Jerez Test 2014, Day One: F1's new V6s era begins with the sound of silence
Kimi Raikkonen ends the day on top of the timesheets; Lewis Hamilton crashes out; Sebastian Vettel completes only three laps in new Red Bull; Electrical issues keep McLaren in garage all day
By Pete Gill at Jerez
Last Updated: 29/01/14 8:23am
Hamilton's shuddering exit into the barriers at Turn One after 18 laps was the lone incident of note on a day that saw the eerie sound of silence descend over the Jerez circuit and accounted for less than a 100 laps with only six drivers completing a timed run.
Revolutions have seldom been so low key or so quiet with the tranquility of rural southern Spain only rarely punctuated by the tinny sound of the new V6 engines.
World Champions Red Bull, a model of mechanical consistency in recent years, were conspicuous by their absence until the final fifteen minutes with Sebastian Vettel forced to kick his heels following an "overnight mistake" with a RB10 car which was briefly revealed to the public at its early-morning unveiling before the shutters at the front of the Red Bull garage slammed down again. They never lifted thereafter until 16.45pm local time when Vettel belatedly embarked on a single installation lap. Two more followed thereafter but no timed run.
"There has been very little running so far because everyone is struggling," observed Vettel. "The team is very motivated, but at the moment there isn't a single member of the team focused on results, we are flat-out trying to get the car ready and get on top of the rule changes - just like everyone else," he added.
"To have any sort of expectation is impossible because there are too many new things. At the moment, it's all guessing."
Along with previously-confirmed non-runners Marussia and Lotus, McLaren and, until a brief foray in the final hour with Valtteri Bottas, Williams were also idle bystanders with the rules revolution seemingly coming too soon for a host of teams and their complex new chargers.
If so, it was arguably the only quick feature of the day with Kimi Raikkonen's table-topping time for Ferrari almost ten seconds shy of the fastest time set a year ago when F1 last visited Jerez.
"It's just the first day, there is still a long way to go," the Finn told reporters afterwards. "Lap times don't mean anything, I was just learning about the car."
Prior to its one-sided collision with the barriers, Hamilton's newly-unveiled Mercedes W05 had at least claimed the honour of being the first of the 2014 cars to venture out on track, and the Englishman was sufficiently satisfied with registering that landmark to strike an upbeat tone when he addressed the press afterwards.
"Apart from the end, it's generally been a positive day," said Hamilton. "We were the first ones out and have done the most laps by the time we finished is a hugely positive start for us. Obviously this is testing, you're going to have hiccups."
If Hamilton's crash was a hiccup then the troubled McLaren team must still be suffering from a heavy cold with the Woking outfit unable to partake in the day's running due to an 'hydraulic and electrical installation problem' on the new MP4-29.
Caterham, meanwhile, became the seventh team to officially launch their 2014 car when they presented the CT05 late on Tuesday after being forced to cancel their planned morning launch. The car, which features a truncheon-like nose, completed just a solitary installation lap before retiring for the day.
Jerez test, Day One timesheet:
1. Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:27.104, 31 laps.
2. Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:27.820, 18 laps.
3. Bottas, Williams, 1:30.082, 7 laps.
4. Perez, Force India, 1.33:161, 11 laps.
5. Vergne, Toro Rosso, 1:36.530, 15 laps.
6. Gutierrez, Sauber, 1:42.257, 7 laps.
7. Vettel, Red Bull, No time, 3 laps.
8. Ericsson, Caterham, No time, 1 lap.
9. Button, McLaren, No time, 0 laps.
The Sky Sports F1 Online team will be providing live commentary of all three winter tests, starting in Jerez on Tuesday January 28, with live updates from trackside also on Sky Sports News.