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Williams Testing 2020

Barcelona Test Day 1: Driver and team quotes

Drivers and team representatives report from day one of testing ahead of the 2020 Formula 1 World Championship season, on a bright and sunny day made remarkable by the bulletproof reliability shown by all teams at Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.

Although Mercedes appear to have an edge, it is still early days and much is being kept heavily under wraps as teams and drivers evaluate what they will be contending with for the next ten months. Our day one report is here>>>

Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

Valtteri Bottas: “I’m very impressed that we could start at 9am, going straight out and doing some longer runs without any issues and really execute our plan for the morning perfectly. We could get everything done which is just impressive considering how much work goes into our cars. In the morning when it was still relatively cold, we focused mostly on aero tests with rakes on the car. Later on we did some work on set-up changes – bigger changes than we would normally do on a race weekend when it’s more about fine-tuning. In testing you have the chance to do that and see how the car reacts to those big changes. I had a very good feeling, the car feels good and fast, but I’m sure we can make it a lot faster. It’s been a really nice starting point, but it’s early days, so it doesn’t mean a whole lot.”

Lewis Hamilton: “It’s been a good day and a really good start for all of us, considering we had a long break. So to come back and clock in over 170 laps just shows how hard everyone has been working over the winter. We will just take it one step at a time, getting good feedback from the car. We have a lot of data to download and analyse and we’ve got to keep pushing on. A huge thank you to everyone back in Brackley and Brixworth for the incredible effort that’s gone in over the winter to make sure we come here and have a car that’s reliable to start with so we can get this mileage done. I hope everyone back at the factory is happy with how the day went and we’re just going to keep churning out as many miles as possible.”

James Allison, Technical Director: “That was a very positive start to our winter testing campaign, with both drivers able to get a very decent amount of work done through the day. We were able to tick several of the procedural items off our list that we need to get done before Melbourne and also run through some of the main set-up items on suspension settings today. We’re happy that alongside the good reliability we’ve shown today, both drivers have reported the car to have sweet handling characteristics and are looking forward to leaning on it a bit harder over the next several days of testing.”

Scuderia Ferrari

Team Report: “The first day of the first Formula 1 pre-season test went according to plan for Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow, apart from the fact that Charles Leclerc ended up giving the SF1000 its official track debut and not Sebastian Vettel as originally planned. The four times world champion was not feeling too well and so has delayed his turn in the cockpit until tomorrow afternoon and will then continue at the wheel throughout all of Friday. Leclerc did a total of 132 laps, 614 kilometres, the equivalent of two Grand Prix distances. As is usually the case when a new car runs for the very first time in its racing life, the morning programme centred mainly on checking the baseline configuration and getting an overall evaluation of it. Charles then did some runs to check aero settings using the C2 and C3 compounds with different fuel loads. By lunchtime at 1pm, the number 16 SF1000 had completed 64 laps, or 297 kilometres, or almost a race distance. Charles was back on track shortly after 2pm and worked through the rest of the planned programme, doing a further 68 laps, making a total of 132. His best time was a 1:18.289.”

Charles Leclerc: “I was informed at 6.45 this morning that I’d be driving today, but that was no problem for me. It might have been trickier for those in the team who had to change the configuration of the car, which was set up for Sebastian. For a first day, it was definitely positive, because we managed to get through the programme we had set ourselves. We weren’t looking at performance today, instead concentrating on learning about the SF1000 and getting in tune with it. It’s too early to have formed an opinion of the car, but I felt comfortable at the wheel which is a good thing.”

Scuderia AlphaTauri

Daniil Kvyat: “I think it was a pretty comfortable day, we didn’t encounter any big issues and we ran reliably. The car felt like home pretty much straight away. We’ve completed the routine checks at the start of the day which made our morning a bit slow, but it’s necessary for the team at the first test. Once that was done we were able to get some good laps in and understand the new car a bit better. We also worked on setup items, some of which you wouldn’t really try on a race weekend. It’s hard to comment too much on the progress made over winter because it’s the first time we properly run the car and you certainly need more time to find the sweet spot.”

Jody Egginton, Technical Director: “Overall, we are satisfied with how today went. The morning session was primarily spent gathering aero data and conducting background tests before moving onto some basic setup work in order to begin to understand how the new car responds. This work continued into the afternoon with some longer runs, making good use of the C2 tyre and incorporating some pitstop practice for the mechanics toward the end of the day. In summary, we are reasonably pleased with what we have learnt so far, but at the same time it’s very early in the test program and we still have much work to do in order to understand where we are with the new car and confirm our development priorities.”

Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda F1 Technical Director: “It’s great to be back on track after a busy winter during which everyone involved in Honda’s F1 project worked very hard to prepare for this season in conjunction with our two teams. Therefore, it was gratifying to complete the first day with no real issues on both cars and it was a bit different to see the Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda livery for the first time on track. It’s the same for everyone but these two tests will be even more intensive than last year, as we have only six days instead of eight to prepare for Melbourne. As usual, with a first day of testing, today was mainly about doing functionality checks for the RA620H Power Unit and also on the chassis side and ensuring everything worked correctly. Both our teams got through the scheduled programmes and we encountered a few minor issues which is what you expect during testing, especially on day 1. We got plenty of data which will now be analysed by the night shift here at the track and back in the factory. There’s much more work to be done over the rest of the test.”


Carlos Sainz: “A very good job by everyone today, it shows that hard work over the winter pays off. I managed to complete 161 laps, which is a very decent number for my first day. The car already feels a step on from last year. We aren’t reading too much into the track times, but knowing that we’re completing race simulations and pit-stops on the first day is a very good achievement.”

Andrea Stella, Racing Director: “It’s been a positive day of testing, possibly the best first day of testing for McLaren for a long time. The day unfolded exactly as we had planned; it’s rare that we go through a programme as closely to the timings we had planned as we did today, which is good and efficient. Another positive note is that, from a performance perspective, the car responds in line with our expectations, and while we know that we have work to do, we also know how we can improve the car.
“Finally, credit to the team members who work on the reliability of the car; we ran for more than 160 laps today without any problems, which is another promising sign. A good start to a new season, a lot of work to do, but today has been encouraging and we know where to focus.”

Renault F1 Team

Esteban Ocon: “It feels awesome to be back driving a Formula 1 car. I had a big smile on my face leaving the garage as it’s been a while since I’ve had my own race car. It’s really cool to think about the thousands of hours which have been put into creating this car and then feeling it come alive on track. In terms of our programme, we’ve made a solid start and we have a good base to work from. We know we have to keep working this week and make some improvements ready for the first race. We have to be precise in our work and make everything count. I’m looking forward to continuing the progress through the week.”

Daniel Ricciardo: “It’s great to be driving again and I felt quite comfortable in the car from the get-go, which was cool. Esteban obviously warmed the car up nicely this morning, and I felt I was more or less straight back into it and in a rhythm when it was my turn in the afternoon. There are improvements on the car and we’ve obviously changed it a lot visually, which is quite clear when you look at the front nose. The improvements are there, and ultimately that’s what we’re targeting. It’s too early to make any comparisons, but our reliability was pretty strong, and I would say it’s promising. You can’t ask for too much more from day one, so I’m happy with that.”

Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen: “It’s been a good day. It’s always important to do as many laps as possible and today was a really good example of how you should do it, so I’m very happy. We have improved the car in the areas we wanted to over the winter and the car feels faster everywhere, which is great. The reliability has been good so far, so now we just have to do a lot more laps, test all the new parts and see where we can improve it further. Hopefully we’ll have done enough!”

Guillaume Rocquelin, Head of Race Engineering: “We had a really good day. We have a compressed test schedule this year so we are focusing on slightly longer runs than normal to get what we need from testing. It’s not always easy, as the conditions in Barcelona at this time of year are never ideal – it is just a bit cold – and the track surface is not really representative, but we got through the whole plan and more today, which is very encouraging. So, we have a tired, but happy driver and a lot of information to sift through. We’ll ramp things up again with Alex tomorrow, but all in all, a very positive start for us.”

RoKit Williams Racing

Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal: “Today was just the beginning of our 2020 campaign, but we feel we’ve made a good start. Being the first car out on track this morning may not win us any prizes, but it was a clear statement of intent and lays to rest some of the ghosts of last year. The rest of the day was executed pretty much perfectly, despite the packed programme. We clocked up some considerable mileage without any issues and the team will now work through the gathered data in preparation for tomorrow. It is so nice to see the team back in action, everyone at Williams does such a great job and they have worked hard today. My enormous thanks to everyone in the team, both here and at the factory for the huge amount of effort that has gone into getting the car ready for day one of testing. I look forward to seeing where we finish at the end of day six.”

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: “A very promising start to the 2020 season for the team. George was the first car on track this morning and spent the opening few hours collecting aero data in several different configurations. By mid-morning we were completing longer runs on different tyre compounds as we begin to understand the main characteristics of the FW43. Following a successful morning session, George ended his running, allowing Nicholas to take over for the afternoon. Nicholas completed a further sequence of longer new tyre runs, building on the work started by George this morning. In the evening we took the opportunity to collect another round of aero data. Overall, it has been a very encouraging day of reliable running of the FW43, which has been made possible by the hard work and collective effort of everyone at the track and back in Grove.”

George Russell: “I was happy with this morning’s running, completing 73 laps, and the feeling was positive. We had an intense programme planned, and it was important to get out from the beginning so that we could get back into the pits first and get on with the day. The general handling of the car is much better, and from lap one I had confidence to push the car to the limit. The FW43 is an improvement on last year, the lap times are the important thing and we will only know at the end of next week where we are. Overall, it has been a very positive morning, we just need to focus on our programme and get the most out of testing. We are excited for the new season, I am confident that we will be racing this year.

Nicholas Latifi: “Overall, it was a very positive first day testing with the team. I can definitely feel that the car has taken a step forward from last year, so thanks to the team for their hard work over the winter. We just have to keep plugging away each day and learn how the car reacts and see if we can find some more performance. All in all, I’m very pleased with the first day of running.

Haas F1 Team

Kevin Magnussen: “I feel good – but tired, as it was a long day, but that’s a positive thing. We got lots of running in, that’s what we needed for the first day just to get to know the car. It felt good, but it’s always difficult to tell whether you’re competitive or not, but at least the feeling was good in the car even though it’s early days. We had a tight test plan for the day, we got most of it done, I think we just missed one run. It’s going to be interesting to get Romain (Grosjean) in the car tomorrow and see what his feedback is with the set-up changes planned and the various things we throw at the car.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal: “It was a good day of testing today, we’ve completed a lot of laps – more than 100. We got through almost all of the program we had planned, we just missed out a little bit. We’ve gathered a lot of data and now we need to go through it. We’ll work through the next days to understand the car, then we try to go fast.”

BWT Racing Point

Sergio Perez, Racing Point RP20

Sergio Perez: “My first impressions of the new car are positive. Obviously, there’s still a long way to go with a lot of things we have to get on top of – but it’s definitely a promising start. We spent the morning learning about the car and did a lot of aero testing with a couple of quick laps. Putting mileage onto the car is really important, especially with a limited amount of testing days available, and we have already gathered good information for the engineers. Hopefully we can keep improving in the coming days.”

Lance Stroll: “I feel good but it’s still early days. We had a smooth afternoon and I completed over 200 kilometres of running without any problems. That’s the best way to start a test. It nice to be back behind the wheel again after the winter break. The first day of testing is all about getting comfortable and clocking up the laps on the car. There’s a lot of work ahead of us over the next couple of weeks – but there’s a good atmosphere in the garage after day one.”

Tom McCullough, Performance Engineering Director:
“As well as today being the first day of testing, it effectively acted as the shakedown of the RP20. We were up late last night preparing the car – but we managed to take to the track for our first installation laps more or less on time. I have to thank the crew in Barcelona and everybody back at base for their hard work. Today we focussed on completing systems checks and putting mileage on the car. Later on we also began the aero mapping. The feedback from Checo and Lance has been positive and there were no significant dramas during the day.”

Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen

Xevi Pujolar, Head of Track Engineering: “The first days of testing are not specifically about finding performance, but understanding the new car and the way it behaves. Our programme was tailored to these aims and we can be satisfied with our first day of work. The car ran reliably and we were able to tick all the boxes in our list; we definitely hope it is a sign of things to come for the remainder of these two weeks.”

Robert Kubica: “As you can imagine, it has been a very special day for the team and also for myself, having worked with Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN for the first time on the track. Driving a new car, the new baby of the team, always represents a lot of emotions, but having a productive day is what really mattered. I think the session was quite smooth for us, although there are still many things to be tested. in the end, though, it has been a good start.”

Antonio Giovinazzi: “I’m happy the start of this season was a positive one. The first feeling with the car is quite good and I can’t wait to be behind the wheel again. We mostly did long runs, so we still need to see how the car behaves with less fuel and a softer compound, but the important thing is that we had no issues at all. Let’s see how we continue in the next few days.”