Having experienced a number of technical problems during the previous collective GP2 test at Paul Ricard, the Ocean Racing Technology team left those problems behind when they took to the track at Barcelona during the final collective test before the season gets underway at Barcelona on the 8/9 May.
Having lost valuable testing time at Paul Ricard, the Portuguese outfit spent the first day of the three day Barcelona test catching up on what should have been completed at Paul Ricard, polishing the set up for their drivers.
The remaining two days meant that they could focus on other aspects, and saw their Swiss driver Fabio Leimer finish each day inside the top three of the combined timings.
The Swiss driver set the third best time during the final timed session for Tiago Monteiro's outfit. His best time was just three hundredths of a second slower than the fastest time of the session. Leimer had difficulty modifying the set up of his GP2 race car due to the variable weather conditions. Leimer had the honour of being best placed rookie in the final timed session.
The Swiss rookie explains his three days testing: “I am very happy with the results we gathered during these last three days, we worked a lot and at the end of the first day we had already found a solution to most of the question marks we had. After that, the car was fine tuned and got better and better. I was at the top of the pecking order on the second day but I made a slight mistake which made me drop to P3. Having said that, I really liked the way the car reacted to all the different set-ups we used. We did a race simulation and we also did several pit stop rehearsals, which are a key factor of a race weekend.”
For the teams other signing, young British star Max Chilton had a good three day test at Barcelona, setting the eighth fastest time during the final session of the test. This way his best time of the day, and left him half a second down on the sister car of Leimer. The eighteen year old has adapted to the GP2 machinery, which is the closest race car to a Formula One car, as well as the team.
Chilton is confident about the season ahead: “They were three days of intense work and we are still improving, getting better each lap, but there is still a very long way to go and the first races will be crucial for the team and for my personal experience of the GP2 Main Series. The last test in Barcelona, I was much more confident and I think we are on the right track. We need to do even better in Barcelona for the first race weekend but I think we have the potential to have a nice season.”
Current World Touring Car Championship driver and one of the team Directors, Monteiro has seen a number of positives come out of the three day Barcelona test: “The team has put in a lot of effort and it has paid off both in the behaviour as well as in the speed of the car. Communication and operations are also better inside Ocean Racing Technology which is only in its second year in the series. We are much more experienced and you can feel that in every step and especially in our performances on track. To have two rookies on board is a challenge but it has motivated every single team member and we leave Montmelo with some very valuable data which will help us to get ready for the first race.”
The team will next take to the track during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend on the 7/8/9 May. This weekend is the opening weekend of the season for the GP2 Main Series competitors.
Photo credit: Malcolm Griffiths/GP2 Media Service