F1 2014: The post-testing, pre-Melbourne Power Ranking.

It has been a long time since a revolution this significant. For the first time since 2006, the engines have changed. It has never been so difficult to guess who is on front. Some teams are hoping that the new rules shuffle the cards and equal the playing field, while Red Bull would have liked to continue racing the RB9 until there is no more fuel on this planet.
Let's take a look at the results and try to create a more or less (less, definitely) accurate power ranking.

I will judge this year's vehicles in three categories: Reliability, Long Run Pace and Single Lap Speed. After finishing first for the last 4 years, Red Bull shall be rated first.

Red Bull RB10 | Renault | Vettel/Ricciardo

F1 2014: The post-testing, pre-Melbourne Power Ranking.

Reliability: 3/10
Adrian Newey is a man of extreme. It is why many of his cars proved to be dominant, untouchable. His main focus is and always will be aerodynamics, everything else is secondary. Mechanic innovation is only used when it is of aid to make the wings and diffusor work.
It therefore was not that surprising when the RB10 had starting issues. It neither was the first time for a Red Bull or Newey car to get a bad start: The 2010, championship winning RB6 didn't test at all before the first race.

Long Run Pace: 8/10

Ricciardo had a good long run. A long run that was better than what McLaren did. Button was impressed when he described how Ricciardo passed him on said run. A good sign. As soon as the power output will be on par with Mercedes, Vettel and Ricciardo will be able to go back to winning.

Single Lap Speed: 7/10

Once the car ran, it showed classic Red Bull characteristics: Fast in corners, slow on straights. While the longitudinal slowness is most likely caused by Renaults ERS problems, the cornering speed shows that they built a solid chassis as well. Mercedes engineers were worried about the enemies from Austria, and confirmed the impression by measuring the RB10s cornering abilities – they proved to be good. Also braking stability needs to be improved – it never want as smooth as the Mercedes.

Total: 18/30

MercedesGP AMG W05 | Mercedes | Hamilton/Rosberg

F1 2014: The post-testing, pre-Melbourne Power Ranking.

Reliability: 9/10

Developing the engine and chassis in house was called the biggest advantage before the season. And they were right. The car ran, and while they had problems too (rear wing falling off, gearbox breaking, etc.), they always were back on track sooner than any other outfit. A good sign. It also suits a statement by Lewis Hamilton that they tried to find the car's mechanical limits to improve reliability.

Long Run Pace: 9/10

Different to judge, but what we have seen so far, they were right on the top. There is another team that is at least similar, but combined with the team's resources and longer lasting tires, we can expect the W05 to be much more consistent on long runs than its tire melting, but fast predecessor.

Single Lap Speed: 10/10

Full score. Hamilton has been 2 hundreds behind Massa for the total fastest lap, but even more impressive is Rosbergs lap time during the first Bahrain week. He did a 1:33.4 and was only two tenths behind on the harder tires (Soft instead of Super Soft).

Total: 28/30

Ferrari F14 T | Ferrari | Alonso/Raikkönen

F1 2014: The post-testing, pre-Melbourne Power Ranking.

Reliability: 8/10

It ran. The F14 was by far the best non-Mercedes powered car. But they do have problems. They are somewhat in the middle, between Renault and Mercedes. The electronics work okay, but leave a lot of room for improvement. Once again, designing chassis and powerunit in house was a key advantage and explains why the F14 ran better than the customer cars.

Long Run Pace: 7/10

Not bad at all, but not stellar. Solid long runs were shown by the Kimster and Fernando, although Gerhard Berger reports that they have issues on downshifting and braking.

Single Lap Speed: 6/10

Between 2010 and 2013, Ferrari scored only 2 poles. They always relied on Alonso improving in the race. Apparently, qualifying speed is a weak point once again. 2 seconds behind the leading lap time was not be explained with different fuel loads and engine mappings.

Total: 21/30

McLaren MP4-29 | Mercedes | Button/Magnussen

F1 2014: The post-testing, pre-Melbourne Power Ranking.

Reliability: 7/10

While the McLaren also has the advantage of using the Mercedes HPE Powertrain, things didn't go as smooth as they did for the Mercedes works team. On possible reason is that McLaren is building their own gearboxes, a part that left the car standing in the pits two times. And with Honda becoming their new partner in 2015, the relationship, and therefore the technical exchange rate, cooled down significantly. Still, the MP4-29 did well, but it could be better.

Long Run Pace: 7/10

Pretty much on pace with the Ferrari. I heard rumors that their innovative beam wing solution will be only run on high downforce tracks as Melbourne, Monaco and Singapore. This would at least partly explain the lack of pace in Bahrain. Williams said they tested such a solution in their wind tunnel, and that fuel consumption/drag went through the roof, compared to a conservative solution.

Single Lap Speed: 8/10

Magnussen proved single lap speed during the first week. Considering their not perfect setup, their lack of setup work, and that they were concentrating on long runs later on, it looks good in terms of raw speed.

Total: 21/30

Lotus E22 | Renault | Grosjean/Maldonado

F1 2014: The post-testing, pre-Melbourne Power Ranking.

Reliability: 1/10

Not there. It was either not running at all because the car wasn't read (Jerez), was sitting in the pits because the Renault engine didn't want to turn over and took days to repair, or was running not consistent or – dare I say – fast at all. Sit down, you failed.

Long Run Pace: ???

How to know if they were doing better installation laps? The E22 is probably the most innovative, the bravest of all the cars, but we will not know how good it works until they sort out the power train.

Single Lap Speed: ???

Same thing. Traditionally, Lotus has cars that are great on long runs and not up to speed in qualifying.

Total: 3-21?/30

Sauber C33 | Ferrari | Sutil/Gutierez

F1 2014: The post-testing, pre-Melbourne Power Ranking.

Reliability: 6/10

They drove close to 200 laps on the last day, but before, Sauber was slightly behind and had serious problems. Not much more to say about them.

Long Run Pace: 5/10

The definition of "okay". Currently, the C33 is a rather simple car. It will be interesting to see how the relatively poor Swiss team will handle the upgrade war.

Single Lap Speed: 5/10

Pretty much the same. Simple car – not too far off, not really up front. Ferrari is said to be running 40hp less for safety reasons, and the current Sauber chassis weighs 20kg too much – that's about 7 tenths on a single lap alone.

Total: 16/30

Williams FW36 | Mercedes | Massa/Bottas

F1 2014: The post-testing, pre-Melbourne Power Ranking.

Reliability: 8/10

Williams is back! Martini and stuff! After a disastrous 2013 year, pay crasher driver Pastor Maldonado left the team and brought his millions to Lotus. Also, Mercedes replaced Renault. It all paid out apparently. Even the Williams gearbox seems to work just as fine as the Mercedes unit (Mercedes didn't have the capacity to supply Williams with a gearbox, so they built their own). As a result, they did pretty much as many laps as the W05, but their repair times were a bit longer.

Long Run Pace: 10/10

Best long run of whole testing. Everyone was surprised and impressed – Mercedes engineers were asking around if someone knew how much fuel the Williams had on board. They are that worried. Once again, the update strategy is going to be key, but Pat Symonds knows what he's doing.

Single Lap Speed: 9/10

Excellent. Especially Bottas really let it fly. I "only" gave them 9 points because the Rossberg looked stronger on the soft tires. In total, the Williams is on par with the works Mercedes.

Total: 27/30

Torro Rosso STR9 | Renault | Vergne/Kwijat

F1 2014: The post-testing, pre-Melbourne Power Ranking.

Reliability: 5/10

Pretty much the same story for the little Red Bull sister, but they managed to improve quicker. James Key, the new design boss and possible Newey successor, showed his skills right away. This year should be better for the Italian team as they can share knowledge with Red Bull thanks to the same engine and gearbox.

Long Run Pace: 6/10

Quite good. They drove the second most laps of any Renault car, and they were on par with Sauber. That comes as an improvement over 2013, but they will hope for more.

Single Lap Speed: 5/10

Very difficult to judge – nearly no Renault powered car went on a serious time attack. Considering their overall form and the handicapped engine, a 5 seems fair.

Total: 16/30

Marussia MR03 | Ferrari | Bianchi/Chilton

F1 2014: The post-testing, pre-Melbourne Power Ranking.

Reliability: 6/10

Although they left out the first test, the Marussia ran good. Surprising for the smallest, poorest team on the grid. The Ferrari partnership really helped them, it goes as far as Ferrari employees moving to the new English/Russian team. The first races are their chance to profit from DNFs and score first points

Long Run Pace: 5/10

It seems like they found their way to the end of the midfield. While the MR03 was no way near the top, it could keep up with the Sauber. A great sign for the struggling team. Not sure how the update heavy season will be handled by them with the super small budget though.

Single Lap Speed: 5/10

Not much to say: Okay. Aerodynamic efficiency seems fine and could favor them on medium speed tracks, but not in Melbourne.

Total: 16/30

Force India VMJ07 | Mercedes | Hülkenberg/Perez

F1 2014: The post-testing, pre-Melbourne Power Ranking.

Reliability: 7/10

Probably the worst of all Mercedes teams. It shows how important resources are – McLaren, Williams and of course the works team all can rely on more personnel and money. Still, compared to the rest, it looks okay.

Long Run Pace: 7/10

Hülkenberg showed what he's worth. After not getting a top tier seat, he has to prove his skills in the new era to keep being the hottest driver on the market. The long runs look good again, all helped by the better response of the German power unit.

Single Lap Speed: 6/10

Just behind McLaren. The Force India was a car that traditionally ran better during the race, and shined on high speed tracks like Monza and Spa. I heard that the new car again has not the level of downforce as the opponents, so don't expect super great things in Melbourne.

Total: 20/30

Caterham CT05 | Renault | Kobayashi/Ericsson

F1 2014: The post-testing, pre-Melbourne Power Ranking.

Reliability: 6/10

Good! The reason is simple though: The cooling areas are ridiculously big. The effect is that the critical electronic components keep cool and therefore less malfunction/more stability is achieved. The downside…

Long Run Pace: 3/10

… is their overall speed. Tearing the bodywork apart for cooling works if you just want to finish, but speed wise, it is terrible. Also fuel economy will be influenced. And thanks to less air flow to the back, more tire wear is a possibility. Not looking good so far, and as Newey said in an interview recently, closing the cooling areas can lead to big aerodynamic changes.

Single Lap Speed: 3/10

The same as above. Only now, Caterham can't rely on the heavier punch of their engine. Since Marussia opted for KERS in 2013, they managed to beat the bigger team of Tony Fernandes. And there is another threat: the boss announced to pull out of F1 if this season doesn't bring the big change and a movement forwards. Some engineers better look for new jobs…

Total: 12/30

A small summary: Mercedes and Williams will battle it out on front, Ferrari, McLaren and Force India not far behind. The midfield will be a close call between Red Bull, Sauber, Torro Rosso and Marussia. Caterham seems to be too far behind, and Lotus is the big unknown factor. If you think I'm an idiot and Caterham will score a 1-2 victory, leave a comment. I would love to hear your reasoning.

F1 2014: The post-testing, pre-Melbourne Power Ranking.

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