Winter Testing F1: Week 2 – Day 3
Today, it’s the penultimate day of winter / pre-season testing before the 2019 Formula 1 season officially starts in Melbourne, Australia.
The last couple of days at winter testing are proving to be crucial for all the team who are trying to gather as much information as possible, allowing them to analyse and make the edits where needed for the first race of the season.
As I always mention, we shouldn’t be focusing too much on testing times as more often than not, teams take things easy in testing – not pushing and not showing their true potential until the first Qualifying session.
Let’s take a look and see what drivers and teams had to say following Day 3 of winter testing in F1 and as we did yesterday, we’ll start off with Ferrari!
Scuderia Ferrari F1
The third and final day for Charles Leclerc who was behind the wheel of the SF90, bringing back 138 laps for the team to go through and analyse.
Getting to work shortly after 9 in the morning, he went through a number of set-ups before pitting to start preparing for the simulation work and before the lunch break, the team fitted the car with the soft-compound tyres and Charles Leclerc set the best lap time of the day with 1:16.231
With 56 laps being completed in the morning, the race simulation began in the afternoon session – along with a pit-stop to practice for the team.
Everything was going well for the team until a small issue came around – an issue with one exhaust meaning that Charles Leclerc had to park at the side of the track at Turn 9 but overall, it was a good day for the team who feel like they made up for the lost time during yesterday’s testing.
Charles Leclerc: “It didn’t look as though today would be easy, given tat we had to make up for yesterday’s lost time too but we managed to get it done and that was very positive.”
“This is especially great as this is my last day in the car before Australia – I’m very happy now because it all worked really well.”
“It’s been an encouraging start to the season and I feel about ready. Now, I can’t wait to take part in my first real Grand Prix with Ferrari.”
“For me, overall, the SF90 has been solid – the balance is good and consistent and that’s been the clear impression right from the first day and it hasn’t changed. I’ve still got a lot to learn but up until now, I can say that I’m satisfied.”
“My lap time? Of course it’s nice to be at the top but it doesn’t mean anything – what matters is that lap after lap, I’m getting more and more dialled into this car.”
Tomorrow, for the final day of testing, Sebastian Vettel will takeover – driving the car for the last day before the Australian Grand Prix.
It seems that Mercedes-AMG Petronas are quietly confident about their car, the W10 and today on the penultimate day of winter testing, they managed to bring back 182 laps – bringing the tally up to 1058 laps overall at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the team.
Today, work started off with aero work before focusing on building it’s understanding of the new tyres and in the afternoon, the team went through and worked on it’s long-run performance with a race simulation.
This morning, it was Lewis Hamilton behind the wheel of the car – using the morning session to gather aero data for the team, along with working on the tyres.
In the afternoon, his team-mate, Valtteri Bottas took over completing a race simulation – all of which is relevant for the team’s data collecting.
Lewis Hamilton: “Today has been a good day – lots of mileage, which is great for us. It has probably been one of the most positive days for us and I think that we’ve really learned quite a lot.”
“We’ve been able to apply our learnings from the morning to the afternoon, so I’m looking forward to seeing how Valtteri felt, but the car looked like it was in a better place.”
“Our understanding of the W10 is continuously growing so it was definitely a positive day.”
Valtteri Bottas: “We got a lot of laps in today which is always good. I did a race simulation which was interrupted by the red flag, but it confirmed the progress we’ve made since last week.”
“We’re getting more and more prepared for Melbourne, but there’s room for improvement and still a few question marks on where we stand compared to the competition.”
“We’re focusing on our performance; the entire team is pushing really hard and keeps improving the car and that’s all that matters.”
“We need to maximise the last day of testing as it will be our final chance to try out a few things ahead of Melbourne. Today was positive and I’m hoping for another good day tomorrow.”
James Allison: “Today was a very productive day, either side of a trouble-free race distance we did a lot of good investigative work and in the race simulation itself, unlike yesterday where we failed to make the tyres live, we had good tyre behaviour across all three stints.”
“We look forward to tomorrow where we will be investigating the range of tyre compounds and focusing more on single lap pace.”
Red Bull Racing
Today, it wasn’t the best of days for the Red Bull Racing team as their testing session was brought to a halt in the afternoon when Pierre Gasly crashed at Turn 9.
Unhurt in the accident however the car received damage meaning there was no further running for the team.
The team will be working on the car overnight, repairing what’s needed ahead of the final test day when Max Verstappen will be returning to the wheel ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.
Pierre Gasly: “We looked a bit more at the performance of the car today and we learned a lot. We still have a lot of work to do but overall, we’re pleased with the car.”
“I’m feeling good with the car and the package in general – the chassis and the engine are really good.”
“In the afternoon, I made a mistake and in Turn 9, I lost the car – it was a pretty big crash but I’m fine. A little bit shaken but generally OK. I feel more sorry for the guys in the garage. They have a long night ahead but they most important thing is that Max is back in the car tomorrow and we will focus on the positives.”
“It’s not an ideal way to end the final test for me but over the four days, we have managed to get lots of laps in and that was a positive for the team.”
“We have good performance and we just need to understand how to maximise the package so we bring the best car we can to Melbourne.”
Guillaume Rocquelin, Head of Race Engineering: “The crash was simply a case of Pierre going slightly wide into Turn 9 and losing control. You’re pretty much flat out there, so if it goes wrong – you’re going to feel it.”
“Thankfully, Pierre is OK. We have a long night ahead of us in order to get the car ready for tomorrow however today’s incident shouldn’t compromise our plans.”
“Prior to Pierre’s off, we had a good morning – we worked out how we manage a qualifying session which is good knowledge for the driver and it gets the pit crew back in the zone.”
“The incident was unfortunate but these things happen – we’ll deal with it and move on.”
Today, Lando Norris was the driver behind the wheel who managed to complete 84 laps on his final day running in the MCL34.
The morning session was productive for the team and Lando managed to go through the programme, completing a number of runs in which the team experimented with varying fuel levels and tyre compounds.
The afternoon running was disrupted slightly which was caused by a suspect exhaust issue – which the team is still investigating. (Are we taking a few steps back McLaren…?)
Late in the afternoon, Lando was able to return to the track and complete some race procedure simulations – all of which is valuable for the team as part of it’s series of final preparations ahead of the Australian Grand Prix – Lando Norris’ debut!
Tomorrow, for the final day of testing, we’ll see Carlos Sainz back in the car and driving the MCL34.
Lando Norris: “The morning went well and we made some small improvements from the last two days. Many of the runs this morning were beneficial for both myself and the team – helping us to gain a better understanding of the car.”
“I tried out various configurations during short runs which gave us more information on how the car reacts to different tyres and fuel loads. We followed that with some longer runs on the harder tyres and that helped us to improve the balance of the car.”
“I’m more prepared for Australia than I was at the start of testing – especially for the longer runs. There’s definitely still a lot of work to do but overall, I feel comfortable with the baseline we have and the direction we want to push in.”
“I feel ready now and I’m going to be spending the next two weeks working hard in the factory on everything I need to do to prepare our set-up for Melbourne.”