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Worst first day of testing... EVER!!!

NEWS STORY
28/01/2014

Jenson Button predicted that the first day of pre-season testing would be "hilarious"... sadly, it wasn't the remotest bit funny.

Whilst Lewis Hamilton was spearing into the barriers, one of just two drivers to post a time during a morning session that only saw five cars take to the track, Red Bull design guru Adrian Newey was warning that the new rule which has forsaken looks in the quest for safety might in fact have the opposite effect.

Between them the nine drivers on duty completed less than 100 laps on a day when the rain didn't appear until the final hour, the track action instead compromised by rule changes which have left the sport open to ridicule and at great financial cost.

As Marussia waits on its car to get the final all-clear and set off from Banbury, Mercedes was forced to brings its first day of 'action' to an early close, the German team, like its rivals, attempting to put a brave face on a very worrying situation.

"The F1 W05 emerged for its first run at precisely 09:00 when the track was declared open," said the German team in a statement. "Lewis completed four single-lap install runs in the early stages, before gradually building into longer stints. A front wing failure on his 18th lap ended Lewis' running for the day early."

"For me it's an incredibly positive start to be the first car out on track and completing a good number of laps," said Hamilton in the same statement, a comment that might lead some to dub the appendage on the front of his W05 Pinocchio. "Other teams have been going out for single-lap runs, starting a few hours after we had first hit the track, so to have started running through our test programme was very encouraging.

"The car feels quite good, especially considering it's so early in our programme, so overall it's been a positive day. Of course, it's unfortunate to end the day early when everyone has worked so hard and we had looked like easily completing the most mileage of anyone here today, but we'll make that track time back and it's better to have these things happen now than in Melbourne. I'm really proud of the team for what they've achieved in getting us here and we'll keep pushing."

"Incidents like this happen and that's why we are here, to find them before we go racing," said Toto Wolff. "We completed 18 laps and got through our system checks successfully. The car now needs to be repaired, which is a challenge in itself at the start of winter testing with regards to the number of spare parts available. However, it's our job to cope with those challenges.

"To conclude our day's running with a front wing failure was an unfortunate end to what had, to that point, been a very positive start to our winter," added Paddy Lowe. "We were the first team to send a car out on track, on the dot at 0900 this morning, and were gradually extending the length of the runs when the incident occurred. Lewis' initial feedback was positive once he was able to complete some timed laps, which is a promising indicator for the basic package.

"Concerning the failure itself, we are still analysing its cause, and this process, coupled with the repairs to the car, have brought an end to our running today. The teams at Brackley and Brixworth did a fantastic job to prepare the car for running this morning and tomorrow we hope to start adding to what is already a useful number of laps completed. There is a lot of data for us to analyse overnight and the learning curve this winter will be very steep."

"Today was a challenging start to the MP4-29's test and development programme," admitted McLaren, a masterpiece of understatement. "Along with other teams, we faced difficulties readying our new car for the first winter test.

"Despite firing up successfully at the MTC last week, the car was predominantly affected by electrical issues during the day," the Woking outfit admitted. "The subsequent dismantling, inspection and re-installation of several major components ultimately meant we were unable to conduct any running today. We're re-installing key systems on the car overnight, with the expectation that Jenson will begin the car's installation programme tomorrow."

While it was a miserable day for Mercedes and McLaren, things were a lot more positive for Ferrari, where Kimi Raikkonen was back in action for the Maranello squad. The day's technical programme was only interrupted once, right at the beginning, when the Finn was asked to stop the car at the side of the track as a precautionary measure.

Over the course of the day, work centred exclusively on checking the functionality of the F14 T's on-board systems and some aerodynamic mapping. By the end of what was comparatively a good day's testing, Raikkonen had completed 32 laps, over a third of the total mileage completed by all the teams present.

"We had a lot of new things to learn today" said Raikkonen. "Even if we would have liked to do more laps, I think that for a first day it was alright. Towards the end, when the track was damp, we chose not to take any risks. Now we have a lot of work ahead of us, but all in all, we are pleased with our first day."

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1. Posted by Toe_Dragon, 28/01/2014 20:09

"It's neat- and eye opening- to read that Ferrari has the most reliable car- I would have liked to see what Vettel had..... and more of Williams"

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2. Posted by Kkiirmki, 28/01/2014 19:28

"Why did half of them even bother to show up? Surely some of the issues that came up should have been sorted out before they left their respective factories? At least Kimi got in a fairly decent day for Ferrari, even if it didn't start that well. The Mercedes looked good to complete a good haul of laps too until Hamilton's wing failure."

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