Mercedes focus on set-up and aero work on Day 4 of Testing

by Sudha Sundararaj

The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team focused on set-up work and gathering data on new aerodynamic parts on the W11 on the first day of the second pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain.

The Brackley-based team had an impressive first test with chart-topping lap times and the unveiling of the innovative new DAS (dual-axis steering) system. The team focused on long runs with set-up and aero work on the first day of the second and final test today.

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas split the testing duties on Day One. Hamilton, the reigning world champion, racked up 89 laps in the morning session. Bottas added another 90 laps in the afternoon session.

Hamilton and Bottas were only seventh and ninth on the time charts. But on a day when the long runs and aero testing was the focus, this was expected.

Hamilton was happy with another solid day of testing and said: “It’s been a good session and a good start to the second week of testing here in Barcelona. We’ve just got our heads down, trying to continue increasing our mileage and our understanding of this car – through the subtle changes with car set-up, the tyres and the aerodynamic package.

“A fairly standard day, but it was a bit windier out there and it felt like the track had less grip – so there was some sliding around. The car didn’t quite feel as good as the first week, but I’m sure that will change as the test progresses and the track conditions improve.”

Bottas also echoed Hamilton’s sentiments and said: “Very good mileage today, 90 laps. For half a day in the car, that’s really good. We got some good set-up tests done and focused on long running. I think we picked up lots of learning points, although it was a bit tricky this afternoon with gusty wind, which made it sometimes more difficult to understand the set-up changes in detail.

“But I am sure we’ll analyse everything overnight and find the learnings from it. Everything ran smoothly, except a slightly late start to the day with some big changes over lunchtime. But still we got some good running in and it’s good to be back in the car again.”

The team continues to rack up the mileage and gather valuable data. James Allison, the Chief Technical Director, said: “It was a productive day both in the morning and the afternoon, taking the opportunity that winter testing grants us to explore the car thoroughly, in ways that are near-impossible once the racing season starts. We tested the new prototype tyre with Lewis in the morning, which was trouble-free, and ran through set-up changes with both drivers.

“It was an interesting day, because it got quite gusty at various points. That was useful for us, learning how to get the best from the car as the wind picks up. Tomorrow, we will continue to explore the basic behaviour of the car, before focusing more on performance on the final day of testing.”

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