Due to overnight snow which continued into the morning, the start of the session was delayed by three hours, after which very few cars decided to run as the snow turned to heavy rain. Fernando completed one out-lap before the team decided conditions were too wet to risk running any further.
The heavy rain slowly subsided and the team decided conditions had improved enough to warrant further on-track testing. Fernando left the garage shortly after 17:00hrs for a combination of out-laps interrupted by set-up changes, and finished the day with a final flourish, setting two timed laps.
Fernando completed 11 laps and topped the timesheets, although he was the only driver to officially set a time.
"It's good to be the car with the most laps on the board today!" said the Spaniard. "We all know that timesheets in winter testing are not very relevant, but it's always nice to be at the top.
"The poor weather conditions made things difficult all day long - we even had snow - so it was definitely not a normal day of testing and many people decided not to run. We still had some checks to do on the car as it's very early days for us with this new package, and we are learning things with every lap. We opted to do some background checks this morning in the garage - maybe not crucial to the car's performance, but still good learning for us.
"In the few laps we did at the end of the day we managed to collect some good data for future development, so even with the little running we could complete, the information we got is very positive. I'm happy that despite a difficult day of testing for everyone, we made the best of it."
"Given the difficult conditions we all faced today, I'm pleased that we were able to end the day having completed some useful information gathering," added Eric Boullier. "It's a shame we weren't able to do any representative running once again, but we adapted our programme to maximise our time both in the garage this morning and later this afternoon when the track began to dry out. We spent the morning performing in-garage tests that, while not particularly exciting or performance-related, are useful to get under our belts and tick off the test list.
"Before the flag fell, it was positive that Fernando was finally able to get back on track to evaluate the conditions and perform more useful correlation and component tests on the car.
"I'm satisfied that despite the challenges, we used our time efficiently today, and we hope to be able to complete some more useful running in warmer temperatures tomorrow - albeit with more rain forecast."
"Today started with snow and finished with rain and track running was limited to one installation lap for Robert," said Paddy Lowe. "We made good use of the time doing set-up tests in the garage, but it is disappointing when this is all we can achieve during a day. Now we are looking forward to the final day of this first test and hoping we can get back onto our planned programme.
"The weather conspired against us today," said Lance Stroll, "as it was too snowy, wet and cold for us to get any running done in the morning when I was due out on the track. It was a shame as I know the fans are always very enthusiastic here. Let's hope the weather is better tomorrow. We did, however, manage to push the car into the pitlane and I was able to practice the grid procedure with the team.
"Unfortunately, Barcelona welcomed us with snow this morning!" added Robert Kubica "Conditions were very difficult, almost impossible. It stopped snowing before midday but there was still a lot of standing water. We tried but it was nearly impossible to do anything so we stayed in the garage for most of the time.
The FW41 returns to the track tomorrow with Sergey driving in the morning session, before handing over to Lance in the afternoon.
At Sauber, Marcus Ericsson completed one installation lap. If the weather permits, the last day of testing will be completed by both drivers, with Ericsson in the cockpit of the C37 until noon, and Charles Leclerc for the afternoon.
Meteorologically speaking, spring starts tomorrow, but it seems that doesn't apply to the Catalunya Circuit, said Ferrari. The third day of testing was wiped out... following snowfall this morning. And even when it turned to rain in the afternoon, temperatures never reached the sort of numbers required to run a Formula 1 car. Air temperature just crept over two degrees with the track a fraction more.
Come the afternoon, Kimi Raikkonenn and Scuderia Ferrari took the only reasonable decision, namely to write off the day, which under the current regulations cannot be recovered later. Tomorrow, Sebastian Vettel will drive as planned, to round off the first test session. So the SF71H spent the whole day in the garage. There was no point in venturing out, because with such low temperatures, even the wet tyres would not work properly and furthermore, running would not generate any worthwhile date on how the car was performing.
"Today, it felt more like being in Finland than Spain," quipped Kimi. "And everyone knows there's no Formula 1 in my country."
He will be back at the wheel next week, with the T2 session getting underway on Tuesday 6th March, running for four day. This time, the Scuderia Ferrari programme has Sebastian driving on the 6th and 8th, with Kimi getting his turn on Wednesday 7th and Friday 9th, that being the final day of winter testing.
Even without the car running, the workload for Mercedes remained high. With one day of testing lost to bad weather, the team had to re-assess its programme for the following days. And they also had to take good care of the newest team member - Karl Snowman.
"We now have one-eighth less testing available to us," said James Allison. "So we shuffle our programme around and try to fit all the work we need to do into seven days instead of eight. Winter testing is always tight, but this is only because you're trying to achieve as much as possible in the time available. There's just slightly less time available now. It is the same challenge for all the teams, so we take it on the chin and move on.
"There's one thing the weather does change," he continued. "It gives us the opportunity fruitlessly to make plans and revise them every half an hour as the weather continues to disappoint... In between the re-planning the track folk get on with office work and talk about football to pass the time.
"Even during normal winter testing the track is never very representative of what happens later in the year. So it's not unusual to be trying to make the best of the available conditions and to extrapolate from them what you might expect to see in the summer. This week's weather just makes the challenge more extreme, as the cold makes it harder to get the car in its right operating window. But, once again, this is the same for everybody."
"Hands down this was the best day of my life," said Karl Snowman. "It's been over ten years since I was last invited out to F1 testing - back in Silverstone in 2005 with Renault. It's not my first time in Barcelona, I was here in 2002 with McLaren when Mika started a snowball fight in the pit lane. But today has been the most fun yet.
"The team was really nice to me; everyone was so cool and chilled out. They gave me a warm welcome, but not too warm - just the way I like it.
"I don't quite understand why everyone made such a fuss about the weather. I mean what do people expect? There's a reason why it's called winter testing.
"I would also like to address the rumours about my wellbeing. Reports about my demise have been greatly exaggerated. I can assure everyone that the team is treating me extremely well and found appropriate accommodation in a cold storage unit for me."
"Not running a day of testing, when you've got only four per driver, is a shame," said Romain Grosjean, one of 8 drivers who never left the garage today. "Obviously, the conditions out there are what they are. There's nothing you can do about that. It's just a shame we couldn't find another day to go out there, because I believe that testing is very important for the teams, and especially for us. We're losing some time not being able to test properly. Again, the weather is what it is and there's nothing we can do about it. I guess the only option was to change the day, but that hasn't gone through. We will live with it and, obviously, for next week we're hoping for a much smoother week with better weather and better temperatures. We just need to creep up that mileage."
"Today was a frustrating day because we didn't get anything in," added Guenther Steiner. "There's always plenty to do, but you try to come here to make progress with your car and to learn something. We obviously didn't achieve that today. A cold weather front like this is not usual for this time of year. Sometimes these things just happen. We have to live with it and try to do our best, but it makes it a long day."
"With the new surface and such cold conditions we could barely get the tyres to temperature today," said Brendon Hartley, who completed two installation laps. "We did get to test a couple of items on the car in preparation for Melbourne, so it's good to be able to sign off a few parts. There were other things we could go through - we simulated a race start, checked some procedures, practiced changes on the steering wheel and went through some useful data. It was a bit annoying for me to not get any dry running, but I'm sure in the next test we'll make up for that. So far, the driveability of the car has been great and the reliability has been faultless, so it's been a positive start to the campaign."
"Driving snow and Sub-zero temperatures this morning, heavy rain and standing water this afternoon..." sighed James Key. "We got a couple of laps in for a little bit of exploratory work, but obviously the conditions were not at all practical for any form of proper running. We were able to use the time to do some static tests in the garage which we planned anyway so we still made use of the day where we could - it's a pity for Brendon and the team to miss a lot of mileage today but it's the same for everyone and no one can control the weather conditions. So, with a tricky day today and the lost running time with conditions in the afternoon on days 1 and 2 there's obviously a lot to catch up on in the remaining days of testing. We will get our priorities straight and try to make up for the lost ground as best we can."
"Snow is not what you expect in Barcelona!" said Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda F1 Technical Director. "It is unfortunate that we lost valuable track time today, but the situation is the same for all teams. However, we still made good use of our time, analysing data and going through race grid procedure in conjunction with the Toro Rosso engineers. While the forecast for tomorrow is for more rain, it is expected to be warmer, so we hope to get in some more laps as the first test of the year comes to an end."
Renault Sport Formula One Team completed the third day of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with the team's drivers and car remaining resolutely inside due to the inclement conditions.
"Today was about keeping warm and hanging out with the team as there was no point going out on track," admitted Nico Hulkenberg. "It was a bit frustrating but clearly not the end of the world. Let's see what tomorrow brings."
"It's always a pleasure to spend some time with the team and my engineers," added Carlos Sainz, "but if you're at a track and you've got your car sat in the garage, you really want to get out on track. Obviously, conditions meant it didn't make sense for us to do any laps today so we're hoping for better tomorrow. At least we know that we have completed some mileage this week and everyone is in the same boat. Next week promises much better."
"The snow, rain and cold conditions kept up off the track today," said Nick Chester, "so it was a methodical day in the garage checking over the R.S.18 with a fine tooth comb after its time on track over the past two days. Tomorrow the weather looks like it will be slightly better so we'll see what we can do."
Check out our Wednesday gallery from Barcelona, here.