Day 7 #F1 2015 Winter Testing: Barcelona, Afternoon Report

Circuit de Catalunya

Welcome back folks for the second part of TJ13’s coverage of the 7th day of pre-season testing.

There has been some activity just before and during the lunch break. Fernando Alonso has passed his annual evacuation test, during which a driver must prove, under the watchful eye of Jo Bauer, that he can get out of the car in under five seconds.

merc_spy In the morning Mercedes seemed to have sent the world’s seemingly most useless spy to check out the Ferrari with what looked like a heat imaging camera. Since they have pulled the same stunt on Merc last year (in an equally inept fashion) the Ferraristi easily spotted the subversive action and called the security.

It later turned out that it was just a normal camera with an over-sized flash and the amateur spy was (and presumably still is) an official Mercedes photographer. But the little anecdote neatly demonstrates the general paranoia in the paddock.

Here’s a look at the morning’s leaderboard as we prepare to go green.

1. Netherlands Verstappen Toro Rosso STR10 renault 1:24.739 60 supersoft
2. Great Britain Hamilton Mercedes AMG W06 mercedes 1:26.142 +1.403 41 medium
3. Germany Vettel Ferrari SF15-T ferrari 1:26.407 +1.668 54 medium
4. Russia Kvyat Red Bull Racing RB11 renault 1:26.589 +1.850 34 medium
5. Brazil Massa Williams FW37 mercedes 1:26.912 +2.173 55 medium
6. Germany Wehrlein Force India VJM07 mercedes 1:27.699 2.960 36 medium
7. Venezuela Maldonado Lotus E23 mercedes 1:27.966 +3.227 42 medium
7. Great Britain Button McLaren MP4-30 honda 1:29.151 +4.412 12 medium
9. Sweden Ericsson Sauber C34 ferrari 1:42.178 +17.440 6 intermediate
10. Finland Bottas Williams FW37 mercedes -:–.– 0

2pm (>>)

green And we’re off!

The Red Bull pit board showed “L65” just before the restart. It looks like another attempt at a race simulation for the Austrians.

Word in the German media is that Renault’s attempts to return as a full-fledged works team are far from over. According to AMuS, Toro Rosso is the favoured candidate for purchase.

It looks as the rain was rather short lived. Hamilton is on the track on mediums and is running 1:30s already. So far he is alone on the track.

Weather Check: Same old – heavy clouds, 10°C air, 13°C track

There is very little action in the opening minutes as the track has not yet completely dried off again.

Which gives us time to present another piece of news that came up during the lunch break. Williams has announced that they do not plan to introduce any new parts today or tomorrow, but a larger update will be evaluated in the third test, including revised floor and rear wing.

Red Bull seems to be in no hurry. Not even the pit wall boffins have returned yet. Considering that some light drizzle has returned, it doesn’t come as a surprise.

After an installation lap of epic 3 minutes, Kvyat ends up being pushed the last 50 or so meters. Seems like the Red Bull has another problem.

It’s been a bit of a yawn so far. Ericsson did a single installation lap and Kvyat changes from Intermediates to the soft compounds as first glimpses of the sun appear. Other than that nothing happens.

A few more pilots start venturing out as Kvyat starts his race simulation. The times are rather mediocre though 1:30 and north of that.

Kvyat pits for the first time after 9 laps, just like Ricciardo yesterday. He switches from soft to medium. Looks like the Circuit de Catalunya has lost none of its appetite for rubber.

3pm (<<  >>)

Having switched to softs, Maldonado improves to third position after 48 laps.

Hamilton goes out for an installation lap. That’s definitely not the same monkey seat they’ve been running in the morning.

Valteri Bottas joins the fun and he picks up where Massa left – practicing pitstops.

Maldonado comes very close to Verstappens time, less than two tenths of a second slower on soft tyres. Verstappen ran his him on super softs.

Kvyat comes in, with half of his race sim done :

1:30.9 – 1:30.7 – 1:31.2 – 1:31.8 – 1:31.6 – 1.32.1 – 1:32.4 – 1:32.4 – Inlap (soft -> medium) – outlap – 1:29.7 – 1:29.8 – 1:29.7 – 1:29.8 – 1:30.2 – 1:30.0 – 1:30.2 – 1:30.4 – 1:30.9 – 1:30.9 – 1:30.8 – 1:31.3 – 1:31.0 – 1:31.4 – 1:31.3 – 1:31.4 – 1:31.8 – 1:32.2 – 1:31.9 – 1:33.1 (traffic) – 1:32.4 – Inlap

The reverend has switched to super softs and takes the top spot with a 1:24.348. We’re now in the region of yesterday’s times, but on softer compounds.

Despite his oops moments right off the bat, Vettel is now the second busiest man with 79 laps completed to Verstappen’s 90.

Wehrlein meanwhile impersonates a chameleon and has pretty much faded into the background since this mornings running.

The Williams boys must be absolutely knackered by now. Bottas has done 14 laps so far without ever crossing the start-finish line. After each lap he dives back in for yet another practice pit stop.

McLaren are nowhere to be seen. At 12 laps so far and only two hours remaining this looks like yet another debacle. Let’s hope they get at least some laps done before the checkered flag.

As the conditions improve slightly Vettel and Hamilton go back out at all haste.

4pm (<<  >>)

meanwhile on twitter…


Lewis Hamilton has posted a slight improvement while being on a long-run, while Bottas, believe it or not, comes in for the 20th service!

Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen close in on the 100 lap mark with 90 laps for the German and 97 laps for the Dutchman.

Just shy of taking over the spot of longest distance, Vettel is called in and his “rival” Verstappen goes out and the Dutchman is the first to pass the 100 lap mark.

With eleven laps to go in is race sim Kvyat comes in for used softs. His simulation has been identical to that of Ricciardo yesterday.

If any of the Williams drivers is spotted with a lollypop-shaped imprint on his face later tonight, nobody will be surprised. The Finn just came in for the 25th time. Meanwhile the Red Bull youngsters Kvyat and Verstappen as well as Vettel have run more laps than Bottas and Massa combined. Williams have officially wasted a perfectly usable day.

Keep still my beating heart! There’s a McLaren on the track. Jenson manages 3 laps without anything blowing up in his face. Much rejoicing ensues.

No remarkable times for a long time as pretty much everyone is on long runs. Meanwhile the second Red Bull team – the mothership – has cracked the three digit lap numbers, too. Who woulda thunk a year ago that with less than 80 minutes to go the two cars with the most laps would be Renault powered.

Kvyat has finished his race sim, but had to come in for an unscheduled stop 2 laps from home. The Russian from Ufa has now finished 102 laps. We have it on good word that no front wings have been harmed in the process.

Here’s the complete race sim for the man from Mother Russia

1:30.9 – 1:30.7 – 1:31.2 – 1:31.8 – 1:31.6 – 1.32.1 – 1:32.4 – 1:32.4 – Inlap (soft -> medium) – outlap – 1:29.7 – 1:29.8 – 1:29.7 – 1:29.8 – 1:30.2 – 1:30.0 – 1:30.2 – 1:30.4 – 1:30.9 – 1:30.9 – 1:30.8 – 1:31.3 – 1:31.0 – 1:31.4 – 1:31.3 – 1:31.4 – 1:31.8 – 1:32.2 – 1:31.9 – 1:33.1 (traffic) – 1:32.4 – Inlap – Outlap – 1:29.5 – 1:29.2 – 1:30.0 (Verkehr) – 1:29.4 – 1:29.4 – 1:29.7 – 1:30.0 – 1:29.9 – 1:29.4 – 1:29.3 – 1:29.5 – 1:29.6 – 1:29.6 – 1:30.3 – 1:30.4 – 1:30.6 – 1:30.7 – 1:30.8 – 1:30.9 – Inlap (Medium -> Soft) – Outlap – 1:28.0 – 1:27.5 – 1:27.8 – 1:28.7 – 1:28.7 – 1:29.0 – 1:29.2 – 1:29.6 – Inlap (Soft -> Soft) – Outlap – Inlap

Somebody in the Honda bunker will have to hack off a finger to apologize tonight. The problem – I kid thee not – is a faulty seal on the MGU-K and before you ask, yes, it’s the ‘bugfix’ of the faulty seal from two days ago. A third attempt to tackle to problem is expected to arrive tonight. For the remaining 60-something minutes the Honda’s MGU-K will be turned down to a minimum. Well, still 9 fingers remaining – no pressure at all…

5pm (<<  >>)


Vettel meanwhile is the third man to crack the 100. But just as he came in when he matched Verstappens lap count, he comes in just as he exactly matches Kvyat. Both have now 102 laps, Kiddo is far ahead at 125.

News from Americaland comes in that president Obama was quick to assure his nation that Honda is not responsible for the Navy Seals.

Valteri Bottas has just finished his 40th lap and is yet to cross the finish line for the first time. I wonder what the Williams mechanics are being punished for.

Things have gone quiet a bit as Maldonado crosses the 100 lap mark. Lewis is getting there too. He’s currently on his 94th lap.

Ericsson drops Vettel to 5th by taking the 4th spot. However the German has only run medium and intermediate tyres so far, as has Hamilton in 3rd. All others have run softs or super softs to post their best times.

Button is back in with a hopeless tally of 21 laps. Both Bottas and Ericsson, who have only started at lunch time have at least twice as much and Bottas has done a hundred eleventy pitstops in between. With no second team, this is another utterly wasted day for the Japanese manufacturer.

Meanwhile Lewis comes in just shy of the 100 laps mark. Forty minutes to go till the table cloth and things have gone quite.

AMuS’ Michael Schmidt complains that his Finnish colleagues start to take the mickey out of Vettel for his rather catholic best lap in comparison to Kimi’s efforts of yesterday. In an uncharacteristic move the journo defends the German, despite being known as everything but a Vettel fan. The two programs of the Ferrari drivers are not really comparable and Vettel has yet to run anything but the mediums, at least in the dry.

With 30 minutes to go till the portly Lady starts screeching the teams and drivers seem to have run out of steam a bit. Is Wehrlein still at the track? Not even Copperfield could make people that invisible.

Michael Schmidt meanwhile offers his Finnish colleagues a determined ollen hullu saksalainen, wondering if he hasn’t gone overboard with the swearing…

red Red Flag

Verstappen’s STR10 has packed in on the straight just as Jenson Button’s McLaren tries hard to crawl out of the pitlane without being overtaken by wildlife.

The track will reopen for about 10 minutes. It will be interesting to see if anyone can be bothered to go out. Track conditions have returned to almost exactly the unfavourable values of nine hours ago, just with a bit more drizzle. It’s doubtful that the leaderboard will change in anything but the laps column.

green Green Flag

A few drivers go out and the two most interesting questions are:

Will Jenson crack the “magic 25 mark”? and will Bottas be allowed to run at least one flying lap?

The latter question can be answered with an emphatic yes and Jense ends up bog last, one lap shy of the magic 25.

Lewis seems to want to make the 100 lap mark for statistical reasons. He certainly doesn’t go for a lap time as he’s on mediums.

And there it is – three digits for the champ.

Either Ferrari have a technical problem or just couldn’t be bothered. Vettel has been stationary for pretty much the entire last hour.

Last man on the track is Maldonado

checkered There’s the table cloth!!

6pm (<<)

It’s done. A day, which was dominanted by longruns. Let’s have a look at the protagonists:


These two were the only ones who went for fast laps and were the first to run the super soft tyres. That they barely managed to reach yesterday’s times shows how much slower the track was today.


These two were the ones that didn’t go for lap time. Neither of them has run anything softer than the medium. Longruns were obviously the flavour of the day. Vettel’s start with his run straight into the gravel trap was a pretty daft move though. In the end it didn’t cost too much.


I hope Force India have found him by now. It’d be awkward having to explain to Mercedes that they have somehow lost their test driver. How one can drive 81 laps and be completely invisible is a bit of a mystery.


WTF?? really…


The word clusterf*** springs to mind…

And that concludes a long day in the office for the TJ13 crew. With a look at the final leaderboard we bid thee farewell until we be seeing you again in the morrow.

1. Venezuela Maldonado Lotus E23 mercedes 1:24.348 104 Super Soft
2. Netherlands Verstappen Toro Rosso STR10 renault 1:24.739 +0.391 129 supersoft
3. Great Britain Hamilton Mercedes AMG W06 mercedes 1:26.076 +1.728 101 medium
4. Sweden Ericsson Sauber C34 ferrari 1:26.340 +1.992 53 soft
5. Germany Vettel Ferrari SF15-T ferrari 1:26.407 +2.059 105 medium
6. Russia Kvyat Red Bull Racing RB11 renault 1:26.589 +2.241 112 soft
7. Brazil Massa Williams FW37 mercedes 1:26.912 +2.564 55 medium
8. Germany Wehrlein Force India VJM07 mercedes 1:27.333 2.985 81 medium
9. Finland Bottas Williams FW37 mercedes 1:27.556 +3.208 49 medium
7. Great Britain Button McLaren MP4-30 honda 1:29.151 +4.803 24 medium

28 responses to “Day 7 #F1 2015 Winter Testing: Barcelona, Afternoon Report

  1. I dunno about the camera, but it’s just a large profits strobe aka flash that’s being hung over the rails, there…

    • This big flash is intriguing. One would guess that Mercedes are hunting for something very specific on the Ferrari, and wanted to throw as much light on it as possible to capture it.

      The darker areas of these cars tend to be rear of the car, in general.

      Or maybe they were having some fun with Ferrari…

      • Inverse square rule of light means if you stand back a few yards, you need very big lamps. Think of the sun! That’s a very normal strobe, without any rig much. To be honest, the way that is set, casting shadows as it would without a diffuser or umbrella, actually details more likely could get hidden. There are however good reasons to default to a strobe, rather than use high ISO abilities of cameras (which negate use of flash almost entirely, especially for the size of detail on a car) and that would be ensuring stopping a piece of machinery in motion, as the strobe duration is much much shorter than any shutter. Therefore, what moving, exposed, visible, part on the car which is their subject, is of interest???

        • The light is the Profoto B1, which is ~10 times more powerful than “a very normal strobe.” In addition, it has the Magnum Reflector mounted, which adds an additional f-stop of light.

          The photo also shows it is bright conditions, with good diffused (light cloud cover / hazy sunshine) light conditions. For fast shutter speed work the existing light is already substantial. And given that this is hanging a few meters over their pit box, the action is not fast anyway.

          Which is why I supposed they wanted to blow a bunch of extra light on to the Ferrari to light up some particular (dark) nooks and crannies.

  2. The new seal failed, new design tomorrow for the McLaren. Perhaps they should play the Benny Hill theme tune in the McLaren garage to indicate when things are going pear shaped.

    • Making themselves look rather silly would be my take on this oil seal fiasco! Ok, get I wrong once, maybe it didn’t show up on the test bench, but come on, knowing what failed, how it failed and why, there is little if no excuse for cocking it up a second time round whilst knowing exactly what they needed to do to fix it……. I can picture Ron now, throwing his desk over in a fit of red faced rage.

    • Last year, during the first test it was revealed at this site there was an essential design error in the Renault PU’s. This was revealed from knowledge gleaned from people inside a team, etc.

      The early testing performance issues of this Honda resemble, to some degree, what we saw last year.

      It will be worthwhile to watch closely what both McLaren and Honda say over the next few days. If there is a significant, long term issue, that will become apparent in their press releases.

      If this is just another short term teething issue, it will disappear.

      They’re statements this week show anxiety about Melbourne.

      The potential of this design, and this team remains very high. Looking forward to seeing how close to their potential they can perform during these first fly-away races…

      • Honda are bringing the Race specification power unit to the final test, if that suffers similar issues then there might be an issue that will require a fix that may take up most of the early part of the season. I don’t expect much in 2015 from McLaren Honda, just a year of developing the car and power unit.

        • Yes, don’t forget changes to engines involving reliability or cost are permitted and won’t take away from tokens available for development. So even if there’s a problem at the test Honda should be able to fix it (assuming they can) and change the specification even after homologation.

  3. Many thanks for all those reports! Loving every sentence of it. This is why this is my favorite f1 site. Ever. Cheers!

  4. Yahh, to use a ‘Murican sports metaphor, ya knocked it outta da park, Hippo!

    When I saw that they had pulled the rear of the Macca off after Button’s first stop, I thought to myself it could be MGU-K again and then LOL’ed when I heard that it was.

    Of course, the real interesting thing is Renault buying TR. Do you think that RB would look to Cosworth or another engine manufacturer, or would they continue with Renault.? Frankly, couldn’t see them running a Merc or Honda and I doubt Ferrari would play ball with them at this point.

  5. Regarding Williams’ devoting a full day to pit-stop practice, they did this last year at this time also.

    Last year, it paid huge dividends, as Williams had been notoriously uncompetitive in their pit-stop times in 2013, but immediately in 2014 had competitive pit-stops. As a Williams fan I was surprised last year, but ultimately impressed by Pat Symonds for doing this.

    I’m pleased to see they’ve done this again this year!

  6. Next week (but not this week), we should begin to see the actual performance levels of these cars.

    Two things are different this year, versus last year. Except for Honda, the PU manufacturers have a season under their belt with these new designs. So the reliability this test season is much better. Looking toward this season, these three PU manufacturers will be more focused on performance this year, since their knowledge of reliability issues is good. Ferrari has been explicit about this change in goals, and I suppose it’s the same for Mercedes and Renault.

    The second primary difference is the tires. Pirelli have stated that they will be more aggressive this year, aiming for 2 to 3 stops on average per race. Pirelli are now fairly good at meeting their goals. Last year they aimed for the lower end of that figure, and they hit it with an average of 2.02 per driver per race.

    The analysis that I’ll be looking for during these last days of pre-season testing will be:
    * Tire performance:
    * * How long does each compound last?
    * * How does each team / driver perform on these compounds?

    * Car performance:
    * * In race sims, and long runs, who performs best (average laptime)
    * * Reliability – most teams will be in Melbourne spec. A failure is OK (better during a test), but multiple failures is not OK.

    Candidly, I don’t expect I’ll find that analysis on this site here. I would be pleasantly surprised if I’m wrong about that. Which is OK. This site has its strengths. (I should mention I’m a fan of Lorenzo de Luca, who has done some wonderful things here, but I’m not sure his passion will lead him to focus on these particular areas.)

    • Found this for you VM on yesterday’s runnings:
      – 1st STINT (SOFT USED – 7 laps): step of 1.31.361
      – 2nd STINT (MEDIUM USED – 18 laps): step of 1.31.287
      – 3rd STINT (MEDIUM USED – 19 laps): step of 1.30.135
      – 4th STINT (SOFT USED – 11 laps): step of 1.29.099
      – Average Pace: 1.30.470

      – 1st STINT (HARD USED – 21 laps): step of 1.31.103
      – 2nd STINT (HARD USED – 19 laps): step of 1.29.520
      – 3rd STINT (HARD NEW – 16 laps): step of 1.28.171
      – Average Pace: 1.29.598

      looking at that I’d say bad news for everyone but Rosberg. Hamilton running faster on used Hards than Ricciardo on used Mediums, and faster on new Hards than Ricciardo on used Softs. Just Wow.

      • Following the Autosport feed, at one point during race sims between Seb n Lewis, both on the Med, Seb was doing 1:30.5s whilst Lewis was doing 1:28.4s

  7. Watching Sky Sports Paddock Uncut, 2nd test day 3 report I was interested to discover Lewis’s reason for being less then his normal sparkling self…. Flu nothing, all bull$hit. Real reason, no lug bling…….

    After watching Susie Wolff interviewed on same segment, day previous, intrigued that the hold up on Lewis’s contract negotiation is Toto is refusing to insert clause in Lewis’s contract that Susie will not wear bigger sparkle ear studs then he…….True, watch them yourselves…..:-)

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