Formula 1 entered today the final day of the pre-season testing session held at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya, with a wet testing session planned for the afternoon.
Day two of testing in Barcelona saw Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc top the timing screens, with a best lap time of 1:19.689, after driving around the Spanish venue 78 times, as the day also saw Guanyu Zhou, the only rookie on the 2022 F1 grid make his debut as an official F1 driver, and finished the day tenth fastest with 71 laps under his belt.
Some teams have suffered some reliability issues, but in general the test has proven that the teams have their cars quite reliable out of the box.
With lap times, and pecking orders still too early to be discussed, and with the new car yet to prove better in close racing, the word everyone would be talking about after the test is “Porpoising“, which Grandprix247’s technical guru Mark Kay describes as: “A common issue with ground effect cars, particularly those that are producing higher amounts of downforce.
“On a ground effect car, as the speed of the car and the downforce created increases the car is essentially “sucked” further towards the track surface. However, as the ride height of the car decreases there is a point reached where flow separation in the diffuser tunnel throat occurs that causes downforce to be reduced.
“This loss in pressure results in the ride height then increasing and downforce is again regained, and the ride height reduces again and the whole process repeats over and over at reasonable frequency.
“This ‘bouncing” is known as porpoising,” Kay adds.
Another interesting aspect for the final testing day is the wet session being planned for the afternoon, which will be the first chance to see how the new cars run in wet conditions, running the new Intermediate and Wet Pirelli 18″ tyres. Pirelli has made three sets of each available for each team for trial.
Morning session, the first hour
Testing resumes on Friday with the the following drivers on morning duty for their respective teams:
Max Verstappen – Red Bull
Charles Leclerc – Ferrari
Lando Norris – McLaren
George Russell – Mercedes
Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin
Fernando Alonso – Alpine
Guanyu Zhou – Alfa Romeo
Alex Albon – Williams
Pierre Gasly – Alpha Tauri
Nikita Mazepin – Haas
Your full run-down of who’s driving on Day 3 in Barcelona 👇
Max Verstappen does not waste any time and heads out on the track, followed by Vettel and Russell, then Zhou, Gasly, Alonso, and Leclerc. Mazepin, Norris and Albon were he last three drivers to exit the pits.
So all ten F1 cars are out in track only ten minutes into the session, with most cars featuring various aero-rake attachments, the same as with the first two days, when aero-rakes were used on the teams’ early runs.
As reported, Haas will be running on Friday with a white livery, as the Uralkali branding has been removed from the VF22, in the wake of the unfortunate developments in the Ukraine.
Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin – 1:22.859 – C2 tyre
Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri – 1:24.319 – C4 tyre
George Russell – Mercedes – 1:24.592 – C2 tyre
Guanyu Zhou – Alfa Romeo – 1:24.938 – C2 tyre
Nikita Mazepin – Haas – 1:31.204 – C3 tyre
Alex Albon – Williams – 1:46.860 – C3 tyre
After a little over 45 minutes of running and topping the timescreens, Fernando Alonso brought out the Red Flags while he was on a long run, as his Alpine stopped in a cloud of smoke. The team confirmed the problem was due to loss of pressure.
Not the start to the morning Alpine and Fernando Alonso would have wanted 😞
The session was briefly red flagged after smoke was seen coming from the back of his car as he pulled into the gravel but has now resumed again. pic.twitter.com/JomtNdJKS4
Testing resumed in the second hour of testing, after Alonso’s A522 was cleared from the track, and Max Verstappen goes back to the top of the timing screens with a 1:21.292 and improves with a 1:20.683.
Meanwhile, Chris Medland reported that one of the two new F1 Race Directors, Eduardo Freitas was having a chat with F1’s Motorsport boss Ross Brawn.
George Russell put his W13 up in second in the time screens, less than a tenth down on Verstappen’s time, with Lando Norris in third and in the 1:20’s after one and half hours of morning running.
An update on the lap times for each driver by the end of the second hour of morning testing, as Nicholas Latifi tooj over from Alex Albon at Williams, the team splitting the morning session between both drivers.
Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:19.765 – C3 tyre
George Russell – Mercedes – 1:20.767 – C3 tyre
Nicholas Latifi – Williams – 1:20.699 – C4 tyre
Lando Norris – McLaren – 1:20.827 – C3 tyre
Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin – 1:20.934 – C3 tyre
F1 has announced that Nikita Mazepin will not take part in the press conference to be held at lunchtime, with Haas team principal Guenther Steiner expected to speak to the media.
A little bit over 30 mins into the third hour of morning running, Pierre Gasly went off, in the first sector, Turn 5 and seems to have hot a barrier, stopping his laps counter at 41, and causing the second Red Flag of the day.
The timing screens were as follows at the end of the third hour:
George Russell – Mercedes – 1:19.608, C4 tyre
Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:19.765, C3 tyre
Charles Leclerc – Ferrari – 1:20.308, C3 tyre
Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin – 1:20.685, C3 tyre
Nicholas Latifi – Williams – 1:20.699, C4 tyre
Lando Norris, McLaren – 1:20.827, C3 tyre
Fernando Alonso – Alpine – 1:21.242, C3 tyre
Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri – 1:22.469, C4 tyre
Guanyu Zhou – Alfa Romeo – 1:22.371, C3 tyre
Alex Albon – Williams – 1:22.652, C3 tyre
Nikita Mazepin – Haas – 1:26.229, C3 tyre
Final hour of the AM session
The track was green flagged with one hour to go from the morning session of the last day of the Barcelona pre-season testing session, after Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri was retrieved, after his excursion at Turn 5.
With one hour to go, George Russell and Mercedes have put in the most laps with 57 laps.
Minutes into the final hour, and after the track became Green, the Red Flag was waved again, as Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou went off as well in the final sector spinning at Turn 10.
Zhou brings out the red flag 🚩 He’s OK and back in the garage. #F1Testing
George Russell improved his top time shorty after that to record a 1:19.233, on C5 tyres, which is less than three seconds shy of the 2021 pole time set by Lewis Hamilton at the same venue, a 1:16.741.
Vettel went faster for Aston Martin posting a 1:19.824, before Zhou brought our the Red Flag for a second time with 20 minutes of running remaining, stopping on track in the final sector.
The running resumed after Zhou’s incident with 12 minutes remaining on the clock.
In the meantime, Alpine announced that due to repairs on the A522 after the earlier break down in the morning that they will not do any further running for the rest of the day. So no Wet running for the French team.
The team said on Twitter: “After further investigations in the garage following Fernando Alonso’s on-track stoppage earlier this morning, the team can confirm the issue was a problem with the hydraulics. A minor sealing issue led to a fire in the back of the car.
“The team has successfully completed 266 laps during the three days of the Barcelona shakedown. Repairs on the car will continue, and as a result we won’t be running for the remainder of the day.
“We look forward to be back in action at the next test in Bahrain,” Alpine concluded.
After further investigations in the garage following Fernando Alonso’s on-track stoppage earlier this morning, the team can confirm the issue was a problem with the hydraulics. A minor sealing issue led to a fire in the back of the car.#F1Testing
Final lap times and lap counts for all drivers after the morning session on Friday:
George Russell – Mercedes – 1:19.233 – C5 tyre – 66 laps
Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:19.756 – C3 tyre – 58 laps
Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin – 1:19.824 – C5 tyre – 48 laps
Charles Leclerc – Ferrari – 1:19.831 – C3 tyre – 44 laps
Nicholas Latifi – Williams – 1:20.699 – C4 tyre – 5 laps
Lando Norris – McLaren – 1:20.827 – C3 tyre – 52 laps
Fernando Alonso – Alpine – 1:21.242 – C3 tyre – 12 laps
Guanyu Zhou – Alfa Romeo – 1:21.939 – C3 tyre – 41 laps
Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri – 1m22.469 – C4 tyre – 40 laps
Alex Albon – Williams – 1:22.652 – C3 tyre – 21 laps
Nikita Mazepin – Haas – 1:26.229 – C3 tyre – 9 laps
The final afternoon of testing at Barcelona, the first hour
The morning session on Friday at Barcelona ended under the Red Flags caused by Sebastian Vettel, who ran into car trouble with his AMR22 catching fire.
Vettel spoke of a “very useful” week in Barcelona, as the team “learned a lot about the car” and admits that “a lot of work” awaited the team but he is encouraged as the “first impressions were good”, as the teams shifts focus to Bahrain.
Ricciardo then switches to the Intermediates and goes two seconds faster on them, than on the Full Wets.
Nikita Mazepin, whose future at Haas is hanging in the balance, took to twitter to share his thoughts.
To my fans and followers – it’s a difficult time and I am not in control over a lot of what is being said and done. I’m choosing to focus on what I CAN control by working hard and doing my best for my @HaasF1Team . My deepest thanks for your understanding and support. 🙏
Nicholas Latifi is running in the Williams first, who are splitting the afternoon driving between both drivers, the Canadian recording a lap time of 1:42.638 – on Intermediates – compared to his best effort of 1:20.699. That’s 20s slower.
Carlos Sainz is on track for Ferrari, and sets a time of 1:41.808. Earlier the Spaniard took part in the press conference during the one-hour lunch break.
“It is very early days,” he said regarding Ferrari’s position. “Not easy to know where we are. Difficult to say where everyone is.
“The cars are different than last years,” Sainz went on. “We are enjoying putting it on the limit and see how the car reacts. There are many differences. It is key to drive different ways. This challenge is fun and it is exciting.”
As for the “porpoising” the Ferrari driver said: “It does not feel great. Annoying. Hopefully it will be resolved. We have to live with this. It is the limit.
“I trust everyone that it is going to get better and better,” he concluded.
Carlos Sainz – Ferrari – 1:22.311 – C4 tyre – 37 laps
Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri – 1:22.469 – C4 tyre – 40 laps
Alex Albon – Williams – 1:22.652 – C3 tyre – 21 laps
Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren – 1:24.896 – C3 tyre – 34 laps
Nikita Mazepin – Haas – 1:26.229 – C3 tyre – 9 laps
Valtteri Bottas – Alfa Romeo – 1:30.433 – C3 tyre – 10 laps
Sergio Perez – Red Bull – 1:32.677 – I – 24 laps
Lewis Hamilton – 1:34.314 – I – 38 laps
But bad news for Mick Schumacher, as the team announced that the car will not be ready to run today. A miserable day for Haas on all accounts.
Whilst we’d hoped that the car would be able to return this afternoon, the repair work is going to take several more hours, so unfortunately we will not be back on track today.#HaasF1pic.twitter.com/sVOhVvb5BM
Hamilton backs off while on a flier that could have seen him going even faster, Mercedes playing games?
And that’s a wrap! The first pre-season testing session is complete, and from it seems, the teams bar a couple maybe have collected massive amounts of data, for the engineers to delve into over the coming weeks, as preparation for the second, official, pre-season test in Bahrain between March 10 and 12.
Lewis Hamilton finishes the day fastest of all, with teammate George Russell hot on his heels, as Sergio Perez takes third, ahead of Max Verstappen in fourth.
Hamilton’s tally of 94 laps puts him level with Williams’ Alex Albon as the most two to have run on the final day of Barcelona testing.