(© Ben Johnston 2015)
The Williams Martini Racing Team’s Valtteri Bottas ended the final day of winter testing at the Barcelona Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday
The Finn completed performance and aero work and set a fastest time of 1m 23.063s racking up 89 laps and ending his day early after the Grove based outfit had reached the objectives for the day. Sir Frank Williams was in attendance at the final day of testing to oversee the progress of the new FW37.
Speaking following his final day of track action before the Australian Grand Prix Bottas stated:
‘It was a really good day and a great way to finish the test. One of the main points we have learnt is that the FW37 is very reliable. The car we are taking to Melbourne is very competitive and should make for an interesting start to the season. We have made the most out of our time testing and I need to say a really big thanks to the team, not only trackside but also everyone back at the factory as they have produced a really quick and reliable car.’
Williams Martini Racing Team’s Chief Test and Support Engineer Rod Nelson stated:
‘Today’s programme was similar to yesterday, as we try to get the drivers in the best position before heading to Australia. Due to this the focus was more on performance with a mixture of long and short runs rather than just reliability work. Both drivers have worked extremely hard throughout the test and the entire team have worked very well together. We are really looking forward to Melbourne.’
Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel completed 129 laps in the SF15-T setting the second fastest time of 1m 23.469s. The German will be back behind the wheel of the car at the opening race of the season Down Under in Melbourne Australia is just under two weeks’ time.
Speaking following the final day of winter testing the four time world champion stated:
‘The positive thing is that, once again, we have done a lot of kilometres and gathered useful information. The fact that our race simulation went more or less as planned is encouraging from a reliability point of view, although this is an aspect where we can still improve. From a performance point of view, it’s clear that Mercedes is still ahead by quite a way, but right behind there is us, Williams and Red Bull, all very close. We will know more in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile we must move forward one step at a time, looking above all at what we are doing ourselves.’
Scuderia Ferrari Technical Director James Allison commented saying:
‘The day did not run as smooth as yesterday but, in spite of this, we managed to score plenty of laps on our board, successfully completing a race distance, so that now we have two of them under our belt prior to Melbourne. We leave the winter testing pretty happy with the way the car is performing, the way the test has been done and the way the team is operating.’
The Sauber F1 Team’s Felipe Nasr ended the day in third place with a fastest time of 1m 24.023s completing 159 for the day the most of any driver on the final day. Speaking following his day in the C34 the Brazilian stated:
‘It was another very good day. I am very happy that we did not have any issues on the car. I ran 159 laps, which is quite pleasing for the team and also for myself. The car is reliable, so we were able to collect a lot of data. Today we went through many procedures to be well-prepared for the first race weekend in Melbourne, including shortruns, race simulation, practice starts and pit-stops. Now I cannot wait for Melbourne.’
The Swiss based outfit will now make a brief stop off at their base in Hinwil before heading to the Australian Grand Prix. Speaking at the end of the test the Sauber F1 Team’s Giampaolo Dall’Ara stated:
‘Today we had a positive end to an overall satisfactory pre-season campaign. Once more the focus of the team was on race preparation, with Felipe working on refinement of the set-up on short and long runs and evaluating tyre compounds. The team gathered some more useful data and practiced race-relevant operations. In the three pre-season tests, the Sauber F1 Team covered the whole of the planned mileage and was able to sign off the entire test list. The Sauber C34-Ferrari ran reliably and the weather was kind to us.
The pairing of Marcus and Felipe developed into a solid working relationship. All involved at the track and back at the factory worked relentlessly on a tight schedule, and we are now looking forward to the season opener in less than two weeks’ time.”
Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen was fourth fastest in the STR10 with a fastest time of 1m 24.527s having completed 87 laps. The Dutch teenager ended the day just ahead of Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo who set a fastest time of 1m 24.638s completing 72 laps in the RB11. The Australian completed the mileage despite suffering with an ERS problem during the day.
‘We had an ERS problem in the morning but in the end we more or less did what we needed to do today, We did a bit on lower fuel and soft tyres plus some longer runs. In terms of the pecking order, which is obviously what everyone wants to talk about, it’s hard to say where anyone is at. Aside from one team, I’d say it’s pretty close after that, but we’ll see in Melbourne. I think there’s more to come from us. Personally, I feel really ready to race now and I think we’ll be good come Melbourne.’
Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Head of Race Engineering Guillaume Rocquelin stated:
‘It was a bit of compressed programme today because of the electrical problem we had this morning. It’s a problem we’ve had before and one we are on top of, but it just takes time to fix, so that ruled us out for the rest of the morning. We crunched things down a bit in the afternoon and got in some short runs and long runs, so it was a useful day.
In terms of the winter programme overall, I’d have to mark it down as a success, if only for the reason that we did about three times the mileage as this time last year! Overall, it’s been very good. We spent the time focusing on what we need to do and not chasing lap time, because at the end of the day what you want to achieve is the development of a set of tools you can use through the season and that will help take you forward. We’ve done that.
The balance of the car is good, the consistency is there, we’ve built in good reliability and the drivers are happy and I’m pleased with how things have gone. There’s more to come in the next while but I think we’re in decent shape for the first race.’
The Sahara Force India Formula One Team continued to rack up the mileage with their VJM08 as Sergio ‘Checco’ Perez completed 130 laps of the Barcelona Circuit de Catalunya.
Speaking following his final day in the car the Mexican stated:
‘My first day in the car has been a good one, with a very high number of laps and a good atmosphere in the team. It's no secret that we have some catch-up to do but I am optimistic: the team has a clear direction to work towards and we have been able to collect a large amount of data in such a short time, which will help all those working back at base.
Every run we do, here or at the races, teaches us a lot and moves us closer to where we want to be. Now we must focus on Melbourne: I am really excited about going racing again, the first race of the season is always a special one and one to which you really look forward since the end of the previous season.
The Sahara Force India Formula One Team’s Chief Race Engineer Tom McCullough stated:
‘Our pre-season testing comes to an end with a solid 130 laps. Today was Sergio's first day in the VJM08 and, as he got accustomed to the new car, we continued our work of understanding its behaviour, trying various setups in both performance and long runs.
All we have done in these tests in Barcelona will help us prepare for Melbourne, and even though we may arrive with less mileage than others, we have gathered lots of valuable data. We are making rapid progress with the car and we have a lot of material to analyse back at the factory ahead of the first flyaways. This last week's work highlights the spirit of this team: credit must go to everyone involved with the design, manufacturing and assembly of the car. It has been a massive effort from everyone in the team and to get so many laps is testament to the great work done by all.’
Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team’s Nico Rosberg was seventh fastest completing 148 laps with a time of 1m 25.186s. The German completed 148 laps on day four with the Brackley based outfit completing a total of 378 laps over the course of the final test. Following his day in the W06 Hybrid Rosberg stated:
‘Today was a good day and, overall, that was a very interesting test here in Barcelona. We made some mechanical set up changes on the car which was very interesting to me. I also did a long run at the end today on the soft tyres which was okay.
In Melbourne we will have the soft tyre and it will be a challenge to manage them well, so we need to look at that. After this test, though, we can be happy. The team did a fantastic job. Thanks to everybody, who was involved in the development of the car. We are very optimistic. Now, I look forward to flying to Australia and getting back to racing.’
Following a late start to their day McLaren Honda completed just 30 laps with Jenson Button behind the wheel of the MP4-30. Button’s fastest time of the day was a 1m 25.327s.
The Lotus F1 Team’s Pastor Maldonado rounded out the time sheets following a brake issue which resulted in the Venezuelan crashing. Maldonado completed just 36 laps of the Barcelona Circuit de Catalunya and set a time of 1m 28.272s. Speaking following testing he stated:
‘It was a shame to end the day early, but that was the only issue we’ve had like this during testing so we can look to the positive that we have a lot of information to take the car in the right direction. My braking was compromised coming into turn four, meaning I went off the track and hit the barriers.
I was able to brake and slow, just not as much as the maximum otherwise possible. The car was not too badly damaged and I am fine, but it’s a shame we had this issue as we would have been looking at running the softer tyres in the afternoon and putting in some fast laps. I’m looking forward to getting back in the car in Melbourne as I think we have good potential this season.’
The Enstone outfit completed aero assessments and evaluations. Speaking at the end of the day the team’s technical director Nick Chester stated:
‘Certainly ending the final pre-season test in the barriers was not part of our game plan, but overall we’ve had a productive two weeks here in Barcelona following on from our initial outing in Jerez. Pastor was unfortunate to have a braking-related issue which meant he wasn’t able to slow sufficiently into turn four and the car was damaged.
There was nothing Pastor or any driver could have done to avoid this accident which was systems related and we’re investigating thoroughly to ensure it doesn’t happen again. We now have a quick turn-around to get the car back to Enstone, then shipped out to Australia at the end of the week. It was a pity we weren’t able to run any low fuel laps later in the day. We are looking forward to Melbourne where we will get a full picture of the relative pace of the E23.’
© Ben Johnston 2015