Day one of the final pre-season test in Bahrain as it happened

Text commentary of day one of the final pre-season test in Bahrain, where Red Bull's struggles continue.

27 February 2014 Last updated at 06:25 GMT

Get involved

To get involved contact us in any of the following ways

As it happened

  1. 15:22: 

    There are still three days of testing left, though, starting with tomorrow. I'll be back from 06:15 GMT to take you through it. Until then, it's good afternoon from me. See ya.

  2. 15:18: 
    Daniel Ricciardo

    With the first race edging ever closer, Red Bull are facing a race against time to get to the bottom of the problems with their car before the first race of the season in Melbourne, Australia on 16 March.

  3. 15:13: 

    Here's Andrew Benson's report, which features some interesting information with regards what lap times were done on what tyres as a closer look at Red Bull's problems.

  4. 15:07: 

    Kimi Raikkonen's time was Ferrari's fastest at Bahrain this winter - just under 0.1 seconds quicker than team-mate Fernando Alonso managed last week. The Spanish double world champion takes over the car tomorrow.

  5. 14:59: 
    Lewis Hamilton

    Daniel Ricciardo wasn't the only driver doing promotional photos today. Lewis Hamilton, who had the day off from driving duties and is back in the car tomorrow, was busy doing them, too.

  6. 14:52: 

    World champions Red Bull have managed just 176 laps in nine days of testing. Williams managed two-thirds of that total today alone.


    Force India: Our day featured shorter runs in the morning to target specific aspect of performance, with longer runs in the afternoon.


    Caterham's Marcus Ericsson: Difficult day for us. But I know how hard @CaterhamF1 and Renault is pushing! Tomorrow is a new day with new opportunities.

  9. 14:45: 

    Another strong day for the Mercedes-powered cars as McLaren, Force India and Williams all clocking up more than 100 laps each while Mercedes managed a decent 89.

    The same can't be said for the Renault-powered teams, with reigning world champions Red Bull and Lotus managing just 70 laps between them.

  10. 14:40: 
    Laps completed on day one

    1) Sergio Perez (Force India) 105 laps

    2) Valtteri Bottas (Williams) 128

    3) Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 54

    4) Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 89

    5) Adrian Sutil (Sauber) 89

    6) Kevin Magnussen (McLaren) 109

    7) Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 39

    8) Max Chilton (Marussia) 44

    9) Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) 56

    10) Pastor Maldonado (Lotus) 31

    11) Kamui Kobayashi (Caterham) 19

  11. 14:35: 
    How they finished on day one

    1) Sergio Perez (Force India) 1:35.290

    2) Valtteri Bottas (Williams) 1:36.184

    3) Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 1:36.432

    4) Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1:36.624

    5) Adrian Sutil (Sauber) 1:37.700

    6) Kevin Magnussen (McLaren) 1:37.825

    7) Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 1:37.908

    8) Max Chilton (Marussia) 1:38.610

    9) Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) 1:39.242

    10) Pastor Maldonado (Lotus) 1:40.599

    11) Kamui Kobayashi (Caterham) 1:42.285

  12. 14:30: 
    Sergio Perez

    Force India's Sergio Perez finishes fastest on day one of the third and final pre-season test in Bahrain.

  13. 14:29: 

    It's Kimi Raikkonen in the Ferrari who has stopped out on track.

  14. 14:28: 

    We've got our fourth red flag of the day...

  15. 14:23: 
    YOUR QUESTIONS- #bbcf1

    Goodluck Elvis: With the poor form displayed by Red Bull, can they change the design, i.e. battery setup, during the season?

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson says: "In a word, yes. The rules say that once the power-unit has been homologated - and designs have to be submitted by tomorrow (Friday) - changes can only be made on the grounds of safety, cost-saving or reliability. But not on performance. Any requests are circulated to the other manufacturers for peer review, but the FIA does not have to take their views into account.

    "In reality, though, if one or more engine manufacturers are miles behind this year, it is a situation that will not be allowed to continue for too long. With only three car companies in the sport, F1 cannot afford for one or more of them to be embarrassed. The risk of them quitting in those circumstances is too great."

  16. 14:21: 

    Caterham have called it a day, too. Kamui Kobayashi only managed 19 laps today.

  17. 14:17: 

    Mercedes says "problems" ended their running early this afternoon with Nico Rosberg currently speaking to the media.

  18. 14:11: 

    Valtteri Bottas pits as Sergio Perez and Kimi Raikkonen head out as the end of the session draws closer.

  19. 14:05: 

    Valtteri Bottas, who has already done more than 100 laps, is still out on track, clocking up the mileage along with Sauber's Adrian Sutil.

  20. 14:00: 

    With half and hour to go, Sergio Perez still leads the way, with Valtteri Bottas second and Kimi Raikkonen third.

    Nico Rosberg is fourth ahead of Adrian Sutil, Kevin Magnussen and Daniel Ricciardo.

    Max Chilton, Daniil Kvyat, Pastor Maldonado and Kamui Kobayashi complete the runners.

  21. 13:52: 
    YOUR QUESTIONS- #bbcf1

    Sam: "What issues does the increased torque bring to the driver that he now has to control?"

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson says: "The problems this creates were demonstrated nicely by Kimi Raikkonen's crash at the end of the final day in Bahrain last week. As he put it: 'I was on a kerb and got some fairly massive wheelspin. I couldn't catch it anymore and unfortunately it went directly into the wall and damaged the car. Things happen, so I wouldn't say it's my fault. We improved the settings a lot and it's not too bad, but there's a lot of torque in the car.'

    "Basically, the engines have vastly increased torque and it is all available instantly because of the clever way the energy recovery system is integrated with the turbo to remove any lag. So throttle control is at a premium."

  22. 13:48: 
    Daniel Ricciardo

    It's not all bad for Red Bull. They may not have got much running done today, but at least they've used the time wisely to do some promotional shots with Daniel Ricciardo...

  23. 13:42: 

    Nico Rosberg is in his jeans which means Mercedes' running is over for the day, with just over 45 minutes still remaining.

  24. 13:34: 

    Kamui Kobayashi is back out on track in the Caterham. He joins Max Chilton's Marussia and Force India's Sergio Perez.

  25. 13:30: 

    Mercedes are working on " a series of stop-in-the box procedures" with Nico Rosberg as part of their race preparations.

  26. 13:27: 

    Lotus call it a day with just over an hour left of the session. "Exhaust and assorted changes mean an early bath for us today, we'll be back on track early tomorrow morning," they tweet.

  27. 13:21: 

    While McLaren and Williams and have clocked up over 100 laps and Mercedes are getting close to their century, things aren't going so well for Caterham on 15 laps, Lotus on 31 laps or Red Bull on 32.

  28. 13:15: 

    It's reasonably busy out on track with Sergio Perez, Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Rosberg, Adrian Sutil, Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas all pounding round.

  29. 13:09: 
    YOUR QUESTIONS- #bbcf1

    Andy Cudworth: What effect on the tyres will all this years changes bring, and have Pirelli altered the make up of the tyres at all?

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson says: "Pirelli has made the tyres harder and increased the contact patch to deal with the greater torque produced by the new engines, and say they have widened the working ranges of the tyres to reduce degradation.

    "However, drivers are reporting that the huge torque of the new engines means that they still have to be careful with the throttle as the tyres can degrade quickly if they spin up the wheels. So anyone hoping for a return of the durable tyres produced by Bridgestone and Michelin, which allowed the drivers to push to the limit throughout a race, is likely to be disappointed."


    McLaren: We're alternating drivers this week - so it'll be KM, JB, KM, JB. Gives them the best possible chance to evaluate new parts & changes.

    KM is Kevin Magnussen and JB is Jenson Button

  31. 13:03: 

    So once again, it's looking bleak, very bleak in fact for the reigning world champions. Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who was first out on track and first to set a lap time, has only completed 32 laps today.


    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "I've been down to Red Bull, where I was given the impression that their problem is to do with the energy-recovery system, which we know is at the root of engine partner Renault's problems this winter. No official word on that, yet, though. What is for certain is that the car is in bits in the garage and not going anywhere soon."

  33. 12:58: 

    Where, oh where, is the Red Bull?

  34. 12:54: 
    Pastor Maldonado

    We've not seen Pastor Maldonado or the Lotus for a while - and it doesn't look like we'll see them any time soon. The team say they have found an exhaust issue - with one of the new parts brought to this test - so they are "stripping down and investigating further".


    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "Red Bull had a decent start to the first day of running here at the final test in Bahrain, with Daniel Ricciardo knocking off 32 laps first thing. But the car has not been seen back on the track for some hours since then. All I can tell you for now is that it is up on jacks in the garage. I will try to find out what's going on."

  36. 12:46: 

    Kimi Raikkonen is back out in the Ferrari and is soon back down to business. The Finn clocks a 1:37.288 to go third, 1.998 seconds off the pace.

  37. 12:40: 
    YOUR QUESTIONS- #bbcf1

    Andy asked, via 81111: Do you feel that the recent rule changes will help improve F1 as a spectacle for the fans?

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson says: "It's too early to say, although there is a fear that for now one form of domination will be replaced by another - with Mercedes looking pretty unbeatable at this stage.

    "For many, an end to Red Bull's hegemony might be reason enough to celebrate, but the chances are that the gaps between the teams will increase this year, at least initially. Having said all that, I think the changes absolutely needed to happen.

    "F1 was at risk of becoming irrelevant in a world embracing energy efficiency, and personally I think taking the engines out of the performance equation - as was the case in the V8 era - is a mistake."

  38. 12:35: 

    Kamui Kobayashi is back out in the Caterham, joining Valtteri Bottas, Sergio Perez and Kevin Magnussen on track. Kimi Raikkonen has pitted his Ferrari.


    Caterham: After fixing a software issue we've put @kamui_kobayashi back in the car & are nearly ready to send him out with 2 hours left of T03 day 1.

  40. 12:26: 

    Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen makes a small improvement but it is enough to move him up a place to sixth, 3.1 seconds off the pace.

  41. 12:18: 

    To summarise, Sergio Perez is currently fastest in the Force India and is the only driver to get down into the 1m35s. Kamui Kobayashi, Pastor Maldonado and Danill Kvyat were responsible for the three red flags, while organisers introduced an mandatory 30-minute lunch break at 10:00 GMT which will be enforced for the duration of the test.


    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "As McLaren, Mercedes and Williams set about doing race simulations this afternoon, it's worth casting an eye around the Bahrain paddock. Day one of testing has attracted some well known F1 faces: Piero Ferrari, Enzo's son, has dropped in to watch Kimi Raikkonen, and Niki Lauda and Keke Rosberg are keeping an eye on progress at Mercedes. Team principals Christian Horner and Stefano Domenicali are expected here over the weekend."

  43. 12:09: 

    Sergio Perez, Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas are still pounding round the track, clocking up the mileage. Adrian Sutil has just popped out to join them.

  44. 12:04: 
    YOUR QUESTIONS- #bbcf1

    Earlier, I asked you to send in questions for our chief F1 writer Andrew Benson to answer.

    Arjun in London asked via 81111: Can you see any return for Martin Whitmarsh in Formula 1?

    Andrew says: "Martin Whitmarsh has not been back to McLaren since Ron Dennis engineering the coup that replaced him. A return to F1 is possible - and if he wants to stay relevant he'll have to be back soon. But the problem for him is that after being team boss of McLaren, there's only Mercedes and Ferrari left. Anything else is a step down. He's already turned Mercedes down - they went for him before Paddy Lowe. And I can't see him at Maranello.

    "As for any potential future at McLaren, it's unclear. He has apparently been offered a job elsewhere in the company, but the word is he is unlikely to take it. He's not short of a bob or two, though, and he's talked regularly over the last two years about the risks inherent in being employed by Dennis, and how he knew it could end suddenly at any time. A prescient man... In those circumstances, he has said, he wouldn't be too bothered. Who knows how he actually feels now, though."

  45. 11:59: 

    Sergio Perez's leading time of 1:35.290 in the Force India is two seconds slower than the quickest time set in Bahrain this year. Mercedes' Nico Rosberg clocks a 1:33.283 on the final day of the second test.

  46. 11:53: 

    Marussia have sent Max Chilton out on another run. The Briton improves to a 1:38.610 which is good enough for sixth, 3.3 seconds off the pace.

  47. 11:46: 

    Kimi Raikkonen, Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas are the only drivers out on circuit right now. Sergio Perez is still top of the charts in the Force India.


    Marussia: "That run is complete & we have 21 laps under our belts now. That (and some more of course) will keep the engineers busy into the small hours."

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "Ferrari, in common with nearly all the teams, are planning to introduce some performance upgrades during this test. This is traditional at the final pre-season test, and it brings the cars up to close to the specification in which they will race in Melbourne. There has been some speculation that among the new parts on the Ferrari will be a new nose - Ferrari's design is the lowest in the pit lane this year. But the team say this is not the case."

  50. 11:37: 

    Kimi Raikkonen moves up to sixth with a 1:38.761 in the Ferrari. That's still 3.4 seconds adrift of Sergio Perez's pacesetting Force India.

  51. 11:31: 

    After what feels like an age, Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonen finally head back out on track. The Finn has only completed 12 laps so far today, with only three hours remaining.

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "Some measure of the trouble Renault have been in with their new power-unit is that at least two of its teams - and quite possibly all bar Caterham - have been unable to practice any full-on race starts with it at the first two tests for fear of doing so much damage the engine would fail. One insider joked that the only worry for any non-Renault driver who qualified behind a Renault-powered car at the first race was going to be not running into the back of them at the start! However, it appears some progress has been made. Lotus, for one, were planning to practice some race starts in their programme on Thursday."

  53. 11:28: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    The Toro Rosso is back in the pits which means the session can get going again.


    As previously mentioned, Formula 1 has undergone its biggest rule change in living memory. We've got radical redesigns and brand new power units. Have you got any burning questions about the season ahead, the drivers and teams or the regulations? Well fire them over and our chief F1 writer Andrew Benson will answer the best ones. Tweet #bbcf1 or text 81111 (UK only).

  55. 11:22: 

    No it's not Pastor Maldonado. Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat has rolled to a stop in the first sector.

  56. 11:18: 

    We've got our third red flag of the day...

  57. 11:13: 
    Sergio Perez

    Sergio Perez, who is about to start his fourth season in Formula 1 with a third different team, is currently fastest in the Force India. The former Sauber and McLaren driver is 1.3 seconds faster than Nico Rosberg's Mercedes.

  58. 11:08: 

    Kamui Kobayashi clocks his quickest time of the day by some margin, but the Caterham driver is still rooted to the bottom of the timesheets, nearly seven seconds off the pace.

  59. 11:03: 

    To give you an idea of how the relative power units are performing in Bahrain today, Mercedes-powered cars are currently first, second, third and sixth.

    Ferrari-powered cars are fourth, eighth and 10th. Those with Renault engines are fifth, seventh, ninth and 11th.

  60. 10:57: 

    Force India's Sergio Perez is back out along with Kevin Magnussen in the McLaren. They are currently first and third on the timesheets.

  61. 10:52: 

    Kamui Kobayashi is back in the garage as his Caterham team check all is well with the car, following its stoppage this morning, before preparing to send him out for a proper run.

  62. 10:48: 

    Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat, who has the seventh fastest time, joins Kamui Kobayashi out on the track.


    Caterham: "Fire up and go." Lunch is definitely over for @kamui_kobayashi as he heads back out.

  64. 10:40: 

    Mercedes say they will be focusing on race procedure work, including practice pit stops and starts, this afternoon.

  65. 10:35: 

    It seems the teams are still enjoying the break - and the sunshine - as not a single engine has been fired up yet...

  66. 10:30: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    I'm back! The green light has flickered on at the end of the pit lane to signal that testing is under way again in Bahrain.

  67. 10:00: 

    Organisers have decided to pencil in an official lunch break for this test, which means the track will close for 30 minutes. I'm off to grab a sandwich but will be back at 10:30 GMT. See you soon.

  68. 09:59: 

    Pastor Maldonado is the driver responsible for the stoppage. The Lotus has ground to a halt out on the track.

  69. 09:56: 

    We've got our second red flag of the day...


    Sauber: About four hours into the session and we have 31 laps on the tally. Quick lunch break and then back on track.

  71. 09:52: 
    Adrian Sutil

    Another improvement for Adrian Sutil, the Sauber driver clocking a 1:37.892 to go fourth fastest, 2.6 seconds off the pace.

  72. 09:45: 

    Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 F1 world champion, has decided he wants another crack at the world-famous Indy500, nearly 20 years after he last entered the race - and won.

    The 42-year-old, who will compete in the World Rallycross this year, triumphed in 1995.

    "If you have to win one race in the whole of your career, the Indy 500 is the one in any form of motorsports," he said.


    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "An encouraging start to the day for Red Bull. Daniel Ricciardo has already done more than 30 laps, and the team have dipped under one minute 38 seconds around Bahrain for the first time this winter. The Renault engine sounds like it's running OK, too. Halfway down the pit straight the engine note goes a bit rough and I'm told that's the MGU-K (Kers) switching off. It sounds sweet under acceleration, then goes rough. Proof that Red Bull aren't worried about performance at the moment, only mileage, is that they're not maximising the places in which to use their 33 seconds of available energy boost."

  74. 09:41: 

    Nico Rosberg breaks the silence in his Mercedes, with the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado following him out.

  75. 09:36: 

    All silent at the Bahrain International Circuit with Sergio Perez currently fastest in the Force India.

  76. 09:32: 

    Sauber's Adrian Sutil climbs into seventh, 4.8 seconds off the pace. That demotes Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, who has spent most of the morning in the garage, to eighth.


    Caterham: Engine fired up so we're closing in on go time.


    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "Williams are pushing ahead with an aero programme today. Valtteri Bottas has just back-to-backed two front wings and the team is also testing different cooling specifications. The ambient temperature is now 27 degrees, which is hottest these 2014 cars have experienced to date."

  79. 09:25: 

    Force India's Sergio Perez shaves nearly half a second off his previous best with a 1:35.290 to extend his lead at the top of the charts to 2.4 seconds.


    McLaren's Jenson Button: Some good cycling here in Bahrain racking up 270km, now back to the circuit to catch up on the action from today.

  81. 09:18: 

    Mercedes are having a very solid morning as Nico Rosberg brings up his half century of laps. The German is joined out on track by the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado and Marussia's Max Chilton.


    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "There's a lot of talk about this final test being all about performance, but that's only partially true. A senior engineer at one of the teams tells me that race runs are equally important this week. 'Teams that have found reliability will do miles, miles, miles. We're learning something every time the car goes out and you can't do too many race simulations between now and Melbourne.'"

  83. 09:12: 

    With a little over three hours of testing done, here's how they stand.

    Sergio Perez leads the way, 1.9 seconds clear of Nico Rosberg with Kevin Magnussen a tenth further adrift.

    Daniel Ricciardo is fourth, 2.1 seconds off the pace, with Valtteri Bottas fifth and Daniil Kvyat sixth.

    Kimi Raikkonen is seventh in the Ferrari, his best lap 4.7 seconds slower than Perez, with Adrian Sutil eighth and Max Chilton ninth.

    Pastor Maldonado and Kamui Kobayashi bring up the rear.

  84. 09:06: 

    Sergio Perez goes faster still, the Mexican clocking a 1:35.740 in the Force India to increase his advantage to 1.9 seconds.

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "Mark Webber has been talking up his replacement at Red Bull, Daniel Ricciardo, and his chances of making an impression this year. Webber told the official Australian Grand Prix podcast that his fellow countryman has 'got a very level head, he's mature and he's going to learn a lot of things this year which he'll put in the computer for future years, and that'll help him be a very handy grand prix driver'.

    "Webber adds: 'I believe he'll win grands prix this year, which will be a very big confidence boost for him. He's got a great team around him as well. Patience will be required to a degree because it is a bit of a new scenario for him, but once he finds his feet, the sky could be the limit for him.' Ricciardo will need Red Bull and Renault to sort themselves out first, of course."

  86. 08:59: 

    Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel, who won't get behind the wheel of the Red Bull in Bahrain until Saturday, has been nominated for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award.

    Among his rivals are world 5,000m and 10,000m champion Mo Farah, world number one tennis player Rafael Nadal, Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Miami Heat basketball star LeBron James.

  87. 08:52: 

    Sauber's Adrian Sutil makes a slight improvement to move up to eighth before peeling back into the pits. McLaren's Kevin Magnussen follows him in to leave the track empty.


    Babber Raja: Not a bad early time from Marussia. Be nice if they got a couple of points this year. They over achieve with what they have!

    Vishal Chawda: Difficult to read Ferraris pre season tests, been showing decent pace but feel there might be some more they can get out of the car.

    Mike Chapman: I have a feeling Magnussen may be a big surprise in Melbourne.

  89. 08:42: 

    Away from Bahrain, the Times is reporting that ministers are to launch a consultation to overhaul Britain's road safety and speed limit laws in the coming days which could pave the way for a Formula 1 race on the streets of London.

  90. 08:37: 

    We have a change at the top of the charts as Sergio Perez becomes the first driver of the day to get into the 1min 36secs. The Mexican clocks a 1:36.051 in the Force India.

  91. 08:33: 
    Daniel Ricciardo

    Daniel Ricciardo is back out in the Red Bull. The Australian clocks a 1:37.908 to go third fastest, just over a tenth slower than pacesetter Mercedes' Nico Rosberg.


    Caterham: Gearbox back on, the myriad of parts under the engine cover going back on. Assuming fire up goes ok we should be back out soon(ish).

  93. 08:26: 

    We've not seen Kamui Kobayashi since he stopped out on track to bring out the red flag earlier this morning. Here's the latest from Caterham...


    Williams: 20 laps complete and #BO77AS returns to the garage for more changes. Continuing aero work this morning.

  95. 08:20: 

    Marussia's Max Chilton joins Mercedes' Nico Rosberg and Force India's Sergio Perez out on track while work continues in the Red Bull garage.

  96. 08:15: 

    There were a couple of interesting announcements this week over at Williams. Britain's Susie Wolff will take part in first practice sessions at the British and German grands prix while Rob Smedley has followed Felipe Massa to the Grove-based team from Ferrari to take up the role of head of vehicle performance.

  97. 08:10: 

    Dane Kevin Magnussen is out and about in his McLaren and improves to a 1:37.825, just over a tenth shy of Nico Rosberg's leading time in the Mercedes.


    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "Busier day - on track - than of late for Red Bull. Ricciardo has already competed 16 laps - one more than he managed on day four of last week's test - but inside the garage there has been the now-familiar noise this pre-season of loud banging, metal-on-metal. It's been like standing outside an iron works!"

  99. 08:05: 

    There's good news for the teams, and indeed good news for you, as I'm told testing will be extended by half an hour per day. The chequered flag will now fall at 14:30 GMT.

  100. 08:00: 

    Sergio Perez ups the ante in the Force India, the Mexican clocking a 1:38.215 to go second, just under half a second behind Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes.

  101. 07:55:  
    BBC Radio 5 live

    One week today, BBC Radio 5 live will broadcast their F1 season preview show with Jennie Gow, James Allen and Allan McNish. You can listen to it at 21:00 GMT on Thursday 6 March. The podcast will be available soon after if you miss it.

    Tom Clarkson and Diego Maradona

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "One for the album. Please forgive the Ferrari gear; en route to this week's test in Bahrain I stopped off with Fernando Alonso in Dubai, his preferred winter training destination, and we played football against some legends of the game. Alfonso and Michel Salgado (both ex-Real Madrid) proved that they've lost none of their flair, and this man was playing too. At the age of 53, Diego Maradona is about to make a sensational return to professional football in Argentina and he was in the Middle East to get back in shape. Trust me: he's still got a mighty left foot."

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "The smaller teams have long been concerned about their ability to deal with the complexity - and cost - of the new engine regulations. But while Caterham have had a decent pre-season, at least in the context of the other Renault-powered teams and covered a good amount of miles in Bahrain last week, fellow backmarkers Marussia are really up against it. A succession of problems over the two tests so far means they have done the least mileage of anyone - and less than half that of Lotus, who did not even go to Jerez - and team boss John Booth has admitted he has concerns about whether they will be ready for the start of the season. He did say, however, that he was 'very hopeful'."

    GET INVOLVED- #bbcf1

    Dan Jones: If Williams keep up their current level of reliability, they have an excellent chance in Melbourne.

  105. 07:44: 

    The race is on to be ready for the first grand prix of the season in Melbourne. From there, the Formula 1 circus will go on a whistle-stop tour of the globe, stopping off in Monaco, Canada, Britain and Singapore among others before arriving in Abu Dhabi for the season finale - where double points will be on offer, of course. Here's the complete calendar.

  106. 07:40: 

    So all 11 cars have set a lap time, with six seconds separating them. Nico Rosberg leads the way, from Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas in the Williams.

    Sergio Perez is fourth, ahead of Daniil Kvyat, Kevin Magnussen, Kimi Raikkonen, Max Chilton, Pastor Maldonado, Adrian Sutil and Kamui Kobayashi.

  107. 07:37: 

    Normal service (based on form this year) is resumed as Nico Rosberg goes quickest for Mercedes with a 1:37.722. That's nearly a second quicker than anyone else.

  108. 07:35: 

    There are rumblings in the Mercedes garage and a few seconds later, Nico Rosberg peels out of the garage.

  109. 07:31: 

    Daniil Kvyat improves to a 1:39.242 to move up to fourth in the Toro Rosso. Some good early running for the Italian team, who like Red Bull have struggled to get the mileage under their belt so far this year.

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "Ferrari's form has been difficult to read so far. They have periodically popped up at the top of the times. And a race run done by Fernando Alonso at the first Bahrain test looked reasonably competitive compared to a simultaneous one by Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, as far as it was possible to tell. But a senior Ferrari figure revealed this week that the team believe their engine is about 75bhp down on the Mercedes, and they don't understand how their rivals are getting so much power while staying within the fuel restriction introduced this year. Which does not paint too pretty a picture for Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen."

  111. 07:20: 

    Finn Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion, has the track to himself at the moment. Here's Andrew Benson with more on his Ferrari team's form...

  112. 07:18: 

    With Kevin Magnussen having set a lap time, it means only Mercedes - who have Nico Rosberg at the wheel today - have yet to get a time on the board.

  113. 07:13: 

    The McLaren has broken cover, with Kevin Magnussen heading out on track. The Dane is soon up to speed and slots into third on the timesheets, 0.8 seconds off the pace.


    Can Red Bull respond and recover before the start of the season in Australia? Are Mercedes the most likely winners in Melbourne? Or will we see a surprise victor as teams get to grips with the new rules?

    Tweet us using the #bbcf1 hashtag or text 81111 (UK only), remembering to put your name on those SMS messages.

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "There is no doubt where much of the focus will be over the next four days. Red Bull have had a disastrous pre-season testing programme so far, achieving only a quarter of the mileage of Mercedes and showing a lamentable lack of performance. Part of the problem is undoubtedly the Renault power unit, which teams can not run anywhere near full capacity, but the Red Bull car has had a succession of problems, too. Can they begin to get things back on track this week?"

  116. 07:03: 

    Pastor Maldonado gets himself on the board, too, the Lotus driver slotting into fifth with Daniil Kvyat going seventh in the Toro Rosso.

  117. 07:01: 

    Sergio Perez is keen. The Mexican wastes no time in heading out on track and posting his first time of the day - 1:38.966 - to go second fastest in the Force India, 0.324 seconds off the pace.

  118. 06:58: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    Kamui Kobayashi's Caterham is now safely back in the garage which means the session can get back under way.


    Marussia: So our plan for today is short runs this morning, building into longer runs this afternoon. All in tandem with an aero programme #flo-viz.

  120. 06:49: 
    Lap times

    Before the red flag, five drivers aside from Daniel Ricciardo had set a lap time. Kimi Raikkonen clocked a time of one minute 40.5 seconds to go second quickest in the Ferrari with Marussia's Max Chilton third. Adrian Sutil is currently fourth, ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Kamui Kobayashi. No sign of a flying lap from the Mercedes or McLaren yet.

  121. 06:46: 

    Kamui Kobayashi brings out the first red flag of the day as his Caterham rolls to a halt in sector one.

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "Lewis Hamilton said after the first Bahrain test last week that he had 'no idea' where Mercedes stood in the competitive pecking order. But everyone else seems to. The team's fastest lap was nearly two seconds faster than anyone else's and they have done more miles. Mercedes look to be in good shape to dominate the start of the season, with only McLaren and - perhaps - Ferrari anywhere close to them. Will the four days of testing in Bahrain this week confirm this picture, or add intriguing new strands to the narrative?"

    Pit lane

    BBC F1 pit lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "A beautiful day for testing in Bahrain. The air temp is 22 degrees and the track is 28. Very little wind."

  124. 06:40: 

    The action is already under way in Bahrain with Red Bull, of all teams, the first to complete a flying lap courtesy of Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian steadily improves and on his third lap clocks one minute 38.6 seconds - that's the fastest the Red Bull has been in Bahrain this year, following last week's four-day test.

  125. 06:35: 

    So as Tom mentioned, Daniel Ricciardo is in the Red Bull today, but who else can we expect to see in action? Here's the line-up....

    Red Bull - Daniel Ricciardo

    Mercedes - Nico Rosberg

    Ferrari - Kimi Raikkonen

    Lotus - Pastor Maldonado

    McLaren - Kevin Magnussen

    Force India - Sergio Perez

    Sauber - Adrian Sutil

    Williams - Valtteri Bottas

    Toro Rosso - Daniil Kvyat

    Caterham - Kamui Kobayashi

    Marussia - Max Chilton

    Red Bull

    BBC F1 pit lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "Daniel Ricciardo is driving the Red Bull today. He and the team need lots of mileage to make up for two disappointing winter test sessions to date. How often will the screens part?"

  127. 06:30: 
    Nico Rosberg

    For Mercedes, the start of the season probably can't come soon enough. The Brackley-based outfit, with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the wheel, have been the form team of testing, clocking up the miles and getting valuable race-simulation data under their belts. In contrast, world champions Red Bull have had a stinker, with unreliability severely hampering their attempts at getting track time.

  128. 06:25: 

    As if you need reminding, Formula 1 has undergone its biggest regulation change in years, with 1.6-litre V6 turbo engines replacing the V8s. The result is unpredictability as the teams face a race against time to make their cars reliable ahead of the season opener in Melbourne, Australia.

  129. 06:20: 

    Good morning everybody and welcome to our live text commentary of the first day of the final pre-season test at the Bahrain International Circuit in, er, Bahrain.

  130. 06:15: 

    Just four days of testing remain before the first race of the season. Will the teams be ready in time?

Share this story