Winter Testing: Barcelona F1 – Day 4
The final day of testing before we get more winter testing next week before the 2019 Formula 1 season starts in Australia, Melbourne and what a season we have to look forward to.
Overall, this has been a successful first week for winter testing for most teams, excluding Williams, who have now started to gather essential data to analyse and go through before the season starts in just a few weeks.
As we all know, we shouldn’t look at testing times too much as more often than not – many teams hold back for the start of the season before they start to show their true potential but it’s nice to see McLaren not having the same issues it did last year – including no breakdowns.
I think it’s safe to say that most of us Formula 1 fans want to see some of the teams which are further back – come through in much stronger form, battling and potentially putting the pressure on the front teams and it’s nice to see how most of the teams have evolved and embraced the regulation changes.
Let’s take a look at what drivers and some team members had to say following Day 4 of winter testing.
On the last day of the first week of pre-season testing, both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas set their fastest laps yet in the Mercedes-AMG F1 W10 EQ Power+. With the team focused on building an understanding of the 2019 tyres today, looking at the grip and balance differences between the softer compounds.
It was a relatively cold morning as Lewis Hamilton was behind the wheel for the morning session – testing and gathering tyre data on different compounds for the team to go through and analyse.
In the afternoon, conditions were a little bit warmer as Valtteri Bottas took over from his team-mate, driving the afternoon session and working through a similar programme for the team – collecting the relevant data.
Lewis Hamilton: “It was quite cold in the morning which meant that it was a little bit difficult with the tyres for everyone. In general, the car was feeling much better today and it’s coming together however – we still have to keep on digging deep, analysing the data and the changes that we’re making.”
“Overall, the reliability has been really solid which is a great showing of all the hard work that everything in the factory has been doing – we have to keep on pushing though as the competition is looking very strong.”
“The weather has been good all week so we could get through the programme and it was great to see the fans out here too – I’m looking forward to coming back next week.”
Valtteri Bottas: “The first week of testing was really good for us in terms of reliability, we have managed to get a lot of mileage in the new car and didn’t experience any major issues. Today, we did some shorter runs, seeing how the W10 works when you try to extract a little bit more performance out of it.”
“I feel like we’ve been making progress throughout the entire week, the car felt better every single day and we’r now looking forward to next week when we will hopefully make even more progress.”
“Many thanks to the entire team – it was a good first test. Now, we’re all hungry to improve even more in the second test next week.”
Today, for Ferrari, it was Charles Leclerc behind the wheel of the SF90 on what was the last of four days of the first week of winter testing at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit.
The Scuderia Ferrari F1 team completed a totoal of 138 laps – 72 of which were in the morning, followed by another 66 in the afternoon.
This means that so far, the SF90 has covered 598 laps in the first test. 303 laps for Sebastian Vettel and 295 laps for Charles Leclerc.
Following the installation lap, Leclerc then got down to a series of runs to evaluate the different set-ups, running a variety of different tyre compounds, allowing the team to go through the data.
Towards the end of the morning, before the lunch break, Charles set what would be his fastest lap of the day – 1:18.046.
Charles Leclerc: “For now, I don’t want to say too much because this is just testing but the feeling from the car is very good – we did many laps and the reliability in the car is good. Every day we have managed to complete the programme.”
“I feel quite at ease in the car – even if there are still a few things I need to get used to, including how the team operates, however overall – this is an easy car to drive. As Seb said, this doesn’t feel like a new car – more like a car which has been well developed.”
“The driveability is very good which shows that the team has done an amazing job over the winter to bring a very solid car here.”
“As soon as I arrived in Barcelona, I switched to ‘work’ mode and put any emotion to one side to get on with the job as well as possible. The results? I’m not focusing on that side of things at the moment – I’m just trying to do my best and improve with every lap.”
Red Bull Racing
Today, it was Pierre Gasly’s turn behind the wheel of the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing car – bringing back 146 laps for the team to analyse the data from. Focusing on both long rungs and evaluating of development items.
A good few days for the Red Bull Racing team when comparing things to last year.
Pierre Gasly: “It was a really productive day – we managed 146 laps so, a lot of long runs but also a lot of tests done for the team. The overall feeling with the car is really good. It doesn’t show on the lap times today but it’s testing and we know what we’re doing.”
“I’m pretty happy – this week has gone well and I’ve managed to go through a lot of laps and that’s important for me, I was able to get used to the new car and my new engineer. We’ve done some good work in that regard this week and there’s lots more to come next week as we all get ready for Melbourne.”
Guillaume Rocquelin: “We spent much of the day on the C3 tyre and focused on longer runs but it wasn’t about just piling on the miles – there was plenty going on in the background which will aid the development of the car.”
“Overall, we’ve had a very successful first test – we’ve been able to tick off all the items on the run plans and this test has thrown up a few interesting things that we can factor into the development. We’ve had great support from the factory too – as shown with the rear wing we ran yesterday so it’s been very consistent and a productive week overall.”
Behind the wheel of the McLaren MCL34 – it was Lando Norris who managed to clock up 132 laps – a great day for the team considering the unreliability they’ve gone through the past few years. The first week of pre-season testing and the car has brought back a total of 445 laps.
A brief venture off-track for the driver due to the low temperatures but other than that, Lando Norris had a consistent day and productive for the team who could continue to gather and analyse data.
Going through the set-up and aero tests in the morning, the team then decided to go on longer runs and race simulation in the afternoon.
Lando Norris: “I think today I did the most laps I’ve ever done on a test day. It was also the cleanest day that we’ve had in terms of the consistent running this week so it’s been very productive.”
“We did some more race simulation today and I’ve definitely learned a lot over my two days in the car – we’ve found some improvements over the week but of course, there’s still a lot to work on.”
“Overall, it’s been a good week – the guys have done a solid job over the winter, putting the car together and the test overall has gone pretty smoothly.”
“I think we now have a better idea of the direction we want to work in with the car – it’s strengths and weaknesses and we’ll try to work on those weaknesses next week before the season.”
Gil De Ferran – Sporting Director: “In summary, we’ve had a productive and valuable first test and pleasingly, this means that we have nothing much to report!”
“We’ve done good mileage, completed our test programme and learned a lot of useful information about the MCL34, the Pirelli Tyres and our new drivers too.”
“The work which we have completed this week has been another good step in our preparation for the start of the season and we hope that we can continue this momentum into the second and final week of testing.”
For Renault – it was Nico Hulkenberg who delivered in the afternoon, putting the Renault at the top of the timesheets for the final day in the first week of testing before an issue on the car.
Ricciardo also looked strong in the morning – setting the second fastest lap time until Alexander Albon came along placing the Toro Rosso in the second quickest time during the morning session.