Sebastian Vettel was the fastest driver on the first day of the second pre-season test which got underway today at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona.
The world champion set a best lap of 1:23.265 in the new Red Bull RB8, just ahead of compatriot Nico Hulkenberg of Force India.
It was not such a good day for Lotus however. The team announced this evening that they will withdraw from all four days of this test in Barcelona after finding a problem with the chassis of the new E20.
Lewis Hamilton completed the most laps, 114, of any driver in a 2012 car today, and finished the day third fastest. Daniel Ricciardo was fourth quickest for Toro Rosso, just ahead of Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari.
Michael Schumacher finished the day sixth in the new Mercedes MGP W03, a car that was officially launched only this morning.
Sergio Perez and Bruno Senna were seventh and eighth quickest, ahead of Heikki Kovalainen in the Caterham, who completed only 31 laps before coming to a halt out on track this morning.
The Finn did fare better than Romain Grsojean of Lotus however, who managed only seven laps and finished the day down in tenth.
Marussia made their first appearance at a pre-season test today, albeit with their 2011 car. New recruit Charles Pic completed 121 laps, more than any other driver, but finished at the foot of the timesheets.
Barcelona Test I, Day One: Unofficial Times
|1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:23.265||79|
|2||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:23.440||97|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso||1:23.618||76|
Barcelona Test I, Day One: Driver and Team Quotes
Sebastian Vettel: “It's clear that the cars have less grip than last year, but we try to come back from that slowly. It's difficult to judge where we are compared with the others right now. It's all based on feeling and the feeling I have inside the car at the moment is fine. I think we had a good day today, with no trouble. We had a long lunch break when we made some changes, but not because anything broke down. All in all, it was a good day.”
Ian Morgan, Head of Race Engineering: “We got through most of what we wanted today. We had a longer than usual break for lunch, in order to change some things, but that had always been planned. So, while we lost a little time, it wasn't at the expense of getting the tasks completed.
“These tests are a process of continuous development and the programme today was influenced a bit by what we learned at the last test. We also had to test some items that were put into development before the car even took to the track. The next two days will be somewhat different. “
We will be doing race simulations and will have the whole race team here, so we will try to mix that with continuing the development. There aren't many chances to run through a whole race weekend before the season starts and we'll do a simulation with each driver. Those should keep us on our toes for the next couple of days.”
Nico Hulkenberg: “Once gain it's good to do so many laps and I'm pleased with how things went today. It was only my second day in the car and I'm still bedding in and getting used to things, but after each run I felt a bit more comfortable. We started with some aero runs and more data gathering this morning, and then moved to longer runs in the afternoon. The car feels consistent and the drivability is good so I feel positive heading into tomorrow.”
Jakob Andreason, Chief Engineer: “Another busy day with a lot of mileage for Nico as he continues to build up his feel for the VJM05. We began the programme with aero sweeps and also evaluated some mechanical components to address some improvements we felt could be made to the car following the Jerez test. The car has performed well throughout the day with good reliability, which allowed us to focus on adding performance. We completed the majority of the programme and got through our long runs in the afternoon, which helped build up Nico's knowledge of the hard and medium compound tyres.”
Hulkenberg will be back in the car for Force India tomorrow before Paul di Resta takes over on Thursday and Friday.
David Redding, Team Manager: “With more than 500km under our belt, this was an extremely productive day. The car ran reliably and without problem all day and Lewis was happy with the car. Given the cooler temperatures we experienced today, we're optimistic that we're headed in the right direction with our tyre and set-up work for the start of the season.”
Hamilton will be back in the car tomorrow.
Daniel Ricciardo: “It was a good day with 76 laps under my belt. In the morning, apart from working on the overall development of the car, we were also getting ready for Melbourne, running through various procedures, working to a set time scale, as if it was a race weekend. That went well and in the afternoon, we did some race-type runs which were successful until the car stopped with just the final hour to go.”
Ricciardo will be back in the car tomorrow.
Fernando Alonso: “There's still a lot of work to do, but isn't that what we are here for? I don't think we will see anything different over the coming days, because before we can see what this car is really capable of, we must piece together all the pieces in the jigsaw. I know there is much expectation from the outside, but we are totally focussed on ourselves, without giving a thought to what is going on around us. We will only start to properly understand the situation in Melbourne.”
Michael Schumacher: “My initial feelings with our new car are certainly good. I’m happy with the different evaluations that we have done over the last week, but obviously with the rule changes, we won’t know more until later. It’s certainly an improvement and we have worked hard on the areas we had defined last year. The aerodynamics figures look good so I’m not worried about the shape of the nose! Even though we had the hydraulic problem today, I’m pleased with all the mileage we have achieved so far with the new car.”
Nico Rosberg will be in the car for Mercedes tomorrow, with Schumacher returning on Thursday.
Sergio PÃ©rez: “It wasn't an easy day for us. Nevertheless during the 66 laps we collected some very useful data, which we will analyse tonight, so in this regard it was still a satisfying day. I am very much looking forward to tomorrow and I hope we can get a lot more work done then.”
Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering: “We obviously didn't cover the mileage we wanted to today, but such things happen in testing. In the morning we had some doubts related to the structure, which didn't occur in Jerez and therefore appear to be track related. It is important to discover something like this during testing instead of at a Grand Prix weekend. We touched base with our experts in Hinwil for analyses and at the same time found a mechanical solution here at the track.
“In the afternoon we then had another unforeseen break due to a mechanical issue with a rear anti roll bar. Not actually a big issue, but quite time consuming as the gear box had to be removed again, etc. So now we will concentrate on our test programme for tomorrow and hope for a rather smoother session then.”
Perez will be back in the car tomorrow before team-mate Kamui Kobayashi takes over for the final two days of the test.
Bruno Senna: “It has been a very interesting day working with different set-ups to assess the reliability of the FW34. We need to keep working hard to understand the car even better. The team will continue working over the next few days with Valtteri and Pastor, as we look to improve both pace and consistency.”
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: “Bruno was on track today as we began the penultimate test before heading off to the first race of the season. We completed 97 laps around Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, working successfully through a detailed aero correlation test programme in the morning before moving on to car set-up optimisation, utilising a range of tyre compounds throughout the afternoon. We continue tomorrow with Valtteri in the FW34 before Pastor takes over for the final two days.”
Valtteri Bottas takes over testing duties for Williams tomorrow before Pastor Maldonado completes the final two days of this four day test.
Heikki Kovalainen: “That obviously wasn't how we wanted day one here to go, but that's what testing is for – pushing everything to the limit to make sure we get rid of the problems before we get to the first race. It's hard to learn a lot from limited laps, but I'm back in the car on Friday and I'm sure we'll be able to push on with the program between now and then and make sure we get as much as we can out of the next three days on track.”
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: “We had a rear track rod failure on Heikki's third run this morning which brought him to a halt on track. As soon as we had the car back in the garage we identified the issue and managed to fix it on site, and we have more parts coming out tonight to make sure we don't have the same problem again. We know that this car is fundamentally reliable, so the aim for the next three days is to complete the plan for this test and put ourselves back on schedule.”
Romain Grosjean: “We completed a few aero runs and then started timed runs, but I was very quickly aware that the car wasn't responding as it should. It's not ideal to lose track time… It's far better that we have an issue like this now rather than in Melbourne.”
Lotus will not be appearing during the next three days of this test. They will next be out on track at the third pre-season test, also in Barcelona, on 1st-4th March.
Charles Pic: “It has been a very good first day for me and a positive way to begin the new season. The car has worked very well all day so we were able to push through with the programme. We made a lot of pit stops this morning and practiced all the procedures, which was very helpful for me, and this afternoon we completed a race simulation. I learned a lot from the day and I'm looking forward to running again tomorrow.”
John Booth, Team Principal: “It's great to be back in action after almost three months away from the race track. Although it is disappointing that we are not here with our 2012 car, the opportunity to use the MVR-02 with its impressive reliability to complete a whole series of pit stop scenarios with the race team and Charles is invaluable.
“For the past two months the team have been practising every day in the factory and this hard work came to fruition today. There seems to be a genuine improvement in the standard of the stops and Charles' practice today will stand him in good stead for the opening race in Melbourne.
“We finished the afternoon off with a full race simulation for Charles stepping through the three options of tyres suited to this circuit and also completing live pit stops. Overall a positive way to start our 2012 season testing and we look forward to a continuation of Charles' development over the next few days and to seeing Timo in the car briefly on Thursday.”