Hungaroring Test Day 1: Driver & Team Reports

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Driver and team reports from day one of the Hungaroring Formula 1 test, ahead of the sport’s summer break.

Toro Rosso

Sean Gelael: “I really enjoyed today. I felt much more comfortable in the car today than last time out in Bahrain – having a new seat made definitely helped! It was a shame that we had a bit of a slow start this morning, so we had to squeeze everything into the afternoon session, but in the end it turned out to be a very productive day: we completed 101 laps and I hope the team is satisfied with my driving and how I contributed to the set-up of the car. It was very hot out there today but, once my body got used to it, it was okay… I will definitely sleep well tonight!”

Jody Egginton (Head of Vehicle Performance): “A productive day for both the driver and the team, with a long list of performance and general set-up items covered, which will feed into the second half of the season. Sean got into the groove quickly today, acclimatising himself well to the car. As expected, the circuit allowed the programme to move forwards quite quickly, which meant that a bit later on when we lost some track time due to an oil leak, we were able to stay pretty much on the planned run programme for both car and driver development. We have gathered lots of useful data and progressed a couple of longer-term developments to the point where we hope they can feed into the car development later in the year. As was the case at the Bahrain test, Sean has made a good contribution by driving well and providing consistent feedback across a range of test items which I am sure will have been an interesting and useful step in his development also. The baseline car for Day 2 is a product of what we have learnt today and with both our race drivers running tomorrow, we have another busy programme to get through before the guys can take a well-earned break.”

McLaren

Stoffel Vandoorne: “It’s actually been a very productive day for us, despite the stoppage. We’ve put some new things on the car to explore throughout the day and I feel they’ve been positive – we’ve definitely moved in the right direction as the day has progressed. It’s good to see that when we bring new parts to the track, they respond and improve the performance of the car. Obviously, this is testing, and it doesn’t mean a lot, but it does give us useful data that we can analyse and help our learning. We have a busy programme over these two days and hopefully after the summer break we can show that we’ve made another step forward and make further improvements for the rest of the season. A test after a race weekend is always very valuable for the team, and provides a good opportunity to validate things that did or didn’t go well, and introduce new parts that might have been too much of a risk during the sessions. It’s been a pretty good week for us in Hungary, and positive to be consistently running in the top 10. I hope tomorrow goes well with Lando and we can gather more useful data, before the team starts a well-deserved summer break.”

Eric Boullier, Racing Director: “Although today was relatively stop-start in terms of both the types of short-run evaluations we’ve been conducting, and a couple of reliability glitches, we still managed to complete a good proportion of our run-plan and gathered some very useful data that will prove very valuable as we continue to develop our package for the remainder of the season. Stoffel acquitted himself very well as always, and provided a lot of thorough feedback that will help shape our run-plan for the final day of the test tomorrow. With a 35-degree ambient temperature and around 54 degrees on track, the conditions were particularly tough on the car today, but we were still able to take some valuable learnings from the various tests we completed. Tomorrow we welcome Lando Norris into the car to experience his first outing in the MCL32, while we continue with our scheduled test programme.”

Satoshi Nakamura, Honda R&D Co. Ltd Principal Engineer: “Today was day one of the post-Hungarian Grand Prix test at the Hungaroring, and the team used the extra track time to try some new parts for the chassis, while we tested some new elements on our power unit. The aim was to collect precious data, and to work on improving both performance and reliability for the second half of the season. We had an oil leak issue just before lunch, and lost some track time as a result, but we’re not too concerned –I’d rather find these problems during testing, and the issue itself wasn’t serious. Stoffel maintained the momentum from his first point-scoring race of the season at the weekend, and posted the second-best lap time of the day – he was just pipped at the end of the session. Tomorrow we’ll continue with our programme and try to make as many gains as we can before the summer break.”

Mercedes

George Russell: “Today was incredible. I have been looking forward to this day for so long. It’s every young driver’s dream to drive a Formula 1 car. As soon as I got on track, I straightaway understood how much grip and downforce this car has got – it is amazing. 48 hours ago I was driving a GP3 car around the same track, but today was totally different. Luckily for me I had done lots of simulator work with Mercedes, so I knew what to expect. The biggest difference is the power steering in the Formula 1 car, and I could feel that as soon as I got out on track. And the braking potential is enormous. I was expecting the speed on the straight and the downforce in the corners, as everyone does. But I don’t think anyone quite understands the braking power of this machine. In GP3 we enter into Turn 1 at about 260 or 270 km/h, braking at the 100 metre board. Today, I was going in at almost 300 km/h, braking 25 metres after what I would do in GP3. Today mostly consisted of longer runs with higher fuel loads. We wanted to see the degradation of the tyres, and mainly trying to work for the race simulations. I was quite happy with my performance. For my first time in the car, completing 119 laps and not being far from Valtteri – I’m pretty pleased with that.”

Red Bull

Max Verstappen: “Despite the late start we managed to test quite a few bits on the car today, so that’s positive. It’s always good to understand where we are, what we can bring and what we can learn for the upcoming races. Aside from the issue this morning, we had some updates here and in general everything worked well and it gives us a few new directions to work on for the future. Now we head into the summer break, so I’ll spend some time with family and friends before Spa. We travel so much that it’s always nice to catch up but after that I’ll be happy to go again, especially at Spa where I’m pretty sure there will be a lot of Dutch fans in the grandstands.”

Senior Projects Engineer, Jeff Calam: “It wasn’t a perfect day for us, as in the morning we had an issue with the MGU-K that meant we spent quite a long time in the garage. However, we did manage to get in some laps before lunch during which we focused on aero mapping. After the lunch break we then ran with a rake to do some aero correlation work and then for the remainder of the afternoon we focused on chassis work, looking at future car development. However, we got through the high priority items today, so while it wasn’t the ideal first day, we did manage to get a lot of work done.”

Force India

Nikita Mazepin: “It’s been a long year since I tested in Silverstone and I have been looking forward to getting back in the car all this time. It was another great experience and I enjoyed working with the team. I was interested to experience these new cars and so far I am satisfied. The morning went quite well and I am happy with how things worked out for me. I am looking forward to tomorrow afternoon – tonight I will be analysing what I did, see what the team’s plan is and see where I can improve tomorrow.”

Lucas Auer: “First, I want to say a big thank you to the whole Sahara Force India team for making this possible. It was an incredible experience. When I went out of the pits and I released the limiter it was a bit of a shock. The speed is incredible, especially through the corners. I felt really confident and the team gave me a few runs to settle into the car. My main priority was not to damage anything – the team asked me for consistency, to put in the laps and go through the run plan. These cars are very physical and in the first two runs I was really feeling it. You keep turning, you keep pushing and you don’t get to breathe because you’re not yet in a rhythm. It gets a bit easier as you get used to it. I am looking forward to another run tomorrow morning and hopefully I will be able to show a little more of what I can do.”

Tom McCullough, Chief Race Engineer, “Overall, it’s been a productive day of testing in very hot conditions. Nikita slotted back into the team after a strong F3 weekend in Spa. The VJM10 is a big step up from the car he drove in Silverstone last year: new generation cars are much harder to drive, but I am sure he enjoyed the grip they offer and that he is looking forward to getting back in the car tomorrow. Today’s session is another step in the driver development programme Nikita started with us 18 months ago. The hours in the simulator had already shown that he is developing well and that was confirmed by his running this morning. Lucas had prepared very well for this time in the car, with an extensive programme in our simulator and that helped him get up to speed quickly. The VJM10 is quite a different car to the DTM Mercedes he usually drives but he rose up to the challenge. He adapted quickly and this allowed us to continue the evaluation of some development parts on the car. It’s always fun being part of a driver’s first day in a Formula One car and Lucas showed a lot of maturity for someone driving this car for the first time. Overall, we have been very impressed with our two drivers today and look forward to carrying on with the programme tomorrow.”

Renault

Nicholas Latifi: “It’s such a cool experience driving a 2017 Formula 1 car, even when the temperatures are as hot as they were today. After I did the Pirelli test in Barcelona I was really looking forward to getting out again. The car felt great and I hope I gave the team all the feedback required. The guys did a great job in the garage with the engine change so I could get back out at the end of the day. Obviously, it was a shame to miss out on some of the planned mileage, especially some low fuel runs on the Ultrasoft tyres, but overall it’s been a positive day.”

Alan Permane, Sporting Director: “Nicholas did a good job on his second time in the R.S.17. In the morning we focused on aero elements around the rear wheels and he gave us good feedback. Unfortunately, we had an unscheduled engine change at lunchtime which meant a modified run programme for the afternoon.”

Ferrari

Charles Leclerc: “Driving a Ferrari is never a ‘normal’ experience. I felt as though I was driving a race car for the very first time. It’s a great honour I have been accorded and I thank Ferrari with all my heart for this opportunity. I am pleased with the work I did and I hope the team is too. Driving the SF70H was a fantastic feeling and coming from F2, it’s a whole other world, from every point of view. It was the first time that I’ve driven a Formula 1 car with the wider tyres and this level of aerodynamic downforce and it was an incredible feeling. I also learned a lot from the work in the garage: Ferrari has the best engineers in the world and I felt very comfortable working with them. To set the fastest time is nice, but, in testing, its importance is only relative. I can now go on holiday in a happy mood, before concentrating on the second part of the F2 season. For the moment, Formula 1 is just a dream. I still have work to do and I know that: one step at a time.”

Williams

Lance Stroll: “We tried some new stuff and it was good to have more time in the seat. It was warm, it was a hot day and it’s physical around here so it’s good training. We need to see if what we tested here today works in Spa, we need more running with the new parts to see if they work but Spa should definitely suit our car with longer straights so I’m looking forward to it.”

Rod Nelson, Chief Test & Support Engineer: “We completed a lot of tests today, completing 15 runs and 138 laps. We worked on mechanical set-up and some set-up directions that we’ve been developing through the day, which is very interesting. We also did some systems work for the future, which we hope to bring racing at some stage in the season, and we put some miles on components that, again, we hope to be racing in the near future, so a pretty successful day. There were quite difficult conditions as it was relatively cool this morning but then it got pretty hot by the middle of the morning. It’s quite difficult to get the best out of testing in those kind of conditions but I think we did a reasonably good job and as usual, we’ve got masses of data to trawl through to get some results out of.”