F1: Jerez 2015 test cumulative times, lap count totals, and analysis

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Year-on-year at Jerez, the Formula 1 teams have made key strides in both lap counts and performance in the second year of the new power unit life.

That’s the early takeaway from the first official preseason test ahead of the 2015 Formula 1 season, even if lap times are not a determining factor.

Last year’s Jerez test was primarily a “get the new cars running” type of atmosphere, and only six of 22 drivers completed more than 100 laps over their days of running.

This year, 11 of 16 banked 100-plus – and the five who didn’t were either close (both Red Bull drivers were in the 80s) or severely hampered by track time (Romain Grosjean and Lotus did not arrive until Sunday and the car didn’t run til Monday, and both McLaren drivers had issues throughout the week).

After completing 875 laps between its teams last year, Mercedes upped its total by more than 100 laps to 983 this year – and that was without McLaren and Force India as they had last year, with Force India missing this test and McLaren now with Honda. Mercedes has added Lotus as McLaren’s replacement.

Even more importantly, both Ferrari (with a team reduction absent Marussia) and Renault (with two team reductions absent Lotus and Caterham) made major strides from this test last year. Ferrari went from 444 to 728 laps completed; Renault from 151 up to 516.

This of course leaves Honda, in its first real running beyond the installation runs at Abu Dhabi last November, on the back end and playing catchup in terms of running. With only 79 laps competed between Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, the manufacturer spent the week working through issues with McLaren rather than gathering enough data and finding the pace. The Barcelona tests must see improved reliability, otherwise they could be in trouble. But for a first test, issues are excusable – and almost welcomed.

Driver-wise, the Mercedes pair of World Champion Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were the standouts, lap-wise. Rosberg banked a bonkers amount of 308 laps – compared to 188 last year – while Hamilton added 207 of his own. These two drivers led the field in total laps, with Rosberg doing so at Jerez for the second consecutive year.

In terms of lap times, Kevin Magnussen was the standout this test last year… and this shows you how much things can change in F1 over 12 months, and how little lap times at Jerez really mean.

Ferrari, more than Sauber, is the wild card in terms of pace from here. A year ago, Williams-Mercedes was the interloper among the factory Mercedes and McLaren-Mercedes teams, and their pace developed to become the second fastest car on most weekends throughout the rest of 2014.

Ferrari itself led three of the four days this year, and came second to Sauber’s Felipe Nasr on the Tuesday. But will the pace translate and continue beyond the headline-grabbing first week, where Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen were no doubt keen to make an impression to the new managerial structure at the Scuderia? That’s the question.

As Ferrari’s power unit goes, so too does Sauber’s, and a points-scoring turnaround for them would be a welcome tonic after a pointless, fruitless and trying 2014.

Alas, here’s a day-by-day recap (Wednesday, Tuesday, Monday, Sunday) from this week. Meanwhile here is a link to last year’s times and analysis from Jerez.

With Barcelona next up, this is the only preseason test F1 will have as a year-on-year reference point – Bahrain was the testing circuit last year.

Jerez Test – Cumulative Results
1. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:20.841 (198 laps; 92 Tues., 106 Wed.)
2. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:20.984 (148; 60 Sun., 88 Mon.)
3. Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:21.545 (197; 89 Mon., 108 Tues.)
4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:21.982 (308; 157 Sun., 151 Tues.)
5. Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:22.019 (185; 73 Sun., 112 Wed.)
6. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:22.172 (207; 91 Mon., 116 Wed.)
7. Felipe Massa Williams 1:22.276 (144; 71 Tues., 73 Wed.)
8. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:22.319 (134; 73 Sun., 61 Mon.)
9. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:22.553 (170; 73 Mon., 97 Wed.)
10. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:22.713 (137; 41 Mon., 96 Tues.)
11. Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso 1:23.187 (182; 46 Sun., 136 Tues.)
12. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:23.338 (83; 35 Sun., 48 Tues.)
13. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:23.802 (53; 53 Wed.)
14. Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:23.975 (81; 18 Mon., 63 Wed.)
15. Jenson Button McLaren 1:27.660 (41; 6 Mon., 35 Wed.)
16. Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:35.553 (38; 6 Sun., 32 Tues.)

Jerez Test – Cumulative Laps by Chassis
1. Mercedes 515 laps (Rosberg 308, Hamilton 207)
2. Sauber 382 laps (Nasr 197, Ericsson 185)
3. Toro Rosso 352 laps (Sainz Jr. 182, Verstappen 170)
4. Ferrari 346 laps (Raikkonen 198, Vettel 148)
5. Williams 278 laps (Massa 144, Bottas 134)
6. Lotus 190 laps (Maldonado 137, Grosjean 53)
7. Red Bull 164 laps (Ricciardo 83, Kvyat 81)
8. McLaren 79 laps (Button 41, Alonso 38)

Jerez Test – Cumulative Laps by Engine
1. Mercedes 983 laps (Mercedes 515, Williams 278, Lotus 190)
2. Ferrari 728 laps (Sauber 382, Ferrari 346)
3. Renault 516 laps (Toro Rosso 352, Red Bull 164)
4. Honda 79 laps (McLaren 79)

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans

LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.