The 2014 Formula One season moves another step closer when the teams travel to Bahrain for the second of the year's pre-season tests.
The drivers and teams have four more days to get to know their new cars, and there's plenty to learn.
The rules of F1 have been altered substantially for this campaign.
From a design perspective, the change to V6 turbo-charged engines from last year's V8s is probably the most significant. For the less technically minded, the nose height laws are possibly providing the biggest talking point, with the teams designing some interestingly shaped fronts to their cars to fit in with the restrictions.
A full breakdown of the changes for this season can be seen on Inquirer.net.
In the first test in Jerez, Spain, Mercedes and cars running Mercedes engines looked well-placed. Meanwhile, the Renault teams—and Red Bull in particular—looked decidedly uncomfortable.
However, it is in Bahrain that we may see the first moves away from testing reliability to testing true pace.
Here are session-by-session breakdowns from the event, including updates and tweets from the track.
Nio Rosberg spends plenty of time on the track in Day 4.
Nico Rosberg set the pace for Mercedes on the fourth day of pre-season testing in Bahrain.
The German finished top of the standings after the latest round of testing, on a day where six red flags saw plenty of stops and starts in the day's action.
Mercedes has had a good run on the track, after Lewis Hamilton impressed on Friday, and it was Rosberg this time who caught the eye ahead of Jenson Button's McLaren and Kimi Raikkonen in second and third place respectively.
It wasn't such a good day for Red Bull, though, who managed just 15 laps across the day after a number of stops for technical failure meant plenty of time in the garage, as highlighted by BBC Radio 5 Live's F1 presenter Jennie Gow:
Red Bull: Looks like the more running they do/more problems they find. 15 laps today and its touch and go whether they will get back out #F1— Jennie Gow (@JennieGow) February 22, 2014
#F1: Red Bull: This time the problem is not Renault related - lots of parts need replacing so their test may be finished with 1.45m to go.— Jennie Gow (@JennieGow) February 22, 2014
It was a day to forget for Marussia, too, who only lasted for just a few minutes after several technical problems led the side to tweet the following statement:
Today we have experienced a continuation of some component reliability issues. So, we opted for a change of strategy >— Marussia F1 Team (@Marussia_F1Team) February 22, 2014
Instead of persevering, we've been working feverishly to fit some revised parts which had arrived for next week and shake them down today— Marussia F1 Team (@Marussia_F1Team) February 22, 2014
With the Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit starting in Australia on March 16, Mercedes will be the happier of the constructors.
Little time remains for Red Bull and Marussia to correct mistakes, and if they are to be ready for the start of the racing calendar, there needs to be less time in the garage and a lot more time on the track.
Here are the day's times, as unofficially recorded by Autosport:
|1||Rosberg (89 laps)||Mercedes||1m33.283s|
|2||Button (66 laps)||McLaren||1m34.957s +1.674|
|3||Raikkonen (82 laps)||Ferrari||1m36.718s +3.435|
|4||Nasr (87 laps)||Williams||1m37.569s +4.286|
|5||Maldonado (59 laps)||Lotus||1m38.707s +5.424|
|6||Perez (19 laps)||Force India||1m39.258s +5.975|
|7||Ricciardo (15 laps)||Red Bull||1m39.837s +6.554|
|8||Vergne (19 laps)||Toro Rosso||1m40.472s +7.189|
|9||Kobayashi (17 laps)||Caterham||1m43.027s +9.744|
|10||Ericsson (4 laps)||Caterham||1m45.094s +11.811|
Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets in Bahrain after a productive day for Mercedes on the third day of the pre-season test.
It was another strong showing for the Mercedes-powered teams, with Hamilton setting the quickest lap of the week so far, seven-tenths of a second clear of Jenson Button, his former team-mate, in the McLaren.
Button managed more than 100 laps on a hot day at Sakhir, underlining the fact that reliability has been encouraging for the Mercedes so far.
But once again Red Bull was a talking point, with the defending champions managing 28 laps before calling an early halt to Daniel Ricciardo's work for the day. There was again no sign of the car's pace, with the Australian down in 9th place in the standings.
Kimi Raikkonen's day was also interrupted, in this case because of telemetry problems which blighted his morning's work.
There was trouble for Pastor Maldonado, who was running for Lotus for the first time since his move from Williams.
The Venezuelan had an early red flag and a few teething problems with the E22.
What happened @Pastormaldo ? 'It just stopped'— Lotus F1 Team (@Lotus_F1Team) February 21, 2014
Max Chilton also caused a red flag in the morning, and the Marussia managed just four tours of the track before the day was written off.
A total of 54 laps for Marussia in testing so far. That's an average of less than 11 laps per day on track.— Pablo Elizalde (@EliGP) February 21, 2014
Here are the day's times, as unofficially recorded by Autosport:
|1||Hamilton (67 laps)||Mercedes||1m34.263s|
|2||Button (103)||McLaren||1m34.976s +0.713|
|3||Massa (60)||Williams||1m37.066s +2.803|
|4||Gutierrez (96)||Sauber||1m37.180s +2.917|
|5||Perez (57)||Force India||1m37.367s +3.104|
|6||Raikkonen (44)||Ferrari||1m37.476s +3.213|
|7||Kvyat (57)||Toro Rosso||1m38.974s +4.711|
|8||Maldonado (26)||Lotus||1m39.642s +5.379|
|9||Ricciardo (28)||Red Bull||1m40.781s +6.518|
|10||Ericsson (98)||Caterham||1m42.130s +7.867|
|11||Chilton (4)||Marussia||1m46.672s +12.409|
Kevin Magnussen set the fastest time of the day as McLaren topped the timesheets on Day 2 of the Bahrain pre-season test.
But the momentum changed for the first time in pre-season as Mercedes had a stuttering day, while Red Bull put days of disappointment and frustration behind them to have their most successful test to date.
Magnussen was quiet in the morning, but completed more than 30 laps in a productive afternoon and set an impressive time on supersoft tyres as part of his work. It was more than 1.5s quicker than anything else seen, with Nico Hulkenberg the second-fastest driver of the day.
For reference, the Dane's 1m34.910s is 2s quicker than last year's fastest race lap in the Bahrain GP. #F1— AUTOSPORT Live (@autosportlive) February 20, 2014
Mercedes, meanwhile, had two red flags as Nico Rosberg took to the track. Their technical issues were something of a surprise given their start to the year.
The Mercedes is getting more unreliable as testing progresses. How does that work?— Pablo Elizalde (@EliGP) February 20, 2014
Despite the issues Rosberg did manage 85 laps of Sakhir, however, although that was dwarfed by the 116 completed by Valtteri Bottas—a welcome turnaround from yesterday's lack of running for Williams teammate Felipe Massa.
Sebastian Vettel, for his part, completed 59 tours of the track, a huge improvement on previous days. His times were still some way adrift of the leading marks, but reliability is the foremost consideration for Red Bull at present.
Here are the day's times (unofficial), as recorded by Autosport:
|1||Magnussen (46 laps)||McLaren||1m34.910s|
|2||Hulkenberg (59)||Force India||1m36.445s +1.535|
|3||Alonso (97)||Ferrari||1m36.516s +1.606|
|4||Rosberg (85)||Mercedes||1m36.965s +2.055|
|5||Bottas (116)||Williams||1m37.328s +2.418|
|6||Kobayashi (66)||Caterham||1m39.855s +4.945|
|7||Vettel (59)||Red Bull||1m40.340s +5.430|
|8||Vergne (58)||Toro Rosso||1m40.609s +5.699|
|9||Gutierrez (55)||Sauber||1m40.717s +5.807|
|10||Grosjean (18)||Lotus||1m41.670s +6.760|
|11||Chilton (17)||Marussia||1m42.511s +7.601|
Red Bull stole the show in Bahrain but once more for all the wrong reasons as testing continues to go badly for the champions.
Sebastian Vettel, who managed precious little running in Jerez at the opening pre-season test, was kept in the garage for five hours of the day as work continued on his car.
When he finally got out, the Renault-powered machine ground to a smoky halt, with Vettel himself having to take a fire extinguisher to it.
Nico Hulkenberg set the quickest time of the day for Force India in what was another encouraging outing for Mercedes engines.
For all those who've bought the scaremongering that this year's cars will be too slow, the Hulk is faster than last year's race fastest lap— Andrew Benson (@andrewbensonf1) February 19, 2014
Fernando Alonso was second-quickest for Ferrari, while the Mercedes team car looked in good shape in the hands of Lewis Hamilton, who managed 74 laps in Sakhir. Meanwhile, Kevin Magnussen was also busy in his McLaren.
However, it was another disjointed day overall—the start of the test was delayed by half an hour because there were insufficient stewards in place to get started.
There were several red flags after that, kick-started when Alonso's Ferrari sprang an oil leak. Adrian Sutil spun his Sauber in the morning, while Vettel was joined by Toro Rosso's Daniel Kvyat in interrupting the afternoon.
With that being said, the Lotus E22 did manage a public debut, although running and speed was limited for Romain Grosjean. Even Robin Frijns in the Caterham was able to go quicker, showing that there is still plenty for the Enstone-based team to do after missing the opening test in Spain.
Here are the unofficial timings, as recorded by Autosport:
|1||Hulkenberg (78 laps)||Force India||1m36.880s|
|2||Alonso (64)||Ferrari||1m37.879s +0.999|
|3||Hamilton (74)||Mercedes||1m37.908s +1.028|
|4||Magnussen (81)||McLaren||1m38.295s +1.415|
|5||Vettel (14)||Red Bull||1m40.224s +3.344|
|6||Sutil (82)||Sauber||1m40.443s +3.563|
|7||Frijns (68)||Caterham||1m42.534s +5.654|
|8||Kvyat (5)||Toro Rosso||1m44.346s +7.466|
|9||Grosjean (8)||Lotus||1m44.832s +7.952|
Felipe Massa (Williams) and Jules Bianchi (Marussia) did not set a timed lap.