Tomorrow sees the start of the final pre-season test in Bahrain, it is the last chance for the teams to get an idea of how they will shape up for the first race in Melbourne and for some of the teams it will be about sorting out reliability issues that have hampered their running so far this year, for others it is about trying to discover any hidden problems before the season starts properly in two weeks time. It may also provide an opportunity for teams that have looked good, such as Mercedes, to run at full power and show their real pace, the majority of teams will bring upgrades to the car in the hope that it unlocks that vital extra few tenths of a second in performance.
The main focus for this test is how the Renault powered teams get on and if they continue to suffer problems as they have done all season, Renault haven’t hidden the fact that they are weeks behind schedule and it is clear that they have a job on their hands, although it would seem that for Red Bull it isn’t just a struggle with the Renault technology but infact that the RB10 is nowhere near as competitive as its predecessors, if they don’t turn it round then 2014 will be a long year for them and it could be a repeat of what happened last year with McLaren where they failed to score a podium.
Another major talking point is how quick the Mercedes can go, it was clearly the fastest car in the previous test and it won’t be a surprise if that trend continues over the next few days, especially if they decide to run at full power and bring upgrades to the car.
The Mercedes powered teams will again look to top the timesheets as they have done throughout the entire pre-season but look out for Ferrari because they appear to be the closest challengers to Mercedes and McLaren and they will hope to close the gap during this test.
Testing is only testing so it is very hard to tell what way the grid is shaping up due to different fuel loads, tyres and how hard the drivers are pushing, the only thing we can do until the first race weekend is guess.