Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

torstai 5. helmikuuta 2015

The first glimpse of the season 2015!

It was three months ago when I updated my blog last time after the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP. The off-season has been long as always but this time I´ve been occupied with some personal worries which have prevented me from missing Formula 1 as much as I usually have during the off-season. My youngest son was diagnosed with an extremely rare syndrome (only 20 people in Finland have been diagnosed with the similar syndrome) but luckily it´s not any life-threatening condition. So slowly but surely I´ve been able to move my attention on other things as well.

When the first pre-season test session at Jerez got underway last Sunday I was absolutely thrilled. I kept staring at the live commentary on Autosport´s web site and on Twitter the whole day. I was so so happy that Formula 1 was finally back! It´s amazing how an interest like this can make one so overwhelmingly happy! I enjoyed the day from the bottom of my heart as I knew that on week days I had to work and I couldn´t follow the three other test days in the same way. But in the evening it was always nice to lie down on the sofa and read all the news about the day´s testing!

And what a test session those four days turned out! I didn´t quite know what to expect from Ferrari´s new challenger SF15-T as last year had been winless and depressing for the Scuderia team. But the first official day testing for new team Ferrari Sebastian Vettel was already topping the timesheets! I couldn´t help thinking anything else but "wow"... I know times are of relatively little importance as this was only the very first day of the very first test session but it was so touching and amazing to see Sebastian in his brand new helmet design driving in such a way. Sebastian topped the timesheets on both days and what´s more important, the new SF15-T turned out to be reliable and the German got much needed mileage under his belt. Kimi, who had just become father to a baby boy carried on Sebastian´s fantastic work on Tuesday and Wednesday. After the day four Kimi had the fastest time overall with Sebastian second! Kimi´s words concerning the new car have been extremely promising. The SF15-T is much more to Kimi´s liking than the predecessor F14-T as Ferrari have been able to improve the steering of the front end of the car. Ferrari have made huge progress on the power unit as well: the rumours tell that the power unit now produces 80 horse power more than last year´s engine.

Mercedes seem to carry on from where they ended the season 2014. Mercedes have covered most mileage so far and they have seemed quite dominant although there have been some reliability issues as well. But that team hasn´t shown their true potential yet, that´s one thing for sure! But even Mercedes have noticed the pace Ferrari have shown at Jerez. This is only wishful thinking at this stage of the season but maybe Ferrari could be the number one challenger for Mercedes :)

McLaren have had as difficult start to the season as expected. On the first two days Alonso and Button made only 6 laps each in the new MP4-30. There´ve been a lot of niggles that prevented the McLaren duo from testing such as engine problems and fuel pump fault. McLaren´s situation is pretty similar to what Red Bull had last season. But let´s not forget that in spite of the catastrophic start to the season Red Bull still managed to win three races last year! So it´s impossible to predict what McLaren will be capable of during the upcoming season. And they have two remarkably experienced drivers so they have every chance to succeed if only they manage to fix the technical issues.

Red Bull have suffered from reliability issues as well and they haven´t been able to get as much mileage as they would have wanted. Daniil Kvyat didn´t make too good impression on his first test day as the Russian damaged his front wing already on the warm-up lap and Red Bull didn´t have the spare parts ready at Jerez so Kvyat could get only very restricted data driving without a front wing. But the new RB11 really caught my eye when I saw how it looked like: with the camouflage livery it looked very exciting, almost stunning. A small part of me still wished to see Sebastian at the wheel of it. My feeling, however, vanished soon as I noticed Ferrari´s pace, hahaha! I´m sure Red Bull will overcome their reliability issues like they did last year. I´m convinced they have once again very strong and competitive car. Renault´s power unit, however, still seems kind of a question mark to me. Have they been able to decrease the gap to Mercedes in terms of power?

How about Williams, will they be as strong and competitive as they were last year? Bottas seemed very happy with the new FW37 which is always a good sign. So I have every reason to believe that they have a car that can win races -at least I hope so!

Sauber also made a good first impression with performances of Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson. This only strengthens my intuition about the Ferrari power unit. I´m sure their development and improvement is real. I still don´t have an opinion about Toro Rosso which have the youngest line-up in Verstappen (17) and Sainz (20). Those youngsters surely have the will power and determination to show the world what they are capable of so I´m really looking forward to see how they deliver when the real racing gets underway! Force India didn´t make it at Jerez and it still isn´t sure if they will get their new car to Barcelona in a fortnight.

I can´t wait that the test session will resume at Barcelona on February 19-22. But what´s more important I can´t wait for the last pre-season test session at Barcelona on Feb 26-March 1 because believe or not I´m flying to Barcelona on Feb 26! If I remember right I ended my previous blog post by dreaming about a possibility to watch the winter tests live this year. I still can´t believe I´m really going there! It´ll be more than a dream come true and I´m sure I´m going to lose the last bits of my sanity if Kimi and Sebastian will keep up this form what they started at Jerez! In three weeks this time I´ll be at Barcelona having spent the first day at Circuit de Catalunya... I´m sure my feelings will be something beyond any words but I´ll definitely update my blog and tell you all about my trip when I get to Barcelona!

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