Haas F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean was at the wheel of the VF-17 for the final day of preseason testing Friday at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya. The 30-year-old Frenchman recorded 76 laps around 4.655-kilometer (2.892-mile), 16-turn circuit to bring his two-week testing total to 346 laps or 1,610.63 kilometers (1,000.799 miles).
With teammate Kevin Magnussen securing 369 total laps or 1,717.695 kilometers (1,067.326 miles) during the same time period, Haas F1 Team racked up an impressive 715 laps or 3,328.325 kilometers (2,068.125 miles) during its 2017 preseason test.
The mileage total was a clear display of Haas F1 Team’s growth since its inaugural season in 2016. In last year’s preseason test at Barcelona, Haas F1 Team logged 474 laps or 2,206.47 kilometers (1,371.037 miles). In 2017, Haas F1 Team shattered that mark by 241 laps or 1,121.855 kilometers (697.088 miles), all while working with a new car built under drastically different regulations compared to 2016.
The VF-17 features an advanced aerodynamic package designed to create a higher level of downforce. A wider front wing, larger barge boards, a lower and wider rear wing and a diffuser that expands 50 millimeters (two inches) in height and width comprise the changes, along with wider tires from Pirelli, by 60 millimeters (2.4 inches) in the front and 80 millimeters (3.1 inches) in the rear for a 25-percent increase that brings the front tires to 305 millimeters (12 inches) and the rear tires to 405 millimeters (15.9 inches).
The new regulations have dropped lap times by as much as five seconds compared to when teams last visited Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix in May.
Grosjean’s quickest time on the last day of testing was a 1:21.110, which was also his quickest lap of preseason testing. Grosjean set his fast time on his 61st lap while riding on a new set of Pirelli P Zero Purple ultrasoft tires. The mark put Grosjean 10th overall among the 13 drivers participating in Friday’s session.
Getting that quick time meant overcoming some adversity. A mid-morning spin at turn five beached the VF-17 in the gravel trap, resulting in a red-flag stoppage. But with no damage to the car, Grosjean was able to continue on, albeit for only 19 laps before a sensor issue stranded him between turns 9-10. The team bounced back from this misfortune as well, with Grosjean totaling 44 laps before the mandatory lunch break. His best time of the morning was a 1:21.429 earned on his 35th lap with a set of Yellow soft tires.
The afternoon delivered further challenges despite a successful start with two, five-lap stints on Red supersoft tires. A switch to Purple ultrasofts shortly after 4 p.m. local time yielded Grosjean’s best lap. The final 75 minutes of the session were set to mirror Thursday’s program where Magnussen performed a race simulation.
Grosjean was 14 laps into a run on a used set of Yellow soft tires when another red-flag stoppage halted proceedings. Upon Grosjean bringing the VF-17 back to the garage, a water leak was discovered, jettisoning the remaining 30 minutes of on-track running.
Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen set the quickest time (1:18.634) while Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz and Williams’ Lance Stroll ran the most laps (132).
Romain Grosjean: “Well, you never feel totally prepared after testing and before you head to Australia. We only have eight days, of which you only get four as a driver and one of those was the wet day I had last week. Yes, the big teams are ready, but for us there are still a few unknowns going to Melbourne. That’s the charm of Formula One. That said, I think we have some good ideas where we can improve the car and, hopefully, the updates we’re going to get in Australia will go our way. I think both myself and Kevin (Magnussen) have identified where we can gain some performance.”
Guenther Steiner: “Definitely not our best day today. We had quite a few issues with the handling of the car. We couldn’t find a good balance. In the afternoon we had a few problems and we stopped early due to a water leak. We couldn’t get it fixed in time. We didn’t finish our race simulation, unfortunately. All in all, the test was, up until today, pretty good. We now go back and see what happened today, analyze data and see what we can do to get ready for Melbourne.”