The second day of running at the Barcelona Test saw Jules Bianchi back in the car (chassis MR03-03) for his one day programme, the objective of which was to continue the set-up development work started with Max Chilton at the wheel on Tuesday.
The day began in dry and sunny conditions, although the morning was still a little cool. The team‘s checklist began with some baseline runs on the Hard tyre combined with an aerodynamic evaluation, after which Jules progressed to the Medium tyre for further set-up evaluations. The morning’s running was promising and the team achieved 48 laps, Jules setting a time of 1:29.404.
This afternoon, after completing just two further laps, the team experienced a mechanical problem, which necessitated taking the rear end apart. The mechanics worked hard to get the car back out on track before the end of the day in order to achieve a verification of the set-up work on the softer range of tyres and this target was achieved with only 10 minutes of the session remaining. Time was tight, but Jules channelled all his frustration into a single timed lap on the Soft tyre to achieve the 6th fastest time of the day. He then started a run on the Supersoft but was forced to abort his lap and return to the pits, and was unable to improve on his time.
Jules Bianchi #17: “We had a very positive morning, exploring some of the work completed yesterday and making small steps in the right direction ready for the performance tests this afternoon. It’s a real shame that we had a mechanical problem, as this lost us pretty much the whole afternoon session and in the end I just had one lap at the end on the Soft tyre. Needless to say, I put everything I had into the lap to try to make up for lost time, as the conditions today were perfect to bring everything together. In the end, I am pleased with my lap on the Soft, and the big picture from today. The team have done an incredible job over the whole time we have been here in Spain – the race and the test – and credit to the technical personnel back at Banbury for bringing us such a significant upgrade. We leave Spain with some very important information and we know we have taken another step towards the midfield. Now we look forward to seeing what we have for Monaco, which is my home race, and naturally I am hoping that we have a good team result there.”
Dave Greenwood, Chief Engineer: “Overnight we were able to spend time analysing the data we had collected yesterday and the initial conclusion for this was that the set-up work was a good step in the right direction. This morning we put Jules in the car with the same setup with which Max concluded his running yesterday. This was a slightly bold approach as the set-up was very different to that which Jules had raced with at the weekend, however we were very pleased that Jules was positive about the changes to the car. The conclusion we have drawn from the feedback of both drivers is that we appear to have a better balanced car – we have been able to exploit more of the downforce potential. This afternoon, unfortunately we experienced a mechanical problem which left Jules unable to complete the full Soft and Supersoft tyre programme. I am pleased that we managed to at least provide one lap at the end of the day when we had rectified the problem and that he gave us a brief glimpse of his level of confidence in the package in preparation for the coming races. Later this week we will spend some time converting our revised set-ups for Monaco, as the tracks are, of course, very different. Next week’s race will provide another measure of how much we have progressed. For now though, an excellent job by the whole team and our drivers.”
Subbed by AJN.