Reigning World Champions Red Bull have left the first pre-season F1 test at the Jerez circuit in Spain before the end of official running on Friday afternoon.
The Milton Keynes-based team experienced a dire week with several breakdowns and major reliability issues to be solved before the racing kicks off in Melbourne in March. However, Team Principal Christian Horner remains convinced his squad can overcome their early troubles.
“It’s been a very difficult test. We have had numerous Renault issues as well as chassis cooling issues, which have affected our progress.”
“However, despite the lack of mileage, what we have managed to learn shows that the problems should be solvable for the next test in Bahrain. Part of the purpose of this early test was to learn about any issues ahead of the start of the season and there will now be a lot of focus on the dyno over the next few weeks.”
Sebastian Vettel was slated to drive the new RB10 on Tuesday, but was unable to get out the garage until late in the day as his mechanics worked on issues centred around the ERS Energy Recovery System and turbo boost, a feature common to all 2014 F1 cars under the new regulations. The German fared little better on Wednesday, and new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo experienced an embarassing breakdown seconds after leaving the pits on Thursday morning. He did eventually make it out in the afternoon, but a total of eleven laps for the day was significantly less than the 62 mustered by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. When Friday running was cut short by another technical issue, the team called it a day and began to pack up even as other teams rejoined the circuit after the lunch break.
However, there is hope for Red Bull that Renault can overcome their problems as minnows Caterham completed over forty laps by the mid-afternoon running the same power unit as the Anglo-Austrian team.