The first day of pre-season testing for the 2020 FIA Formula 1 season took place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain today. The first test will consist of three days of testing for the teams (Feb 19 – 21, 2020).
Red Bull Racing made a solid start to the first day of testing as Max Verstappen put in 168 laps and was fourth on the time charts. Verstappen with a lap time of 1m 17.516s was 0.540 seconds behind the fastest lap time of the day.
In recent seasons, Red Bull Racing has made a slow start to the season and recovered lost ground during the season with in-season development. The team is determined to change that and start the season strongly in order to challenge Mercedes dominance.
Verstappen’s stint was punctuated by two wild spins. The Dutchman put in the most laps by any individual driver on day one. Speaking on the first intense day of testing, Verstappen said: “It’s been a good day. It’s always important to do as many laps as possible and today was a really good example of how you should do it, so I’m very happy.
“We have improved the car in the areas we wanted to over the winter and the car feels faster everywhere, which is great. The reliability has been good so far, so now we just have to do a lot more laps, test all the new parts and see where we can improve it further. Hopefully we’ll have done enough!”
With the reduced number of testing days this season, all the teams were focused on extracting the maximum data on day one of testing. Guillaume Rocquelin, Head of Race Engineering, was happy with the performance on the RB16-Honda. Rocquelin said: “We had a really good day. We have a compressed test schedule this year so we are focusing on slightly longer runs than normal to get what we need from testing.
“It’s not always easy, as the conditions in Barcelona at this time of year are never ideal – it is just a bit cold – and the track surface is not really representative, but we got through the whole plan and more today, which is very encouraging.
“So, we have a tired, but happy driver and a lot of information to sift through. We’ll ramp things up again with Alex tomorrow, but all in all, a very positive start for us.”
Alexander Albon will take the wheel for the second day of testing tomorrow.