“The car already feels a step on from last year” – Carlos Sainz

by Sudha Sundararaj

The McLaren F1 team felt that they had one of their best days of testing in a long time on day one of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain. Carlos Sainz driving on the first day of testing for McLaren put in a solid 161 laps.

The Spaniard’s lap time of 1m 17.842s was sixth on the time charts. In recent years McLaren has endured a number of reliability issues in winter testing. The team finished ‘best of the rest’ in fourth position in the constructors’ championship in 2019.

Sainz spent most of the day on long runs on the hardest compound Pirelli tyres (C1). He felt the hard work in the off-season had paid off and said: “A very good job by everyone today, it shows that hard work over the winter pays off. I managed to complete 161 laps, which is a very decent number for my first day.

“The car already feels a step on from last year. We aren’t reading too much into the track times, but knowing that we’re completing race simulations and pit-stops on the first day is a very good achievement.”

Newly promoted Racing Director Andrea Stella said: “It’s been a positive day of testing, possibly the best first day of testing for McLaren for a long time. The day unfolded exactly as we had planned; it’s rare that we go through a programme as closely to the timings we had planned as we did today, which is good and efficient.

“Another positive note is that, from a performance perspective, the car responds in line with our expectations, and while we know that we have work to do, we also know how we can improve the car.

“Finally, credit to the team members who work on the reliability of the car; we ran for more than 160 laps today without any problems, which is another promising sign. A good start to a new season, a lot of work to do, but today has been encouraging and we know where to focus.”

Lando Norris will be at the wheel of the MCL35 for the second day of testing.

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