Winter Testing F1: Week 2 – Day 1
This week, it’s the second week of Winter Testing F1 and here, you can catch up with all the latest from the day – including driver interviews and reaction from the teams.
Normally, the second week of testing allows teams to collect as much data as possible to analyse and develop their cars further so they’re much more prepared for the first race which will be taking place in Melbourne, Australia.
As always, we know that we shouldn’t count on testing times too much as things will undoubtedly change – not just at the start of the season but throughout the season too as different teams develop at different times.
Personally, I hope we’ll see a surprise from teams further back the field – we all want closer racing, right?
What I found interesting was the tone from Mercedes today. Lewis Hamilton saying “the car was feeling relatively good” which doesn’t have the same confident vibe as we saw last week. There’s no doubt that the team will be working hard to go through any issues….
Before I get carried away about the racing we all want to see – let’s take a look at all the latest from Week 2, Day 1 of winter testing.
Today, we saw Mercedes bring an updated bodywork kit to the second week of testing, the final week of pre-season testing, in Barcelona. The team’s focus for the day was initially the set-up work and to develop an understanding of the new aero packaging however – they ran into a problem early on in the afternoon.
Due to the issue, the team decided to switch the Power Unit which limited Valtteri Bottas’ time behind the wheel – he was running during the afternoon session, taking over from Lewis Hamilton in the morning.
As mentioned above, it was Lewis Hamilton who was behind the wheel of the W10 in the morning – he drove the car, gathering data on the new aero package as well as working on the set-up of the car.
Not the best day for the Championship winning team – let’s see what their drivers had to say….
Lewis Hamilton: “It’s been a beautiful day here in Barcelona and it was great to see that even more fans turned out today. We managed to get through the programme and the car was feeling relatively good.”
“It was an improvement from last week which is a good step – they tyres also seem to be working much better now that the track temperature is a bit higher – we just have to continue to analyse everything and keep pushing.”
Valtteri Bottas: “Unfortunately, after four days of flawless reliability last week, I spent most of the day waiting as we had an oil pressure issue on my first outlap and had to change the Power Unit. But I’m glad I still got to do a few laps, the team did a really good job to get the car out again; it was important to get a bit of a feel for the new aero package.”
“My running was obviously very limited, but it seems like we’ve made improvements.”
“We need to review everything in more detail tonight and I’m looking forward to continuing our programme tomorrow morning.”
James Allison: “It wasn’t exactly the day we hoped for – running for the first time with the bodywork kit that we expect to use in Melbourne, with a large part of the day lost to an oil pressure issue at lunchtime.”
“Nevertheless, either side of that problem we did do some useful things, finding that the car behaves a little differently with the new package.”
“We’re looking forward very much to have a trouble-free day tomorrow to get a better feel for what it can do.”
Today, Ferrari split their drivers with morning and afternoon sessions – Charles Leclerc was behind the wheel of the SF90 in the morning whereas his team-mate, Sebastian Vettel, drove the car in the afternoon session where between them, they completed 110 laps.
Overall, Ferrari are a team which have looked quite consistent in winter testing however – we did see them looking strong at the start of last year too and we saw how things changed BUT could the team be on a different, more laid back approach this year? It seems that maybe, just maybe – things are running smoother….
In the morning, Charles Leclerc spent less time on track as some checks were made on the SF90’s cooling system however he managed to bring back 29 laps for the team to evaluate along with working on the set-up and tyres.
In the afternoon, Sebastian Vettel got behind the wheel and continued working in different configurations and simulating various race scenarios – including long runs. He managed to bring back 81 laps for the team.
Charles Leclerc’s Time – 1:18.651
Sebastian Vettel’s Time – 1:17.925
Sebastian Vettel: “It was a busy afternoon but it was good to make up for the laps which were lost in the morning. We are still trying to understand the car and we are trying different set-ups.”
“This afternoon, we also had a first go with the supersoft compound, just to get more information on the tyre and the next couple of days will be very important for us.”
Tomorrow, testing continues with Sebastian Vettel driving the morning session, followed by Charles Leclerc who will takeover for the afternoon.
Red Bull Racing
This week, Pierre Gasly kicked off winter testing for the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team bringing back 136 laps for the team to analyse and go through. This was the largest single-driver lap count today.
Along with the largest amount of single-driver laps, Pierre Gasly also managed to set the second fastest lap time of 1:17.715
Pierre Gasly: “We pushed a little more today but really, this is all about understanding how the car works. There were a lot of aero tests and a lot of items to evaluate for the team today and that’s good for me as it helps me to get more comfortable with the car too.”
“Lap after lap, it’s getting better but of course – there’s still a lot of work to do. The pace s good but we just have to focus on ourselves and work through the programme we’ve defined for each day.”
“So far, it’s been positive. We’ve managed to get through our plan and we have gained a lot of mileage – there is potential there so we will just try to continue improving in the areas we can, we will keep our heads down and keep working.”
Even though McLaren aren’t where they want (or should be) they have definitely made an improvement from last year’s testing which was a big disappointment for the team and despite having a couple of small issues, Lando Norris still managed to bring back 80 laps for the team to evaluate – along with setting the fastest lap time of 1:17.709
Today, the overall programme for the team was to go through the details and turn their attention to final on-track preparations ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.
There was also a surprise guest visiting the track at McLaren….
Lando Norris: “On the whole today was a good day although we didn’t get as much running as we wanted. We’ve improved the car slightly since last week, especially on the longer runs so we’re going in the right direction.”
“This is a positive and it’s important that we keep doing that and going forward. Overall, I’m feeling more prepared.”
“I now have one last session in the car on Thursday to finalise everything before Australia.”
ROKiT Williams F1
Following their terrible start to testing, Williams were out on track today with George Russell being the driver behind the wheel. Completing 119 laps without any significant issue, this is progress for the team who missed the start of testing last week.
Running through their programme of data gathering and performance running – it’s now early days for the team (and drivers) who are getting familiar with the car in order to prepare for the start of the 2019 Formula 1 season.
George Russell: “It was a good day today. Our plan was to get as many laps on the board and make sure that we had no issues – that’s exactly what we did.”
“We have learnt so much about the car on lower fuel and higher fuel which gives us a good indication moving forward into the next few days – all in all, it was a huge relief to have a day like today and we completed our test plan as intended.”
Lots more coming soon!