Friday, 31 January 2014 00:00
JEREZ, Spain (Reuters): Technical problems brought Sebastian Vettel’s involvement in Formula One’s first pre-season test to an early close on Wednesday with the quadruple world champion’s lap tally barely into double figures.
Red Bull said they had halted running of the new RB10 car on the second day of the test to give themselves time to fix a problem with the Renault energy store.
Vettel, who was scheduled to take part in the first two days only, stayed for a technical debrief at the circuit and then headed home to Switzerland.
The quadruple champion leaves with just 11 laps on the board, eight completed on Wednesday. New Australian team mate Daniel Ricciardo is due to be in the car for the remaining two days of the test.
Vettel, who will be chasing a fifth successive title this year, had been sidelined for most of Tuesday after a setup problem emerged before the new car was unveiled to the media.
Formula One has replaced the old 2.4 litre V8 engines for a new turbocharged 1.6 litre V6 unit this season, with the complicated energy recovery systems and batteries proving a challenge for teams.
Renault are providing four of the 11 teams with engines but the evidence from the first two days suggested Mercedes and Ferrari-powered teams were having an easier time.
With an hour remaining of the second day’s running, McLaren’s Jenson Button had done 40 laps in his Mercedes-powered car while Nico Rosberg had pounded out 63 laps in the works Mercedes.
Mexican Esteban Gutierrez, in the Ferrari-powered Sauber, had completed 44 and Kimi Raikkonen 28 for Ferrari.
The only two Renault-powered cars on track had managed just 19 between them, with Caterham’s Swedish rookie Marcus Ericsson chalking up 11.