Welcome back to the second part of our coverage and there’s no other word to say it – the distribution of information at Barcelona is currently a shambles really. Every two minutes the information from two minutes before is revised and completely changed.
Just to give you the idea:
At 13:20 word was, that Aloso was airlifted to hospital, with screens being help up to hide as he was carried from the medical center to the heli, reminiscent of the scenes we’ve seen after Schumacher’s crash in Silverstone 1999.
At 13:25 that was we were informed that the tranfer to the hospital was merely precautionary an that Alonso was conscious, alert and has spoken to the doctors.
At 13:29, at least the ‘alert and conscious’ part was now finally and officially confirmed. Until we get anything that someone vows for, it is best we keep ourselves out of the speculation.
One thing doesn’t need to be confirmed though: For McLaren things go from bad to worse. As if their huge technical problems weren’t enough, they have now a damaged car and an – at the very least – very rattled star driver at hand.
Confirmation has come directly from McLaren that Fernando Alonso has suffered no visible injuries, but has been airlifted to hospital solely as a precautionary measure.
A first image has cropped up
Foto de Jordi Vidal del momento del accidente pic.twitter.com/E81YJF4wdO
— Andrés Méndez (@A_MendezA) February 22, 2015
It seems to confirm inofficial eyewitness accounts that Alonso seemed to have whacked the car sideways into the wall on the inside of the corner, as if on purpose. Two possible reasons would be either a substantial failure in the steering system, leaving the car out of Alonso’s control or a break failure with the driver attempting to deccelerate the car. Neither of which can be confirmed or denid from the sparse information available and McLaren refuses to comment until final medical all-clear has been signaled by the hospital.
So all we can do at the moment is look at the current order and wait for new information to come in.
|1.||Sainz jr||Toro Rosso||STR10||1:25.605||59|
|7.||Kvyat||Red Bull Racing||RB11||1:28.149||+2.544||38|
Meanwhile the helicopter is back and Sebastian Vettel, who was right behind Alonso at the time confirms that it did not look like an accident, but as if Alonso veered right and nerfed it into the wall on purpose or at least to prevent worse.
Even though the helicopter is back, race control has delayed the restart until 2:15pm local time, which is 15 minutes from now. With that final information, I hand over to my colleague Adam Macdonald.
Good afternoon all, glad to have you with us for this final installment of the first Barcelona test of 2015. Fresh from the sherry and robes of Jerez we will see how much is added to the 370 laps so far for the day.
A somewhat strange event in the morning session for the 05/06 World Champion, as AMus reporter Tobias Grüner points out…
#F1 Vettel was behind Alonso before the crash: “The speed was slow – maybe 150kph. Then he turned right into the wall. It looked strange.”
— Tobias Grüner AMuS (@tgruener) February 22, 2015
A reminder that it had been Jenson Button who was scheduled to take over from the Spaniard this afternoon. This seems highly unlikely now, which given all that mileage is everything in a new car/powertrain combination this will hurt even more.
The green flag is waved and immedaitely it is Lotus and Romain Grosjean who head out for what the team say will be a race simulation, Rosberg, Bottas, Kvyat and the Spanish protege Sainz Jr are circulating.
Those of a jealous disposition should look away now; the blue skies are a distant memory for anyone stuck in blighty at the moment…
The Williams and Mercedes are both lapping very consistently as they settle in the race simulation. Out on the soft tyres for the afternoon his lap times are now jumping up to the 1:33s and now 1:36s, as Felipe Nasr emerges from the garage to crawl around the track once before returning to the pits.
Grosjean is now forced to bin his tyres and opt for a set of mediums. Rosberg returns to the garage once more and Sauber tweet about “general issues” with the C34 curtailing running this morning. Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn spoke in Jerez to me about how she had expected more from the winter, even with all the plaudits that were being offered about her team – being part of an F1 team must be a thankless task at the best of times.
The low 12°C make tyre running all but impossible as it will be tricky to maintain any kind of temperature in them. Grosjean is now lapping in the 1:31s which should remain slightly more consistent now.
A 1:31.906 is Nasr’s first timed lap of the day as the Hinwil team look to make up for lost ground. A word to the wise for the rookie Brazilian – avoid the other cars on track this time… He follows this up with a 1:27.366 to slot into 5th place on the time charts.
Valtteri Bottas pits after 16 laps out there, with the FW37 seemingly able to maintain those PZero tyres far better than the Lotus challenger.
After the Williams not sounding too healthy it has returned to the garage, completing just 17 laps here. Hardly the ‘race sim’ TJ13 was informed of. Now just Grosjean left out on track as Sainz and Nasr also return to the pits.
A last lap over 2 minutes for Romain Grosjean with an extremely slow middle sector, although he chose to continue out there.
A busy first hour after lunch here in Barcelona – a much better structure to the day having a lunch hour as it saves the long periods of inactivity where there is a less formal arrangement in Jerez.
Green in sector 1, green in sector 2 and now the Red Bull of Kvyat slots in 5th in the timing charts with a 1:26.935. After a cool down lap the Russian sets an identical lap time to the thousandth – precision driving from the Russian Rocket.
McLaren have issued a statement regarding the accident Alonso suffered earlier:
“Today at 12:35 CET, while testing at the Circuit de Catalunya (Barcelona), during the fourth and final day of the current test, Fernando Alonso’s McLaren-Honda car left the track at Turn Three, causing the right-hand side of his car to strike the wall.
“Fernando was driven to the circuit’s medical centre where the circuit’s doctors gave him first aid. He was conscious and spoke with the doctors. However, as per usual procedure in such circumstances, he was then airlifted to hospital where he is undergoing precautionary checks. We will issue a further update in due course.”
Felipe Nasr emerges from the pits once more. I was pleasantly surprised after interviewing the Brazilian in Jerez, his cool and relaxed demeanour hid the rookie status he enters the team with. He sets a 1:26.121 to move into second place.
Interesting offering from Trident GP2 driver on Twitter about the nature of Alonso’s earlier crash…
Red Flag: A rare sighting Nico Hulkenberg in his Force India before he scurries back to the pits. When he attempts to run again he brings out the red flag after stopping at turn 1. Smoke coming out of the car the German stands by his car awaiting recovery.
3 red flags in a day as we await the green flag to restart proceedings. The VJM07 continues to cook itself under the Spanish sun – at least it’s a 2014 car and not one of the 2015 edition. As TJ13 exclusively reported, this was only released after a lengthy delay by Formaplex due to non-payment.
At least for Lotus, Williams and Mercedes they have substancial running in already today – 84 laps, 83 laps and 83 laps respectively. A good day so far for the Mercedes power (apart from the smoking Force India of course).
Green Flag: And we are underway once more! Bottas and Gorsjean are out soon after. Kvyat joins soon after and leaps to the top of the charts with a 1:24.941 of the soft tyre.
Felipe Nasr now heads back out to get amongst the action.
Red Flag: Grosjean on a quicker lap but is forced to abandon it after the session is once more brought to a halt.
Reports in the German media that the warning light on Alonso’s MP4-30 was on to signify the impact was over 15G. He will be kept in for observations over night to assess his condition.
Sainz has stopped at turn 3 after losing control, spinning across the gravel into the tyre barrier. Another pause means a quick opportunity for a cup of tea.
So nobody has broken the 100 lap barrier here with Rosberg on 95 and Bottas on 94 for the day. The Ferrari of Vettel has only managed 10 laps since lunch – a problem or part of the plan?
A much lower windspeed should help maintain track temperatures this afternoon and also make the cars more stable in the braking zones. Both factors should make long runs more consistent.
Andrew Benson of BBCF1 reports “Scans taken at the hospital show that Fernando Alonso has no injuries, a McLaren spokesperson says.”
Green Flag: Kvyat, Gorsjean and Bottas all return to the tarmac almost immediately.
Red Flag: No sooner had they rushed out did they see red again. It looks to be Bottas who has caused this one, although unconfirmed reports say he has made it back to the pits by his own accord. As the timing screens update it shows he is in fact stopped out at turn 4.
Hardly shocking news, but McLaren confirm there will no more running today.
Green flag: Grosjean out there others and the Frenchman immediately goes top of the time charts with a 1:24.681. Even after arriving late in Jerez, the change in the team was evident with the new Mercedes powertrain. As long as they can keep their finances on track then surely a very positive season is in order for the Enstone squad.
Felipe Nasr goes for a quick lap but cannot go second, 0.15s short of Kvyat in second with a 1:24.956. When he tries again he misses out by half a second, showing just how short the life of these tyres are in such cool ambient temperatures.
Only Kvyat and Rosberg remain out there now as the German edges ever closer to a triple digit lap count. Slow and steady wins the race, so what would the expression be for Mercedes so far in winter testing?
Empty grandstands as shown by the video below – if that were England people would be out sunbathing in it…
Nasr currently lapping relatively quickly sets a 1:25.1 last time round. The Lotus E23 emerges once more with soft tyres on and immedaitely goes fastest with a 1:24.067.
A lull on track as Bottas is left out there for a while. We now approach the final hour as Grosjean and Rosberg rejoin the Finn on the asphalt. Can we see the 1:24.000 barrier broken before the end of the day as the track temperature remains constant? Rosberg is shaving time off his best, but is lapping some 2 and a half seconds slower than our leader’s best time.
The RB11 of Kvyat and rookie Nasr both go out as we count down an eventful first test here in Catalunya. Favourite or most interesting moment for the 4 days anyone?
TJ13’s always eagle-eyed Matt Trumpets suspects a problem with the rear brakes caused Alonso’s shunt earlier as there was a lot of work done altering setting of power delivery to the rear wheels. This would be consistent to the description of the accident we heard from Sebastian Vettel as well.
Lotus settle into a race simulation now which is believed to be a 2 stopping soft/hard/hard run.
Rosberg out on the medium tyre sets a personal best first sector to slot into second place with a 1:24.584. Following that qualifying simulation, on a compound two grades different to that which the Lotus set their best time on, the Mercedes W06 finally flexes its muscles…on day 8 of testing.
With Pirelli stating that the difference in compounds is worth around 1.5 – 2 seconds it is back to the drawing board for all the others as that lap from Mercedes was HOT HOT HOT! Back to the men vs boys analogy from 2014 then…
Another poignant part of that lap time from Rosberg:- The interesting part about the time from Rosberg was that it was set with 5 laps of fuel onboard and not on an empty tank.
Kvyat joins the action with medium tyres on, presumably to try and similar qualifying simulation – just under half an hour to go now.
First Bottas improves to a 1:25.345 and then Rosberg again improves, AGAIN on the medium tyre – 1:24.321 now. Patience running out or just fancied the opportunity to reward those back in Brackley with a quick time?
At just short of 3 hours without being sighted on track Vettel, in the prancing horse, returns. 15 minutes to set a comparative lap time, although it will have to do something pretty special to outdo that of the Mercedes. Lotus now call it a day, but have they spoken to soon in calling that the fastest time we will see today…?
Red Flag: And just as in Jerez the Sauber stops on track bringing out the red flag, in the final minutes of the final day of the test. Nasr had been circulating in the 1:29s and Vettel in the 1:30s, but that looks to be the end of any running. After an encouraging first test in Jerez, it has been a tougher time for the Swiss team here in Barcelona.
Speaking of Carlos Sainz’s off earlier, Franz Tost had this to say, “We are still going through the data to understand the cause, so it’s a bit early to conclude; however, it is fair to say that the winds have been extremely high and gusting today, and we have seen a few other cars have offs as well.”
Green Flag: With under a minute remaining…surely nobody is going to venture out for a stroll around, are they? Williams tweeted to say they would, but this is unconfirmed before the chequered flag falls. It’s lights out, all out – a gold star for anyone who can recognise that TV reference.
Fat Hippo has reaffirmed his bold call on the podcast, communicating with the rest of the TJ13 crew he doesn’t see a non-Mercedes powered car winning a race this year. Anyone care to disagree?
Well that is the end of proceedings here folks. Thanks for joining us here in the courtroom. We’re looking for contributions so describe testing in 3 words below please…
Hi there, Hippo again. Thanks, Adam, for covering the afternoon for us and we’re left with a rather sobering experience. Not only because of the Alonso crash, but also because, by the look of things, Mercedes have crushed that fragile flower called hope, that this season could be closer than last year’s.
As the nasty wind from the morning finally settled at lunch time we also saw something resembling quick lap times after the sometimes comically slow times that marked most of the first four hours of the day.
The many PU problems – Ferrari, Toro Rosso, Force India, Sauber – were not neccessarily surprising, considering that at the end of four days of hard running, the engines come close to what each of the four alloted PU’s for the season are supposed to endure. And on top of it this are still early season evlutions.
So, with a last look at the final standings we bid thee farewell. Watch this space for more testing coverage and or Daily News & Comment. Goodbye.
|3.||Kvyat||Red Bull Racing||RB11||1:24.941||+0.874||104|
|6.||Sainz jr||Toro Rosso||STR10||1:25.605||+1.538||88|