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Barcelona Test 2 Day 1: Team and driver quotes

Teams and driver report from the first day of the second stanza of preseason testing, ahead of the 2020 Formula 1 World Championship season, at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain on Wednesday.

All teams ran two drivers on the day bar Haas whose Romain Grosjean was on duty for the whole day, while Robert Kubica was the only reserve in action which meant Antonio Giovinazzi sat out the first day.

Alfa Romeo

Team Report: The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is one of the better-known tracks for drivers. Year on year of winter testing gives the men behind the steering wheel a unique intimacy with this circuit: there is no corner unknown, no inch of tarmac unexplored. There’s no silver bullet for this place; no secret trick to be quick. It is a place that rewards hard work. Hard work is indeed what the team did today. 104 laps, split between Robert Kubica in the morning and Kimi Räikkönen in the afternoon, yielded another load of data for our engineers. Plenty of numbers to crunch, heaps of readings to analyse and comb through in search of a finer understanding of our new C39. Pre-season may still feel new, but it’s just two more days of work before we head to Australia – and we’ll need to make them count to discover everything our new contender has to offer. This track may be the most known quantity in Formula One, but the machine our drivers are asked to tame is still unexplored land. Time for hard work indeed.

Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal: “We had a split day, with Robert in the car this morning and Kimi in the afternoon, so we divided our programme into two very distinct parts. We are satisfied with both – we are making progress with our C39 in the quali runs and the longer stints alike. We have two more days in the car with Antonio and Kimi, the final outings for each of them ahead of Melbourne, so maximising our time on track in the rest of the week will be key to our preparedness for the season.”

Robert Kubica: “It has been a positive morning in the car for me. Times don’t matter – P1 or P20, what really counts is finishing the day having completed your testing programme, and we did that. The car felt better compared to last week, we already did a few tweaks and I could feel the improvement. We have a lot of data to go through to fully understand their effect, and two more days to get an even better level of confidence in the car. We know what we have to do.”

Kimi Räikkönen: “It has been a challenging session, but this is quite to be expected during testing. We focused mostly on long runs and trying different setup options, which means the team had to learn how best to prepare the car. In the end, we can be fairly satisfied with our long run pace, although we know there is still a lot of work ahead of us before Melbourne.”

Red Bull

Team Report: “The first day of Formula One’s second 2020 pre-season test saw both Alex and Max in action at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Alex kicked-off the first day of running in the morning, with Max taking over in the afternoon. Continuing the pattern from the first test, the Team focused on testing the RB16 under a variety of set-up conditions. Today featured the debut of Pirelli’s experimental tyre, which may be put into use at the Dutch Grand Prix to cope with the high-speed banking of Zandvoort’s final corner.”

Alex Albon: “We had a small issue with the suspension and lost a bit of time so this morning was a little frustrating – but we did so many laps last week we’re still on a good footing and haven’t really fallen behind our plan. Even though we didn’t get as many laps as expected, the car was feeling pretty good and already an improvement on how it was last week. Obviously, this week there will be more of a focus on performance, and we’ve taken some steps in the right direction. We’re trying to get the car into the best window. It’s already in a good place but there are little pieces of the puzzle we’re trying to fit together throughout the test, getting us ready for Melbourne.”

Max Verstappen: “Today I tried the new Pirelli tyre compound, but overall we were trying lots of things, learning how the car reacts under various circumstances, so when we reach Australia, we’ll know what to expect. We won’t know how good we are until we get to Melbourne because testing isn’t about setting lap times but trying new and different things. I stopped on track just before the end of the session but we’re not concerned and overall it was a positive day. We have a lot of grip but so do the other cars so let’s see what happens when we go racing.”

Head of Race Engineering, Guillaume Rocquelin: “This morning we had an issue with the suspension, which cost us some time. That’s a bit of a shame but things like this are the reason why we have testing. Once that was addressed, we ran without any problems and completed a good number of laps. Max’s stop at the very end of the day is also something we understand and is not a concern. We were running a similar format to last week, trying out lots of set-up and suspension changes. Max also tested the new tyre that will potentially be used at Zandvoort and we have another set available that Alex will probably use tomorrow. Overall, we had a very good day, completed a good number of laps and learned some lessons.”

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton: “It’s been a good session and a good start to the second week of testing here in Barcelona. We’ve just got our heads down, trying to continue increasing our mileage and our understanding of this car – through the subtle changes with car set-up, the tyres and the aerodynamic package. A fairly standard day, but it was a bit windier out there and it felt like the track had less grip – so there was some sliding around. The car didn’t quite feel as good as the first week, but I’m sure that will change as the test progresses and the track conditions improve.”

Valtteri Bottas: “Very good mileage today, 90 laps. For half a day in the car, that’s really good. We got some good set-up tests done and focused on long running. I think we picked up lots of learning points, although it was a bit tricky this afternoon with gusty wind, which made it sometimes more difficult to understand the set-up changes in detail. But I am sure we’ll analyse everything overnight and find the learnings from it. Everything ran smoothly, except a slightly late start to the day with some big changes over lunchtime. But still we got some good running in and it’s good to be back in the car again.”

James Allison, Technical Director: “It was a productive day both in the morning and the afternoon, taking the opportunity that winter testing grants us to explore the car thoroughly, in ways that are near-impossible once the racing season starts. We tested the new prototype tyre with Lewis in the morning, which was trouble-free, and ran through set-up changes with both drivers. It was an interesting day, because it got quite gusty at various points. That was useful for us, learning how to get the best from the car as the wind picks up. Tomorrow, we will continue to explore the basic behaviour of the car, before focusing more on performance on the final day of testing.”

Racing Point

Lance Stroll: “Unfortunately we had a few problems with the car today, which resulted in us not getting the full programme done this morning. It’s a little frustrating, as obviously you want as much track time as you can get before the first race – but it’s better we find and fix these issues now than have them hit us when we get to Melbourne. Overall, the car has felt pretty good since we first hit the track last week, so I’m looking forward to getting back to it tomorrow and hoping for a smoother day.”

Sergio Perez: “Every time you jump in a new car, you’re learning new things. We still have a lot to work through to keep learning as much as we can before the first race, and there are a lot of areas we can still improve at this stage, as always in testing. But overall, it was another really solid day – even if this afternoon was a little bit tricky with the wind changing a lot from the beginning to the end of the session. I’ve got one more day in the car on Friday, so I’m looking forward to that and hoping we can extract the maximum from our package to end the test on a strong note before we head to Melbourne.”

Tom McCullough, Performance Engineering Director: “First day of the second test and the main aim was to complete our core test matrix before we move on to preparations for Melbourne over the final two days. As the mileage has increased, so we’ve found some little niggles with the car – including a few sensor issues, which unfortunately cost us some track time during the morning session in particular. But overall, we’ve increased our understanding of the new package and swept through most of the setup items we needed to tick off today. There’s plenty of data to analyse – even if the strong winds make interpreting that data a little trickier – so we’ll be working through that into this evening and aiming to hit the ground running tomorrow.”

Ferrari

Team Report: The second Formula 1 pre-season test got underway at the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit, the last prior to the opening round at Melbourne’s Albert Park track in Australia on 15 March. On the first of the three days, Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc shared driving duties at the wheel of the SF1000. Sebastian was first to drive, carrying out an installation lap shortly after 9. Then the German went back out on a prototype C2 Pirelli tyre, designed specifically with the Dutch Grand Prix in mind. The Zandvoort track’s unusual surface and its banked section meant that the sport’s sole tyre supplier has opted to produce a compound specifically for that event and all teams were able to try it. Then it was back to the standard C2 compound as the job of assessing the car continued. In the second part of the morning, the German switched to the C3 tyres with which he set his fastest time of 1:18.113. He completed 84 laps, or 391 kilometres. During the lunch break, the car was reconfigured to suit Charles. Once again, after an installation lap, the car was fitted with the Zandvoort C2 prototypes so that Leclerc could also sample them. He then switched to the standard C2. The Monegasque driver tackled some aero work and did some long runs before switching to C3 tyres for the final hour, when he set his best time, stopping the clocks in 1:18.244. He did a total of 80 laps, equivalent to 372 kilometres.
For the second and penultimate day of the test, Sebastian will be at the wheel of the SF1000 all day, his last in the car before the start of the season. On Friday, Charles will drive.

Charles Leclerc: “It was nice to be back in the car today, even if the wind that intensified in the afternoon complicated our programme, because it meant the data we gathered, relating to the handling of the car, could not be relied upon completely. At least we managed to cover a good number of laps, moving forward in terms of our understanding of the car. Then, finally, in the closing minutes, the wind died down and I was able to do a run that was more reliable in terms of feedback. At the moment, it’s impossible to make comparisons with our rivals. Over the next two days, we will continue to concentrate on ourselves to try and get all the potential out of the car.”

AlphaTauri

Pierre Gasly: “We had a little issue this morning which compromised our session. For sure it wasn’t ideal as we had planned more laps and we lost some mileage, but these things happen, and we recovered as much as we could in the final hour. It was an intense end to the session as we explored different setup directions for the car with the little time we had. There were a couple of interesting things which Daniil continued working on this afternoon. We’ll try to maximize every opportunity we have left on track to learn more about the car, I feel there’s a lot more to come, but everyone has the same amount of track time so we need to be as efficient as possible.”

Daniil Kvyat: “I think it was a productive half-day of testing for me. When it’s a new car you always get interesting results, so I was able to understand it better every run I did. We continued with more setup changes you wouldn’t normally have time for to try in free practice, to be able to see how the car reacts. We’re not looking for pure performance yet, we’re looking to fine-tune the balance and see how the changes behave in different corners; I think we can be happy with all of the data we gathered. We needed to tick as many boxes as possible today, especially now that testing is quite limited this year and I’ve only got one day in the car left.”

Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer: “With only a short period of time between the last test and the start of this one, the team worked hard on analysing the data gathered and feeding that into the setup direction and test plan for this week. We chose to split the day with Pierre driving in the morning and Daniil in the afternoon, but the test didn’t get off to the flying start we had hoped for, as during the first run we noticed an issue on the data. On inspection, a pipe had come loose which cost us almost a couple of hours, so we had to compress Pierre’s programme to a series of shorter runs across the C3 and C4 tyres. Because of the problem we had this morning, we moved the normal start of day aero rake running to Daniil’s runs straight after lunch to gather the valuable aero data. After that, Daniil had a trouble-free afternoon and was able to cover some further setup tuning over both short and long runs before closing the day with performance runs on the C3 compound. There is a lot to look at overnight in preparation for the final two days to maximise our understanding of the AT01 before we head to Melbourne.”

Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda F1 Technical Director: “After last week’s work here in Barcelona, we analysed all the data from both teams and so we started this second test reflecting what we learned from that. Over these three days, we are continuing with function checks, as well as working on optimising the settings. We are now in a phase of fine tuning, in preparation for the season opener in Melbourne. Both our cars had to spend a while in the garage this morning and in the afternoon we focused on recovering from that delay. Despite that, everything seems to be progressing smoothly on the PU front.”

McLaren

Carlos Sainz: “Today we focused our morning on trying to understand some new aero parts for the car. The programme was very intense and changing the parts around meant we didn’t get to do as many laps as last week, but we completed the run plan as intended. All the back-to-back testing was important and all the data gathered is going to be very useful to understand the car. All in all, a good day.”

Lando Norris: “A good day, we did a lot of shorter aero runs to get a better understanding of the balance of the car. We changed the car a bit since last week in the areas we felt we had to improve on, and the set-up was also slightly different. Because of that, we still needed to do a few more aero runs. It was another day of trying to learn more about the car, get a good feeling as a driver, and get some laps on the board. Overall, the day was productive, and we did pretty much everything we needed to on the run plan. Today was more about testing parts and the next two days will be more about setting up the car.”

Andrea Stella, Racing Director: “We had another positive day today. The conditions were a little bit trickier than the previous days, but we were still able to go through our programme and gain accurate information. We had several test items to check and validate, which we did diligently thanks to good reliability. Today’s target wasn’t mileage, but some upgrades and set-up options. We look forward now to completing the test as efficiently as we have so far. We plan to look a little bit more into performance and into long runs over the next couple of days.”

Williams

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: “The Team has spent the last few days going over the data that we collected last week, and this has allowed us to begin finalising parts of the aero specification of the car. Today we collected more rake data early in the day, which enabled us to complete that basic aero definition of the car. With the track still in good condition, Nicholas was able to begin the performance tuning runs shortly before 10:30am as the race engineers began to explore the newly defined aero package. Unfortunately, the morning was cut short by a PU oil system issue, requiring us to fit another new PU ready for George’s running in the afternoon. Once George began his running the conditions were not as favourable as in the morning, and so we were able to spend some time understanding the behaviour of the car in the sort of conditions that we will face throughout the season. By the end of the afternoon we had made good progress and were able to spend the final 15 minutes completing pit stop practice. Although parts of the day were frustrating, we nonetheless completed some very useful work, which sets us up nicely for the final two days of winter testing. The fact that we managed over 100 laps, despite changing drivers and the PU, is testament to both the dedication and work ethic of our mechanics, but also the current nature of Formula One generally.”

Nicholas Latifi: “Definitely this year is a big step forward in terms of the feeling of the car on the track and in that way, we are going in the right direction. As for the overall feeling in terms of the on-track driving, I would say this morning was another good step forward. For sure I would have liked to have a bit more track time and laps banked heading into the first race, as our running was curtailed by an oil systems issue. Tomorrow I definitely want to maximise the track time as it is the final time I will get to drive the car before Melbourne.”

George Russell: “We tested a number of aero items today to get a greater idea of the spectrum of our car from top to bottom. Some of the changes we made were not as positive as others but definitely for our understanding overall, it was constructive. Come the end of the day, the car was more consistent and nicer to drive so we now need to look into the data to understand why that was the case. Ultimately, that is what testing is all about.”

Haas

Team Report: With 206 laps to his credit steering the VF-20 in the opening week of pre-season testing, Haas F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean returned to Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya Wednesday for the start of the second and final week of test preparations ahead of the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship. Grosjean ran a total of 42 laps in the morning session having worked through a program based on aero measurements and baseline outings running the Pirelli C3 tire. The Frenchman remained behind the wheel in the afternoon – the only driver to do so, with a first-time sampling of the C4 tire and further set-up tests run through to the end of the session. Grosjean logged an additional 65 laps around the 4.655-kilometer (2.892-mile) Spanish track to take his total to 107 – his fastest lap of the day, a 1:18.670, set in the morning placing him 16th overall from the 19 drivers participating.
Teammate Kevin Magnussen takes over the VF-20 on Thursday, with both drivers sharing driving duties on Friday, Magnussen up first in the morning before Grosjean concludes the final test in the afternoon.

Romain Grosjean: “There was a big agenda for the day, including trying different types of tires and different aero parts. That’s always fun trying to find the right direction for the future. I think we’ve accomplished a lot. We haven’t looked at going fast, we’ve been working more to improve our understanding of the car and get different parts on and see what they do. I think we’ve accomplished a lot.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal: “Again, it was a pretty good day today testing, we worked to our plan. We keep on trying bits and pieces, trying to get more data – all just to get ourselves ready. It was really just another day at the office.”

Report in progress…