Day two of the first test session has been run at Circuit de Catalunya in Spain. In changeable weather conditions, the teams and drivers coped as well as can be expected, running through the required programs and gathering that all important data.
Grant Rivers (@SnowAndBeach) has taken a look at today’s action and has compiled the following reports.
Pierre Gasly completed 82 laps & a best time of 1:21.318. Weather played its part in today’s testing with drivers facing conditions which limited track time. Today was about getting to know the car & how it drove on the fresh tarmac of Catalunya. Pierre summarised his day by saying…
“Conditions were really tricky today so we didn’t run as much as we could have done” said Gasly. “The first feeling is positive, I felt comfortable with the car – It’s consistent from one corner to another, between the low speed, medium speed and high speed. I still have a lot of work to do and I think we have some good directions overall.”
Today’s icy weather meant he didn’t do any qualifying runs or pushing laps, as their aim was more completing as many laps as they could even if they had to adapt their plan because of the weather.
Technical Director James Key said:
“Today was Pierre’s first day in the car. Like yesterday the conditions have been very cold and sadly as the day went on we lost some running time again with a low temperature and a low-grip track surface.”
Everything didn’t go quite to plan for the team as they had a minor issue, “a small chassis related issue – nothing special but it just took a little while to address, the power unit has once again run very smoothly all day.”
Toyoharu Tanabe (Honda Technical director) said…
“While the team carried out set-up work and also gathered basic aero data, on the engine side, we continued with function tests that we had started yesterday.
Sahara Force India continued its pre-season testing programme as Esteban Ocon drove the VJM11 for the first time. Esteban completed 79 laps finished P9 with a best time of 1:21.841. He drove 368km around the Catalunya Circuit.
Tricky weather conditions meant it was very cold today and so the teams had to try and make the best of the time they had. There was snow at the end of the day, which is not what you normally expect when testing in Barcelona.
Tom McCullough the chief race engineer at Force India said they “adjusted our programme to do more aero rake runs early in the day, when the track was not very representative, and then picked up where we left off yesterday to continue our work of understanding the aerodynamic characteristics of the new car.”
Sirotkin took to their wheel in the morning before Kubica in the afternoon. Today was a difficult day weather wise & the track was wet & cold. Paddy Lowe said the team used this time with Sergey. This was “driving to carry out a range of aerodynamic surveys on each of the full wet, intermediate and dry tyres.”
Today wasn’t short of drama either. Sergey made the best of his limited time with three runs on the soft compound with his final run being cut short by a red flag.
Robert took over the afternoon session managing to complete 2 performance runs. The team reverted to data gathering as the circuit see light snowfall.
“With such instability in tyre temperatures this was not a day in which we can learn anything performance-wise, but we gathered good characteristic data and achieved another 100 laps of reliable running of the new car” said Paddy Lowe.
Sergey Sirotkin: Sergey Sirotkin summarised his day: “The weather this morning was very similar to yesterday, but it got better around midday. When we started it was very cold, too cold to try and make any use of the runs, so we just spent our time doing the aero checks among other things, which are less dependent on the weather conditions. Around midday, the temperature came back to us and we switched to try to do some proper running, but it was still not ideal.”
“We did 52 laps overall, which is ok, we got a first impression of the car and the first things to pay attention to. Again, it wasn’t ideal but it wasn’t ideal for anyone. We got the maximum we could so we should be happy with how we reacted to the situation.”
Robert Kubica detailed his day:
“I think we have achieved the maximum we could do due to the weather and general track temperatures. I got my first feeling for the car, and saw what we were able to do in difficult conditions. It is not easy to jump into a new car with such difficult weather conditions and have the confidence to push, but I think we did some important work, although it was short. However, it gave us, and especially myself, an idea of how to work better for the future to address some areas where we can improve the car.”
“The car has some very powerful areas, but, in the meantime, we need to work on some issues which I am sure we will get on top of. If we do that then the driveability, and also the confidence of the driver will be higher.”
Today it was Max Verstappen who took to the track in the RB14 completing 67 laps. He posted a best time of 1:20.326 of the Catalunya Circuit.
An early morning technical issue saw the car restricted to the garage for most of the morning. The problem was solved in the early afternoon which meant Max was able to work through 67 trouble-free laps of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and claim the day’s fourth best time, a 1:20.326, set on medium compound tyres.
Max described his first drive of the car as “positive.” “Of course it’s early days but the initial feeling is good. In the end I don’t think we lost too much ground in the morning as the track seemed in pretty poor condition early on.”
Commenting on the conditions, Head of Race Engineering Guillaume Rocquelin said: “It is really tricky. When teams select tyres for testing, which happened in December, you’re always looking for a consistent tyre but a consistent one is usually one that is pretty durable and that means it’s been very difficult to get them working.
As Daniel Ricciardo said yesterday, the re-surfacing of the circuit means there’s just very little grip, so it’s difficult to learn a lot. Every team is having the same issue & therefore the teams are having to adjust their schedule accordingly.
He continued by saying “it wasn’t really helped by the technical gremlins we experienced this morning. Max had a decent afternoon and his feedback was consistent with what Daniel told us yesterday so all in all we’re still reasonably pleased with progress. Cold, but reasonably pleased!”
The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team had another positive day of testing ahead of the 2018 FIA Formula 1 Championship.
Charles Leclerc spent his first day of winter testing in the cockpit of the new C37 & focused on aerodynamic and mechanical tests. He completed a total of 81 laps and ran a fastest lap of 1:22.721 achieving P10 on the soft tyres.
Leclerc explained “whilst the weather conditions were not ideal, with low temperatures and even some snow in the afternoon, I was able to develop a better sense of what the car behaves like on track.”
Technical director Jörg Zander summarised the day:
“It was another positive day of testing – despite the low temperatures and tricky weather conditions. Building on the data we collected yesterday, we continued our programme by doing set-up work and taking aerodynamic measurements.”
Whilst icy weather brought its difficulties & meant teams had to adapt their schedule, teams got down to business.
“In the morning, we were not able to run as many laps as expected due to the weather. In the afternoon, we focused on long runs while testing different tyre compounds” said Zander.
On test day 3, Marcus Ericsson will be back in the C37 on the Circuit de Catalunya.