Barcelona F1 Test Day 8: Team & Driver Reports

Teams and drivers report from the fourth and final day of the second Formula 1 preseason test at Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona – the seventh day of running at the Spanish Grand Prix venue.

Ferrari

Mattia Binotto, Team Principal: “These past days have been very intensive and interesting. We are still focusing on our car to understand its limits in terms of performance and reliability. Overall, I am pleased with the work we have carried out,” he continued. “I am pleased with how the car behaves and it was well balanced at this track. However, we cannot be completely satisfied at the moment as we would like to be faster and more reliable. So there’s still a lot to do. Our programme didn’t always run as smoothly as we would have liked, due to reliability issues and Sebastian’s crash when a wheel rim broke. There are still many issues to be addressed and we must push forward on the performance front. The fact that our car is running properly is a good starting point, but we are still not ready for Melbourne and I’d say it’s a case of a work in progress. Both drivers set very similar lap times,” concluded Binotto. “We already knew that Charles is a very fast driver, as we have seen throughout his years with the Ferrari Driver Academy and last season in Formula 1. As for Sebastian, his performance shows him to be the multi-world champion we already know.”

Mercedes

Valtteri Bottas: “That’s the final day of testing done, next time we’ll drive the W10, it will be in Melbourne. We’ve used our time on track here in Barcelona efficiently, learning a lot and improving our performance over the past two weeks. We’ve also learned that the competition is going to be very, very tough this year, but we’re looking forward to the challenge. We need to keep pushing and find more performance if we want to be competitive in Melbourne, but we have a strong team and have made good progress in the last days. We have a few days left to work on the car, so we will give it everything. I’m looking forward to Melbourne!”

Lewis Hamilton: “The last couple of days have been very positive: it felt like the changes we were making helped us progress and gave us clear feedback of when we were moving in the right or the wrong direction. Today, it was nice to feel the car on lighter fuel and to discover it a little better; I really enjoyed the day and got a good feel for the tyres as well. I’m not the biggest fan of testing, as everybody knows, but it has been a positive week overall. Even so, there is still a lot to do and we are not there yet; there are lots of areas that we are working on and we are heading in the right direction.”

James Allison: “It was a nice final day. We’ve waited for a number of days to run on the softer rubber and have a look at the car in its Melbourne spec. We’re reasonably pleased because we had a good balance with both drivers and both set competitive lap times. But we’ve got plenty of work ahead of us before Melbourne. We can look back on eight days of testing where the car has been very reliable, where we’ve made steady progress throughout those two weeks with the performance and the set-up, we’ve run through a huge range of the procedures and tests that we need to complete in order to be ready for the first race of the season. All in all, it’s been a very long, very tiring but successful test.”

Toro Rosso

Daniil Kvyat: “We’ve had quite a successful pre-season test. We were able to complete many laps, so I think we can be satisfied with the work put into these past two weeks. We did our homework between the two tests which is important, and that resulted in the car being comfortable to drive by the end of the second week. We tried some new bits and different setup approaches to see how the car would react as it’s testing, because trying this during a race weekend would be too risky and time consuming. We evaluated these items and found solutions to make the car as quick as it could be, so I would say we made the most out of winter testing. Today we did some short runs and qualifying simulations in the morning, while in the afternoon we moved to a race simulation. Both went quite well, so now we can focus our attention to the start of the season in Melbourne.”

Jody Egginton, Deputy Technical Director: “We have had a pretty productive final day of testing today with Dany covering a good number of test items – a qualifying simulation in the late morning and a race simulation in the afternoon. The planned run programme has been completed allowing us to sign off our 2019 winter test campaign in a positive manner. On the Power Unit side, we have continued along the same trajectory of impeccable reliability and operation of the PU, which is a credit to everybody at Honda. A special mention should go to our staff, both trackside and back in Faenza and Bicester, for their commitment and support in what has been an incredibly busy but productive period. We now turn our attention to preparing everything for Melbourne and look forward to the first race of the season.”

Franz Tost, Team Principal: “Despite the cold temperature in the mornings, the weather in general has been kind to us for the two pre-season tests here in Barcelona. This gave the team the chance to learn a lot about the new STR14, different setups, and the tyres in favourable conditions. The synergies project has delivered what we expected, which means we had quite a reliable car from the very beginning, having covered 4,352 km between the two tests without any major problems. We experienced some little issues here and there which is normal at this stage of the season, but all of those were immediately addressed and certainly didn’t create any reason for concern. The team did a good job at the factory as they delivered all the parts on time. Here at the track, the garage operations were smooth despite a few new members of the race team, who were integrated in their new roles straight away and very efficiently. Thanks to everybody in Faenza and Bicester for the great effort. Both Daniil and Alex have shown that our expectations were realistic, delivering very useful feedback without making any mistakes. Despite last year’s break from racing, Daniil has immediately got back to grip with the car and has proven to be the driver we know he is, mainly very fast and providing the engineers with valid technical feedback. He will be a big help for Alex, who is quickly getting used to F1 day after day, with a very steep learning curve. He was able to manage his first four days with the team, showing really strong performances and a very good physical preparation. On the PU side, we have to send a big thank you to Honda, as the engineers in Sakura further improved the performance and the reliability of the PU. It seems like we have all of the ingredients to kick off this new season in Melbourne from a good starting point.”

Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda F1 Technical Director: “We were able to run throughout all eight days of winter testing without any major problems on the PU side. This meant we were able to do a good mileage. We experienced some minor issues in the second week, but that is what testing is all about, dealing with anything that arises before the season gets underway. We came to these tests having already established a good working relationship with Scuderia Toro Rosso over the previous season. With Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, we were able to do a good job of preparation, both in terms of hardware and race operation, building on the communication we had already established over the past few months. The fact that the weather was good for all eight days also helped us complete our work and gather plenty of data. We will now be analysing it all in order to be as well prepared as possible prior to getting on track in Melbourne.”

Red Bull

Max Verstappen: “The guys in the garage did an amazing job to turn the car around after yesterday’s crash and get it on track this morning, but unfortunately we had a gearbox issue and the nature of it meant we had to stop,” said Max afterwards. “I think overall we’ve had a really positive test here. If you look at the longer runs it looks pretty promising. I think we have a good package and the engine works really well, so I’m very happy and I’m looking forward to just going racing now.”

Head of Race Engineering, Guillaume Rocquelin, added: “We came here with a new car, a new engine partner and a new driver, and we leave Barcelona with all of those elements working extremely well together. Problems such as today’s inevitably arise during testing and it’s a shame that it disrupted our final day. However, I don’t think we should let it colour what we have achieved over these two weeks in Barcelona. We’ve had an enormously productive period of testing and we’ve learned a great deal about the RB15 and the direction we want to go in as we head into the season. Honda have been outstanding throughout, we have had great reliability and the rapport with the Team is exceptional. It’s also a big task for Pierre coming into a new team and he’s learned a huge amount – about the car and procedurally. As for the car, the balance is good, the performance is there and we’re ready to go racing.”

Renault

Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director Renault Sport Racing: “On the whole we have had a good couple of weeks testing in Barcelona and we are satisfied with the work accomplished ahead of the first race of the season. The main objective of winter testing is to evaluate parts to their limits and some things worked better than others: that’s all part of the game. Nico and Daniel gave constructive feedback throughout the fortnight as they shared driving duties each day and helped our engineering team make progress where necessary. Overall, we have had great factory-circuit correlation and co-operation and gathered some critical information. We established that our engine performance is matching our expectations, and the chassis concept is good. We now need to build on from here, and continue to feed back into performance. As for everyone else, we have lots of work to do ahead of Melbourne but we feel we have maintained the momentum from last season and look forward to getting back out on track.”

Nico Hülkenberg: “I leave Barcelona feeling encouraged after a busy eight days in the car. We’ve made good progress as a team from last year in particular on the power unit. Our reliability has been decent, we had a few small issues here and there, but the team dealt with anything like that quite well and still managed a high lap count. We know the competition is extremely tight, but we only want to focus on ourselves. We head to Melbourne feeling relatively confident, but in the meantime, we have a lot of analysis to look at to ensure we maximise the potential from the car.”

Daniel Ricciardo: “It’s been a pretty good week and we’ve done a decent amount of laps with some consistent running. It will take some time to catch the front teams but that is not what we expected to happen at winter testing and we are very realistic about that. At the same time, it’s impossible to make accurate performance predictions. We still have work to do and things to improve on and that’s what we’ll focus on now. We will dissect the data we’ve harnessed over the past days back at the factory. We are making progress but the bigger steps will happen gradually going forward. I’m heading to Melbourne feeling that I belong here and I just want to go racing now!”

McLaren

Carlos Sainz: “It’s always nice to go to Australia finishing the test on a bit of a high, having covered a lot of mileage – the most for me in all four days of testing. I also finished my first race simulation without any issues, and did some performance runs in the morning which were useful for our understanding of the car. Now I’ll go back to the factory to do some final work with the team so we can feel fully prepared before the first race. We’ve been very focussed on our own preparation and performance, so it’s impossible to tell exactly how that compares to our competitors. Thank you to the team for their hard work over the past two weeks, and now we look forward to getting the season properly started.”

Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: “We came to testing with a few goals in mind – to do a lot of laps to ensure reliability and sign off systems, to understand our new car and the new Pirelli tyres, and perhaps most importantly, to integrate our new drivers into the team and prepare them as best we can for the season ahead. I think we’ve accomplished all of these things satisfactorily. From a competitive perspective, it’s difficult to gauge exactly where we are. People are doing different things all the time – at different times of the day, with different fuel loads and tyres, so it’s hard to confidently be precise about where we rank compared to the rest of the field. Next stop, Australia, which we’ve been working hard towards all winter, and the beginning of what hopefully will be an exciting Formula 1 season.”

Racing Point

Team Report: “SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team brought pre-season testing to an end with a productive day at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Sergio Perez completed 104 laps in the final session before the team heads to Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix.”

Sergio Perez: “It’s been a positive final day in the car for me. We did a lot of work and I think we have a good idea of where we stand with the car. Today was about final race preparations with lots of long runs. Every time we go out, we learn more and more and I feel ready for the season ahead. It’s been a long winter and I’m extremely motivated: I can’t wait to go racing again. Starting the season with some points would be good, but in the end it’s a long season so we need to get to Melbourne and see how we really compare to the other teams.”

Tom McCullough, Performance Engineering Director: “It’s been a successful eight days of testing where we have achieved all our main test objectives. We were able to get a good understanding of the RP19 launch car and also of the five tyre compounds we will be using throughout the season. Today was a useful day: the car ran reliably again, as it has done all week, which is encouraging. Our race runs were slightly hampered by the timing of the red flag, but we still finish the day having learnt a lot about our car. We have plenty of work to be done between now and Melbourne, but we can look forward to the start of the season. Overall, it has been a huge effort by everyone in the team, both at the track and back at base.”

Williams

Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer: “For the final day of the pre-season testing we planned an ambitious programme to mirror George’s from yesterday. This involved more data gathering in the early cool track conditions which we achieved very well, followed by some performance experiments and a qualifying simulation before lunch. The long-running in the afternoon was unfortunately brought to a halt because a number of critical bodywork parts had reached a stage of degradation that meant that we were no longer learning useful information from the car nor indeed for Robert. So we decided to switch our time to those final race procedural practices (starts, pit stops etc.) that we need to do before Australia. Having arrived late to the testing, our reliability during the running itself has been incredibly high. Up until today we were on track to complete our originally intended mileage and to consume all available tyre sets. But today this car has become ultimately too tired to continue. In the interest of saving our resources for the important racing in Australia, we felt it was right to change the plan. In general, the car is not as its best and this has affected our performance most particularly this morning with Robert in the qualifying simulation and to some extent with George yesterday. This is an important moment as we finish the pre-season testing to acknowledge the huge effort that has been put in by everybody to design, manufacture and operate this car. The car build and testing itself has required an extremely intense period of more than three weeks working 24×7 by the trackside team. What we have achieved despite our huge challenges is remarkable; well done to the whole team.”

Robert Kubica: “It is a pity to end testing with a difficult day before we head to the first race. Out of the runs that we did, we managed to learn some things, but it hasn’t given me the level of confidence that I would have liked ahead of Australia. It wasn’t the day that I was hoping for after the delay to the start of testing, but you have to take the positives out of these difficult situations.”