F1 Fernando Alonso fastest in early Bahrain F1 testing on Thursday
2014 FIA Formula One World Championship
Pre-season testing, Sakhir, Bahrain
For immediate release
Thursday, February 20th, 2014
ALONSO FASTEST IN EARLY BAHRAIN
FORMULA ONE TESTING ON THURSDAY
SAKHIR (Bahrain): The second day of pre-season testing for the FIA Formula One World Championship was in full swing at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain on Thursday.
Fernando Alonso was the quickest driver on the circuit after his opening 14 laps, but Red Bull continued to struggle with world champion Sebastian Vettel down in ninth position – 5.6 seconds behind Alonso - after running for just four tours of the desert circuit.
Almost three weeks since teams left the second test at Jerez in Spain, Bahrain is taking centre stage this week before it hosts the third round of the series on April 6th.
Renault endured a miserable time at the first test; their three customer teams in attendance managed just 151 laps between them, compared to 875 for Mercedes and 444 for Ferrari. But the French manufacturer is confident that it has found the solution to the pre-season problem.
Lotus officially tested their new E22 car for the first time in Bahrain on Wednesday, although the team did carry out a day’s filming last week. Franco-Swiss driver Romain Grojsean completed seven laps with the new car at Sakhir.
Ferrari and Williams look to be in good shape as the countdown begins to the first round of the 19-race championship in Australia on March 16th. They were competitive in Jerez and are using the Bahrain tests to further test their Ferrari and Mercedes power plants.
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg recorded the fastest time on the first day of testing on Wednesday. His quickest lap of 1min 36.880sec was almost a second quicker than Alonso, although the Spaniard forced the first red flag of the day when his F14 T stopped on the track.
A struggling Vettel set the fifth quickest time for Red Bull on Wednesday with a best tour of 1min 40.224sec. This was over three seconds down on Hulkenberg and came shortly before he stopped on track with smoke coming from the car, hinting at overheating issues that continue to plague the team.
Caterham offered the whole first day to reserve driver Robin Frijns and he clocked up some useful laps in the CT05, while Felipe Massa’s run was cut short by fuel system issues that left the Brazilian in the garage for most of the opening day.
Sakhir was one of the most difficult circuits for the teams to master in 2013 and these tests offer the first opportunity to see how the tyres react to the 2014 cars in terms of one-lap performance and degradation over longer stints in warm, dry conditions.
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