Barcelona Test Day 2: Mazepin makes it look very easy

Nikita Mazepin

Nikita Mazepin underlined the superiority of the Mercedes W10 when he topped the timing screens on the second and final day of Formula 1 testing at Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.

The Russian, who has had previous experience in F1 testing with Force India, was in the silver cockpit for the first time in what is believed to be his induction programme which will include running a 2017 car in select private tests as he is groomed by his billionaire father for F1.

As George Russell did in Bahrain when he tested for the World Champions, Mazepin ended the day quickest of all suggesting anyone who drives the silver cars will be at the sharp end of proceedings, so good is their car.

The Russian 20-year-old, competing in F2 this season with ART Grand Prix, also completed more laps (128)  than any other driver on the day. Notably, he was using the softest tyre available and his time of 1:15.775 compares to Valtteri’s best effort of 1:15.551 set a day earlier, in similar conditions.

In other words, the W10 is plug-and-play even for a driver of Mazepin’s capabilities and inexperience. Of course, no discredit to him at all but he made it look very easy.

Beyond the above comparison, lap times revealed nothing on a day in which each team ran separate and independent programmes.

Teams report from day two of in-season testing at Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona:

Mercedes

Report: 20-year-old Russian racer Nikita Mazepin completed his first day of testing at the wheel of the Mercedes W10, logging 128 laps in Barcelona. The team continued with aero data collection and power unit work on Wednesday, completing a long run programme in the morning before moving to single lap runs in the afternoon to allow Nikita to gain experience on the three softest tyre compounds. Mercedes-Benz Power Units completed a total of 1,946 km today.

Nikita Mazepin: “Today was incredible. Being a part of this team, even just for this day was very special for me. It’s every young driver’s dream to drive a car like this and today mine came true, so I’m really happy. Importantly it was a successful day on track too, we gathered most of the data we set out to collect, we didn’t encounter any problems and from my side I felt I could deliver consistently throughout the day – which is important for the team. In the afternoon we were competitive on the performance runs and the car felt great. Everyone in the team is working so hard and you can feel that when you sit in this car.”

Ron Meadows, Sporting Director: “It’s been another successful day here in Barcelona and we managed to complete all of the programme we had planned. We spent the first three-quarters of the day focused on aerodynamic and Power Unit development testing, before switching to one-lap performance runs, working through the different specifications of the tyre with Nikita. He did a really superb job today, just as we expected he would.”

Red Bull

Report: Dan Ticktum was behind the wheel for the second and final day of the Barcelona test, completing a total of 79 laps. Taking over from Pierre Gasly, who ran yesterday, Dan continued development work in the RB15 running on both the C2 and C3 tyre. Today’s running was Dan’s second day in the RB15, having made his testing debut last month at Sakhir in the test that followed the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Dan Ticktum: “I think for the Team, data-wise, we got what we wanted as today was about executing a specific run plan rather than setting purple sectors. We had a driveline issue this morning which cost us a few hours but the running that we did get was positive. There will be more feedback later in the week, but overall, at the moment, everyone’s satisfied.”

Simon Rennie, Group Leader Simulator Engineering: “It was a full programme of aero testing today. Some of that was about understanding the car that we have, and the rest was assessing future developments. The issue that we had at midday kept us in the garage for a few hours and it was a shame to lose that time but the running we had was very useful.”

“Dan had a good day. As was the case in Bahrain, he did everything we asked him to do. There were many complicated procedures to master and he did them all faultlessly. It was interesting having him back in the car six weeks on from the Bahrain test, as he was able to relate to us the areas in which he felt the car has improved since the start of April.”

Ferrari

Report: Scuderia Ferrari added a further 247 laps to their total. Antonio Fuoco and Charles Leclerc were driving today. The Italian was working for the team, while the Monegasque driver was carrying out tyre development work for Pirelli.

In the first four hours of track time, Charles did 73 laps at the wheel of his SF90, with a best time of 1’18”666, while Antonio did 66 laps. The Italian did not push too hard on the opening laps, as he got to grips with the actual car, having covered a very high mileage in the simulator.

It was Fuoco’s first drive in a current machine, as his last test dated back to 2016, when the technical specification of the cars was quite different. Antonio ran both the C2 and C3 tyres, while trying some specific components in a series of short runs, to continue the car’s development programme, which allowed him to make a first-hand comparison with driving in the simulator. His best time was a 1’18”182.

After the lunch break, Leclerc continued the development work for the sport’s sole tyre supplier, some of it already looking at 2021, while Fuoco concentrated on some long runs, which helped him get a good understanding of the SF90. Charles covered a total of 127 laps (591 km), with a best time of 1’17”349. Antonio did 120 (559 km) and also tried the C4 compound tyres. His best lap was a 1’17”284.

Over the two days of testing, Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow did a total of 512 laps, equivalent to 2,383 kilometres. The team will be back in action on Thursday next week when free practice starts for the sixth round of the season, the Monaco Grand Prix, which is also Charles Leclerc’s home race.

Antonio Fuoco: “It was a positive day. We completed various tests and ran a total of 120 laps. In terms of the programme, we concentrated on short runs with different tyre compounds in the morning followed by longer runs in the afternoon and performance runs at the end of the day.”

“The car felt really good to drive. It will be important for us to analyse the data we collected today, as well as the correlation with the simulator, given that I do a lot of work in it. I really enjoyed the day and would like to thank the team for this opportunity.”

Haas

Report: Building on the 103-lap tally set by test driver Pietro Fittipaldi on Tuesday, Magnussen clocked 46 laps by the mandatory lunch hour – the Dane ending the morning session fastest overall with a best time of 1:18.101, set on the Pirelli P Zero C3 tire. An extensive afternoon run plan added a further 60 laps as Magnussen circulated exclusively on the C3 rubber to conclude testing at the 4.655-kilometer (2.892-mile), 16-turn track. His pre-lunch hot lap remained his fastest placing him seventh overall from 13 drivers participating.

Kevin Magnussen: “I was happy to get a lot of laps on a test like this straight after a race weekend. It’s really useful to be able to evaluate everything back-to-back. We’ve tried some interesting stuff and gathered a lot of data to go through. We’re not chasing a lap time, we’re giving specific feedback, gathering data. Some things were good, some not so, but it’s testing, so we’re trying stuff that’s not necessarily going to make you faster – you’re just getting information to help you make progress. Overall though, it’s been a productive test day. I’m happy.”

Toro Rosso

Alexander Albon: “I think it was a very productive day as we completed all the runs we had planned. We learned more about the updates we brought here for the weekend and how they were working – I’m sure we will be able to take a lot of the things we learned from the test to the next races. On my side, I’m understanding more how I want the car to be and where I want the setup for Qualifying. All in all, we got a lot done today.”

Guillaume Dezoteux, Head of Vehicle Performance: “Today we had a productive day again in Montmeló. Alex took over from Daniil and completed some very important aero data gathering that kept us busy for most of the morning session. Before lunch time, despite the two red flags, we managed to perform a couple of short runs on the C3 tyre compound for further tyre optimization.

“The wind picked up in the afternoon which made the car more inconsistent and difficult to drive for Alex. We focused on suspension setup to explore different approaches on the C2 rubber which was working well for him during the race. We followed this sequence by a couple of test items on the C3 compound and finally moved to the C4 to conclude on performance runs.

“We can be very happy how the in-season tests went for us. Both cars and the PU ran reliably, the drivers didn’t make any mistakes and the team has been able to bring home a huge amount of data to analyse. Obviously, it is a challenge to stop testing that early in the season with 16 races still to go, but we are looking forward and we will do our best to improve our package from the data gathered here.”

Honda

Masamitsu Motohashi, Deputy Technical Director: “We had another useful day of testing, following a similar programme to yesterday. That means we worked on some items aimed at long term development, while also looking at PU settings that we might run in Monaco, where practice starts in a week’s time. Our PU worked smoothly over the two days and we completed a total of 231 laps with Scuderia Toro Rosso. Monaco GP is next on our agenda, so we’ll be analysing all the data we gathered here to make further improvements for this event.”

McLaren

Sergio Sette Camara, Test and Development Driver: “Driving the McLaren Formula 1 car was an amazing opportunity for me today. I was able to learn some new procedures, see how the car felt and do a few flying laps. It’s a shame we had to cut the day short, but from my side I learned a lot and I’m really happy to have had the chance to drive a car like that. Thank you to everyone at McLaren for the experience and I hope to be able to repeat it again in the future.”

Oliver Turvey, Test and Development Driver: “It was great to be back in the car for my first run this year. With all the simulator work I’ve been doing with the team, it’s great to get a feeling for the actual car and give some feedback to the race engineers at the track. It’s also helpful for correlation with the simulator, which we can work on when I get back to the factory. This test has been useful for the rest of the season as we continue to develop the MCL34.”

Andrea Stella, Performance Director: “Today was another useful day of testing with Oliver and Sergio at the wheel. Both of them adapted very quickly to the car and did a good job in helping us to complete our test programme, together with providing some interesting feedback on the behaviour of the car.

“The programme was once again fundamentally focussed on gathering data on the aerodynamics of the car and some set-up items in preparation for the coming races. The day’s running ended slightly earlier than planned due to an issue with the car that we are currently investigating. Despite this, it was a smooth couple of days.”

Racing Point

Racing Point F1 Team completed a second and final day of running at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with Nick Yelloly once again on track in the RP19. Lance Stroll was behind the wheel of a second car to support the Pirelli testing programme.

Brad Joyce, Head of Trackside Performance: “Conditions have been a bit more challenging today, with higher winds creating a dusty circuit and making things a little less straightforward. Turns three, nine and twelve in particular have been very tricky. Nonetheless, it’s been a useful session.”

“Lance has driven the Pirelli car today and completed the full programme for them. With Nick in the test car, we focused on long-term aero development and correlation work. He’s done a good job – driving well, giving accurate feedback and not putting a foot wrong. Monaco is a very different circuit to Barcelona, but we’ve gathered a lot of data during this test which will be useful next week and for the races beyond.”

Alfa Romeo

Report: Two pre-season test sessions, a filming day, a full race weekend and two post-race test days after we first set foot at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in 2019, it is finally time to pack our things and leave Spain for the remainder of the year (on a professional basis, at least. We’re not telling you where to spend your holidays).

The final of these 15 days of on- and off-track action was a solid affair – surely less headline-grabbing than yesterday’s, but we’ll take that. We like our C38 in one piece and our mechanics look a lot more relaxed than they did 24 hours ago (what a splendid job they did, getting the car back into shape for today’s running!).

Kimi Räikkönen: “It was a pretty good day in the car. After yesterday’s issues we had to change our testing programme slightly but we managed to go through all the different things we wanted to try. We had the chance to work with different compounds, we worked on the set-up and we put a few different parts on the car, so it was a busy day. I feel that if we did the race weekend again, we’d be stronger than we were.”

Williams

Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer: “We had a successful and productive morning completing over 50 laps and gathering useful information on some test components. The morning running came to an end just before the allotted lunch break when the car unexpectedly stopped on the start-finish straight. Resolving this issue took a little while but the team worked hard and diligently to ensure that we could return to the track and complete the most important afternoon work.”

“Our in-season testing campaign is now over for 2019 and our attention will return to learning during Free Practice sessions at race weekends. Nicholas has done a superb job throughout this test and this has been crucial to our testing programme. We now look forward to having him back in the car in Canada where he will continue to assist our development programme.”

“The trackside team have worked extremely hard over the last week or so in Barcelona and they can now look forward to a few days of rest before we move on to Monaco for Round Six of the Championship.”

Nicholas Latifi: “Day two from a driver’s point of view was more interesting than day one. I got to trial some of the softer compound of tyres, I used the C3, C4 and C5 which is fun to push a bit more. I tried some new development items that were brought to the car. In F2 we normally make a few balance changes, whereas this was putting something completely new on the car. It was interesting to see how that affected the car and for me to give feedback to the team.”

“Unfortunately, we had a problem that cost us one or two runs at the end of the morning and delayed our afternoon session by a few hours. However, we were still able to get back out and do some high fuel running which is good for my experience. Overall, I am pleased with the two days of testing and I look forward to my next outing with the team for FP1 at the Canadian Grand Prix.”