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Barcelona F1 Test Day 5: Team & Driver Reports

Teams and drivers report from the first day of the second Formula 1 preseason test at Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.

McLaren

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Lando Norris: “On the whole today was a good day, although we didn’t get to do quite as much running as we wanted. We’ve improved the car slightly since last week, especially on the longer runs, so we’re going in the right direction, which is positive. It’s important that we keep doing that. Overall, I’m feeling more prepared. I now have one last session in the car on Thursday, to finalise everything before Australia.”

Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: “Unfortunately, we didn’t complete as many miles as we had on the programme today, due to some small issues. Nevertheless, on balance, it was a positive day. We were again able to complete some important work in preparation for Australia, with regards to the development and our understanding of the car, as well as getting Lando ready for his debut grand prix.

Red Bull

Pierre Gasly: “We pushed a little more today, but really it’s all about understanding how the car works. There were a lot of aero tests and a lot of items to evaluate for the Team today, and that’s good for me as it helps me get more comfortable with the car. Lap after lap it’s getting better, but of course there’s still work to do. The pace was good, but we just have to focus on ourselves and work through the programme we’ve defined for each day. So far it’s been positive; we’ve managed to get through our plan and we’ve gained a lot of mileage. The potential is there so we’ll just try to improve in the areas we can, keep our heads down and keep working.”

Guillaume Rocquelin, Head of Race Engineering: “We had a successful first week of testing here in Barcelona. To start the week, we changed the run plan today slightly and focused on shorter runs, which enabled us to work through a greater number of test items. That obviously meant more time in the garage between runs, but it went very smoothly and we were able to tick a lot of boxes – including some purely procedural things that we wanted to get done. We were also able to look at performance a little more, hence Pierre’s run in the afternoon, so in all it’s been a very solid start. Tomorrow, we’ll start to look more at race preparation.”

Ferrari

Team Report: “Today was the first day of the final four-day test session at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit. Charles Leclerc was at the wheel of Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow’s SF90 in the morning and Sebastian Vettel drove in the afternoon. Between them, they completed 110 laps. Leclerc spent less time on track than planned, because some checks were required on the SF90’s cooling system. The Monegasque driver did 29 laps, working on set-up and tyre evaluation before it was time to hand over to his team-mate. Sebastian Vettel got behind the wheel shortly after 2pm and continued working on the car in different configurations and simulating various race scenarios, including some long runs. The German did a total of 81 laps, with a best time of 1:17.925.

Charles Leclerc: “This morning we did fewer laps than planned, but I’m sure we can make up for lost work in the coming days. Track conditions were slightly different today compared to the first test, so it took a moment to adapt to them.”

Sebastian Vettel: “It was a busy afternoon, but it was good to make up for the laps lost in the morning. We are still trying to understand the car, trying various set-ups. This afternoon, we also had a first go with the supersoft compound, just to get some more information. The next couple of days will be important for us.”

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton: “It’s been a beautiful day here in Barcelona and it was great to see that even more fans turned out today. We got through our run programme and the car was feeling relatively good. It was an improvement from last week which is a good step. The tyres are also working better now that the track temperature is a bit higher. We have to continue to analyse everything and keep pushing.

Valtteri Bottas: “Unfortunately, after four days of flawless reliability last week, I spent most of the day waiting as we had an oil pressure issue on my first out-lap and had to change the Power Unit. But I’m glad I still got to do a few laps, the team did a really good job to get the car out again; it was important to get a bit of a feel for the new aero package. My running was obviously very limited, but it seems like we’ve made improvements. We need to review everything in more detail tonight and I’m looking forward to continuing our programme tomorrow morning.”

James Allison: “It was not exactly the day we hoped for, running for the first time with the bodywork kit that we expect to use in Melbourne, with a large part of the day lost to an oil pressure issue at lunchtime. Nevertheless, either side of that problem we did do some useful things, finding that the car behaves a little differently with the new package. We’re looking forward very much to have a trouble-free day tomorrow to get a better feel for what it can do.”

Racing Point

Lance Stroll: “It was our smoothest day of testing so far and we completed some valuable mileage. The car felt good so I think we are heading in the right direction. These days are about building confidence and getting to grips with the new car, but also getting used to this new environment. I am getting on really well with the crew in the garage. They’re great people and everyone is working so hard. We ran on a mix of different tyres today and tried a lot of test items. There’s a good atmosphere in the garage and I’m feeling pleased with the work we did today.”

Tom McCullough, Performance Engineering Director: “The car ran reliably all day, which allowed us to complete our testing plan. It was a good day that allowed us to catch up on some of the items we had missed last week. We worked through an aero test programme in the morning, while in the afternoon we were able to focus more on rebalancing the car. We also had the first sample of the softer compounds Pirelli have introduced for this year. In general, we continued with our strong data-gathering programme: there still a lot of work to do, but our understanding of the RP19 is increasing every time we run it. We need to keep doing that for the rest of the week.”

Toro Rosso

Alexander Albon: “It wasn’t a bad day today, we started off a little slow after a couple of issues in the morning, but we quickly made up for the lost time and completed a lot of laps. We made a lot of progress in the afternoon session learning more about the car and how it performs in longer runs, so hopefully we can build on that momentum for tomorrow. I’m still getting used to the car and there’s a few things I need to work on and improve, but I think it’s more a case of fine tuning. I’m still getting comfortable with the high-speed of the car and race management of when I can and can’t push, but that will come with the more laps I do. We did a lot of runs to see what suits the car best and also help me prepare for my first race in a couple of weeks.”

Jody Egginton, Deputy Technical Director: “Alex took on driving duties today with a long and varied list of test items to get through. As per normal, the day’s running started with a block of aero tests including some running with aero rakes fitted and then, with increasing track and ambient temperatures, the general test programme commenced. Even if this block of work yielded some useful data, a few small but unfortunate time-consuming niggles meant a couple items remained on the to do list for later. However, the impact of this was minimised thanks to the hard work of the mechanics. The early afternoon was focused on the C2 compound, which provided an opportunity to get a good read on tyres in the highest temperatures of the day. The final runs of the session allowed a few of the remaining test items from earlier in the day to be evaluated, which meant more boxes were ticked. On the PU side, Honda has picked up where they left off at T01, continuing to run through their test programme with minimal impact on the chassis plan, which is a further positive indicator of the hard work they put in over the winter. Alex had a solid day today, gaining mileage and further important experience of the car’s operating window, which has contributed to the team learning more about the 2019 car. We have a lot of data to go through and process tonight to continue moving forwards in the next days of this second test and be best prepared for Melbourne.”

Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda F1 Technical Director: “Today was the start of the final four days of testing before we go to Melbourne. Therefore, our main aim was to ensure that both our teams got as much track time as possible prior to the first race of the season. Today, we managed 239 laps between our two teams, without any major issues. It meant we acquired a lot of data, making it another smooth day. It has also been useful as we continue to learn together with our teams regarding the operational side and from the drivers’ perspective they are gaining in understanding about the PU and indeed the whole car package.”

Williams

Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer: “It was a good day of testing with George driving the car. We completed 119 laps without any significant reliability issues, so we achieved the entire programme that we had planned from the start of the day. We completed a mixture of data gathering and performance running at low and high fuel on a range of different tyre compounds. It is early days with our familiarisation with the car, so there is a lot of work to do to understand what we have got and the directions that we need to take. We have already identified some opportunities though, and we will keep pushing through the remainder of the week to prepare ourselves for Australia. Well done to the team, a great job by everybody to get a car that can do the laps without incident to make a solid start to the second test.”

George Russell: “It was a good day. Our plan was to get as many laps on the board, make sure we had no issues and that’s exactly what we did. We have learnt so much about the car on lower fuel and higher fuel which gives us a good indication moving forward into the next few days. All in all, it was a huge relief to have a day like today and we completed our test plan as intended.”

Haas

Kevin Magnussen: “It’s been a good day with lots of laps. I’m very happy to have had a problem free day, it’s been good just to run all day with no issues. We needed to start the week off like that. It’s nice to get those laps in and see that the car is reliable. The car feels good and we managed to get some long runs in on different tires. Overall, it’s been a very positive day.”

Guenther Steiner: “It was a pretty good day. We managed to achieve our highest lap total since we started testing last week. We just got on with the job today, I think we’ve caught up a little bit with what we missed out on in week one. It’s been a positive start, hopefully we can continue like this tomorrow.”

Barcelona F1 Test Day 5: Norris ends the day fastest for McLaren