After an intense winter of preparation, Red Bull Racing’s 2017 challenger, the RB13, made its track debut in Barcelona today as testing for the new season got underway at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
After a morning in which the gremlins associated with our new number caused a couple of time-consuming technical issues, the team managed return the RB13 to the track in the late afternoon, with Daniel Ricciardo posting a solid total of 50 laps and the day’s fifth-quickest time.
“Today’s session was okay, I felt I got up to speed relatively quickly,” said Ricciardo. “We had a bit of a slow start this morning but the afternoon was better and the last two hours were more like a test. It’s nice to end the day on a bit of a positive. There’s still a lot more to come from the car and you have to remember that the track is cold and the tyres are probably not at their optimum temperature. However, the times Lewis was setting today were already quicker than the times in Qualifying last year, so for sure it’s going to be faster. It’s cool for now but I think we will get a lot quicker from where we are today. We’ll hope to make steady steps tomorrow when Max is in the car and then we can start to do some more trimming.”
Head of Race Engineering Guillaume Rocquelin added: “Obviously we lost quite a bit of time today, which was frustrating. That was largely a function of the issues we had – a sensor problem this morning and then a problem with the energy store later on. Both are hard to access, so required some time to sort out. It meant we didn’t get real track time until around 4pm, but after that we ran without issue. The fixes we put in place cured the issues and we should be good to go tomorrow again. Daniel managed 50 laps in the end and what we saw during that period was encouraging. The inevitable question you get asked on day one is: ‘is it quick, is it a front-runner’, and I’m afraid the rather dull answer to that question is ‘we’ll have to wait and see’. It’s a cliché but we won’t know the real answer until Saturday in Melbourne. Until then we just have to keep our heads down, stick to the plan and the performance will come. That process continues tomorrow.”