Sebastian Vettel

Bahrain Test Day 1: Team and driver reports

Sebastian Vettel

Drivers and teams report from the first day of Formula 1 in-season testing in Bahrain.

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton: “Today was tricky with it being so hot and very gusty but we still managed to get through plenty of work. Our focus was on advancing our understanding of the tyres and also the rear of the car so that we can improve our long runs – particularly during the race and on the SuperSoft compound. We came here with a specific goal, so it was positive to get on top of that with the team. Sochi is a smoother track and less abrasive on the tyres, so they can go quite a long way. Hopefully we can rely on the pace of our car there rather than our use of the tyres.”

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo: “It was a good outing for the aero department – we did a lot of data gathering in the first hour, which all went to plan, and that’s important for the guys, even though for a driver it’s not the most thrilling thing, as you’re just trundling around really! After that we did a few runs on the soft tyre and made a few mechanical changes, which were interesting, we then completed a couple of runs on the supersoft. I think we discovered a few things there. You do try some bigger set-up steps than you might do on a race weekend and it was interesting to see what the results of those changes were. We were planning a few long runs in the afternoon but obviously the power unit issue prevented that.”

Senior Projects Engineer Jeff Calam added: “This is the team’s first real opportunity to look at everything we’ve learned over the first three races of the season and use that data as a platform for gaining a better understanding of the RB13 and improving the car. In that regard it was good to have Daniel in the car today in order to match some of that work to what he and the team achieved at the weekend here in Bahrain. Through the early part of today we got through some useful aero and tyre testing and also some good set-up work. This afternoon we had intended to focus more on longer runs, but then we encountered an issue with the power unit. It was doubtful that we’d get running again before the end of the session, so better to call time and plan ahead for tomorrow. We’ll have Pierre Gasly in the car on Wednesday and hopefully we’ll have a trouble-free day.”

Ferrari

Antonio Giovinazzi: “I enjoyed every single lap. To drive the car that won the last race and is leading the world championship, working with the Scuderia Ferrari engineers and mechanics, is not just a great feeling, it’s a dream I’ve had since I was little and racing in karts. And today it came true.”

Williams

Rod Nelson, Chief Test & Support Engineer: “We had an interesting day. It is very different running continuously in the heat of the day rather than under the floodlights, as we do for qualifying and the race. One issue today was the very strong wind, which was blustery so it was stronger at some times and weaker at others, and the track temperatures were in the mid to high forties which makes life a little bit tricky for us. In the morning we focused on performance based runs with Lance, before moving on to a series of longer runs with Felipe in the afternoon, looking at car setup and aero configuration. Despite the problems we had with the weather conditions, it is actually nice to do some testing on a hot track, and it is the first time this year we have had that so we have got plenty to work on now. Tomorrow Gary is in the car and we will continue our aerodynamic tests before moving on to both tyre and mechanical set-up work later in the day.”
Lance Stroll: I have used multiple sets of tyres trying different little things, nothing special, just tweaking bits and more driving for myself, which is always good. I need to try small changes to see how the car feels. It really is about the simple stuff. For me all the seat time I can get is good, as there is always something I can gain from being in the car. With tests like today, when we are not limited on what we can do, it is just good to experiment. That is something Williams knows I have to do and also I know that myself. For sure I am out there competing and trying my best, but it is also about understanding and learning before I can reach the maximum of my capability as a racing driver.”

Felipe Massa: “Well, it was only a half day today! To be honest the track was very windy. It’s never really easy to understand all the changes that you make with the car, because the track conditions seem to change on every run. So it wasn’t an easy test, but that’s the way it is. Overall we did some good laps and I hope we can use that to understand more and continue to improve the car.”

Force India

Alfonso Celis: “It was a straightforward day for me and I completed more than a race distance. There have been a lot of changes since I last was in the car in Barcelona and the first few laps were a bit of a learning process. Fortunately the aero programme at the start of the day gave me some time to get used to the car again. We were able to complete some performance runs in the afternoon, but I ran into traffic each time so I couldn’t really take everything out of the car. The temperatures out there were much hotter than I’ve ever experienced on these tyres and it was useful for me to understand how to manage and look after them. All in all, I felt pretty comfortable in the car and I am happy with my performance”

Tom McCullough: “It was not a trouble-free day with our programme disrupted by the numerous red flags for other cars, which always seemed to come out at the worst possible times. Despite this, we managed to work through our priority test items and will try and catch up with the remaining tasks tomorrow. We had a busy programme with aerodynamic rakes fitted to the car carrying out mapping and correlation work, even though the windy conditions made the latter quite difficult. Alfonso quickly settled back into the VJM10 and drove very sensibly to help us get through our test programme. He didn’t make any mistakes and showed good improvement. Our race drivers will be back in the car tomorrow for the final day of testing.”

Haas

Romain Grosjean: “It was a pretty good day. We went through most of the stuff we wanted to, so that’s pretty good, very positive. We completed most of our program, which is great. There’s a lot of data now to look back through at the factory. That’ll help us know what we want to do in the future. It’s testing, we’re not looking for performance, but I’m happy with the day.”

Renault

Nico Hülkenberg: “It was a pretty okay day. We lost a bit of time in the garage in the early afternoon otherwise it was a productive day with some interesting updates to the car. It looks like everything we added to the car is healthy and working as we wanted so overall we were able to improve the car and learn more about it. We’ve found some interesting things today; it was a good day, overall very positive.”

Alan Permane, Sporting Director: “We’re very happy with the new aero parts we tried this morning as they bring a tangible benefit to the R.S.17 in terms of general pace and, in particular, race pace. In the afternoon we worked more on understanding tyre performance. The car performed well across the day with Nico giving positive feedback. Tomorrow will be Sergey’s first time in the car with a full test programme in store.”

Sean Gelael: “Today is a day I will never forget – to finally drive a Formula 1 car is something every driver dreams of, and to do it with Scuderia Toro Rosso makes it even more special. What an amazing feeling! This year’s car is a beast, it’s so quick! I settled in nicely throughout the day and we definitely made progress. I was able to complete plenty of laps and get used to the car quickly. The power and overall grip is amazing and, compared to the Formula 2 car I drive, the grip under braking and the kerb riding are two of the biggest differences I felt. Honestly, it’s really fun to drive and I’d like to thank everyone who made this possible! I now can’t wait to drive the STR12 again in a few months’ time at the test in Hungary.”

Jody Egginton, Head of Vehicle Performance: “Today was an opportunity for evaluation of a number of development items we have been working on recently, but also a fantastic chance for Sean Gelael to sample a current-spec F1 car. He acclimatised himself very well, covering a number of test items across a range of tyre compounds, gathering some very useful data for the team. Sean drove consistently, making no mistakes and he therefore should be very happy. We will head into tonight with a lot of data to analyse and a further packed run program for tomorrow – Daniil will be driving in the morning and Carlos in the afternoon.”

Sauber

Marcus Ericsson: “It was a very good test day. We completed our program and I did the most laps of everyone. We were able to run through a lot of different set-ups and we worked quite hard on the tyres to get them to work as we want in the right window. So I think we made some really good progress there, which is very promising for the next couple of races. Also on the set-up side we have been scanning through some different settings, which we haven’t had the chance to do so far this season. On that side too we found interesting data for improving the performance.”

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