for the first time since 2013 2 healthy Mercs finished only second and third. Rosberg was particularly hampered by this pit decision as he had to wait in the pits while Hamilton’s tyres were changed losing loads of time and six positions before rejoining the race. While Mercedes was beaten it wasn’t for pace and it would have been much more interesting had they split their strategy and left Nico out, right behind Vettel and on basically the same plan. They weren’t beaten for pace at Shanghai either where normal service was resumed. Often a second quicker than their nearest rival they dominated the meeting, much as in Australia and the only time Ferrari really got close was when Nig…Lewis was intentionally backing Nico up. Funny how much quicker he became when he was told to hurry up or the team would give Nico a preferential pit strategy.


  Red Bull are having a shocker of a start to the year and despite what Mr Horner et al would like you to believe, it’s not all Renaults fault. OK the current power unit from Regie is a bit asthmatic and they are losing them quicker than an amoeba can divide, but Renault don’t provide the Red Rags brakes. They are suffering from currently incurable overheating of the brakes which was not rectified by a change in pad supplier between Sepang and Shanghai and it sort of helps through the twiddly bits if you can slow down before you get to them. Both the cars limped home in the last two points paying places in Sepang with great gouts of brake dust spurting from the cars and just like in Oz, they were a lap down. Shanghai wasn’t much better with continual cooling problems but at least Kvyat didn’t need to wait for his brakes to give up on him. His Renault went pop on just lap 15. Daniel meanwhile struggled after a dreadful start and only just scraped into ninth place. Seems a lot like what happened at Williams and McLaren when a certain Mr Newey stopped designing their cars. I wonder how long it will be before he is dragged back to his white board?.


  As to Williams they don’t seem to have made the strides they hoped for and have currently slipped back behind Ferrari in the battle for second best. Considering the respective budgets this should not be a huge surprise it is a bit of a disappointment to the chaps at Grove. They are currently well lodged in as the third fastest car as can be shown by the drivers finishing fifth and sixth in both races behind the Silver and Red fellows and never being any real threat. I have a feeling, despite Rob Smedley’s contention that we are seeing “the best ever Felipe Massa” that all may not be completely well with Bottas’s back after his injury in Oz. Having had a disc injury myself I can tell you that even with the greatest medical minds in history working on you, you are not going to recover fully from this type of injury in a couple of weeks and the fact that Felipe has out-qualified Valtteri three from three seems to support this hypothesis. Perhaps the break between Bahrain and Spain will help Valtteri but even then, Team Willi needs to find some time to get back to where it was last year.


  And here’s where I look like a bit of a prat. Having suggested that having the two least impressive drivers of 2014 join a team that had just sacked the best part of it’s design and management team may not lead to the best of all possible outcomes may not have been my finest prediction. Vettel has driven superbly and delivered all he could possibly have done with his win in Sepang and third in Shanghai following on from his similar result in Oz. Kimi has been equally impressive, if not more so, in the races but just needs to finds that extra tiny something in qualifying. If Kimi does find it, Seb will not be looking over his shoulder, he’ll be looking far down the road at the ever decreasing size of the second Ferrari. Raikkonen’s come-back drive after an early puncture in Sepang was mesmeric. Having being screwed by bad timing in his qualy 2 efforts he lined up 11th on the grid and had to pit at the end of lap 1 after damaging a tyre. After pitting for his second time (his first scheduled) on lap 15 Kimi was sitting 17th and second last. Within twelve laps he was third and trying to hold off Rosberg who had just stopped for new rubber. Fourth place was a fine result which he repeated in Shanghai. It might have been better but as he was closing on his team-mate near the end a safety car was called upon after yet another Renault went pop on the pit straight with a couple of laps to run.   


  To say that McLaren are getting more bang for their buck with the Honda engines is not as good as it sounds. Even with the power turned down the Honda units are detonating at an unpleasant rate. So much so that King Fernando may well be in line to cop his first grid place penalty for using too many engines by Spain. Not that he or Jenson can be sent too much further back on the grid as they are currently only ahead of Manor. Be that as it may it seems impossible that things will not improve, it’s just how long will that take? And in the mean-time two of the fastest guys out there will just have to trundle around and give us more of those wan smiles that Jenson seems to have perfected.


  Force India are only marginally ahead of McLaren and are waiting for their use of Toyota’s wind tunnel at Cologne to produce results. The team is saying the first upgraded parts should arrive in Austria and so again the drivers, Sergio Perez and Herr Hulkenberg will just need to stop sulking and get on with racing each other and enjoy being two of the twenty luckiest fellows on the planet. There are, after all, plenty of others who would be very happy to race a temporarily sluggish Force India.


  The Red Rag junior team is proving the absurdity of the recent rule change mandating a minimum age for Grand Prix drivers. With the youngest and least experienced driver pairing and the same explosive engine supplier as the senior team they are getting on with making the most of it and both their drivers finished ahead of Ricciardo/Kvyat in Malaysia. Both Verstappen and Sainz are proving if you are good enough you are old enough and have both looked confidant and assured in their three outings so far. Both more so that Kvyat who has been a bit ragged in the Red Bull and the Scuderia sit just one point behind Red Bull in the constructors standings at this juncture. Sure they will make some mistakes along the way, that’s what rookies do. But both look like potential race winners on their performances so far. Time I guess will tell how good that prediction is….


  Lotus are probably the current fourth fastest team about and about the least luckiest. You’ve got to wonder just how many Chinamen they ran over before they got to Shanghai, but finally Grosjean scored some points with a seventh place finish in China behind the big three. Pastor Maldonado retiring from three races on the trot would sometimes not be an unsurprising occurrence but on not one occasion so far this year has it been his fault. Even the two accidents. Shoved into the wall in Oz after Seb hit Kimi who hit Nasr hit him can hardly be construed as Pastors error. Brake failure in Sepang could have happened to anyone (see Red Bull for example). And when, just when, was the last time you can remember Jenson Button cocking up a simple braking zone as he did while ploughing up the arse of Maldonado at turn one in Shanghai? The battle with the resurgent Sauber team for the best of the midfield will be a good one but I suspect Lotus will prevail. Providing people stop running into Maldonado.


  We all knew that Manor/Marussia would be propping up the rear of the grid this year after getting out of administration just a few weeks before Oz and that is exactly what they are doing. And they are possibly doing it a lot better than some believed likely. With the usual dipshit nay-sayers coming out with ridiculous theories about their failure to get both cars into the race in Oz and Sepang – I particularly liked the one about then only having one steering wheel in Malaysia – who comes up with this crap? – it was good to see that both qualified, started and finished the Chinese Grand Prix. A difficult rebirth sure, but that was a better result than was had by Red Bull, Lotus, Toro Rosso and Force India. A plus for effort and determination.


  And finally Sauber. After the Van der Garde fiasco it has been onwards and upwards for the little Swiss team. Except for Ericsson’s spin in Malaysia both Marcus and Felipe Nasr have finished all the races in the points and they are currently sitting fourth in the championship. Both drivers were condemned by some as pay drivers not worthy of their place in this lofty championship but Nasr after some super races sits seventh in the drivers standings, behind only those from the big three, and Ericsson has scored points twice and qualified inside the top ten in both Sepang and Shanghai. Not something a muppet can do. Both are proving themselves very worthy of their place on the grid.


  For full results go to;



  On a completely separate subject (sort of) if you want to see just how good motor racing can be without all this stupid engine standardisation bullshit we have to put up with in F1 check out the World Endurance Championship round from Silverstone. Spectacular racing between Porsche, Audi and Toyota with more overtaking (without DRS mind you) than your average Moto 3 GP. I’d say in the 45 minutes leading up to the half way mark there would have been at least 30 passing moves between Fassler’s Audi and Jani’s Porsche alone. So much so that there was a marvellous bit of film of the Audi boss laughing out loud in the pits. Exciting, exhilarating, dramatic and just bloody good fun to watch. Reminds me of why I loved the sport in the first place. Can’t wait for Spa…


  This link has the whole race – you can bounce forward to the really good bits and there are plenty of them.


Sam Snape






This is as close as anyone got to Lewis  As I have said before, Albert Park is a great Grand Prix venue. Set in a park not far from Port Phillip Bay and around a pretty little natural lake with just a short stroll to plenty of bars and restaurants. The organizers go to extreme lengths to make sure there is plenty of entertainment on hand, both on and off the track to keep all amused with plenty of racing and a pretty good music gig on the Saturday afternoon so that those who show up feel they are getting good value for money. Many organizers around the world could do worse than to take note and lay on a bit more for the fans. I’ve been to Spa and Monza where apart from the GP, all you got was, at Spa a F3000 race and a Porsche Supercup race that was cancelled due to tyre problems, and at Monza there was a Lamborghini race. The rest of the time you sat in the sun, or in Spa’s case the rain, and waited.



  The problem with Albert Park is that as a RACE track it sucks, gags, and then blows chunks. It is as about as conducive to passing as a dehydrated kidney failure patient. When you left Spa or Monza you KNEW you had been to a Grand Prix and had usually seen a bloody good race. When you leave Albert Park you feel you’ve been to an amusement park that included a loud procession of colourful cars circulating for an hour and a half. And then there’s the price. For example, if like me you live in Sydney, it is cheaper to spend two weeks in Malaysia (including airfares) than it is to spend three nights in Melbourne. And Sepang always produces a vastly better race. But every year you keep hoping, vainly, for something better. I remember one year not long ago sitting there after about twenty laps thinking, “When’s this bloody thing going to end?”


  And so it was this year. OK we all knew after testing that the Silver Slings were unlikely to be troubled but the world of eagerly waiting fans were keen to see how the rest of the field would play out and hoped for a fierce battle for everything but the top two steps of the podium. If it was a better race track we may have even gotten that but as it was, once Lewis got the jump, Nico couldn’t get inside of two seconds because, well, that’s Albert Park. Third place was decided by a pit stop. With the exception of that change the top six was in exactly the same order on lap 58 as they were on lap 4. Snooooore. Even as I sit here now looking at the lap chart I’m finding it hard to spot any actual overtaking manoeuvres. There was a spirited 10 or so laps between Marcus Ericsson and Carlos Sainz for eighth place near the end and poor old Jenson displayed some fine elbows in his defence of second last place from the clearly quicker Perez but that was never going to last, what with the Honda engine barely turned on, let alone up, in the hope that Button would make the finish.


  And remarkably enough he did. In eleventh and last place. Two laps down. In a McLaren-Honda. But that was better than some. After a winter of discontent and swirling rumours of who would, or would not, have the readies to make it to Melbourne, ten teams with twenty cars showed up. Then Manor couldn’t get their IT set ups working on the cars as some burke in the administration company had wiped all the hard drives so we had eighteen cars for practice and qualifying. Then Valtteri hurt his back and we had seventeen for the race. Getting a bit thin this. But did we? No!! Magnussen’s Honda went pop in the most smokey and debris spewing fashion on the formation lap and we were at sixteen. No we weren’t. Kvyat’s debut for Red Rags also ended on his formation lap when his gearbox hydraulics gave up the ghost and just fifteen were about to take the start. Apart from the Indy tyre fiasco this was the lowest ebb for Formula 1 since the 1982 San Marino Grand Prix at Imola where, due to boycott by many teams just twelve cars started.


  Within fifty metres of the start it was clear that we would now only see fourteen as poor Romain Grosjeans Lotus refused to change gears and he would retire at the end of lap 1. Which was further than his team-mate Maldonado would get. Having not made the greatest start Vettel left his braking too late into turn one and virtually used Kimi as a turning aid. This pushed Kimi wide and onto the grass and he scrabbled back on just as Pastor was passing him. What neither Kimi or Pastor could know was that the very fast starting debutant Felipe Nasr was already between them. If two into one doesn’t work, then neither does three into one. They all bumped, not enough to cause real damage, but it did send Maldonado backwards into the wall. Scratch both Lotus’s and we now had just thirteen cars with 57 processional laps to sleep through. And apart from noting that all three debutants had very good weekends, not much else in that 57 laps is really worth wasting any writing or reading over so roll on Sepang next week. It’s where the season really starts anyway.




For full results go to;




Sam Snape






  Sauber’s appeal against the Victorian Supreme Court’s ruling that Giedo van der Garde must drive for the team in 2015 was dismissed late today. This leaves the team theoretically with three contracted race drivers. A bit of a conundrum that.

  So what will Sauber do? Try to buy him out with funds they can ill afford to lose? But dropping one of the other drivers will also breach their contracts and that would cost them, again funds they can ill afford to lose due to the money both Ericsson and Nasr are bringing to the team. Will they, as they hinted earlier in the week pull the whole team out of the event if he won. It’s not as if they can ignore the ruling and refuse to run him as the courts would almost certainly impound the teams equipment if they tried. The best hint as to an outcome is that the reports are that Van der Garde is now suing Sauber for breach of contract. It will be interesting to see what sort of deal is done in the next eighteen hours or so before first practice kicks off.


 Reuters report stated “Justice Simon Whelan upheld the Supreme Court's decision that Sauber's contract with van der Garde was valid, despite Sauber saying it had sacked the driver in November. The decision is the end of a drawn-out international battle between van der Garde and Sauber. In December, a Swiss court's arbitration tribunal deemed van der Garde's contract with the company to be valid. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court came to the same decision, which Sauber appealed.


  Sauber's barrister Rodney Garratt, QC, argued if van der Garde was reinstated, the team would be in breach of its contract with its drivers Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson. He also pointed out that van der Garde had not practised since November and that as Sauber's Ferraris are custom-fitted for each driver, there would not be enough time to reconfigure one for the Dutch driver.


 But lawyers for van der Garde hit back, reminding the court that the contract had been deemed valid. His client would be "personally devastated" if he was not allowed to drive, Jim Peters, QC, said.”


 Interesting times…


 Sam Snape






An Australian court has found in favour of Dutch driver Giedo van der Garde in his bid to force the Sauber Formula One team to let him drive for them this season.


 "The application is successful and...will be enforced," Justice Clyde Croft told the Supreme Court of Victoria in handing down his judgement on Wednesday, four days before the first race of the season in Melbourne.


 The court upheld a Swiss arbitration tribunal's decision ordering Sauber to refrain from taking action to deprive van der Garde from racing for them.


 Van der Garde had charged Sauber with reneging on a deal to give him a race seat after they signed Sweden's Marcus Ericsson and Brazilian Felipe Nasr.




Nico bolted on some softs and then..........  Plus ca change, plus cést la meme chose. For them wot didn’t excel in their Franglaise lessons at school it is roughly translated to, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Fortunately my School Certificate report stated that I passed advanced French fairly easily which turned out to be a complete waste of time and effort. Even when I went to France. Especially in France. If you tried to speak their language and weren’t note perfect they refused to understand you. This is why most tourists think the French are an arrogant bunch. The reality is that I really only needed to know three words in French to get along with them famously. So here’s a tip. You only need to be able to pronounce “Parlez vous Australien?” If you make the error of asking Parlez vous Anglais they will think you are either English or American. And they hate both. English because they have been at war with them for 95% of the last 2000 years and the last 100 years have been just an alliance of convenience. The Americans because they came and saved their bacon twice in that same 100 years but wouldn’t let the French forget it. Australians on the other hand also helped save their bacon but did it quietly and with a certain amount of respect. And quietly got slaughtered at places like Amiens and Fromelles. Turns out they love us. I discovered this about two weeks into my travels their in 2000. I arrived at the nice little town of Faverge down near Mt Blanc and wandered into the local tourist info joint, and sick of being ignored simply asked Parlez vous Australien? When one of the girls behind the counter questioned me I responded – “Well like English but not.” This received a tentative oui in reply. To which I said “That’s good because my French sucks.” Great peels of laughter followed from all those “arrogant” Frenchies and we then got on very nicely. Have done ever since. Lovely bunch when they don’t think you are English or American. They like Australians almost as much as the Belgians. If you are ever in the regions (and you are Australian – or Canadian even) make sure you pop in to Ypres at about 8PM. The nightly memorial service at the Menin Gate can bring you to tears even if your ancestors name isn’t inscribed in the sandstone. Fortunately my Grandfather survived Passchendaele so his name wasn’t. But I digress….rather dramatically.

   Plus ca change, plus cést la meme chose. After Jerez had some folk thinking that things might not be quite as one-sided this coming season, the two tests at Catalunya gave them a reality smack between the eyes like a rotting Halibut. Mercedes, who had been, just like last year, concentrating on their long runs on harder tyres, finally bolted on some softs and showed the rest just how far they still are ahead. On the second day of the final test Nico bunged on said softs and was a whacking 1.2 seconds faster that Bottas in the Williams which had been looking good up to that point. Ferrari, who looked so good at Jerez (remember what I said about Jerez) have improved but are third quickest at best. The final result of the test pretty much gave a good idea of the pecking order at the pointy end for when the first practice session of the years begins at Albert Park on Friday. Mercedes 1-2. Williams 3-4. Then things could get a bit muddled. Ferrari finished 5-6 but Red Bull were still running detuned Renault engines and just like last year, they could still end up being best of the rest.

   Meanwhile King Fernando gave his noggin a fair whack when he stuffed the McLaren into the turn three wall, in quite a similar fashion to a certain Lotus driver last year, and was carted off to hospital with concussion. The quacks have ruled in their wisdom that another such whack may not be great for Fernando’s health and have insisted that he sit out the Australian race so Kevin Magnussen will get at least one race start this year. That King Fernando thought he was a thirteen year old karting prodigy when he woke up may have had something to do with this decision. And for all those conspiracy theorists out there he wasn’t zapped by the CIA or aliens. He just fucked up. Happens to us all occasionally.

   There are still plenty of questions to be answered in Melbourne. Will Red Bull get back on the pace? Is Sauber as quick as they have been appearing or have they been running a tad light? Have Lotus made the progress that their times suggest and will McLaren get enough track time and possibly make it to the end of the race? Will Toro Rosso and Force India inject themselves into the mid-field battle or will they be propping up the grid? Will Manor-Marussia make it and if so will they qualify. I for one hope so. Who will get that second drive at Manor? With their connections to Ferrari and McLaren as major suppliers, it could be one of their reserve drivers. Perhaps the reason that they have delayed the decision so long is that the before mentioned Magnussen will be driving a McLaren this weekend. Or not. Possibly one of Ferrari’s brood? After all Jules Bianchi had been placed there. So perhaps Esteban Gutierrez or Raffaele Marciello? Or was there some link to the fact that Jean-Eric Vergne was displaying a Ferrari through the Adelaide 500 touring car race? Or will Ferrari help out engine purchaser Sauber and arrange for Van der Garde to get the drive so he ditches his court case demanding a Sauber drive this year. That case is due to be heard in the Victorian Supreme Court tomorrow and depending on the outcome may decide who will line up in the Saubers on the weekend. Or at Manor-Marussia. Or not. May just be someone else with a brief-case full of cash. It may be a race or two before we know their definitive line-up. We have to have something to ponder over after all….

 For full testing results go to;

 Sam Snape






Raikkonen was fastest at Jerez - or was he?  All sound and fury, signifying nothing. That is about all that can be said about the four days at Jerez. For the record Ferrari was fastest, McLaren was slowest, and Force India didn’t even bother showing up. Despite some websites and publications using plenty of ink (or bytes) telling you what we’ve learnt or making grand predictions based on the relative performances last week let me give you the one tip you really can rely on. They’re talking bollocks.

  Much like last year, and many years prior to that, the times generated at the first test mean bugger all when it comes to how the grid forms up in Melbourne. Much like last year, Ferrari was fast. Much like last year Renault was unreliable. Much like last year Mercedes was not (particularly fast nor unreliable). Last year, come Melbourne, Ferrari was slow, Renault was reliable (at least in Ricciardo’s Red Bull) and Mercedes vanished rapidly into the distance. Such was the performance differential some suggested that Mercedes completed half the Malaysian Grand Prix before the rest of the field finished at Albert Park.


  Does anyone really think that Ferrari have found so much speed that they are now the team to beat? Or that Sauber have the second best car for the coming year? Or that Mercedes have produced a slower car than last year? Or that McLaren Honda are really that far off the pace? In reality all that the Jerez test is about is making sure that your car has all its bits connected to all the other bits they need to be connected to ensure you don’t have the embarrassing sight of injectors firing fuel out of the air-box or the big wheels at the front. 

  And let’s be honest about it,  embarrassing blunders do occur. How many laps did Renault powered teams do last year? Remember McLaren producing a car that Nigel Mansell couldn’t squeeze his fat arse into? History is littered with great ideas that come a cropper as soon as the wheels turn. Or don’t as the case may be. The wingless wonders of the ground effect era (the Lotus 80 and Brabham BT47) that rapidly sprouted wings (and in Brabham’s case became the bog standard BT48), March’s 721 with its polar moment of inertia. The BRM P15. The McLaren MP4/18. The Arrows (Footwork) FA12 Porsche... Eek. But this is what testing is for. Some dung heaps stay dung heaps but some come out the other side as roses. OK it’s not F1 but how about the Porsche 917 as an example? Terrifyingly unstable upon release in 1969. Dominated sports car racing in 1970 and 71 to the extent that the sport’s governing body changed the rules to outlaw them. Or the Lotus 77 that struggled to qualify at the beginning of 1976 but won the final round at Fuji.

  There were though, some things we did learn. Not many and few will have any relevance once the season starts. Renault need to redesign a shaft in the ERS water pump. Badly. Again the Mercedes engines are putting in an ominous amount of laps without any serious problems. And discounting the fastest overall lap times, which can be run with sod all fuel and ballast mysteriously disappearing, it was perhaps significant to note that the fastest three cars through the speed trap on the back straight (Williams, Mercedes and Lotus) were all Mercedes powered. The best Renault and Ferrari powered cars (Toro Rosso and Sauber) were over 4 kph down on the Williams. That could, however, be accounted for by the amount of rear wing/downforce/drag that the slower cars were running which may have also contributed to their better overall lap times as Jerez is about as fast and flowing as the Hungaroring.

   Which is why Force India didn’t even bother showing up. With a desire to give themselves more time to develop and build the car they never intended to have their 2015 challenger ready for Jerez and simply trolling around a circuit that has few similarities with the bulk of the tracks in race usage in last year’s car was seen to be of little, if any, value. When the first of two tests at Barcelona begins late next week we should be able to begin to have the first glimmers of an inkling about understanding the possible potential performance of this year’s contenders. Do I have any real knowledge  yet? To quote Douglas Adams “the thought hadn’t even begun to speculate about the merest possibility of crossing my mind.”

 For full times & results ;

 Sam Snape 10/02/2015