Grosjean Leads the Field for Lotus as Final Pre-Season Test Gets Underway


Romain Grosjean was the fastest driver on Day One of the final pre-season test today in Barcelona - Photo Credit: Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic
Romain Grosjean was the fastest driver on Day One of the final pre-season test today in Barcelona - Photo Credit: Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic

 

Romain Grosjean was the fastest driver on Day One of the final pre-season test which got underway today in Barcelona.

It was a triumphant return for the Frenchman and his Lotus team, who had to abort the last test after just seven laps when they found a problem with the new chassis.

Jenson Button was second quickest for McLaren, whilst Sauber continued their impressive run of testing lap times with Sergio Perez third for the Hinwil-based team.

Mark Webber was fourth fastest in the Red Bull, just ahead of Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes who, with 128 laps, completed more mileage than any other driver in Barcelona today.

Jean-Eric Vergne was sixth for Toro Rosso, ahead of Paul di Resta in the Force India, and Felipe Massa of Ferrari.

Vitaly Petrov had a productive day for Caterham, completing 123 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya and finishing the day ninth.

Pastor Maldonado in the Williams did not have such a good day though – technical issues meant that the Venezuelan could complete only 58 laps, and he finished the day bottom of the timesheets.

Marussia will not be in Spain this week after their new car failed a crash test earlier this week, whilst HRT are in Barcelona frantically assembling their new car. The team hope to have it up and running by the end of the weekend, although admit that they might not be ready in time.

 

Barcelona Test II, Day One: Unofficial Times

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1 France Romain Grosjean United Kingdom Lotus 1:23.252 73
2 United Kingdom Jenson Button United Kingdom McLaren 1:23.510 64
3 Mexico Sergio Perez Switzerland Sauber 1:23.820 118
4 Australia Mark Webber Austria Red Bull 1:23.830 102
5 Germany Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes 1:23.992 128
6 France Jean-Eric Vergne Italy Toro Rosso 1:24.216 113
7 United Kingdom Paul di Resta India Force India 1:24.305 98
8 Brazil Felipe Massa Italy Ferrari 1:24.318 105
9 Russian Federation Vitaly Petrov Malaysia Caterham 1:24.876 123
10 Venezuela Pastor Maldonado United Kingdom Williams 1:25.587 58

 

Barcelona Test II, Day One: Driver and Team Quotes

Lotus

Romain Grosjean - Photo Credit: Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic
Romain Grosjean - Photo Credit: Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic

 

Romain Grosjean: “The car was feeling very good and it's great to bounce back from our dramas to set the fastest time of the day. It's clear we have solved the problem we encountered and now we have to complete a very full test programme this week. The feeling in the team is fantastic and it's like last week's issues never happened. My crew told me that the problems would make us stronger, and this is true. The chassis is stronger, and all the team is stronger. We gathered good data today and we have a few interesting things that we would like to confirm tomorrow which should help us make a good step forwards.”

James Allison, Technical Director: “Our main target for today was to compress as much set-up work as we could into the first day as we are playing catch-up relative to our rivals at this track. Of course, we want to complete as many laps as possible, but this second objective is inevitably compromised somewhat by needing to make many short runs punctuated by set-up changes. Obviously, we're very pleased to complete the day without any major difficulties to the car after such a troubled start here last week.”

Grosjean will be back in the Lotus tomorrow.

McLaren

David Redding, Team Manager: “Having completed more than 2000km at Barcelona last week, today was always going to be more about quality than quantity. We wanted to drill a little deeper into our understanding of the car, and that meant undertaking some bigger set-up changes that wouldn't ordinarily be available to us during a grand prix weekend.

“We made good progress and we're satisfied with today's results.”

Lewis Hamilton will replace Jenson Button in the McLaren tomorrow.

 

Sauber

Sergio Perez - Photo Credit: Sauber Motorsport AG
Sergio Perez - Photo Credit: Sauber Motorsport AG

 

Sergio Pérez: “I think this was a very good day for me. The car was performing well under varying conditions. We are working in the right direction, and I'm very much looking forward to getting into the car again for my final day of testing on Saturday.”

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering: “We are quite happy with how the day went. We ticked off everything that had been on today's job list without any noteworthy issues. It was also good for Sergio to cover a good amount of mileage. Test conditions here in Barcelona have been ideal. Among the hard and medium compound tyres used today we had two sets of medium which were prototype tyres from Pirelli.”

Kamui Kobayashi will take over testing duties for Sauber tomorrow, with Perez returning on Saturday.

 

Red Bull

Mark Webber - Photo Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Mark Webber - Photo Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

 

Mark Webber: “We're here at the last test now, it's starting to build up for the first race and we're pretty excited for that. However, we still have plenty to go through this week but so far so good.

“We certainly have a few more boxes to tick. We have some crucial data to gather this week and the next three days will be really important. We're learning every run and we are making progress I think.

“There are so many things to consider when we have a condensed winter programme like this. You need to get your priorities right and concentrate on those. That's where experience comes in and we have plenty of that. It's going well so far but there aren't enough hours in the day at the moment, though I'm sure we're not the only team feeling that.”

Ciaron Pilbeam, Mark's Race Engineer: “We had a good run, with no reliability issues at all, so overall a very successful day. We spent the morning working through short runs and in the afternoon we did some longer runs, doing performance work. When you get through the full programme without problems there's not much to say beyond that it was a good day.”

 

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg - Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG
Nico Rosberg - Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG

 

Nico Rosberg: “I’m very happy with the first day of our test programme today. We were able to complete a lot of laps and tried a few different things which worked out well. Some of the evaluations were really interesting which makes the day good fun for me, and it’s nice to find out what the car can do. We had no reliability problems which is good as it’s important to get mileage on the car. We are making progress, but we don’t know really where we are compared to the others. It will be interesting to find out at the first race.”

Michael Schumacher will take over testing duties for Mercedes tomorrow, with Rosberg returning on Saturday.

 

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne - Photo Credit: Ker Robertson/Getty Images
Jean-Eric Vergne - Photo Credit: Ker Robertson/Getty Images

 

Jean-Eric Vergne: “It was a good day and I completed more laps than on any of my other times in the car so far. I am feeling more confident and comfortable and I think we are also making steady progress on car development. The pit stops are also getting better and were an improvement on last week here.”

Vergne will be back in the Toro Rosso tomorrow.

 

Force India

Paul di Resta - Photo Credit: Sahara Force India Formula One Team
Paul di Resta - Photo Credit: Sahara Force India Formula One Team

 

Paul Di Resta: “Another busy day and we managed to tick off all the objectives once again. The final test is all about adding new parts to the car, seeing how they perform, and getting our set-up sorted for Melbourne. I think we have a good idea of where we need to be based on the performance of the car today and Nico will continue with that work tomorrow. As I said last week, we are definitely making progress in terms of performance and we're getting a good understanding for the new 2012 tyre constructions.”

Jakob Andreasen, Chief Engineer: “Our second week in Barcelona has got off to a good start with another reliable day of running. Paul covered just shy of 100 laps and worked through the programme without any significant issues. The priority was to shakedown the second chassis, which we ran for the first time today, and that went smoothly with no issues to report. As the first race in Melbourne approaches, there are more developments arriving at the track and our task this week is to evaluate as much as we can. The first of those were on the car today, so we carried out some aero passes and had some encouraging feedback from Paul.”

Nico Hulkenberg takes over testing duties for Force India tomorrow, with Di Resta taking over again on Saturday.

 

Ferrari

Awaiting comment.

 

Caterham

Vitaly Petrov - Photo Credit: Lorenzo Bellanca/LAT Photographic
Vitaly Petrov - Photo Credit: Lorenzo Bellanca/LAT Photographic

 

Vitaly Petrov: “Today the car was working very well from the first installation lap and right up to the final lap this afternoon. We managed to work through the whole tyre program and put in solid lap times all day, as well as working through a number of other setup programs that are helping me find the right balance I can really push with. My race seat will be in the car for Sunday so I think we can make more progress then, when I know I’ll be fully comfortable in the car, so I hope we can build on what we have done today over the next couple of days and leave the test in very good shape for the first race.”

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: “That was an excellent day for us, despite the very late change of driver we had to make this morning. We ran 123 laps and completed the whole program and even though we will not have Vitaly’s race seat ready until he is back in the car on Sunday, he was much more comfortable in the car and improved his times and his feedback throughout the day.

“This morning we were focusing on further tyre evaluation and setup work, and in the afternoon session we completed a number of long runs which has helped us take a step forward with the setup options for this car. Taking into account the number of laps we ran today, and the fact Vitaly is feeling ever more comfortable with the team and in the car I think we can say that this has been the perfect start to the test for the whole team.”

 

Williams

Pastor Maldonado - Photo Credit: Lorenzo Bellanca/LAT Photographic
Pastor Maldonado - Photo Credit: Lorenzo Bellanca/LAT Photographic

 

Pastor Maldonado: “We didn't complete as much running as we would have liked today, but we still gathered some good data. This morning we ran our new front wing so we will analyse the results from our aero runs this evening. We completed a few longer runs during the afternoon as we investigated a number of set-up directions.”

Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: “We tested part of our first race update package today, and in particular the new front wing. We then tested  a number of interesting exploratory mechanical set-ups to investigate potential development directions for the forthcoming races. During the day, we encountered a couple of issues which limited our running and which we are currently investigating.”

Maldonado will be back in the Williams tomorrow morning before Bruno Senna takes over after lunch.