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Bahrain F1 Testing Day 1: Driver & Team Quotes

bahrain f1 testing verstappen fastest

Teams and drivers report from the first of three days of 2024 Formula 1 preseason testing at Bahrain International Circuit, where the ten teams ran their new cars in anger for the first time.

Max Verstappen at the wheel of the Red Bull RB20 was on another planet according to our report as he not only did the most mileage of all the drivers on the opening day, and then topped the timing screens after the eight hours of track time by a whopping 1.1 seconds.

Red Bull: We have a solid base

Bahrain F1 Testing Day 1: Driver & Team Quotes verstappen fastest

Max Verstappen: “It feels good to be back in an F1 car again and I had fun out on track today. We covered a lot of laps and tried quite a few things with the car, which was important, so happy overall with how it went. After the winter break, the first few laps always surprise you a little but then you get back into the swing of things pretty quickly. Overall, the car was responding well and considering this was only testing we had a nice day. Looking to tomorrow, we are speaking to our engineers about what the plans will be, but I am looking forward to getting into the car in the afternoon.”

GianPiero Lambaise, Red Bull Head of Race Engineering: “The winter break was fairly short this year but, nonetheless, the amount of work which has gone into the car has been impressive as usual. We came to Bahrain with a few unknowns around a relatively new car, but we have tested most of the fundamentals on day one and got the answers we needed to. Now we have a solid base to take onto days two and three, when Checo takes over the car in the morning.”

Ferrari: Charles and Carlos learned as much as possible about the SF-24

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Team Report: Scuderia Ferrari’s 2024 season officially got underway with the first of three days of pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir. Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz both drove the SF-24, for a total of 133 laps, equivalent to 719,8 kilometres. Programme completed. On this first day, the programme for both drivers was virtually the same, as they lapped with various fuel loads, running the C2 and C3 compound tyres. The team concentrated on the usual first-day work, taking measurements from rakes fitted to the car and carrying out an aero mapping of the car, primarily seeing how well the track data correlated to that gathered through digital modelling and in the wind tunnel, while Charles and Carlos learned as much as possible about the SF-24.

Charles will again be first out on track Thursday, with Carlos driving in the afternoon.

Charles Leclerc: “Our first morning of testing was quite productive, especially in terms of mileage. As for the performance, it’s just too early to comment or draw conclusions. We ran all the tests we planned to and things are going ahead as expected, which is a positive. We will continue working and hope to have two more useful days of testing ahead of the GP.”

Carlos Sainz: “It’s been a positive first day of testing here in Bahrain with 373 km completed. We managed to go through the whole programme without issues, gathering some useful data to better understand the SF-24 together with the engineers. As usual with pre-season testing, it’s too early to draw any conclusions yet, so we’ll keep maximising the upcoming two days of running to get ready for the start of the season next week. It felt good to be back properly behind the wheel after the winter break.”

McLaren: It’s been a good first day of testing

McLaren: It’s been a good first day of f1 testing 

Lando Norris: “First of all, I’m really happy to be back behind the wheel. Our first test with the new car felt very enjoyable and it was reliable on track, so all in all, a positive day. We worked through a number of items during the session, as expected in testing, sticking to the plan and executing it well. There are still two long days of testing ahead of us and still a lot to improve and set up, but it’s all moving in the right direction. I am looking forward to driving again tomorrow and continuing to put the MCL38 through its paces.”

Oscar Piastri: “First day of testing done for me and it all went relatively smoothly. It was a pretty solid day, and it was nice to be back on track in representative conditions. We’ll see what we can work through over the remainder of the test and aim to get a good understanding of the car by the end of it. The car felt reasonable and I would say there are some differences from last year which are moving in the right direction. It’s been a decent start to testing, and I look forward to getting back in the car for day two tomorrow.”

Jose Manuel López, Head of Testing: “It’s been a good first day of testing for us. We completed a lot of mileage with 130 laps on the board. Both Lando and Oscar completed their programmes. We started the day running some aero rakes and learning about the aerodynamic performance of the MCL38. A lot of set-up work was done in the morning with Oscar, and then in the afternoon with Lando we focused on longer runs. The car ran reliably on track all day, and we completed all of our planned running. We’ve collected a lot of information which we will look through this evening, in preparation for the next two days of testing. We’re all looking forward to getting back on track tomorrow.”

Haas F1 Team: It was all good and positive

f1 testing bahrain Haas F1 Team: It was all good and positive

Kevin Magnussen: “I feel very good. Physically, it was a good morning as it’s always fun getting back into the car after the winter. I think we had a pretty positive morning, we just focused on long runs and we’re really trying to address the issues that we had last year with the tires. That’s going to be our main focus and we’re happy about what we saw this morning, but there’s clearly a lot of work to do but everyone’s fired up to investigate and learn about this new car.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “Our afternoon was mainly about high-fuel, long runs and the objective was to learn about the car and try some things with the tires. We know it was our weakness last year so that’s really been the focus today. It was all good and positive, there were no issues on the technical side and with 82 laps on the board, everything was achieved.”

Haas F1 Team Principal, Ayao Komatsu: “For our first day of pre-season testing, overall, I think it was a pretty decent day – it wasn’t perfect, but it was a really decent start. We focused the whole day on long-run tire management, we generated really good data. Both drivers ran a few different strategies, and we can see the results of that. We’ve learned quite a lot as a team. I’d say we managed to achieve most of our objectives for the day, which is good. For tomorrow we’ve got another big set of objectives – knowing what we’ve learned from today. We have a few operational things to sharpen up as well, just so we run slightly better, but with 148 laps recorded, we now have plenty to build on for Thursday.”

Alpine: The initial feeling in the car is good

bahrain f1 testing Alpine: The initial feeling in the car is good

Team Report: BWT Alpine F1 Team began its 2024 season preparations today as Formula 1 Pre-Season Testing got underway at the Bahrain International Circuit. After yesterday’s filming day, the maiden outing for the team’s 2024 challenger, Esteban was first to take the wheel of the A524 on Day 1 of pre-season testing in the morning session before handing over to Pierre for the afternoon. Tomorrow, on Day 2, Pierre will take driving duties in the morning with Esteban in the car in the afternoon session.

Esteban Ocon: “It was the first day of proper running with the new car and it was good to get 60 laps under our belt in the morning session. It was also nice to get out on track again and feel the sensation of driving after the winter break. We completed the intended programme and found things to work and improve on in the coming days. At this stage of the test, it’s about getting a decent feel of the car and for the overall balance. We will keep going and continue working hard for the remainder of the test. I’m back in the car tomorrow afternoon and already looking ahead and working hard with the team.”

Pierre Gasly: “It’s great to be back in the car to start the 2024 season. It’s been a positive day where we ran our programme accurately and completed all our intended laps. That is the most important thing about testing: to run reliably and complete plenty of laps. The initial feeling in the car is good but now it is important for us to dig into the data, do our analysis and continue to unlock performance. I’m back in the car tomorrow morning and I’m already looking forward to continuing that hard work.”

Sauber: Our car seems to be heading in the right direction

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Team Report: Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber had a successful first official day of track action as testing for the 2024 Formula One season started in earnest in Sakhir, Bahrain. It was a busy day for the team, which put the new C44 to the test from morning to evening: Valtteri Bottas (in the morning) and Zhou Guanyu (afternoon) had a smooth day, totalling more than 130 laps between them with no issues, an auspicious start to the season. The team will return to track Thursday, with Zhou in the C44 in the morning and Valtteri taking over driving duties in the afternoon.

Valtteri Bottas: “We had a productive first morning of testing, and I’m thrilled to be back on track. It seems that we have made some improvements compared to last year and we were able to get a good feel for our car. The correlation between our simulator data and what we’re experiencing on the track is definitely reassuring, especially on the first day of testing. We started with a solid baseline setup for the car and were able to log some good mileage. Now, our focus shifts to fine-tuning and understanding raw lap times in the coming days. While our progress feels promising, the true improvement of performance will be revealed next week.”

Zhou Guanyu: “Today has been a promising day for us; we were able to complete our programme for the day, focusing on the long runs and on switching between different setups. Our car seems to be heading in the right direction, and even though there is definitely still room for improvement, the feeling is pretty good. I reckon the aggressive approach we have taken over the winter allowed us to make a step forward compared to last year’s car, and you can tell the difference out there on track, which is great. Now, for the next two days, it’ll be important to tick all the boxes, in order to come prepared ahead of next week. It is too early to say anything about our competitors, as of course everyone is going through their own programmes during testing; we will be focusing on our own and aim to get as much mileage and track time as possible.”

Williams: Not as smooth as we had hoped

williams f1 testing bahrain

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: “Today was not as smooth as we had hoped with two time-consuming issues causing us to end both sessions early: Alex suffered with a fuel pump failure and Logan a driveshaft problem. Although both drivers had only limited running, we were able to complete some useful work to understand the basic characteristics of the FW46 and to correlate these with our simulations. Whilst there is certainly scope to improve the balance of the car, we are now in a strong position to focus on this tomorrow.

“Having shared the driving with Alex today, Logan will complete the full day tomorrow. This will give him some valuable time in the car as well as the opportunity to run successive sets of new tyres at a range of fuel loads. Ideally, we would’ve done more running today, however, we were able to do some very high-value testing, and we uncovered some issues in the process. There are two full days of pre-season testing left and therefore plenty of opportunity to complete our preparation for the season ahead.”

Logan Sargeant: “We didn’t get through everything we wanted to do today but it wasn’t all negative. The car is different so that takes some ironing out in a positive way. Whilst it’s the direction we needed to head with the car, there are some balance issues that we still need to tune out but it has taken away a lot of the big issues we had last year. It’s just about managing the new way the car needs to be set up and driven, so once we figure it out, it’ll be a better car. For the moment, I’ve only done 21 laps, so I’m looking forward to a whole day in the car tomorrow. Hopefully, we can understand the issues we had today and get on top of them.”

Alex Albon: “It was an ok first day. It’s hot and windy out there so not always the nicest conditions to drive in, but generally, it was a relatively smooth day. We had a fuel pump issue towards the end of my session which we fixed. We’re trying to understand just how different the car is from last year, however we know it’s early days to say what the car is like. It has definitely fixed some of our previous issues, however, as a consequence, we’re combating some balance trade-offs. We’ve got three days of testing which never feels like enough time but we’re getting there and making inroads already.”

This post will be updated as team reports are made available…