Drivers and team representatives report from day two of testing ahead of the 2020 Formula 1 World Championship season, from the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.
Kimi Räikkönen: “For my first testing day, it was an ok one. The important thing is that everything seems to be working well, with no major issues. The immediate feeling is pretty positive, but it’s still early days. There is still a long way to go but I think we made a step forward compared to last year: who knows where this is going to take us, but so far so good.”
Beat Zehnder, Sporting Director: “Today was another valuable day testing the C39, a day in which we were able to cover good mileage without any issues. People may look at the times, but these are of little value right now: the main thing to focus on is the data we are collecting and listening to the drivers’ first reactions. Having two days of uninterrupted running, minus a red flag at the end of today, is where we want to be right now, but it’s still just the beginning of a very busy process of learning about the new car.”
Pierre Gasly: “I was happy with today, I missed being behind the wheel a lot! The target was to do as many laps as we could, because with pre-season testing two days shorter this year, we have to try to be more efficient and cover more things. Overall, we can be pleased as we managed to complete the programme we set for the day and I felt comfortable in the car straight away. We tested a few more things compared to last year, also on my side in terms of driving, to understand how to get on top of everything, and there were some really positive results. There are many areas we are still exploring, we still need to figure certain areas out as it’s a new car with new parts. I think we found some good directions for the next few days, so now we have quite a lot to study.”
Jody Egginton, Technical Director: “The first proper day of running for Pierre went quite well overall. We covered a good number of test items together with some aero data collection with the rakes fitted and the normal systems and PU setting adjustments. The reliability of the car was again very good with a lot of kilometres completed, allowing us to tick all the boxes on the programme. We have taken a further step in our understanding of the car and will be putting this data to good use in the coming days, both here in Barcelona and also back in Faenza and Bicester where the aero, design, and vehicle performance groups are flat out preparing numerous developments for evaluation.”
Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda F1 Technical Director: “For the second day of testing, our work followed on from what we did yesterday, with functionality checks as well as beginning to work on optimising our PU settings based on yesterday’s feedback and data. Pierre did 147 laps, the second highest number on the day. Overall another solid day’s work with plenty more data to study.”
Team report: As planned, Charles was first in the cockpit, working on suspension configuration, gathering more data and generally improving the team’s understanding of the SF1000. The Monegasque driver ran the C2 and C3 compound tyres. Leclerc thus rounded off his first test of the year with 49 laps, which added to the 132 he did yesterday, meant he totalled 181, or 843 kilometres, which is pretty near to three Grand Prix distances. Watching proceedings here today were Charles’ younger brother Arthur and the Swede Dino Beganovic, who both joined the Ferrari Driver Academy back in January, thus following the same schooling that led to Charles becoming a Formula 1 driver. During the lunch break, the mechanics reconfigured the car to Sebastian’s driving settings and the German’s sixth season on track with Scuderia Ferrari got underway shortly after 2pm. Due to drive yesterday, he swapped with Charles as he was feeling slightly unwell. Today, he carried on where his team-mate left off in the morning, also running the C4 compound, with which he set his fastest lap of 1:18.154. He did 73 laps, equal to 340 kilometres. In total, the SF1000 has now completed 254 laps, equivalent to 1,182 kilometres. Friday is the third and final day of the first pre-season test and Sebastian will be at the wheel of the SF1000 for the whole day.
Sebastian Vettel: “Finally I was able to drive the SF1000 after feeling unwell and having to spend most of yesterday in bed. It was nice to be back behind the wheel and to start getting used to the car.
This first half day was definitely positive: we had no reliability problems and we were able to do 73 laps. That’s the most important thing when you’re dealing with a new car. The SF1000 is certainly a step forward compared to last year’s car.
For tomorrow, the aim is to get as much track time as possible and to gather as much data as we can, to help us get a better understanding of where we are in our work programme.”
Romain Grosjean: “I saw how many laps we were planning to do this morning and I thought it was a pretty fruity run-plan. That’s a positive though, it shows that the car is reliable. With two days less testing this year over these two weeks we’re trying to do as much as we can. The early morning was tricky trying to get the tires warmed up, similarly at the end of the day when the sun goes down – tire temperatures drop. It was a positive day with a lot of testing. We’re now looking at our options for tomorrow to see what we want to test in the morning.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal: “It was another good day today in terms of lots of running and data gathering. The car ran without issue, apart from a little accident at the end – it’s better not happening, but it’s part of the game and there were only 40-minutes left on the day. It’s always good to have this kind of mileage and two days of testing without interruption or mechanical problems. It’s been positive, everything’s gone to plan, so that makes us happy.”
Lando Norris: “A good day – we did 137 laps, completing almost everything we wanted to do. I got a good feeling for the car, and it’s not too different to last year in terms of handling, which is a good thing. We got through our programme with a lot learned for both me and the team, making a good start ahead of tomorrow and next week. There are areas we know we need to improve on, but it’s been a productive day overall, which is the main thing.”
James Key, Technical Director: “Another productive day today with Lando covering 137 laps. The morning was taken up with some specific aero measurements, which will give us the first proper overview of the car’s aero flow conditions. We then moved on to a set programme of test items, some of them with new parts. We did long runs in the afternoon combined with some mechanical set-up work and reliability tests. We also completed some general set-up work that has helped us further understand the car, in addition to what we learned yesterday with Carlos. Tomorrow we’ll continue the programme with both drivers, running some more new components and taking the direction we’ve learned over the last two days.”
Lewis Hamilton: “It’s been another beautiful day here in Barcelona and we got some great mileage on the new car today. As a team, we completed a race run in the morning, which is great for reliability and shows the foundation we are starting on. This is probably the first day ever, that I can remember, where I finished a test session and wanted to continue. We had 20 minutes left and I wanted us to maximise and do more laps, but we’d ran out of tyres. It felt good today and I felt physically fantastic. To get through a race run and still feel at the end of it that I could do another 100 laps is a good feeling.”
Valtteri Bottas: “We completed 77 laps this afternoon, which is a good number. But obviously running was cut short because of an issue, which made the day a bit trickier. It was a good day of learning more about the car. We got some good mileage in and I almost completed a full race simulation. So, there was a lot of good experience gained from that and lots of data for us to investigate ahead of tomorrow. For me, personally, there are many learnings to take away from that race simulation and look into further. The car felt good and I’m looking forward to continuing the running tomorrow morning, hopefully we will have a clean day.”
James Allison: “We are all a little disappointed to have taken an early bath today, but we console ourselves with the fact that the problem we encountered will quickly be resolved and we managed a healthy 183 laps before encountering it. That is, after all, why we go testing. It’s encouraging to see that, for the second day running, the car felt honest, good and reasonably speedy. Lewis’ race simulation in the morning was tidy and Valtteri’s, until it was interrupted, was on a good trajectory. We also had an interesting day activating the DAS system for the first time and we are on a voyage of discovery with the drivers to learn about the system and see what it can bring us for the season ahead. We’re now looking forward to the final day of the first test tomorrow and continuing to work through the tasks we have to clear before Melbourne.”
Sergio Perez: “Today we were able to complete a lot of kilometres – over 650 – which has been our first priority, given the limited amount of testing. We still have plenty of things to work on over the coming days but we have shown that we’re on the right track with good pace and reliability. Hopefully tomorrow is another good day for the team with Lance in the car as our preparations for Australia continue. It’s still very early days – far too early – but I think it’s a solid base and I think we have something to work with for the coming races and for the start of the season.”
Tom McCullough, Performance Engineering Director: “After a positive start to the first test yesterday, our second day of on-track running in Barcelona has been very productive. We’re still getting to know the RP20 more and spent the morning focussing on performance running before switching our attention to long-runs this afternoon. We managed to get through the extensive test plan that we had scheduled for today and have lots of data to go through as the learning process continues.”
Alexander Albon: “It was a good first day with the RB16. After Max’s running yesterday we carried on the work today and tried a few things that he tried. Comments wise we were very similar which is always positive. We lost some time in the middle of the day due to an investigation on the power unit but other than that it was pretty smooth. Over the winter we have addressed some of the areas where we felt we were struggling and I felt pretty comfortable in the car straight away. It’s always nice to get back in the car and you always feel it on your first day back but it was good out there and the car is feeling strong.”
Guillaume Rocquelin, Head of Race Engineering: “We had another very productive day with the RB16 today and although we didn’t complete quite as many laps as yesterday, we once again got through all of the test items on the list. We did have a small issue just before lunch when the Honda guys noticed something in the data and we therefore elected to perform a precautionary engine change. They’ve done a thorough check and there are no problems, so the original PU will be back in the car tomorrow. We also have a change to our usual plan tomorrow in that due to the large amount of laps being run and the compressed nature of these tests, we’ll be splitting driver duties. Max will be out in the morning and Alex in the afternoon. All going to plan, it will be another extremely busy day and hopefully a productive one.”
George Russell: “It was a productive day. We have tested a lot of aero items to understand if everything correlates in the wind tunnel and CFD. We spent this morning doing a lot of rake running, which is beneficial for the short term and productive in the long run. We had an issue over lunch which delayed our running this afternoon. Although everything did not go to plan, it was still productive, and this is what winter testing is all about. We will keep pushing to get the most out of these six days of testing.”
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: “George drove the car today and took the opportunity to build on the work we undertook yesterday. We again started the day with aero work, constructing a programme based on yesterday’s findings. Once the track reached a more useful temperature, we started our new tyre work concentrating on more aero development and some tyre compound comparisons. Over lunch we elected to take some time to make some more involved changes before completing a further series of new tyre runs in the afternoon. We also found some minor damage to the rear of the car, which needed repairing before we could start the afternoon programme. Running was hampered a little by the late red flag, but nonetheless we achieved almost everything we had intended to. The Barcelona track remains in very good condition and, with more good weather forecast for tomorrow, we look forward to continuing our meticulous testing programme when Nicholas will again return to driving duties.”