Day 5 #F1 2015 Winter Testing: Barcelona, morning report

This page will be updated throughout the morning session

9am – 10am

The second Formula One winter test in Barcelona began under clear skies and an ambient temperature of just over 1 degree.

Unlike Jerez, Barcelona is a current Formula One circuit and so by the end of this test, we should have some kind of idea as to the relative pace of the teams and drivers, though it will be a week on Sunday by the time we can hone this into more accurate predictions.

5 minutes into the session, every one other than Jenson Button obliged the fans of the ‘roaring tiger’ by putting in an appearance.

The team with the second least running in Jerez were no where to be seen, then on 27 minutes, Ricciardo came out for a couple of laps trundle until everyone’s favorite disruptor of proceedings – Maldonado – stopped on track and bought out the red flag.

untitledTed Kravitz perpetuates the debate which began in Jerez. The consensus is that the cars sound louder this year. “There’s no technical reason why they should sound louder this year”, say Kravitz. “But they do sound a bit louder. People thought in Jerez that it was just the acoustics there that were making the cars sound louder but they do sound louder here too.”

TJ13’s opinion on the matter is that the cars are not any louder, having seen the sound data recorded in Jerez by a Spanish journalist. The noise levels are just over a hundred decibels – which is comparable to last season.

However, the engines have a better defined tone this year – less whistles and whoishing going on – more like a racing engine should sound. Despite denials in Jerez, I suspect this is something Andy Cowell probably knowns something about, but they are being cagey not wanting to give too much away.

48 minutes into the session and the McLaren Honda is running well. Lap times early doors in the cold were around 2 minutes. Jenson traded fastest laps with old adversary Lewis Hamilton, ending his stint with a time of 1:31:984.

Lotus report they have had a sensor failure on Maldonado’s car – these things strangely can be pretty time consuming to sort out”.

As the first hour concluded, Kimi Raikkonen goes quickest with a time just over 1 minute 30 seconds, set on the hard compound too.


Five minutes into the second hour and with the track temperature just under 7 degrees, Raikkonen improves the quickest time of the day to a 1:27.523 on the hard compound tyre. The fastest lap of the race here in 2014 was over 1:28, so the cars will be much much quicker this year.

Sauber have improved slightly their rather simple primary coloured livery from 2 weeks ago. Felipe Nasr has a swoosh of yellow around the nose of the car with flashes of the same colour in one or two other places.

With 90 minutes gone, the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado once again appears on track and promptly stops at turn five again. Red Flag out, session stopped.

Then a huge disappointment for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton who ran over 100 laps less than Rosberg in Jerez

“10:49 Lewis Hamilton will not continue for Mercedes today:

“An unplanned stoppage keeping us off track at the moment. @LewisHamilton is unwell and not able to continue driving today…,” the team reveals on Twitter.

“… so we’re just adjusting the car for Pascal #Wehrlein to take to the track this afternoon. #MusicalChairs”

It transpires that Lewis Hamilton is not feeling well, so Mercedes have purloined Wehrlein from Force India. The Silverstone team  tweeted, “Mind if we use him a little bit more, ? We are just about to go for a run…

Apparently, Lewis woke up this morning with a fever. So why was he asked to drive? And and why isn’t Nico Rosberg being called up instead of Mercedes disrupting Force India’s day?

Unlike some drivers who arrive on day one when they are not in the car, Rosberg is definitely here – and suited and booted.


Paddy Lowe answers these questions for the media. “For the programme we have for today, it is better to use a test driver. It’s a tough programme and we don’t want to over-use Nico Rosberg”.

Seeing as Lewis has had the worst running during testing thus far, it looks as though Mercedes don’t want Rosberg to rack up another 100 laps more than Hamilton – hence the deviation from their plan.


11am-12:00 noon

1. Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:28.064, 25 laps; 2. Button, McLaren, 1:28.182, 14 laps; 3. Nasr, Sauber, 1:29.276, laps 18; 4. Wehrlein, Force India, 1:29.510, 10 laps; 5. Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:30.429, 11 laps; 6. Wolff, Williams, 1:31.207, 11 laps; 7. Verstappen, 1:46.118, 13 laps;  8. Maldonado, Lotus, 1:51.454, 6 laps; 9. Ricciardo, Red Bull, No time, 4 laps.After what is something of a drama at Mercedes, we move into the third hour of today’s test.

Of interest was that prior to Hamilton’s withdrawal from proceedings, Mercedes were being very careful to shroud the rear end of the car each time Lewis came into the pit lane.

For some reason unbeknown to us, Kimi’s quickest time has been scratched off – probably because he missed the chicane towards the end of the lap. This leaves Jenson fastest, though the Ferrari reclaims top spot quickly with a 1:28.064.

Suzie Wolff for Williams has been quietly about her business and has racked up 21 laps after 2 hours, though is at present several seconds off the top of the sheet. Just short of three hours, Suzie becomes the first driver to complete 200km.

The Red Bull livery is working well, because we are not seeing them on track at all this morning. Just 2 laps and no time for Ricciardo.


Sauber now prove that Jerez was no fluke as Felipe Nasr jumps to the top of the time sheets with a 1:27.522 on the unmarked tyre. At the same time Pastor Maldonado makes it back on track and this time through turn 5 and onto a second lap. Lotus mechanics are looking delighted. That said the E23 is 8 seconds off the pace at present.

Almost 2 and a half hours into the session, the track is now just shy of 25 degrees. If the teams want to push for lap times, the next 2 hours of running will be the sweet spot in terms of temperature, before they begin falling again towards the close of the day.

The Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo is now on track, but not setting any lap times. He’s up to eight laps just after the half hour – but the car looks slow. Then its back into the pits and Ricciardo dashes across to the Red Bull mini ice station hospitality area – though there’s little point grabbing an early bite to eat as unlike Jerez when the running continues all day – here in Barcelona, the circuit shuts down for an hour over lunch.

News is coming through from Germany, that Stefano Dominicali did indeed prepare a feasibility study to examine the options for Audi to enter F1. However, the top brass have apparently decided it is not the sporting platform for them.

As the third hour comes to a close, TJ13 is hearing Red Bull are again having problems with their power unit.

Force India announce hey have managed to lay their hands on Sergio Perez and he will take over from the kidnapped Wehrlein

Wolff has currently banked 50 laps

Nasr 38, Verstappen 33, Raikkonen 29, Maldonado 29, Wehrlein 26, Button 21, Hamilton 11, Ricciardo 8.




The tale of the hour before lunch was of Red Bull finally getting up and running. Apparently the slow trundle of Ricciardo’s first 8 laps was not power unit problems – according to Red Bull as they tweeted: “A few valuable aero runs completed after morning teething problems. Daniel heads out for a pre-lunch stint”.

Anyway….  it was a good stint from a time perspective and Ricciardo’s second flying lap took him second fastest of the day and he continued on to complete a relatively respectable 17 laps this morning

Conversely, McLaren announced just before the hour was up that their running for the day was over. Honda have a problem with a faulty seal on the MGU-K which requires an engine change. Just 21 more laps for the reborn partnership between Honda and McLaren.

Bad news for Alonso as Honda admit the problem may reoccur tomorrow, as the redesigned replacement part will not be ready until Saturday.

Having racked up more laps than anyone else thus far, Suzie Wolff looked well off the pace of the rest. She switched to the medium tyre and set off on another run. Suddenly her times were under 1:30:00 as she slowly built pace finishing with a 1:29:400. This was still the slowest time of the morning except for that of Hamilton’s which was set early doors in the colder weather.

Still with 77 laps under her belt which was more than anyone else – Suzie avoided the rookie error of Daniel Kvyat – kept it on the black stuff and Williams have some achieved some valuable data collecting.

After stopping twice on track in the first two hours, Pastor Maldonado also managed to get some mileage under his belt and challenged for the top of the time sheets, though he ended up third overall.

untitledThe Ferrari was conspicuous by its absence in this period before lunch but the two rookies Verstappen and Nasr were duking it out at the top of the time sheets for latter part of the session. Felipe Nasr came out on top and Ricciardo and Maldonado eclipsed Verstappen late on.

With 9 minutes of the session left, Lewis Hamilton’s replacement emerged from the pit lane in the Mercedes car. Unusually the time sheets display 2 different times for one driver. Pascal Wehrlein is credited for his best time in both the Force India and Mercedes cars.

There was no winter testing her last year, as the teams elected to go to the sun in the Bahrain. So to give the times some perspective, Lewis Hamilton’s pole position time in Barcelona 2014 was 1:25:232. This is morning one of the second test. It is probable we will see that pole time eclipsed by the time the teams are packing up and getting ready for Australia.

  1. Nasr, Sauber, 1:27.307, 53 laps
  2. Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1:27.363, 17 laps
  3. Maldonado, Lotus, 1:27.510, 43 laps
  4. Verstappen, Toro Rosso, 1:27.951, 35 laps
  5. Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:28.064, 29 laps
  6. Button, McLaren, 1:28.182, 21 laps
  7. Wehrlein, Force India, 1:28.329, 32 laps
  8. Wehrlein, Mercedes, 1m29.286, 5 laps
  9. Wolff, Williams, 1:29.400, 77 laps
  10. Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:30.429, 11 laps.


35 responses to “Day 5 #F1 2015 Winter Testing: Barcelona, morning report

  1. 09:49 Lewis Hamilton will not continue for Mercedes today:

    “An unplanned stoppage keeping us off track at the moment. @LewisHamilton is unwell and not able to continue driving today…,” the team reveals on Twitter.

    “… so we’re just adjusting the car for Pascal #Wehrlein to take to the track this afternoon. #MusicalChairs”

          • And how would you know what he might or might not have?….

            You do know that sometimes what it says on the tin, is exactly whats in the tin?

          • Flu means ill for 7-10 days minimum with a raging temp for 3-4 days. Merc say they’re hopeful he’ll be ok for Saturday. Ergo, he’s not got flu.TBH if he had flu he’d have not got in the car this morning. Lots of folks assume flu & a cold are the same thing, they’re very very different.

          • Mate have you ever heard about something call Lemsip? Furthermore, there are different types of flu viruses and given that these are some of the fittest men on the planet, it’s not inconceivable that they can recover sufficiently enough to continue with their day to day activities.

            TBH, i have never seen anyone with flu that last 7-10 days anyways.

            BTW, he’s not schedule to drive again until Saturday

          • @Fortis96 you obviously haven’t had Flu proper. Both myself and my wife had Flu 3 Christmas’s ago, I was layed up in bed for 16days and my wife spent 12days in intensive care in a pressurized oxygen tent with 3 lots of intravenous antibiotics running at the same time, the day she was admitted she was given the last rights by a priest as they didn’t think she would make it through the night. Influenza is a killer! So to your argument, if you are better in 7days from start to finish, it’s just a heavy cold. It took my misses nearly 3 months to fully recover.

          • @**Paul**
            “Lots of folks assume flu & a cold are the same thing, they’re very very different.”

            It drives me up the walls when professional medical doctors are clueless as to the difference…

          • @Clear view……

            I did say that i have anyone with flu that last that long. And i have had the flu and i call tell the difference between it and a cold, but i’ve never had it last beyond a week.

    • he is probably feeling as I was yesterday, with a massive hangover and with his heart thrashed … for once I can feel some empathy for Lewis
      and gals know how to crush our minds and souls, indeed

        • yeah, Clear View

          and I think and feel the way Lewis feels, certain kind of people have this need to be loved, need to be safe with somebody, and when this doesn’t happens, everything else falls apart

          • I hear ya @R/T, I’m lucky enough to be with my best friend from childhood, although it took us 10 years and a failed marriage each to realize how we felt it’s now been 15years together.

            Time is the greatest healer.

  2. As the FIA are getting involved with helmet designs now, can’t they crack down on the liveries too? That Force India one might be the worst I’ve ever seen on an F1 car! Why are they so determined on making everybody hate them even more

  3. Looks like Mercedes are already trying to manage their 2 race drivers by not giving Nico too many extra laps even in pre-season running.
    Maybe Lewis asked that Nico wasn’t given an unfair advantage, but why didn’t they just put Nico in car today and let Lewis run one of Nico’s days?

    The stage management begins @FatHippo

    • I think was frustrates me about this is the fact that Merc don’t have the balls to come out and say as such. I’m starting to think that if you win a world championship it’s mandatory for teams to treat fans with total contempt…

      The fact Nico isn’t in the car suggests Merc are happy they have performance in hand on everyone else on the grid, because you can’t play playground internal games if you’ve got a slow car, you need the time on track.

  4. Re McHonda…..

    Reports are that they wont be doing anymore running until Saturday, because Honda may need to redesign a component for its MGU-K….

    • Not true – they will run tomorrow – but Alonso will have the same seal fitted – which may fail – and end his days running too.

      The newly designed seal will be available for Jenson Saturday

      • @thejudge13 it amazes me that such a mundane part as an oil seal failing didn’t show up on the dyno runs, surly they push the engine to its limits and beyond when on a test bench. Just odd that they have had an engine that runs since November last year but it’s took 4months to find something as basic a faulty oil seal……something is a miss I’m afraid, it looks like the possibility that Honda, as did Ferrari and Renault last year, have simply underestimated the task in front of them.
        Let’s face it, unless they were hot to trot out of the box in Jerez, they were never going to challenge Mercedes. I for 1 find this a massive failure by Honda, they knew the lap times they were chasing (unlike for 2014 where it was all an unknown), they knew the kind of reliability and performance required, yet they have only just found a 20p rubber seal I’d not up to the job.
        I love McLaren, but they are sooooooooo Damn frustrating.

        • bring back BMW and we would have the mighty McLaren BMW partnership as it was back in the good days of BPR and FIA GT

          just kidding, though

        • @Clear View sometimes you just don’t pick up on these sorts of issues until you’ve got the power unit installed in the car and are running it out on track. Dyno’s are useful tools, but they can’t tell you everything in terms of the variables that get thrown up by a race track and a driver’s inputs. The time to panic is if they fit the new seal (they’ve not said what material it’s made of) on the MGU-K on Saturday, It tootles around the track for a few laps and develops the same fault. I’m more anxious about the final test, as that’s when McLaren Honda will be running the race specification power unit. If that goes pearshaped then the first race will be quite gloomy. Though in the long term, I expect they’ll get on top of the issues and become competitive eventually. I do not expect a lot from McLaren Honda in 2015. Button’s early pace looks promising compared to the last test. But it means nothing until Q1 down under.

          Anyway not surprised they are not running any more today, it took the other teams most of the season to get the power unit replacement time down to about 3 hours if I recall correctly.

          • I suppose that unless you run a full built up car on a rig you can never really recreated all the vibrations etc that are associated with real world work.
            I kind of thought that the bench tests would literally test the PU to destruction. Maybe I got the wrong end of the stick slightly.

          • I’m sure you can destroy a PU on a test bench to stress test parts in terms of temperature limits and forces but until you tightly package the PU into an actual racing car and allow a driver to control the application of the gear selections, throttle and braking dyno’s can only tell you so much. I’m really not expecting much from McLaren Honda in 2015, just a year of steady development and improving reliability. Maybe showing the true speed of the Honda Power unit by the end of the season. Having watched F1 from the 90’s (when things broke all the time even on the top cars) I’m on the fence about where this partnership will go. It took a while before the Schumacher and Ferrari combination paid off in terms of winning titles. It will be fascinating to see how this evolves over the next few years with Mercedes being the benchmark to beat.

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