Following the trouble-free opening day of the Barcelona pre-season testing, the sport's new generation of racing cars made good use of the fast, flowing Spanish track on Thursday, with the total lap count cracking the 1,000-mark. F1Technical.net's Balázs Szabó reports from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya paddock.
The second day of the first pre-season test at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit saw Scuderia Ferrari complete a further 150 laps with the F1-75. Once again both drivers got a turn at the wheel, with Carlos Sainz going first, before Charles Leclerc took over after the lunch break.
Charles Leclerc: "A pretty good afternoon here in Barcelona! We completed a lot of laps again, which is what counts the most at testing. Our aim is to drive as many kilometres as we can, to complete as many different tests as possible and that’s exactly what we did.
„Again, we should not get ahead of ourselves, because P1 doesn’t mean anything at this stage. We have to keep working extremely hard. Tomorrow is our final day at Barcelona and we have to make the most of it before we turn our attention to Bahrain."
Carlos Sainz: "It was another productive day in which we were able to complete the whole run programme, which at this stage is the most important thing. We ran both the C2 and C3 tyres and that allowed us to further assess those compounds while trying different set ups in the car.
„Our 71 laps this morning were a good asset and also allowed me to start working a bit more on the driving style, gaining confidence with every lap. I’m satisfied with the work we’ve been able to do so far and I look forward to continuing this trend."
Day two of Formula One’s pre-season shakedown saw Oracle Red Bull Racing driver Sergio Perez take over from teammate Max Verstappen at the wheel of the RB18. And though the Mexican driver’s first taste of running in anger ahead of his second season with the Team was interrupted by a late morning gearbox issue, Checo still managed to complete 78 laps of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya during a productive session for the Team.
Sergio Perez: “We took some good learnings from today and I’m pleased with that. We are trying some very different things and we have a lot of information to work through, so I think in the meetings it is important to go in-depth and give the engineers as much feedback as possible.
„The issue with the gearbox took a little bit longer to fix than we expected, but it is fine, it’s expected that these things happen at testing. I’ll be back in the car tomorrow and I hope the weather stays dry.”
Head of Race Engineering Guillaume Rocquelin added: “Checo got up to speed pretty quickly this morning and his feedback is pretty much the same as Max’s, which means we know where we are going and everything is fairly settled. Every time the car comes back to the garage we’re making changes and fine-tuning the direction so, all in all, I’m happy.
„We had a small issue today, which meant we lost around half a day’s running but we aren’t particularly worried about the problem itself, it is just a pain that we lost that time. However, it shouldn’t affect things in the long-term, as we have a solid platform and we’re happy with the progress we’re making.”
The Williams duo of Alexander Albon and Nicholas Latifi ended up 9th and 11th respectively on Day 2 of Formula One's shakedown test in Barcelona. The pair of the Thai-British and Canadian drivers racked up a total of 108 laps at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit.
Nicholas Latifi: There were a few more issues today but that is part of what goes with a pre-season track session. The key thing is for us is to gain a better understanding of what limited us today. We were still able to get in a decent amount of mileage and we are continuing to learn more.
„We have one more day here in Barcelona, which is another opportunity to learn, build more confidence from myself and the car and prepare ourselves for Bahrain.
Alex Albon: Today went pretty smoothly. We had a small hiccup that we were able to resolve fairly quickly, fortunately it didn’t have a big impact on our running and so we still got good mileage in. The FW44 has been behaving well; I’m enjoying driving it and being able to push more as we get to grips with its characteristics.
„As a team, I’m happy with where we are and the foundations we’re building over these really important days. It’s a good start to the year and I’m looking forward to one final day of running in Barcelona.
The Swiss-Italian team closed the second day of pre-season testing on a positive note as Zhou Guanyu completed more than a full race distance in his first afternoon in the new C42. In the morning, Valtteri Bottas had started promisingly before some small issues limited his running, but the team can be satisifed by the improved mileage achieved in the rest of the day following the problems on Wednesday.
Valtteri Bottas: “The team ended the day with a good number of laps, and this has to be the main takeaway from today. We were able to do some consistent running in the afternoon, which bodes well for when I’ll be back in the cockpit tomorrow.
„I wasn’t able to run as much as I would have wanted this morning, but at least we know we addressed the issue and we can focus on making the most of the final day here in Barcelona. There’s still a good way to go before we go racing, and we now have some data to help the team move towards the right window in terms of set-up.”
Zhou Guanyu: “It was nice to get to drive this new generation of cars: it definitely feels different from what I drove in the past. I took my time at the beginning of the session, trying not to push too hard but just getting used to the car and the way it felt: towards the end, I tried a few better runs.
„There is a little bit of bouncing compared to last year’s car, for sure, but I’m sure everything is going to get better as the team understands the car more. We are working in the right direction. All in all, I am happy with my day and with getting a decent number of laps; we were able to bring home a lot of data for our engineers to analyse, which is very good ahead of tomorrow. I’m looking forward to being in the car again in the morning.”
It was a mixed day for the reigning world champion team. Lewis Hamilton was in the cockpit for the morning session today in Barcelona, clocking up 40 laps of set-up learning before his session was curtailed by a sensor issue. The team’s newcomer George Russell got to work in the afternoon, completing a number of test procedures and continuing to further our understanding of the harder tyre compounds.
Andrew Shovlin: „We had a difficult morning with Lewis, experiencing a data logging issue that delayed our start and in general, we were struggling a bit more with the balance. Some of that may have been setup items that we were trying and some of it the harder tyres that we were running today. We managed to get a few runs completed then unfortunately had a sensor issue that prevented us doing further performance work so we stopped early for lunch in order to fix it.
„George had a more productive session in the afternoon and we got through some useful setup scans and completed some of our tyre programme. We’ve still got plenty of issues to work on from a performance point of view but we are continuing to learn with every run which in turn will make us faster. We’ve got a busy day planned for tomorrow, plenty more setup work and a first look at some of the softer rubber compounds for this year.”
The team from Woking completed another solid day with Daniel Ricciardo getting behind the wheel of the MCL36. The team’s new car completed 126 laps with the Australian driver registering a best time of 1m20.288s, ending up third fastest.
Daniel Ricciardo: “A good day from many angles. I think reliability was great. That’s on the team and everyone who’s worked hard to put this car together, so massive thank you to them. They’re pretty awesome to build a whole new car, put it on track and have it run so smoothly, so big thanks to them again.
„Both days have been over 100 laps, which for me and Lando gives us more opportunity to learn the car and push ourselves, so really pleased with that. We’ve got some good strengths and we just need to keep working on a few of the areas where we can improve.”
Andrea Stella: “Our second day of testing in Barcelona has been very productive. With Daniel in the car today, we were able to put together a lot of laps with no particular problems, either from an operational or a reliability point of view.
„We’ve completed a series of tests and acquired a lot of information on tyre performance, set-up and aerodynamics. We’re learning more about this new car with each run, and this is helping us extract the most from the MCL36 in preparation for the season ahead.”
After Fernando Alonso gave the Anglo-French team’s new car its debut yesterday, it was Esteban Ocon’s first proper taste at the wheel of the A522 today. The Frenchman continued yesterday’s strong work from Alonso by accumulating 125 laps in total and ticking off large parts of the team’s day two programme.
Esteban Ocon: “Today was my first proper day in the A522 and it’s certainly a great feeling to be back in a Formula 1 car and doing lots of laps. It was good to start to get a feeling for the car on proper tyres in accurate testing conditions. The most important target for us today, like yesterday too, was to do lots of running so to do over 100 laps is encouraging.
„We tested a lot of different things and we’ve given ourselves a couple of ideas to work on. We definitely have a direction on the particular areas to improve, which is the main objective at pre-season testing. It’s a positive start and I’m looking forward to discovering more at tomorrow’s test.”
Alan Permane, BWT Alpine F1 Team Sporting Director: “It was another solid day here where we spent the morning doing some set up work and understanding more about the car, learning of course on every run. In the afternoon, we ran a race simulation which went well. The car ran reliably, and we had one small stoppage for a bracket on the floor of the car that had broken which we had to replace.
„Aside from that the new power unit and the chassis ran faultlessly. Tomorrow’s afternoon session will be wet as it will be a Pirelli wet session. Fernando will jump back in tomorrow to continue his work from the first day with Esteban driving the car in wet conditions in the afternoon.”
It was a productive day for the Faenza based outfit. The team’s French driver Pierre Gasly took P2 for AlphaTauri – narrowly losing out in the final sector – having also topped the mileage stakes (150 laps).
Pierre Gasly: “I must say I am super excited to be back. It was good to understand a bit more about how this car works and so far, it’s been really positive. Straight out of the box, I’ve felt quite confident inside the car, and it has responded the way I wanted. Obviously, there’s still a lot of work to do, but it’s been a pleasing start to the year. Personally, I’m trying to focus on how the car feels when I’m driving it and what I need to do myself to improve.
„Tomorrow we will continue to explore some different directions in terms of set-up, we have some good ideas that we would like to try and I’m sure we have more performance to come. There’s still so many unknowns so we’ll be looking at everything tonight with the engineers and then pushing for more tomorrow.”
Mick Schumacher was back behind the wheel of the VF-22 on Thursday morning at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya. Following limited running yesterday, the German was out early in the session on a set of Pirelli C2 tires for his first outing. After 23 laps, Schumacher switched to the Pirelli C3 tire compound, where he set his fastest lap time of 1:21.949.
As winds picked up in the final hour of the morning session, the 22-year-old set about making up for lost time from the day before, accumulating 66 laps in total – a full race distance of the Spanish Grand Prix.
Nikita Mazepin returned to the track in the afternoon, starting the session on the Pirelli C2 tire compound. Seven laps into his first run, a red flag was brought out after Mazepin stopped on track with a damaged fuel pump. With the team working fast and efficiently as ever to fix the issue, the VF-22 was once again on the road, this time on the Pirelli C3 compound. Mazepin set his quickest time of the day on the penultimate lap of running (1:21.512) and managed to bring the total lap count for the day up to 108.
Mazepin will commence running on Friday before Schumacher brings the pre-season track session in Spain to a close in the afternoon.