Testing times for local teams

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The new era of F1 started in Spain this week when the opening pre-season test of 2014 took place at the Jerez circuit.

The test gave the teams present the chance to give their 2014 specification cars their debut runs, although numerous problems saw several teams end their runs on-track early as testing started in a slow fashion.

The Brackley-based Mercedes AMG Petronas, Silverstone’s Sahara Force India and Bicester’s Toro Rosso were all in action with their new cars. The Force India VJM07 was driven by Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, while the Toro Rosso STR9 was handled by Jean-Eric Vergne and Russian youngster, Daniil Kvyat.

Both the Force India and Toro Rosso cars have unusual designs at the front to meet the new 2014 regulations. Although neither design can be described as pretty, both teams hope that their cars will be able to challenge for regular point-scoring finishes.

Force India new boy, Sergio Perez, who has joined the local team from McLaren, said: “I enjoyed driving the new Force India car. The colour of the design is very striking and makes it look really good.

“My first impression of the car was that the V6 engine feels very different to the V8 engine of last year and I believe we will all have to work hard to get used to the powerplant.” Perez was at the wheel of the VJM067 when it stopped during Wednesday’s testing with an apparent engine failure.

The Silverstone team used the test to announce that Daniel Juncadella would be joining them as the squad’s official test and reserve driver. Juncadella races full-time in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) and will drive for Force India at times he is required.

Meanwhile, former Buckingham University Marc Gene was at Maranello in Italy last weekend for the launch of the new Ferrari F14-T car, and also present with the team at Jerez in his role of test and reserve driver.

Gene said this week: “The new Ferrari has received mixed views because of its looks, but the new regulations do not allow for nice cars at the moment. We hope that the new F14-T will be competitive and Kimi Raikkonen was asked to drive the car first in this week’s test.”