New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

F1 test: Lewis crashes, Vettel edgy

2014-01-29 07:25

FIRST FOR EVERYTHING: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton might have been the first one out to test the new V6 turbocharged engine in Jerez, but he was also the first to crash on Tuesday, Jan 28. Image: AFP

JEREZ, Spain - Lewis Hamilton crashed his Mercedes, World champion Sebastian Vettel failed to complete a timed lap and McLaren's car stayed in the garage as Formula One's new turbo era endured a difficult, and strangely quiet, birth on Tuesday, Jan 28.

Twin black streaks of scorched tyre rubber marked the asphalt at the end of the Jerez pit straight where Hamilton locked up and careered into the tyre wall after a front wing failure on the first day of pre-season testing.

The 2008 champion was unhurt in the crash on his 18th lap after being first out of the pits after the unveiling of his sleek silver F1 W05 but it ended his team's track activities for the day.


Hamilton, who said it was way too early to give any assessment of the car, said: "Apart from the ending, it's been quite a positive day. Always when you crash it's big, but it's OK. I was able to walk away, no problems."

Vettel's work at the wheel had not even started at that point, Red Bull's quadruple champion kicked his heels while the team fixed set-up problems which had emerged overnight with their new RB10. He eventually emerged, after a brief squall of rain, for one installation lap.

Fans who had paid for tickets got scant value for money, with only 93 laps completed by eight of the 10 teams present on a cold day in southern Spain.

Kimi Raikkonen, returning to Ferrari after winning the championship with that team in 2007, accounted for 31 laps after bringing out the first red flag of the day when he stopped on track. That compared to a total of 657 laps run on the opening day of testing last year and 718 in 2012.

Raikkonen sais: "We want to do more laps but it's pretty normal with such a big change. It will take a little time before we can run 100% the whole time and be confident we don't have any issues."


F1 has ditched the ear-splitting 2.4-litre V8 engines for a new turbocharged 1.6 litre V6. Reliability is a major concern and times were therefore of no relevance as teams focused on troubleshooting rather than performance.

Hamilton also crashed in his first test for Mercedes in 2013 in Jerez after moving from McLaren, whose troubles continued after a 2013 season to forget.

The UK team, which had hoped to have Jenson Button out on the track, said it had been hit by electrical issues that led to the dismantling, inspection and re-installing of several major components.

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 F1 season – fresh reports every day.

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