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

Text commentary of day two of the final pre-season test in Bahrain, where Red Bull's improve but Mercedes struggle.

28 February 2014 Last updated at 06:25

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As it happened

  1. 15:22: 

    I'll be back tomorrow at 06:15 GMT to bring you live coverage of the penultimate day of pre-season testing.

    Can Red Bull build on today's improvement? Can Mercedes find the cause of the gremlins? Will Williams and Force India continue to impress?

    We'll take one step closer to finding out tomorrow. Until tomorrow, it's good afternoon from me. See ya.

  2. 15:17: 

    And Andrew Benson's report is live, too. Keep an eye on the website for all the news and best interviews from the Bahrain paddock later today.

  3. 15:12: 

    Andrew Benson's story on the decision to not to extend the double points scheme to the final three races of the season is available to read now on the F1 pages.

  4. 15:05: 

    It was all going so well for Mercedes, too, as Lewis Hamilton clocked up the laps, but it wasn't a trouble-free day as the Brackley-based team had to end running early once again, this time because of a gearbox issue.

  5. 15:01: 

    It wasn't such a good day for Lotus, who ended their day two hours early following an engine fire. Pastor Maldonado managed just 31 laps.

  6. 14:59: 

    Daniel Ricciardo's lap was the fastest the team have managed over six days of testing in Bahrain - and by some margin - and that will be of welcome relief to a Red Bull team who have looked on the ropes since testing began.

  7. 14:55: 

    Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel will take over the driving duties at Red Bull for the final two days of testing before the season starts on 16 March in Melbourne, Australia.

  8. 14:50: 
    Daniel Ricciardo

    It was an encouraging end to the day for Red Bull, who managed to do a 20-lap run towards the end of the session. The world champions cut extra vents in the rear bodywork in an attempt to ease their overheating problems.

  9. 14:44: 
    Laps completed on day two

    1) Sergio Perez (Force India) 108

    2) Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 122

    3) Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 66

    4) Felipe Massa (Williams) 103

    5) Jenson Button (McLaren) 52

    6) Jules Bianchi (Marussia) 75

    7) Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 89

    8) Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) 61

    9) Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) 106

    10) Pastor Maldonado (Lotus) 31

    11) Marcus Ericsson (Caterham) 55

  10. 14:38: 

    It is another impressive day for Sergio Perez who tops the times once again and completes more than 100 laps for a second successive day. Next time the Mexican will be in the car will be in Melbourne for Australian Grand Prix practice. Nico Hulkenberg will drive the Force India for the final two days of testing.

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

    1) Sergio Perez (Force India) 1:35.570

    2) Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 1:35.634

    3) Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 1:35.743

    4) Felipe Massa (Williams) 1:36.507

    5) Jenson Button (McLaren) 1:36.901

    6) Jules Bianchi (Marussia) 1:38.092

    7) Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:39.041

    8) Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) 1:39.636

    9) Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) 1:39.976

    10) Pastor Maldonado (Lotus) 1:41.613

    11) Marcus Ericsson (Caterham) 1:42.516

  12. 14:30: 
    CHEQUERED FLAG
    Sergio Perez

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

  13. 14:25: 

    Just five minutes remain of the session, with Daniel Ricciardo, Jules Bianchi and Felipe Massa among the drivers still pumping in the lap times.

  14. 14:20: 

    Daniel Ricciardo is doing decent run out there in the Red Bull. The Australian has clocked up 18 successive laps.

  15.  

    Force India: The 100-lap mark is crossed in style by Checo, who heads into the triple figures for the second day in a row!

  16. 14:13: 

    Former team-mates Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso are making the most of the final minutes of today's running. Massa, now at Williams, has done more than 90 laps. Ferrari's Alonso, meanwhile, has done 110 laps.

  17. 14:08: 

    Caterham report that their day is over after Marcus Ericisson stopped out on track. The team tweet: "A technical issue caused a fire which was quickly put out and the car's now back in the garage being stripped so we can identify the problem."

  18. 14:07: 

    Jenson Button is out on track in the McLaren along with Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and Marussia's Jules Bianchi.

  19. 14:04: 
    Sergio Perez

    Force India's Sergio Perez still tops the charts with a time of 1:35.570, 0.064 seconds quicker than Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari. Daniel Ricciardo is third, ahead of Jenson Button and Jules Bianchi.

  20. 13:58: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    We've got green flags in Bahrain which means the session is back under way. Just over 30 minutes remaining...

  21. 13:55: 

    F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone wanted to extend the double points scheme from just the final race of the season. But after a meeting of the strategy group - which comprises Ecclestone, FIA president Jean Todt and six of the teams - the proposal was rejected.

    The meeting also decided to make no changes to the engine homologation rules after some of the teams supplied by Renault raised the idea of amendments. Full story coming soon.

  22. 13:50: 
    BREAKING NEWS

    Formula 1's bosses decide against extending the controversial double points scheme to the final three races of the season.

  23. 13:48: 

    We're just waiting for the marshals to lift the Caterham onto the back of a truck and transport it back to the pits so that the session can get back under way.

  24. 13:43: 

    It was all going so well for Caterham, but their day looks to have come to an abrupt end as Marcus Ericsson stops out on track.

  25. 13:40: 
    RED FLAG

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

  26. 13:35: 

    Mercedes' day ends on a disappointing note for the second successive day as the team end running early because of a gearbox problem. Lewis Hamilton completed 89 laps today - exactly the same number that Nico Rosberg managed yesterday.

  27. 13:32: 

    Good news for Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull. The Australian is getting ready to head back out on track.

  28. 13:26: 

    Good work from McLaren who have fixed the car and sent Jenson Button back out on track for the final hour of the session.

  29. 13:16: 
    Fernando Alonso

    Fernando Alonso pits with 107 laps on the board. Lots of data for the Ferrari team to sift through tonight.

  30. 13:06: 

    Several of the drivers, including Adrian Sutil, Kamui Kobayashi and Max Chilton, are doing an autograph session while their team-mates enter the final 90 minutes of today's test.

  31. 13:00: 

    Ferrari's Fernando Alonso is approaching a century of laps and is joined by Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez and Force India's Sergio Perez.

  32. 12:52: 

    To recap, Sergio Perez is quickest, 0.064 seconds ahead of Fernando Alonso. Lewis Hamilton has completed the most laps, with 87 at the moment, but has caused one of three red flags. Jenson Button and Pastor Maldonado were responsible for the others and have not been seen since.

    Lotus have already said that's their day over, while McLaren are hoping to get out in the final hour. The Formula 1 Teams' Association is no more while minnows Marussia have had arguably their best day of winter testing, clocking up solid mileage.

  33. 12:48: 

    Red Bull and Daniel Ricciardo go third quickest with a time of 1:36.340, 0.770 seconds off the pace set by Sergio Perez's Force India.

  34. 12:42: 

    Force India are doing a long run, too. Pacesetter Sergio Perez pits after 10 laps, takings on fresh tyres and then sets off again.

  35. 12:36: 

    Talking of Lotus, the BBC News team have given a look behind the scenes at the team's Enstone factory in Oxfordshire.

    "We are operating on half the budget of some of the big boys, so we have to think of different ways of making that work and being competitive," says chief executive Matthew Carter, parachuted in by owners Genii Capital to try to stabilise the business. Find out what they're doing here.

  36. 12:31: 

    With two hours remaining, Lotus are calling it a day. Pastor Maldonado stopped out on track earlier, bringing out the red flag, and the car has not been seen since.

    "Sufficient char-grilling to render us out for the rest of today," tweet the team. "Causation investigations continue."

  37. 12:25: 

    Sauber are switching their attention to long runs with their pit crew on standby to practise race pit stops.

  38. 12:20: 

    Caterham are having an encouraging day with Marcus Ericsson clocking up 35 laps, almost double what Kamui Kobayashi managed yesterday.

  39. 12:13: 

    Lewis Hamilton is back out on track in his Mercedes. Will he be able to beat team-mate Nico Rosberg's total of 89 laps completed yesterday? He's currently done 72 laps.

  40. 12:08: 

    Williams say Felipe Massa has switched his focus to longer stints and a race simulation this afternoon. The Brazilian spent much of the morning working on set-up.

  41.  
    Eric Boullier

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "McLaren's new director of racing, Eric Boullier, gets the lowdown on Jenson Button's car problems on day two of testing in Bahrain. The latest news is that JB will hopefully be out for the last hour of running."

  42. 12:02: 

    Force India's Sergio Perez, who is on course to top the times for the second successive day, continues to clock up the miles around the Bahrain International Circuit. The Mexican is joined by Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo who, encouragingly for his team, is on a run of laps himself.

  43. 11:55: 

    Here's the full story on the Formula 1 Teams' Association (Fota) disbanding after six years.

    Fota secretary general Oliver Weingarten said: "I can confirm that Fota has been disbanded as a result of insufficient funds to continue and a lack of consensus among all the teams on a revised, non-contentious mandate."

  44.   
    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "While F1's bosses meet in the strategy group this morning, Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg is doing a Q&A with fans on Twitter. He has been asked for his view on the introduction of double points at the final race of the season. 'Sucks,' he said."

  45. 11:47: 

    Daniel Ricciardo has pitted but Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and Jules Bianchi are persevering out on track.

  46. 11:43: 

    It's proving to be a solid day for Marussia who have clocked up 40 laps with Jules Bianchi today. That's five times the number of laps the Frenchman managed in two days of testing last week.

  47.  

    Lotus: A bit of a flame display on track means we've brought the E22 back to investigate what went wrong.

  48. 11:35: 

    Daniel Ricciardo sets his fastest lap of the day with a 1:39.155 to go sixth, 3.5 seconds off the pace in the Red Bull.

  49. 11:30: 

    Daniel Ricciardo heads back out in the Red Bull, with Sergio Perez, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton close behind.

  50. 11:25: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    The Lotus is back in the pits which means testing can resume in Bahrain...

  51. 11:20: 

    In other news, the Formula 1 team's umbrella group Fota has been disbanded. The body was set up in 2008 to provide a single voice for the teams in dealings with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone and governing body the FIA. But it has now been closed down amid cost concerns and questions over its relevance. Full story will be up shortly.

  52. 11:16: 

    Lewis Hamilton had just headed out on track when the red flag came out. The Mercedes driver has headed back to the pits but the team say he'll be out again once the track is clear.

  53. 11:14: 

    Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado, who also stopped out on track yesterday, has rolled to a halt off track in the first sector.

  54. 11:12: 
    RED FLAG

    It's our third red flag of the day...

  55. 11:06: 

    Fernando Alonso pops out in the Ferrari along with Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez.

  56.  

    Marussia: The lunch break behind us, Jules is back on track. Well, he popped back briefly for a stop in the box and a launch-start.

  57. 11:00: 

    Caterham report that Marcus Ericsson is belted into the car and should be out soon. Over at Marussia, with Jules Bianchi driving today, Max Chilton is using the spare time to do some interviews.

  58. 10:55: 

    Pastor Maldonado breaks the silence, the Venezuelan heading back out on track in the Lotus.

  59. 10:47: 

    There doesn't appear to be much appetite to go out on track right now. Over at Williams, Felipe Massa is at the wheel today, but rather than take the day off, Valtteri Bottas is at the track and spent much of his time on the pit wall keeping an eye on the action.

  60. 10:40: 

    Lewis Hamilton has completed the most laps today with 61 on the board. Next up is Fernando Alonso on 45 and Felipe Massa on 44. Bottom of the pile sits Daniel Ricciardo on just 15.

  61.   
    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "Renault has issued a statement regarding the request for an extension of the engine homologation deadline that is being discussed at the F1 strategy group this morning. It says: 'Renault is providing the reference Power Unit and appropriate supplementary material to the FIA, as per today's homologation deadline.

    "There is a background request from some teams for alternative proposals (as will be discussed by the strategy group today) that regard some parts and components. However, the basic requirements of the homologation deadline will be delivered today as mandated by the FIA.' Renault declined to provide details of the proposals, or which parts they applied to."

  62.  

    Former Red Bull driver Mark Webber: Good week in Germany with @PorscheRaces @Porsche. Great to see the guys pushing hard for the new racing season, and such a new project.

  63. 10:34: 

    As was the case yesterday, the teams don't seem keen to rush their lunch and the track remains quiet.

  64. 10:30: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    The green light has flickered on at the end of the pit lane and we're back up and running on day two of the final pre-season test.

  65. 10:02: 

    I'm off for a quick break, but will be back at 10:30 GMT when the session will resume for the day's final three hours of testing. See you in a bit.

  66. 10:00: 
    CHEQUERED FLAG

    It's lunch time, folks. So to recap, Sergio Perez is currently top of the pile, 0.064 seconds clear of Fernando Alonso, with Jenson Button third.

    Lewis Hamilton and Button both stopped out on track on separate occasions this morning, bringing out the red flag.

    Red Bull manage just 14 laps and spend much of the morning either in the garage or working on pit-stop practice.

  67. 09:55: 

    Pastor Maldonado, Jules Bianchi and Felipe Massa are out on track for one final run before lunch.

  68. 09:49: 

    Caterham are having a more productive day today with Marcus Ericsson having already completed 22 laps, three more than Kamui Kobayashi managed all day yesterday. The Swede has pitted but will head out for one more run before lunch, which is scheduled for 10:00 GMT.

  69.  

    McLaren: We're looking into the problem that stopped Jenson out on-track this morning. Hopefully, we'll head out later this afternoon!

  70. 09:40: 

    Sergio Perez still leads the way in the Force India, but Fernando Alonso has closed to within 0.064 seconds. Jenson Button is in third, 1.3 seconds off the pace, with Lewis Hamilton fourth and Jules Bianchi fifth.

  71. 09:38: 

    Away from Bahrain, one of India's most flamboyant tycoons, Subrata Roy - who owns a stake in the Force India F1 team - has been arrested after he surrendered to the police. Read more on our news pages.

  72.   
    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "It's fair to say Renault's request for an extension to the engine homologation deadline has stirred up a bit of a hornet's nest. It's a very controversial thing to request, for two reasons - 1) these engine rules are effectively only in F1 because Renault wanted them and threatened to quit if they were not introduced; 2) the manufacturers have already had an extra year to develop the engines, after the initial date for the introduction of hybrid turbos was pushed back from 2013. Renault want an extra two months of development before specs are frozen, by the way. Contrary to what I wrote earlier, unanimity is needed for Renault's request to pass. Apologies for any confusion."

  73. 09:34: 

    Andrew Benson has more on the developing story about Renault's request for an extension to the engine homologation deadline...

  74. 09:32: 

    Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton continues his race simulation run, the Briton pitting after 22 laps for medium rubber before rejoining.

  75. 09:30: 

    Caterham have fitted new parts to their car and sent Marcus Ericsson back out on track.

  76.   
    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "Are signs of strain already showing in Pastor Maldonado's relationship with his new team? It is no secret that Lotus chose the Venezuelan over Nico Hulkenberg because they needed the massive injection of South American oil money that comes with him. But they skipped the first pre-season test because the car was not ready. And the second test - Lotus's first - did not go well; the team covered less than 600km over four days. And there were more problems on the first day of this week's final test, a failure in a new exhaust design restricting Maldonado to just 31 laps.

    "Lotus, ever willing to laugh at themselves, tweeted a picture of a glum-looking driver. And afterwards Maldonado said: 'It is not what we want, but it is what we have. We need to accept it and we need to keep working very hard. I think it is clear that at the moment Renault is not 100%, but we are working together. I believe 100% they can deliver the answers and the solution quite soon.'"

  77. 09:22: 

    After more than three hours, Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo finally sets a lap time. The Australian clocks a 1:40.867, which is good enough for eighth on the timesheets, 5.2 seconds off the pace.

  78.  
    GET INVOLVED- Via text on 81111 (UK only)

    Tom: Never have I been so gripped to a test season like Bahrain. This new formula is taking unpredictability to a whole new level. I can see Williams winning this year and force India getting a podium. You just can't call it though.

    Michael: Amazingly, and I shock myself in saying this, but I think Williams could he set for their best year in a very long time. The combo of Massa and Bottas along with a few other changes and the Mercedes power could be an inspired move by Sir Frank!

  79. 09:18: 

    Force India's Sergio Perez lowers the previous benchmark, the Mexican clocking a 1:35.570, roughly three tenths slower than his best time yesterday.

  80. 09:15: 

    Red Bull haven't completed a timed lap today, with more than three hours gone of the session. They've only got four installation laps to show for their morning's work.

  81.  
    Red Bull

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "During the red flag brought out by McLaren, Red Bull conduct some pit stop practice. Dan Ricciardo is watching progress wearing a headset - we're sure he'd rather be driving!"

  82.   
    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:
    Sergio Perez

    "Sergio Perez was very chipper about Force India's progress after setting the fastest time of the first day of the test, albeit on super-soft tyres. The Mexican, who has had a stuttering pre-season programme, said the team had 'made a great step - we really needed that; I'm very happy'. Another day like that on his last day in the car on Friday, he said, and the team would be in 'good shape' for Melbourne. With a Mercedes engine, Force India, like Williams, might just be in a position to do some giant-killing and score some serious points in Australia."

  83.  

    Caterham: A number of new parts are going on that arrived in late freight from the factory & we're aiming to be back out before the lunch break.

  84. 09:00: 

    Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton is also out there, too, continuing his long run which was interrupted by the stoppage.

  85. 08:56: 

    Felipe Massa moves up to fifth, 3.1 seconds off the pace set by Sergio Perez's Force India.

  86.  
    Jenson Button's McLaren

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "Jenson Button's MP4-29 arrives back in the pits. Now time for the team to work out what went wrong. Probably best for Button to take an early lunch..."

  87. 08:51: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    It's go, go, go again in Bahrain with Sergio Perez and Esteban Gutierrez heading back out straight away.

  88. 08:48: 

    Vitaly Petrov. Remember him? The Russian spent three seasons in F1 - two with Renault in 2010 and 2011 and one with Caterham in 2012. Well he has signed a deal with Mercedes to drive in the DTM (German Touring Car) championship alongside Britain's Paul Di Resta, who lost his Force India drive.

  89.   
    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "It has emerged that one of the items on the agenda for Friday's meeting of the F1 strategy group (effectively the rule-making body) is for an extension to the deadline for homologating engines. This is 28 February - ie today. Manufacturers have to submit a specification for the season and changes are only allowed for reliability, cost-saving and safety reasons.

    "Renault had indicated on Thursday that they were not worried about the deadline, but it seems they were being a bit disingenuous, as Auto Motor Und Sport are reporting it was the French company that asked for the extension. It could well pass, given the way voting works in the strategy group. Bernie Ecclestone and FIA president Jean Todt have six votes each, the six teams involved one each. Votes pass by a simple majority. So if Ecclestone and Todt think it's a good idea - for whatever reason - then it doesn't matter what the teams, who include Mercedes, McLaren and Ferrari, vote."

  90. 08:41: 

    While we wait for the track to reopen following Jenson Button's stoppage on track, let's recap the standings. Sergio Perez leads the way, ahead of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, who are separated by just over half a second.

    Jules Bianchi is three seconds off the pace, ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne, Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton, Marcus Ericsson, Esteban Gutierrez and Pastor Maldonado.

  91.   
    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:
    Kimi Raikkonen

    "Kimi Raikkonen was in full-on deadpan mode on Thursday, giving away next to nothing about Ferrari's programme. Asked about reliability after a truncated day of 54 laps, he said: 'I'm sure if we wanted to do 100 laps today, we could do.' Er, right, Kimi, yeah. Teams always spend time in the garage in testing when they could be on the track. And on Ferrari's latest front wing development: 'I'm sure they were better, otherwise we wouldn't have tried them.'

    "Except that parts not performing on track the way the team expect has been Ferrari's bugbear for the last three years. Was he concerned they were down on power compared to the Mercedes, as has been suggested? 'I mean, maybe. (Pause). I seriously don't know.' Raikkonen did allow that he thought the car 'doesn't feel too bad - I think we will be pretty OK.' Ferrari's form is the big unknown of the pre-season so far."

  92. 08:36: 

    The stoppage came at a bad time for Mercedes as it interrupts Lewis Hamilton's race run. The Briton pits and uses the time to have a chat to his engineers.

  93. 08:34: 

    Jenson Button has stopped out on circuit in his McLaren.

  94. 08:32: 
    RED FLAG

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

  95. 08:28: 

    Lewis Hamilton does a run of 19 laps before pitting for a set of hard tyres and heading straight back out. The Mercedes' driver lap count is up to 34 for the day now.

  96. 08:23: 

    Esteban Gutierrez is on the board, the Sauber driver going ninth quickest, six seconds off the pace. Everyone bar the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo has now set a time.

  97. 08:13: 

    Fernando Alonso is up to 30 laps for the day, more than anyone else had managed. Pastor Maldonado and Lotus have completed the fewest with just two installation laps to show for their morning's work.

  98. 08:07: 

    Lewis Hamilton heads back out on track in his Mercedes...

  99.  
    GET INVOLVED- #bbcf1

    James Hatfield: I'd love to see @MassaFelipe19 bring home a win for @WilliamsF1Team in Australia. At the moment it looks like it's possible too!

    Tom: Strong first four races for old midfield teams, same old picture by Europe though I reckon. Be nice to see Williams strong again...

    Pip Yetman: I think Mercedes have the upper hand and Nico could just edge Lewis to the title but don't count McLaren out just yet!

  100.   
    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "Fernando Alonso has spent some time doing aerodynamic testing this morning. There has been a big rake-like sensor attached to the side of the car and the Spaniard has tried both front wing designs. One of them has more elements on it than the other. The more slot gaps (created by the number of elements), the more stable and consistent the downforce, although that does come with a small sacrifice in total downforce. In general, teams have been going the multi-element route in recent years."

  101. 08:00: 

    Felipe Massa clocks a 1:39.849 to move up to fifth in the Williams. Red Bull, meanwhile, send Daniel Ricciardo out for another installation lap - his third of the day.

  102. 07:56: 

    Good news for Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes reveal the Briton is back in the car and will be back out on track shortly. No news as yet on what caused his stoppage earlier in the session.

  103.  
    Red Bull

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "Red Bull are raking it up. The team is doing some aerodynamic testing with Dan Ricciardo - two installation laps like this so far today."

  104. 07:47: 

    Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo has popped out for a second installation lap of the day before retreating back to the pits.

  105. 07:45: 

    So Sergio Perez leads the way by 0.461 seconds from Jenson Button, with Fernando Alonso a further tenth back in third. Jules Bianchi is fourth, ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne, Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Marcus Ericsson.

  106.   
    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "Chassis and engine integration is more important in 2014 than ever. Look at the factory Ferrari and Mercedes teams: both have been on a different level from their customers during winter testing. So, in that context, there's an interesting rumour doing the rounds in Bahrain in the context of the ongoing problems with the Renault engines: Red Bull-Honda. There may be nothing in it, of course.

    "On the other hand, the Japanese manufacturer is coming back to F1 in 2015 as McLaren's works partner in a lucrative multi-year deal. But with Honda's F1 base set to be in Milton Keynes, just down the road from Red Bull Racing's Bradbourne Drive HQ, it would make logistical sense for RBR to become a Honda team. Honda has an exclusive deal with McLaren for 2015, but after that the rules dictate that it must make engines available to customers if there is interest. Red Bull's Renault deal lasts until 2016, and they are in talks about extending it. It's an interesting idea, though. Watch this space..."

  107.  
    GET INVOLVED

    With Mercedes looking to be the form team but having problems and Red Bull continuing to struggle, who do you fancy to shine when the season gets under way in Melbourne on 16 March? Fire over your thoughts, along with any other F1-related chat, using the #bbcf1 hashtag on Twitter or by texting 81111 (UK only).

  108. 07:34: 

    As I hit enter on that last entry, Daniel Ricciardo makes an appearance in the Red Bull...

  109. 07:33: 

    Jules Bianchi has been out in the Marussia and is currently fourth fastest, ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Jean-Eric Vergne and Marcus Ericsson. Still no sign of Daniel Ricciardo and the Red Bull.

  110. 07:28: 

    Sergio Perez climbs back to the top of the timesheets with a 1:36.440, just under half a second clear of Jenson Button's McLaren. Ferrari's Fernando Alonso makes an improvement, moving up to third, 0.552 seconds off the pace.

  111.   
    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "The reasons for Lewis Hamilton stopping on track are not yet clear. Mercedes said he did not crash - 'but he did do some gravel-trap testing' and they are looking at the car to assess why."

  112. 07:23: 

    McLaren's Jenson Button, the 2009 world champion, heads out on track along with Force India's Sergio Perez, Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez and Caterham's Marcus Ericsson.

  113.  

    Marussia: Time to get down to our programme, which is similar to yesterday. Short runs this morning, building into long runs this afternoon.

  114. 07:18: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    The Mercedes has been returned to the pits which means the session can get back under way in Bahrain...

  115.  
    Sergio Perez

    Force India: The team is in good spirits as we wait for the track to go green again.

  116. 07:13: 

    So while Mercedes have been the form team during testing, it seems even they are vulnerable ahead of the new season...

  117.   
    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "The challenge facing all the teams and engine manufacturers under Formula 1's new regulations was underlined when even Mercedes - the standout team in both performance and reliability during the pre-season - hit trouble on Thursday. Nico Rosberg managed nearly 90 laps before the issue occurred but the sensitivity of the problem was such that Mercedes would say no more than it was a, er, 'problem'.

    "Rosberg said: 'It just shows everyone is fully on the limit. OK, we're looking a little better on reliability than some others, but even we're on the limit and having problems. To get everything ready and bullet proof for Melbourne is really tough.'"

  118. 07:11: 

    It's Lewis Hamilton. The 2008 world champion's Mercedes has ground to a halt in the first sector...

  119. 07:07: 
    RED FLAG

    The red flag has been called into action...

  120.  

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "It's homologation day for the engine manufacturers, after which they can only change parts in the names of safety, reliability and cost-cutting during the 2014 season. But even if it turns out that one company is struggling compared to their rivals, not only can changes under those criteria still make a big difference, but it turns out that the manufacturers have agreed that some performance aspects of the engines can be changed every winter between now and 2020. We'll bring you more on this story later in the day."

  121. 06:58: 

    Today's session will run until 14:30 GMT, with a lunch break at 10:00 when the track will close for 30 minutes.

  122.  

    Sauber: This morning we focus on aero work & short runs.It's a delicate balance between development work and getting ready for the 1st race weekend.

  123.   
    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "One of the best rumours of the winter is about Sebastian Vettel. At the first test in Jerez, it is said anecdotally, midway through the second day, after a fractured and massively truncated programme of kangaroo-hopping around laps as a result of the chronic problems of the Renault engine, the world champion got out of his car and said something along the lines of: 'This is pointless; I'm not driving that again until it's sorted out.' And left.

    "No-one outside the team knows whether it happened or not, and those on the inside wouldn't say. But whether the story is true or not is not really the point; it is a reflection of the dreadful situation Red Bull and Renault were in at the time. Vettel discovered a better - but still badly flawed car - at the second test in Bahrain last week. Renault and Red Bull continue to insist they are 'getting there'. But what will he discover when he gets in the car tomorrow, his penultimate day of pre-season testing?"

  124.  

    Renault Sport F1: Day 2 in Bahrain, busy programme today.

  125. 06:50: 

    Double world champion Fernando Alonso, who takes over from Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari today, goes quickest with a 1:37.274.

  126. 06:45: 

    After yesterday's troubles, will today be any better for Red Bull? Well as yet, they are the only team to have not completed an installation lap.

  127.  

    Williams: Installation lap done and work going on to prep the car for the next run - continuing aero work today with Felipe.

  128. 06:38: 

    Yesterday's pacesetter Sergio Perez is our early leader on day two, the Force India driver clocking a 1:38.014. Lewis Hamilton, taking over driving duties from Nico Rosberg at Mercedes, is currently second quickest. No-one else has set a lap time.

  129. 06:32: 

    Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel will get behind the wheel of the Red Bull for the final two days of testing. That means Daniel Ricciardo will get one more day of running today before the start of the new season. Here's who else is in action today...

    Red Bull - Daniel Ricciardo

    Mercedes - Lewis Hamilton

    Ferrari - Fernando Alonso

    Lotus - Pastor Maldonado

    McLaren - Jenson Button

    Force India - Sergio Perez

    Sauber - Esteban Gutierrez

    Williams - Felipe Massa

    Toro Rosso - Jean-Eric Vergne

    Marussia - Jules Bianchi

    Caterham - Marcus Ericsson

  130.  
    Sunny Bahrain

    BBC F1 pit lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "It's an absolute scorcher in Bahrain for day two of testing. As running gets under way, it's 24 degrees and sure to get much hotter. A real reliability test for the cars."

  131.   
    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:
    Daniel Ricciardo

    "Daniel Ricciardo made what has to count as the least surprising admission of the day when he said after testing on Thursday that Red Bull were 'definitely not up to scratch with where we'd like to be in terms of the programme'. The first day of the final test was another difficult day for the world champions, starting off well with a quick 32 laps first thing before another problem with overheating and/or the energy-storage system consigned the car to the garage for the next five hours.

    "Red Bull, remarkably, have done only 177 laps in total over their nine days of pre-season testing so far. But Ricciardo was still insistent on looking on the bright side: 'From the outside I guess it's just lap times and the amount of laps we're doing,' he said, 'but on the inside we know where we are with performance we're putting in the car and I think we're still confident that we can be up there.'"

  132. 06:25: 

    Formula 1 is introducing the biggest set of rule changes in living memory with new 1.6-litre V6 turbo engines and radical redesigns making an appearance.

    The result is the prospect of a season of unpredictability. After Sebastian Vettel's domination last year, it's exactly what the sport needs.

  133. 06:20: 

    Morning everybody and welcome to our live text commentary of day two of the final pre-season test in sunny Bahrain.

    Just 24 hours of track time stand between the teams and the dawn of a new era when first practice for the Australian Grand Prix gets under way on 16 March.

  134. 06:15: 

    Another test, another miserable time for Red Bull. Will the reigning world champions manage to get to the root of their problems before the Formula 1 circus arrives in Melbourne for the first race?

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