The teams reflect as the first day of pre-season testing comes to an end.
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team completed a busy programme on the first day of 2020 pre-season testing, gathering valuable data and accumulating over 800 kilometres at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with both Valtteri and Lewis driving the new car today.
Valtteri was the first behind the wheel in the morning session, focussing on gathering aerodynamic data and collecting information on how the new car reacts to certain set-up changes. Lewis drove the new car in the afternoon session, collecting more aerodynamic data and running a number of systems tests.
Today's programme focused on aerodynamic validation checks, reliability tests and confirming tyre behaviours in different temperatures.
Tomorrow, Lewis will be behind the wheel of the Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 EQ Performance in the morning session with Valtteri taking over in the afternoon session.
Valtteri Bottas: I'm very impressed that we could start at 9am, going straight out and doing some longer runs without any issues and really execute our plan for the morning perfectly. We could get everything done which is just impressive considering how much work goes into our cars. In the morning when it was still relatively cold, we focused mostly on aero tests with rakes on the car. Later on we did some work on set-up changes - bigger changes than we would normally do on a race weekend when it's more about fine-tuning. In testing you have the chance to do that and see how the car reacts to those big changes. I had a very good feeling, the car feels good and fast, but I'm sure we can make it a lot faster. It's been a really nice starting point, but it's early days, so it doesn't mean a whole lot.
Lewis Hamilton: It's been a good day and a really good start for all of us, considering we had a long break. So to come back and clock in over 170 laps just shows how hard everyone has been working over the winter. We will just take it one step at a time, getting good feedback from the car. We have a lot of data to download and analyse and we've got to keep pushing on. A huge thank you to everyone back in Brackley and Brixworth for the incredible effort that's gone in over the winter to make sure we come here and have a car that's reliable to start with so we can get this mileage done. I hope everyone back at the factory is happy with how the day went and we're just going to keep churning out as many miles as possible.
James Allison: That was a very positive start to our winter testing campaign, with both drivers able to get a very decent amount of work done through the day. We were able to tick several of the procedural items off our list that we need to get done before Melbourne and also run through some of the main set-up items on suspension settings today. We're happy that alongside the good reliability we've shown today, both drivers have reported the car to have sweet handling characteristics and are looking forward to leaning on it a bit harder over the next several days of testing.
The first day of the first Formula 1 pre-season test went according to plan for Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow, apart from the fact that Charles Leclerc ended up giving the SF1000 its official track debut and not Sebastian Vettel as originally planned. The four times world champion was not feeling too well and so has delayed his turn in the cockpit until tomorrow afternoon and will then continue at the wheel throughout all of Friday. Leclerc did a total of 132 laps, 614 kilometres, the equivalent of two Grand Prix distances.
As is usually the case when a new car runs for the very first time in its racing life, the morning programme centred mainly on checking the baseline configuration and getting an overall evaluation of it. Charles then did some runs to check aero settings using the C2 and C3 compounds with different fuel loads.
By lunchtime at 1pm, the number 16 SF1000 had completed 64 laps, or 297 kilometres, or almost a race distance. Charles was back on track shortly after 2pm and worked through the rest of the planned programme, doing a further 68 laps, making a total of 132. His best time was a 1:18.289.Testing at the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit continues tomorrow, with Charles driving the SF1000 in the morning and Sebastian taking over for the afternoon.
Charles Leclerc: "I was informed at 6.45 this morning that I'd be driving today, but that was no problem for me. It might have been trickier for those in the team who had to change the configuration of the car, which was set up for Sebastian.
For a first day, it was definitely positive, because we managed to get through the programme we had set ourselves. We weren't looking at performance today, instead concentrating on learning about the SF1000 and getting in tune with it.
It's too early to have formed an opinion of the car, but I felt comfortable at the wheel which is a good thing."
Max got Aston Martin Red Bull Racing's 2020 Formula 1 Championship charge off to a successful start as pre-season testing kicked off at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Over the course of a marathon outing, Max racked up 168 laps of the track, the most of any single driver on day one.
Max Verstappen: "It's been a good day. It's always important to do as many laps as possible and today was a really good example of how you should do it, so I'm very happy. We have improved the car in the areas we wanted to over the winter and the car feels faster everywhere, which is great. The reliability has been good so far, so now we just have to do a lot more laps, test all the new parts and see where we can improve it further. Hopefully we'll have done enough!"
Guillaume Rocquelin, Head of Race Engineering: "We had a really good day. We have a compressed test schedule this year so we are focusing on slightly longer runs than normal to get what we need from testing. It's not always easy, as the conditions in Barcelona at this time of year are never ideal - it is just a bit cold - and the track surface is not really representative, but we got through the whole plan and more today, which is very encouraging. So, we have a tired, but happy driver and a lot of information to sift through. We'll ramp things up again with Alex tomorrow, but all in all, a very positive start for us."
Carlos Sainz: "A very good job by everyone today, it shows that hard work over the winter pays off. I managed to complete 161 laps, which is a very decent number for my first day. The car already feels a step on from last year. We aren't reading too much into the track times, but knowing that we're completing race simulations and pit-stops on the first day is a very good achievement."
Andrea Stella, Racing Director: "It's been a positive day of testing, possibly the best first day of testing for McLaren for a long time. The day unfolded exactly as we had planned; it's rare that we go through a programme as closely to the timings we had planned as we did today, which is good and efficient. Another positive note is that, from a performance perspective, the car responds in line with our expectations, and while we know that we have work to do, we also know how we can improve the car.
"Finally, credit to the team members who work on the reliability of the car; we ran for more than 160 laps today without any problems, which is another promising sign. A good start to a new season, a lot of work to do, but today has been encouraging and we know where to focus."
Esteban Ocon took the wheel of the Renault R.S.20 in the morning session, building on from his maiden outing in the car on Monday as part of the team's shakedown and commercial filming day. Esteban completed 62 laps during a programme which consisted of building mileage and growing comfort in the car.
Daniel Ricciardo then took over driving duties in the afternoon for his first experience in the 2020 challenger. The Australian's running was limited to 56 laps and he will resume in the seat tomorrow morning.
Esteban Ocon: "It feels awesome to be back driving a Formula 1 car. I had a big smile on my face leaving the garage as it's been a while since I've had my own race car. It's really cool to think about the thousands of hours which have been put into creating this car and then feeling it come alive on track. In terms of our programme, we've made a solid start and we have a good base to work from. We know we have to keep working this week and make some improvements ready for the first race. We have to be precise in our work and make everything count. I'm looking forward to continuing the progress through the week."
Daniel Ricciardo: "It's great to be driving again and I felt quite comfortable in the car from the get-go, which was cool. Esteban obviously warmed the car up nicely this morning, and I felt I was more or less straight back into it and in a rhythm when it was my turn in the afternoon. There are improvements on the car and we've obviously changed it a lot visually, which is quite clear when you look at the front nose. The improvements are there, and ultimately that's what we're targeting. It's too early to make any comparisons, but our reliability was pretty strong, and I would say it's promising. You can't ask for too much more from day one, so I'm happy with that."
Check out our Wednesday gallery from Barcelona, here.