Bahrain Testing: Day 4
Kimi Raikkonen bounced back from a telemetry issue yesterday to log 82 laps for Ferrari and post the third quickest time on Pirelli’s soft tyre. He got within two tenths of Fernando Alonso’s best lap on day two, but brought the test to an early halt when he crashed his Ferrari at Turn 4.
This was the final day of the second pre-season test session for Scuderia Ferrari, with Kimi Raikkonen again at the wheel of the F14 T. It was a productive day and the team managed to get through all of its planned technical programme, despite the fact that the F14 T hit the barriers when there were five minutes remaining, which brought the test to a premature end.
This morning, the work focussed on car set-up, an evaluation of the Medium and Soft tyres and on fine tuning the start procedure. In the afternoon, there was aerodynamic work on the agenda, as well as some long runs.
Kimi completed 82 laps, the quickest in a time of 1.36.718. Over the four days at Sakhir, the F14 T did a total of 287 laps, equivalent to 1,553 kilometres.
“We have managed to improve some things compared to Jerez and we continue to understand more about the behaviour of the car. We tried various solutions to try and be as well prepared as possible for next week’s test and for the start of the season. Hitting the barrier? I spun on the kerb at the exit of turn 4, these things can happen! Luckily, it was right at the end of the day, I’m only sorry because it means the team now has more work to do.”
Scuderia Ferrari and the ten other Formula 1 teams will take part in the third and final test prior to the start of the season, beginning on 27 February, again at the Sakhir circuit.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m33.283s 89 2. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m34.957s +1.674s 66 3. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m36.718s +3.435s 82 4. Felipe Nasr Williams-Mercedes 1m37.569s +4.286s 87 5. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m38.707s +5.424s 59 6. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m39.258s +5.975s 19 7. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m39.837s +6.554s 15 8. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m40.472s +7.189s 19 9. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m43.027s +9.744s 17 10. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m45.094s +11.811s 4 11. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari no time 5 12. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari no time 5
The second pre-season test has come to an end and Kimi Raikkonen shares his thoughts on his two days at the wheel of the Ferrari F14 T. “I still can’t say how quick we are as it’s just the second test of the season and it’s hard to have an idea of what the order is among the teams. One thing’s certain, the more we get to know the car, the quicker we will be. I think that even after the next test in Bahrain we won’t have the answers and we will have to wait until we are in Australia to understand more. The car is still a laboratory and there are various things we have to finish learning about and to test. I have to say there is still a lot of work to do before we can say we are a hundred percent ready.”
The Finn is no more concerned about his rivals than usual. “Certainly the Mercedes powered teams have gone well here, but we had our programme and there’s nothing to say that those who were quickest were on the same one as us. As I’ve said, this is a test and in testing you try things out and it won’t get serious until Melbourne onwards. We are not interested at the moment in chasing performance, rather we are looking for reliability to ensure we finish the opening races without any problems. Even the laps we did on the softer tyres were not aimed at performance, but at evaluating what set-up to use for this type of tyre. I’m not concerned about the long runs the others did, as we are working on our own programme and we plan to do long runs next week.”
The Finn’s test ended with a crash, five minutes from the end of the session. “At the end, it wasn’t a technical problem, I just spun at turn 4 and damaged the car. But I don’t think it will be a problem to fix it for next week. Maybe I went too wide on a kerb, which caused the wheels to slide and I lost control of the car and hit the barrier”.
The 2007 world champion lost control of the F14 T on the exit of Turn 4 and speared into the wall, ripping off the left front wheel and causing an early halt to proceedings.
“I was on a kerb and got some fairly massive wheelspin,” said Raikkonen. “I couldn’t catch it anymore and unfortunately it went directly into the wall and damaged the car.
“Things happen so I wouldn’t say it’s my fault. We improved the settings a lot and it’s not too bad, but there’s a lot of torque in the car.”
Raikkonen had earlier set the third fastest time on a day when Mercedes dominated the timesheet once again.
The Finn’s crash and the telemetry issue he suffered on Friday have limited Ferrari’s running and delayed a plan to try a race run with the F14 T.
But Raikkonen does not feel this puts the team at a disadvantage compared to Mercedes, which completed a race run of more than 50 laps with Nico Rosberg at the wheel on day four.
“We always want more laps, but today we didn’t have any problems,” Raikkonen added.
“Obviously I damaged the car with the crash and there were many red flags, but we did more or less what we wanted to. I don’t think it’s an issue.
“We could do long runs but the plan was to do something different. In the next test for sure we can do them.”
“I spun and crashed in the wall unfortunately,” Raikkonen said. “I destroyed the car quite badly but luckily we can fix it, it’s just a little bit of work unfortunately. But that’s how it goes. Maybe it was me, but sometimes it happens and it’s not like it’s the end of the world even if people like to think it is. I just got wheelspin and went to the inside and into the wall.”
Raikkonen said Ferrari would start to explore the potential of its car at the final test next week.
“I think it’s not too bad. Lap time wise I don’t know yet, we will have to see next week, but there are not any major issues. There are things we want to improve and we can improve, but we’re just trying to understand what happens when you change things [with the set-up], what the car will do. Every car is different and it’s hard to know, but we are getting some idea what we want to do. I think it’s pretty okay, but for sure we want to improve and there is a long way to go.”
The 34-year-old missed the final two races of the 2013 season to have surgery on a long-standing back injury – reported to have been caused by a testing accident in 2001 for Sauber – but the Finn insists he is now fighting fit once more.
“It has been okay since I had the operation and hopefully it stays like that,” he said. “With these things you never know, it has been there for a long time and some days it is good and the next day it might not be. It is one of those things, but it has been much, much better.”