The Bahrain #F1 Test..What Did We Learn?

So the second F1 test drew to a close over the weekend and the first two thirds of testing are now confined to the history books as we look ahead to the final week in Bahrain starting this Thursday.

But, what have we learned so far? How many questions have been answered?

Firstly lets have a look at the stats and see what they mean:

Distance by engine manufacturer:

                         Laps     Km
 1. Mercedes     1147    6207
 2. Renault         619      3350
 3. Ferrari          556      3009

I've chosen to look at this one first as it shows the biggest gulf in reliability with Mercedes powered teams completing nearly double the laps of the other two manufacturers. The figure is skewed by the fact that Mercedes and Renault each have 4 teams putting in mileage whilst Ferrari only have three.

Km / Laps by team:

Team                 Laps     Km
Williams            323      1748
Mercedes          315      1704
McLaren           296      1601
Ferrari               287      1553
Caterham          253      1369
Sauber              240      1298
Force India        213      1152
Toro Rosso       139      752
Red Bull            116      627
Lotus                 111      600
Marussia            29       156

Here once again the Mercedes powered teams are a long way ahead of the game (albeit with Force India not putting in as much mileage). This shows just how much the Renault powered teams are behind in terms of track time. They were behind at the Jerez test and have certainly not recovered. Now it is getting critical with only 4 days of pre season testing remaining so they will need a much better test later this week.

Fastest lap times by driver:

Pos Driver               Team                     Time       Gap
 1. Nico Rosberg         Mercedes                 1m33.283s
 2. Lewis Hamilton       Mercedes                 1m34.263s  +0.980s
 3. Kevin Magnussen      McLaren-Mercedes         1m34.910s  +1.627s
 4. Jenson Button        McLaren-Mercedes         1m34.957s  +1.674s
 5. Nico Hulkenberg      Force India-Mercedes     1m36.445s  +3.162s
 6. Fernando Alonso      Ferrari                  1m36.516s  +3.233s
 7. Kimi Raikkonen       Ferrari                  1m36.718s  +3.435s
 8. Felipe Massa         Williams-Mercedes        1m37.066s  +3.783s
 9. Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari           1m37.180s  +3.897s
10. Valtteri Bottas      Williams-Mercedes        1m37.328s  +4.045s
11. Sergio Perez         Force India-Mercedes     1m37.367s  +4.084s
12. Felipe Nasr          Williams-Mercedes        1m37.569s  +4.286s
13. Pastor Maldonado     Lotus-Renault            1m38.707s  +5.424s
14. Daniil Kvyat         Toro Rosso-Renault       1m38.974s  +5.691s
15. Daniel Ricciardo     Red Bull-Renault         1m39.837s  +6.554s
16. Kamui Kobayashi      Caterham-Renault         1m39.855s  +6.572s
17. Sebastian Vettel     Red Bull-Renault         1m40.224s  +6.941s
18. Adrian Sutil         Sauber-Ferrari           1m40.443s  +7.160s
19. Jean-Eric Vergne     Toro Rosso-Renault       1m40.472s  +7.189s
20. Romain Grosjean      Lotus-Renault            1m41.670s  +8.387s
21. Marcus Ericsson      Caterham-Renault         1m42.130s  +8.847s
22. Max Chilton          Marussia-Ferrari         1m42.511s  +9.228s
23. Robin Frijns         Caterham-Renault         1m42.534s  +9.251s
24. Jules Bianchi        Marussia-Ferrari         no time

7 of the top times were set by Mercedes powered drivers, the other three times set by the Ferrari's and Guitierrez's Sauber. Whilst its true to say there seems to be a big field spread, its also true to say the the Renault powered teams have still not been able to crank their power units up to maximum and chase any times, they are definitely still concentrating on completing laps.

What does all this mean?

If the Australian GP was to be held this weekend, I would not expect any of the Renault powered teams to score points, in fact I believe most would fail well before the end of the race. You would probably put money on Mercedes / McLaren & Williams scoring well and the Ferrari's being reliable.

Of course the Australian GP is still 3 weeks away and that is a long time in Formula One. If Renault can fix their issues before the engine homologation deadline (28th Feb) and give their partner teams a chance to have some trouble free testing days then they could still prove to be competitive, especially as the truth is that we've just not seen the potential of the Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Lotus cars.

What we have learned is that the new cars, when pushed are no slouch. The Mercedes times are nearly as fast last years qualifying times (set in much hotter conditions) and one would certainly expect them to start being faster than last year as the season progresses, such is the rate of development.

We will of course know a lot more this time next week so make sure to follow @Formula1extra on Twitter and use the hashtag #HappyTesting to keep up with live testing updates.