The first day of running at the Barcelona Test saw Max Chilton conducting the driving duties in the MR03 (chassis 03) for his one-day programme, which he concluded as the fastest driver of the day. Max delivered a lap time of 1:26.434 to go P1 on the timesheet after 60 laps.
The day started out with very damp and cold conditions, so the Team took the opportunity to conduct some wet tyre evaluation work on the Extreme Wet and Intermediate tyres. In the afternoon, the track dried up sufficiently well to allow for plenty of running on the dry tyres, starting with the Medium tyre and moving on to the Soft and SuperSoft towards the end of the day. The drier conditions enabled the Team to achieve its aero data collection objectives and work on developing set-ups from the race weekend.
Jules Bianchi will take over the car for his one day programme on Wednesday.
Max Chilton #4: “Generally we’ve had quite a successful day and to end it in P1 is obviously a real bonus. We’ve made steady progress throughout the day and to get the car to such a good place in terms of set-up, and then be able to see just how much we can extract from it, is a really big step from the race on Sunday to what we have achieved today. The conditions were pretty tricky this morning and on one occasion caught me out when I locked up and went straight on into the gravel. It’s always good to get some wet weather experience with the car though; there are quite a few occasions over the next few races where I can see that coming in quite handy. After the lunch break, once the weather had improved, we were really able to start working through the set-up improvements we wanted to explore further after the weekend. We went step by step through the programme, verifying everything we had concluded from the race here, and we can be really pleased with where we’ve got the car to. With another day of testing, I think we can leave Barcelona with the package in a really strong position.”
Dave Greenwood, Chief Engineer: “Today’s running at Barcelona has been quite tricky from the point of view that the weather has not really helped us to get consistent testing conditions. However, aside from that, it’s been a very useful day for the Team. Our priority was to re-examine some of the set-ups we had tried at the race weekend, having struggled to get them to work in a race weekend context, without the benefit of several new tyre sets to enable better testing conditions. This morning’s wet running allowed us to recheck our wet set-up and improve the performance of the car. This afternoon, we were able to do some aero data collection in the period where the track was drying, along with good set-up work. It appears overall that we have improved the balance of the car from the race weekend and, somewhat cautiously, I would say that we have overcome, to a large extent, some balance issues that we have struggled with all year. We will see how this development continues as we take these set-ups forward. Our final position on the timesheet – P1 – was somewhat influenced by the use of the SuperSoft tyre in a qualifying simulation, however even up until that point we had been very pleased with the competitiveness of the car. Tomorrow will see Jules back in the car and we look forward to verifying what we have learned and continue experimenting.”