Teams encountered miserable weather on the third day of running on the Catalunya de Barcelona race track. Heavy snowfall and rainfall meant running was delayed early in the morning and then restricted the work to a few sighting laps.
F1 drivers experienced the unusual scenario of lapping the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in light snowfall on Tuesday afternoon, although the wintery spell didn't last for long. However, overnight and through Wednesday morning, heavier bursts of snow bathed the Spanish track in white and a whole day of testing was effectively wiped out.
The start of the session was delayed by three hours and when the light did turn green, there wasn't much track activity at all, with teams seeing little reason to head out on track and complete laps.
A few drivers ventured out to do installation runs and McLaren's Fernando Alonso put in the only timed lap of the whole day, with a best of 2:18.545 on (unsurprisingly) the Wet tyre. In total, just 17 laps were completed over the course of the day. But, on the plus side, it allowed teams and drivers the chance to enjoy the snow.Ferrari
Kimi Raikkonen was due to complete the third test day for the Italian team. Following a delay in the morning the lights turned green, but the Scuderia Ferrari took the only reasonable decision, namely to write off the day, which under the current regulations cannot be recovered later.
Sebastian Vettel will take over the SF71H on the closing day of the first test week, Räikkönen will drive the new car on the second and the last day of testing before the 2018 Formula One Championship kicks off.
Kimi Räikkönen: “Today, it felt more like being in Finland than Spain,” quipped Kimi. “And everyone knows there’s no Formula 1 in my country.”Mercedes
Teams were snowed in and the Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ was confined to the garage for the entirety of the day.
Even though the car didn't emerge from the garage at all on Wednesday, Mercedes still had plenty of work to do, reconsidering its programme and preparing the car for Thursday's running.
James Allison: "We now have one-eighth less testing available to us. So we shuffle our programme around and try to fit all the work we need to do into seven days instead of eight. Winter testing is always tight, but this is only because you're trying to achieve as much as possible in the time available. There's just slightly less time available now. It is the same challenge for all the teams, so we take it on the chin and move on.
"Even during normal winter testing the track is never very representative of what happens later in the year. So it's not unusual to be trying to make the best of the available conditions and to extrapolate from them what you might expect to see in the summer. This week's weather just makes the challenge more extreme, as the cold makes it harder to get the car in its right operating window. But, once again, this is the same for everybody."Toro Rosso
The Faenza-based team completed only two laps on the snow- and rain-affected third day of testing. The squad which ditched its former engine supplier Renault for Honda made good use, however, of the running-free time.
The engineers had time to go through race grid procedure and analyse data which they acquired over the opening two days of running on the Spanish track.
James Key: “Driving snow and Sub-zero temperatures this morning, heavy rain and standing water this afternoon. We got a couple of laps in for a little bit of exploratory work, but obviously the conditions were not at all practical for any form of proper running. We were able to use the time to do some static tests in the garage which we planned anyway so we still made use of the day where we could - it’s a pity for Brendon and the team to miss a lot of mileage today but it’s the same for everyone and no one can control the weather conditions. So, with a tricky day today and the lost running time with conditions in the afternoon on days 1 and 2 there’s obviously a lot to catch up on in the remaining days of testing. We will get our priorities straight and try to make up for the lost ground as best we can.”Williams
The day which saw snowfall at the beginning and rainfall afterwards was limited to one installation lap for Robert Kubica, the development driver of the Williams Martini Team. Despite to the low mileage, the engineers worked in the garage and conducted set-up tests to get more and more familiar with the 2018 race car.
Lance Stroll: The weather conspired against us today as it was too snowy, wet and cold for us to get any running done in the morning when I was due out on the track. It was a shame as I know the fans are always very enthusiastic here. Let's hope the weather is better tomorrow. We did, however, manage to push the car into the pitlane and I was able to practice the grid procedure with the team.
Robert Kubica: Unfortunately, Barcelona welcomed us with snow this morning! Conditions were very difficult, almost impossible. It stopped snowing before midday but there was still a lot of standing water. We tried but it was nearly impossible to do anything so we stayed in the garage for most of the time.