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Massa sets pace at Silverstone test

NEWS STORY
08/07/2014

Felipe Massa, who was eliminated on the first lap of Sunday's British Grand Prix, posted the fastest time on the opening day of the Silverstone in-season test.

The Brazilian, who was taking part in his 200th Grand Prix, was eliminated when he was unable to avoid the aftermath of Kimi Raikkonen's horrific crash.

Today, as the Grove outfit, which saw Valtteri Bottas take second on Sunday, concentrated on aero and systems work, Massa completed 42 laps on his way to posting a time quicker than Nico Rosberg's pole-winning 1:35.766 on Saturday.

"The car was very competitive during the race so today we have built on a very good platform," said Massa. "The test today was experimenting with some parts for future races as well as a little bit for next year. The car felt really good, so we know we will go to Hockenheim with a good car. The programme went to plan today and we didn't have any rain so it was a very productive day.

"At one point today we had rain surrounding the whole track so for it to not affect running today was very lucky," admitted Rod Nelson, the team's Chief Test and Support Engineer. "It was a successful day, the main plan was for aerodynamic and systems tests for this year and also moving forward for next year's car, and we are very pleased with the progress."

Daniel Ricciardo, who finished third on Sunday, courtesy of another quality drive and amazing tyre management, finished the day second on the timesheets. Following a minor delay at the beginning of the session, the Australian completed a very useful 72 laps getting through a long programme that mixed aerodynamic validation work and mechanical testing.

"It was a successful day, pretty productive," he said. "We got a lot more done than we thought because the rain we were expecting didn't show up. A lot of what we were doing was for the engineers and aerodynamicists to look over back at the factory, and we've given them plenty of data to go on."

Race Engineering Co-ordinator Andy Damerum underlined the importance of getting in a solid day of running. With tomorrow being a Pirelli tyre test day, this was the team's final opportunity to test outside of a grand prix weekend before the end of the season.

"Today we were looking at the long term," he said. "We will of course be testing on Fridays at grand prix meetings but there are certain things we can't do there. We've gathered a wealth of information today, which will help us to map the way forward for the second half of the season.

"Our start today was a little delayed as we had some sensor glitches, which meant we were out about half-an-hour late - but we made up the time and were happy with the 72 laps that we completed. We gathered some good data that will help us as we move forward in the coming weeks."

Nico Rosberg, whose world championship lead was cut from 29 points to just 4 when he suffered a gearbox issue, completed 89 laps today as the Brackley squad focussed on aero testing, brake cooling evaluations and engine system checks, plus set-up work. The German team was also able to test some practice starts and run strategy checks for ERS using hard and medium tyres in the morning, and the medium again in the afternoon.

"It's been a good day today," said Rosberg. "It's so valuable to do these test days; over a race weekend it's rare to get two runs in the day that are the same as tyres are getting old and conditions change but here we can always use new tyres, so we can really do some setup work that we don't normally get to do. It was very useful and we learned a lot today. We will be able to use this information going into the next race.

"The British crowd has been brilliant this week," he continued, "and, even though they were cheering for Lewis, they showed a lot of respect for me and it was great to see the fantastic atmosphere they brought over the whole weekend. I'm now looking forward to taking our dominant Silver Arrow to Germany and racing at Hockenheim."

Sauber, which had Adrian Sutil on duty, took the opportunity to try various new aero parts and also work on the C33's set-up. The German did a lot of work with the medium and hard tyres and got through the planned programme finishing the day with short runs.

"It was a good day, as I was able to do a lot of laps," said Sutil. "In the morning everything worked well except for a small issue with the powertrain, which we were able to solve quickly. We worked a lot with the medium and hard tyres in order to understand them better. Besides that, we also worked on the set-up to improve the balance of the car. In the afternoon we tried different set-ups.

"So far we cannot say which set-up worked the best, but all in all it was a good day during which we went through our planned programme. At the end of the day we did short runs with the soft tyres, which was also helpful."

"Generally, we were testing new aero parts and were working on the car's set-up," said Paul Russell, the Swiss outfit's test engineer. "We had quite a lot of luck with the weather, as the conditions were nice and dry. We had quite a long stop as we changed the complete rear axle of the car. We also had a small issue with the powertrain in the morning that we were able to sort out. At the end of the day, we went through our programme and did a couple of long runs as well. After the race weekend here in Silverstone, we are continuing to work hard and trying to improve."

Tomorrow, Jules Bianchi replaces Kimi Raikkonen in the Ferrari F14T, but for today the French youngster was in the Marussia. He got the test underway by completing a Pirelli tyre programme this morning before progressing to set-up development work in the afternoon. Unfortunately, after 108 laps he was forced to stop the car out on track, after which there was a small fire underneath the top bodywork. This was quickly extinguished and there was minimal fire damage, but nonetheless it spelt the end of the afternoon session with the focus switching to further investigation and cleaning of the car's systems in preparation for tomorrow.

"Overall it has been a very good day and I am pleased to be in P5, despite having to bring our afternoon to an early conclusion," said Bianchi, who was the busiest driver today. "It was positive that we were able to achieve so many laps - 108 in total - and that we had completed quite a lot of our programme. We did some good work with the tyres and then this afternoon with the set-up, so I look forward now to Germany."

"Although our day has been brought to an early conclusion, it has been overwhelmingly positive, with Jules completing 108 laps to end the day in P5," added Dave Greenwood, the team's Chief Engineer. "This morning we completed our team's allocated day of Pirelli tyre testing, as required of all of the teams, before embarking on some set-up development items to continue the progress we have made in this area.

"Already we have got the car to a stronger position than on the race weekend here," he continued, "as it has translated into stronger pace, which Jules has been able to demonstrate. It is unfortunate that we suffered a small fire which brought our day to a premature end but we can be thankful that the damage was not too extensive and we will be fine to press ahead with the second day of our test tomorrow."

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