Formula 1 Testing At Jerez, Spain: Day 2

By Spenser Walters
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Day two of Formula 1 preseason testing at Jerez, Spain has provided F1 fans with even more insight to how the season might shake out.

Of course, reading too much into what happens during the first two days of the first testing session of the year is the equivalent of fully believing the Way too Early Polls for college football that have already predicted the next National Champion, but there is something to be learned nonetheless.

Mercedes is quickly learning that their new car is going to need some work. An electrical fire forced Nico Rosberg to shut down his F1 W04 between turns 11 and 12 yesterday, and today an issue with the rear brake pressure caused Lewis Hamilton to crash his new Mercedes.

According to team officials, a problem in the hydraulic line connecting to the right-rear brake caliper caused the failure. Hamilton was able to slow the car, but couldn’t avoid the barrier. The impact damaged the front wing, nose and left front section of the suspension and aerodynamic parts on the vehicle. The accident occurred on Hamilton’s 16th lap and put Mercedes in the garage for the day, meaning that the team has only been able to log a total of 19 laps between the two drivers due to the mechanical failures.

There are still two more days of testing at Jerez as well as two more preseason test sessions from Feb. 19-22 and Feb. 28 – Mar. 3, with both being held in Barcelona, which give Mercedes plenty of opportunities to figure out what is causing all of their problems. They should certainly not be hitting the panic button yet, but two days in a row of early drop outs doesn’t bode too well.

Meanwhile Romain Grosjean gave Lotus F1 Team another great day on the track. The Frenchman put in 95 laps in the new E21 and grabbed the top time of the day with a 1:18.218. Those two numbers indicate that the new Lotus machine is both reliable and fast, and that normally means a lot of wins. It will be interesting to see if Lotus will stay on top tomorrow when Kimi Raikkonen takes his first turn in the E21.

As to be expected, all 11 teams were faster overall on day two, but Caterham F1 Team and Marussia F1 Team have still yet to break into the 1m20s range.

In other news, Marussia has finally announced the second half of their driver line up for 2013, with Brazilian driver Luiz Razia taking the seat opposite Max Chilton. That leaves only one seat left to be filled on the 2013 F1 roster over at Force India, though James Rossiter did complete 19 test laps for them today.

Going into day three the things to watch will be if Mercedes can get in some extended track time without a mechanical failure, whether Lotus can keep running lightning fast, and if Force India and Toro Rosso can continue to run their impressive topfive lap times.

Follow Spenser Walters on Twitter @SpenserWalters

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