Barcelona I, day 4: Team and driver quotes

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By Olivier Ferret

22 February 2015 - 20:05
Barcelona I, day 4: Team and driver (...)

Toro Rosso Renault

Franz Tost (Team Principal)

“Unfortunately we had to end the test early today; we are still going through the data to understand the cause, so it’s a bit early to conclude; however, it is fair to say that the winds have been extremely high and gusting today, and we have seen a few other cars have offs as well. All in all, it’s been another very positive four days of testing for us here in Barcelona this week. We have been able to build on what we learned from the first test in Jerez two weeks ago, which helped us to improve the performance in general. I’m satisfied to see that once again we’ve managed to complete plenty of laps without suffering big reliability issues, adding valuable mileage to both our drivers’ tallies. In total, we’ve covered 3479 kms in 8 days of testing, giving both Max and Carlos plenty of time to get used to the car and the different procedures, as well as simulating a race weekend. Both drivers have once again demonstrated that they are quick learners, showing consistency and maturity. Max has covered a total distance of 1794 kms and Carlos 1684 kms, which is what we were looking to achieve.”

“Nevertheless, I have to say it’s really difficult to estimate our own performance or the other teams’, as track and ambient temperatures are far too low. At the races where we expect much higher ones, the tyre management will be completely different. Personally, I don’t like the tests in February here in Europe, as you don’t get the feedback on all the technical topics you need to be well prepared for the start of the season. Last year’s test in Bahrain was much more useful.”

“We now look forward to another four days of testing here in Barcelona next week, where we will also be introducing new aero parts on the car. I’m pleased with how the whole team is working in the build-up to the start of the season. We now have to continue in this direction, analyse all the valuable data we’ve gathered this week and come back for the final test even stronger.”

Carlos Sainz

“It was a really good day until I crashed! Everything went really smoothly and I felt we had made a big step forward with the car from Day 2 to Day 4. This morning, strong winds made track conditions very tricky and the car was therefore difficult to drive. Even with the wind, things went well, I did several short runs that looked good. Unfortunately, in the afternoon, I made a mistake at Turn 3, which is not the best place to do that, because the barriers are close at that point. I’d rather crash in the test than in Race 1, so I have learned something from it and now we turn the page, move on and think about next week’s test here. There are many positives to take from this test. I was a different driver in the car and I felt much more confident here in Barcelona.”

Force India Mercedes

Nico Hulkenberg clocked his first miles of 2015 in the final day of testing in Barcelona, completing 36 laps on a windy and chilly day at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Nico Hulkenberg: “It was a very nice sensation to be back in a Formula One car and getting the feeling of being in the cockpit again. It was exciting and I really enjoyed my time driving the car and working with the engineers after the winter break. Unfortunately our day was shortened by an issue with the power unit, something we will look into once the car is back at the factory. This, together with the very windy and cold conditions, made our work harder but every lap is valuable in pre-season. I am really looking forward to the final test next week and to try the new car. I am especially looking forward to Melbourne and starting racing again."

Tom McCullough, Chief Race Engineer: "It was not the most straightforward of days, with a few technical issues costing us track time. A windy morning made it difficult to evaluate some of the items we were testing, but it still made for a useful first experience with the new Pirelli tyres for Nico, and we will be able to extract some data from those laps. Although we finish this test with a fairly frustrating day for Nico, over these four days we gathered a lot of useful information and we will put that into good practice for the start of the season."

Lotus Mercedes

Romain Grosjean returned to the wheel of the Lotus F1 Team E23 Hybrid to top the times for the fourth day of testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Romain completed 111 laps over the course of a programme of set-up evaluations and performance simulations. The day was characterised by clear skies and sunshine, however conditions were windy. Romain’s best lap time of 1min 24.067secs was the fastest of the test.

Lotus F1 Team will resume test action at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the next four-day test commencing Thursday February 26 with Romain driving on the first and third day and Pastor in action on days two and four.

Romain Grosjean: “It was great to get behind the wheel of the E23 once more. Conditions were pretty tricky with quite a bit of wind, especially early on, but the car ran well, meaning we could complete the tests we wanted to – even if I had to modify my lines in the morning because the wind was pushing the car! We made some good improvements with the balance and set-up over the course of the day and it felt a lot better after we made changes for the afternoon. We completed a very promising mileage and it’s always good to see your name at the top of the timing monitors, even if it is far too early to know what everyone else is doing.”

Nick Chester, Technical Director: “We’ve enjoyed a solid first test in Barcelona with good reliability and encouraging performance. The biggest positive we have seen so far is the reliability of the E23 which is enabling us to push along with our assessments and evaluations over the course of 361 laps or 1680km. It was good to have Romain in the car so we could add his feedback to that we’ve already received here from Pastor and Jolyon. Today was particularly windy, making it harder to work on car balance assessments, but we conducted a productive race simulation in the afternoon as well as other performance evaluations. During this test, we’ve completed plenty of laps so we have plenty to be working on over the next three days before we’re back in action here.”

Red Bull Renault

Daniil Kvyat wrapped up a successful second pre-season test for Infiniti Red Bull Racing by completing 102 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya today on his way to the day’s third best time. After focusing on long runs yesterday afternoon, today’s programme saw Daniil conduct aero mapping work in the first part of the morning session before the team began to focus on set-up work in the remaining hours before lunch. During the afternoon the team conducted short runs, which yielded Daniil’s best time, and as the test came to an end the team once again switched to long runs.

“It was another good day for us,” said Daniil. ”We got through the programme quite nicely and achieved the desired amount of laps. We learned a lot that will be of benefit in the future and that’s what testing is all about. It was pretty windy out there today and it was quite tricky at times but we got the programme done and the lap time wasn’t bad at all. The steps we are making are encouraging and there is plenty of potential there.”

Head of Race Engineering Guillaume Rocquelin added: “We got through everything we wanted to do today, so the test ends on a positive note. After the mapping work early this morning we had planned to give Dany a short run but there were quite a few red flags and the last one, for Fernando, was serious enough to end the morning session. It’s good to note that he is OK. Because of that we switched the short run to the afternoon and that was pretty decent. After that it was more long runs to end the day. This test was never about performance for us – it was about achieving stability and reliability, getting in some pit stop practice, working on procedural things with the mechanics making sure we could run a race weekend without issue, which we did,. We achieved all of that and it puts us in a good place for the final test next week when hopefully we’ll begin to build in performance.”

McLaren Honda

Given the running issues that affected us throughout the first three days, the decision was taken last night to split seat-time for the final day of the programme. The aim was for Fernando to run in the morning, with Jenson taking over after lunch in order to more fully acquaint himself with MP4-30.

Unfortunately, we were unable to complete the day’s programme after Fernando suffered an accident at Turn Three just before lunchtime. Although conscious, and able to speak with the circuit’s medical team, he was flown to a nearby hospital, where he was given CT and MRI scans as precautionary measures. He was uninjured, but will remain in hospital overnight.

Given the lack of remaining track time, and the lengthy and thorough procedures needed to check the car and power-unit after such an impact, the team decided that it was not worth hurrying the rebuilding of the car in order to resume testing before close of play.

We now turn our attention to next week’s final pre-season test in Barcelona.

Eric Boullier

“Fernando’s accident was just one of those things that happens in testing. Fortunately, he’s fine, but was concussed during the accident, which therefore required an overnight stay in hospital as a precaution. That’s normal practice after a concussion. Inevitably, some media reports have sought to exaggerate the severity of the incident – it was just a normal testing accident.

“While the car wasn’t particularly badly damaged, it was enough of an impact to warrant quite a lengthy check of the gearbox and power unit systems. Given the time needed to carry out such an analysis, we decided to bring the curtain down on our test a few hours earlier than anticipated.

“It’s been a tough week for the whole team, but we’ll be back, and pushing harder than ever, in Barcelona next week.”

Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel: “First of all, I’d like to wish Fernando a quick recovery. Luckily, we have already received some good news, so I hope he we’ll be back in top form at next week’s test. As for today’s test, I can say that we have focused mainly on the car’s reliability, completing some long-runs, and testing various settings and tyre configurations. We could not run as much as we’d like, but at this stage of winter testing there are always some teething problems you have to deal with. Overall, I can confirm that my feeling with the car is positive and now I’m looking forward to the next week of testing”.

Simone Resta: “Overall, over these past days, we have followed the planned programme, based on development, on fine-tuning various components and strategy. We have also run aerodynamic measurements based on components to be developed in the wind tunnel, along with hardware and setup tests, all while runing different tyre programmes. We had some planned stops in order to change components that had reached the end of their life cycle. We did a lot of practice starts, but we have not yet completed a race simulation, which is in accordance with our programme. The drivers said they have a good feeling with the car and the set-up work has served to improve that, as well as being carried out to adapt to the continually varying weather conditions”.

Mercedes

MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS wrapped up the second test of the 2015 season today at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with Nico Rosberg at the wheel of the F1 W06 Hybrid.

 Today’s schedule consisted of setup analysis work and practice starts
 Nico emerged for his first run at precisely 09:00 CET, completing 68 laps before lunch and a further 63 after the lunch break
 Mercedes-Benz Power Units today completed a total of 1,894 km
 MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS completed 444 laps (2066 km) of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over the four day test
 The team will now return to Brackley to prepare for the third and final pre-season test of 2015 in Barcelona next week

Nico Rosberg

Today was actually a really difficult day. In the morning the tyres weren’t really working properly and then it was so windy out on track until late in the day. It was difficult to understand in the car because every run was different from corner to corner. Depending on where the wind was coming from, the car felt totally different. So it really made testing extremely tough today. Even the sun was making it tricky at the end once the wind dropped down, as it was just on the horizon. Some of the corners were absolutely blind so you just had to commit to it by memory. But anyway, together with the team I was still able to learn a few things and it was a good end to the test with no major problems on the car and a lot of useful running at the end when the wind was calmer. Looking at the times it’s of course still not clear where we stand and we’re keeping a close eye on the competition. But we’re confident that we have a good car at least.

Sauber Ferrari

During the last day of the first test on the Circuit de Catalunya, the Sauber F1 Team had a mechanical issue that hindered the team’s testing in the morning. After the lunch break Felipe Nasr went out on track and continued with a shortened programme, focusing on set-up work and tyre comparisons. The Brazlian finished the day with long-runs. In total, Felipe Nasr completed 73 laps.

Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering: “Again today we had to reduce the programme as the car was stuck in the garage the whole morning due to a mechanical issue. The afternoon was definitely better, and we were able to do our preparation work for the race weekends. The wind today was quite strong, which also guided the direction of the programme on the set-up and tyre comparison sides rather than doing aero work. At the end stopping on track was a fuel-system-check.”

Felipe Nasr: “It was quite busy in the afternoon. After lunch we were able to run troublefree and I completed a lot of laps. I was able to test different tyres and also experience long-runs at the end of the day. It was pretty good to get a feeling of what to expect from the car and the tyres. I believe we again made another small improvement regarding the balance of the car.”

What comes next: The second test on the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona will take place from the 26th February to the 1st March 2015. Marcus Ericsson will drive the Sauber C34-Ferrari on days one and three, while Felipe Nasr will test the car on days two and four.

Williams Mercedes

Rod Nelson, Chief Test & Support Engineer: We had a very busy plan today. The morning was tough due to the wind conditions which affected our chassis testing. In the afternoon we had a race-sim planned, but this was interrupted by three red flags, then once again in the final run of the day there was another red flag. All of these stoppages stilted our progression slightly and meant we couldn’t quite complete our plan. Throughout the whole test though we have gathered a lot of data and are prepared for the final test next week.

Valtteri Bottas: We completed quite a few laps today which was positive even though our programme was disrupted a few times. The FW37 remains reliable but we have quite a way to go before we are at the level we want to be, although we are on schedule. Both tests have been relatively issue free and so we have begun preparations for Australia and look forward to the final test next week.

WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING will return to the track for the third and final winter test in Barcelona beginning on 25 February.

Pos.DriverTeamTimeLaps
1 Romain Grosjean Lotus Mercedes E23 1.24.067 111
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG W06 1.24.321 131
3 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull Renault RB11 1.24.941 104
4 Felipe Nasr Sauber Ferrari C34 1.24.956 73
5 Valtteri Bottas Williams Mercedes FW37 1.25.345 128
6 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso Renault STR10 1.25.604 88
7 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari SF15-T 1.26.312 76
8 Nico Hülkenberg Force India VJM07 1.26.591 36
9 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda MP4-30 1.27.956 20

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