James Allison, the Technical Director of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, admitted it was ‘frustrating’ to lose half a day of pre-season testing on Thursday after an engine issue limited Lewis Hamilton to just fourteen laps.
For the fifth consecutive day of testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Mercedes opted to split its running between their two drivers, with Valtteri Bottas driving in the morning before reigning World Champion Hamilton took over for the afternoon.
Whereas Bottas was able to complete forty-seven laps in the morning, Hamilton’s afternoon was ended early, but despite Allison rueing the lost track time, he still felt there was some valuable data gathered in the short amount of time the Briton was on track.
“It’s frustrating when there’s only six days of winter testing, to be spending half of one day in the garage,” said Allison. “But, nevertheless, we did some good work this morning with Valtteri.
“Furthermore, in the solitary run that we managed with Lewis this afternoon, we managed to get a very useful data point from the car. We’re happy to have learnt more about its behaviour, and we’re reassured that in blustery conditions, that the car has still got a decent turn of pace.
“We’re looking forward to tomorrow, where we’ll have a good amount of time with both drivers on the softer tyre compounds; working on single-lap set-up and performance.”
Hamilton Looks to the Positives Despite On-Track Stoppage
Hamilton said that prior to stopping on track he was ‘feeling fine’ behind the wheel of the W11 but losing track time when it is so limited prior to the season was far from ideal.
The Briton, who goes into 2020 looking to secure a record-equalling seventh World Drivers’ Championship, ended slowest of the thirteen drivers who took to the track on Thursday and Hamilton feels there are still things to work on before the season begins in Australia next month.
“I only got 14 laps in today, but during those 14 laps, everything was feeling fine,” said Hamilton. “It’s obviously not ideal that we didn’t get a full day of running in and we experienced this issue, but there are lots of learnings to take from today.
“Rather than looking at the negatives, we’ve discovered some things we need to work on, and we’ll keep pushing hard to resolve them and keep working away. I’m looking forward to being back in the car tomorrow morning and adding to the mileage we’ve already achieved.”
Mercedes ‘Working on Resolving’ W11’s Issues – Bottas
Team-mate Bottas began the day in the W11, running when the track was at its dampest in the morning, with the Finn feeling positive about the running achieved on Pirelli’s intermediate tyre compound.
With just one day of testing remaining, which again will be shared between the two drivers on Friday, Bottas feels ready to race, although he acknowledges there are still some issues with the W11 that need solving before the first race weekend of 2020.
“Obviously, the running today in the morning was slightly limited with the wet weather,” said Bottas. “But we got a couple of runs in with the intermediate tyre, which is always useful. We had a good feeling on that tyre in those conditions and gathered some good information.
“The session was slightly disrupted by red flags, so we missed some of the test items we planned to do. However, we still completed a few good long runs and set-up work – so got some decent mileage in. I have one afternoon left in the car, which I’m really looking forward to.
“I feel pretty ready to race. We had a few issues here and there, but the team is working on resolving them and we’ll sort everything out for tomorrow.”