Day 9 #F1 2015 Winter Testing: Barcelona, Afternoon Report

Circuit de Catalunya

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green Green Flag!

Ok…so here we go again. The rain has stopped, the track will dry quickly and Massa and Ericsson head straight out.

The consensus over lunch in the media centre in Barcelona is that the red of Ferrari is definitely a different hue from last week’s livery. Shows what some rain and no quick lap times do to a group of people in a morning.

Also, Ron Dennis claimed today is Thursday, which sent everyone scurrying off to check their filofaxes and verify whether this is actually true. What is surprising is that the McLaren team boss admitted they have not discussed the accident with Fernando yet.

Also Dennis claimed Alonso was not concussed, but displayed concussion symptoms and was unconscious for a short time. Here’s the former F1 doc = Gary Hartstein’s response to that notion.

“Word to Ron Dennis: if there’s loss of consciousness, if there’s a normal CT, then it’s BY DEFINITION a concussion. Your statement is a lovely recap of your team’s confusion, obfuscation and inconsistencies since this all started.

Also of interest is the fact that Max Verstappen is set for a seat fitting at Red Bull this evening. TJ13 has previously revealed sourced in Milton Keynes have some concern over Russian driver Daniel Kvyat and his ‘Kimi streak’ and that Versappen is a lot quicker than he is in the simulator.

That said – this is probably just a precaution should either Danny or Dan, ‘do a Fred’ and be unfit to drive during the final test.

Massa is now on the soft compound – the morning times were on the medium. He sets a time of 1:25:963 – 2 tenths short of his morning’s best, then trails of over the next few laps into the 1m27s and 1m28s.


Kimi Raikkonen and Carlos Sainz – who is nicknamed ‘chilli’ by his friends’ – take to the circuit.

Massa is now on his tenth lap of this stint and his times have now dropped into the 1m30s so the soft tyre appears to be suffering high degradation.


Massa completes a 12 lap stint with the following times. 1.27,5 – 1.27.6 – 1.28,7 – 1.30,7 – 1.30,2 – 1.30,1 – 1.30,8 – 1.30,5 – 1.30,4 – 1.31,6 – 1.31,4 – 1.32,6

Sainz is out on the winter unmarked tyre. The winter tyre is designed by Pirelli to operate from a lower temperature range.

Kyvat and Ericsson now arrive on track, so we have yet to see since lunch, Hamilton, Button and Grosjean. Lotus have apparently requested the FIA perform a ‘deflection test’. Just checking everything is legal eh?

Massa returns with a new set of soft tyres putting in a first flying lap of 1.26,196.

Lewis Hamilton is clearly feeling chirpy even though he lost some sleep last night – “@LewisHamilton #InCarSelfie Have an amazing day today, #TeamLH!! Be GREAT!! #Love #BestTeam #GodBless”

The track is now completely dry with a temperature that has just burst above 20C.


Kvyat is the first driver to clock up 50 laps in the day – and he’s still running – as is Raikkonen, Grosjean and Ericsson.

Once again, the McLaren Honda appear to have followed Red Bull’s suit, and gone down the camouflage livery rout because the car has been almost invisible all day long.

Just 7 laps before lunch and it appears our early morning reveal here on TJ13 that ‘seal gate’ is ongoing is indeed true – AND McLaren announce, that’s it for the day due to a hydraulic leak (do we believe them???)

Jenson’s off for an early bath, shower, jacuzzi, rub down – or whatever he feels like…. This may be not so good for Magnussen, as Jenson can manage all on his own 7 laps every day from heron.


So here we stand now. Kimi has improved since the morning and Felipe Massa has just gone better than his earlier effort too. Both his an Lewis’ times have been set on the medium tyre.

1. Hamilton Mercedes GP W06 1:24.881 48
2. Massa Williams FW37 1:25.133 +0.252 54
3. Kvyat Red Bull Racing RB11 1:25.947 +1.066 56
4. Räikkönen Ferrari SF15-T 1:26.327 +1.446 36
5. Grosjean Lotus E23 1:27.079 +2.198 37
6. Sainz jr Toro Rosso STR10 1:27.261 +2.380 53
7. Ericsson Sauber C34 1:27.802 +2.921 57
8. Button McLaren MP4-30 1:31.479 +6.598 7

Mercedes have been conspicuous by their absence since lunch. But no word form the team on what is the problem.

Here’s Marcus Ericsson’s latest long run times on the medium tyre: 1:30.7, 1:31.0, 1:31.1, 1:31.3, 1:31.4, 1:31.4, 1:31.7, 1:31.5, 1:31.6 and 1:32.0.

Here was Massa’s earlier stint on the soft tyre: 1.27,5, 1.27.6, 1.28,7, 1.30,7, 1.30,2, 1.30,1, 1.30,8, 1.30,5, 1.30,4, 1.31,6, 1.31,4, 1.32,6

ADVANCE WARNING – TJ13’s afternoon report will unfortunately ‘go dark’ for an hour between 3:45 and 4:45pm local time.

Toro Rosso are pumping in the laps – 24 since lunch.

green And we’re stopped!

Curse of the commentator. Sainz has stopped out on track at turn 10.

You may not have seen this.Here’s the video from moments after Alonso came to a stop.

green Green Flag!

We’re off again. And GOOD NEWS. TJ13 will not be going dark. The man who is seeking to perpetuate the myth that German’s have a wicked sense of humour – FAT HIPPO – will be taking over shortly’

Williams start to show their hand as Massa goes quickest with a 1:24.687 on the medium tyre, but Hamilton has not been seen since munching on seeds during the lunch break in the Mercedes motor home.

The sun is making a lazy effort to break through the clouds and the track is now just over 21C.

In other news, GP3 and Indy lights driver – Carman Jorda is to join Lotus this season as a test driver.



Massa now goes even quicker with a  remarkable time of 1m23.500s on the soft tyre. It appears the Judge’s wager with @fakemedicalcar is looking good.

BOOM! Before I can even park my fat rear on some poor sod on the big chair, the 24’s are history in this year’s testing period. But the run was rather short, so it may well have been a qualy sim on low fuel. Track action is a bit parsimonious at the moment with Ericsson out all on his own, racking up more miles. At 73 laps he’s been the busiest man so far.

Ferrari meanwhile seem to have some problems. At only 41 laps so far, they bring up the rear in terms of lap times, if we discount the yet again laughable seven laps of McLaren.

Those medium tyres are either made from tritanium or the Sauber is really kind to them as Ericsson finishes what must be at least the 15th lap so far and the lap times are stable in the 1:29s and low 1:30s.

Nope, that Ferrari doesn’t look to good today. Kimi crawls across the line at a pace that would make a tortoise yell at him to get a move on. Over two minutes are wasted on a single lap…

Ericsson has the track all to himself again after Ferrari remove their (barely) moving road block and the Swede does a Volvo. He rolls, and rolls and rolls. 84 laps so far for the man from the land of pretty ladies and indestructable cars.

If anything, the mediums seem not to degrade as dramatically as the soft tyres. Ericsson has been out for a long time and he’s still lapping within 2 seconds of the early laps in this run.


There is light at the end of the dark gloomy tunnel. The Merc is not indestructable after all. While it is still unclear whether the gearbox packed in, or the power unit, the day seems to be over for the currently dominant force of F1. Hamilton sits in the motorhome wearing civilian apparel. But as always, the light at the end of the tunnel could well be a locomotive, so it’s not the time for premature schadenfreude.

Sauber seems to do a race sim as after a long stint, Ericsson is sent on his merry way right again – this time on soft tyres.

Brille? Fielmann! It are in fact hard tyres…

While I am known as a strong proponent of women in motorsports, Lotus’ latest signing baffles me a good deal, as the lady’s only qualification seems to be a pretty face. Her results in lower formulae are so shockingly bad, she’d make Max Chilton look like Michael Schumacher. Weird this. People like to mock Susie Wolff, but her modest success in the past is definitely way beyond what this young spanish lady has to offer for a CV.

A floviz-stained Red Bull goes out again. Looks like the Austrians still want to know more about the influence of the suspension on their precious airflow.

Massa goes out again after a short run on mediums that reads like this: 1:27.7, 1:28.3, 1:28.7, 1:29.1, 1:28.9, 1:29.1, 1:28.8

Ericsson cracks the 100 lap barrier and apart from perhaps Massa, who has done 77 laps so far, none of the other protagonists looks likely to come near that mark anytime soon. Considering that the available testing time is only getting shorter, the relative lack of action today is a bit surprising.

Romain Grosjean is out on a long run, while Ericsson finishes his latest one on hard tyres: 1:29.6, 1:30.4, 1:29.9, 1:29.4, 1:29.5, 1:30.0, 1:30.5, 1:29.9, 1:30.1, 1:31.3, 1:30.7, 1:30.4

Lotus’ resident Frenchman comes close to his best lap time on soft tyres, but not long after they go over the dreaded cliff.

Red Bull keep sending Kvyat out on short aerodynamics runs, while Kimi tries out if he can get his Ferrari round the track at least once before the warranty expires.

Whatever had been the problem with the Finn’s “red godess” it seems to have been resolved as Kimi finally comes close again to this morning’s times on medium tyres. But that’s not saying much as he’s still about 2 seconds off Massa’s times on the same compound. Only 51 laps so far is probably not the sort of running that the Gestione Sportiva has been hoping for either. If not quick, his times seem to be stable.

Meanwhile the Russian Rocket darts out in his dazzle-mobil again.

Ericsson’s Sauber seems to need a little breather. After pushing his lapcount into three-digit territory, the Swede has not been back out in the last 30 minutes.

After seven laps, stable in the 1:27s, the tyres on the Ferrari are starting to get knackered and the lap times are on the climb: 1:27.4, 1:27.4, 1:27.7, 1:27.6, 1:27.6, 1:27.7, 1:27.8, 1:28.2, 1:28.2, 1:28.3

On similar long-runs the times of Kimi and Felipe baby look rather similar too. That mean’s the Brazilian’s fast laps in the morning on the same compound where the result of a rather spartan fuel load.

The fans at the track have definitely been getting the poop-end of the stick as far as action is concerned. With Merc, McLaren and Force India missing by now, the other teams haven’t picked up the tab. In fact even in the best case we will have only two drivers with 100 laps or more. Everyone else is so far well behind the numbers that were the norm a few moons ago.

Meanwhile we are hearing that Mercedes is working hard on fixing a ‘failure the hybrid system’. While other teams were so desperate for mileage they ran the ICE only, the Mercs can afford to loose half a day, considering they’ve clocked more than 1000 laps in only 8 and a half testing days.


As the final hour of testing starts, I’ll hand the chronicler duties over to our well dressed dynamic duo. The stage is all yours, Adam…

Many thanks Hippo. I’ll park myself in the chair for this final hour, although the seat seems to have moulded to our favourite land mammal – it’ll take more than an hour to sort that out.

The Williams of Mass continues to quietly sail around the 4.6km circuit as he closes in on 100 laps for the day.  As Lincoln Chafee once said, “Trust is built with consistency”, so trust at Grove should be sky-high right now.

Marcus Ericsson moves up to third as he posts 1:25.330. 1.830 seconds down on the time set by Massa earlier. If they have the speed, the next thing to sort out has to be that Sauber livery, right?

After bringing out the red flag earlier we have Carlos Sainz Jr now back out on track, as he joins Kvyat, Grosjean, Raikkonen and Massa out there.  The strength of the 20 year old was impressive, as he was said to be ahead of the projected fitness goal for the season in Jerez.  With further gains expected due to an intensive regime between now and Melbourne can he get the jump on his also rookie team mate?

He follows up the words of praise by setting his best time of the day, a 1:26.962.  To expand further on that last point, Sainz has been following much a triathlon training program – much like Jenson Button.  One fortunate part for the Madrid born driver is his height, standing at 4cm shorter than Button he can afford to carry slightly more muscle, as well as the fact this year the minimum weight for the car and driver increases.

One for the tech lovers from earlier:

One observation of the Toro Rosso was the difficulty in controlling it into braking zones, although in truth is this going to be the biggest issue either driver faces. Having been used to F3 and Formula Renault 3.5 cars last year neither Verstappen or Sainz will miss the downforce particularly – the hardest part to adapt to will be the acceleration on corner exit.

Ericsson has now strapped on a set of the supersofts and sets a 1:24.610 with them.  He moves into second on the timesheets although still trails Massa by over a second.

A short run for the Swede as he heads back for the pits – in truth this was expected on the supersoft tyre in these cold conditions. Just 10 minutes to go now…

The former Caterham driver improves again after rejoining with another set of the supersoft tyres on. He improves to a 1:24.276 as he edges closer to Massa, although Massa’s time was on the soft tyre (1 compound harder).


Chequered flag: That’s all folks for day 9 of 2015 winter testing.


596 laps in  total for the first day of the final test of the winter, where it was Felipe Massa who finished top of the timesheets venturing into the 1:23s.  At last the true power of the FW37 is starting to show as we approach the end of the preseason.  The Mercedes W06 went past the 1,000 lap mark before a energy recovery system problem kept them out in the afternoon.

The Sauber continued to impress in the hands of Marcus Ericsson, as Toro Rosso brought a heavily upgraded car to Barcelona. McLaren still struggled, but for today the focus was not on their on track antics as much on the midday press conference where Ron Dennis and Eric the believable said…a lot of nothing.  Quiet days for Lotus and Ferrari who finished 5th and 6th respectively, as Daniil Kvyat trundled around without lighting up the timing screens.

See you back here tomorrow bright and early for another day of testing…Melbourne is getting closer by the second!

POS’N DRIVER TEAM CAR Lap Time  + diff  Laps
1. Massa Williams FW37 1:23.500 103
2. Ericsson Sauber C34 1:24.276 +0.776 122
3. Hamilton Mercedes GP W06 1:24.881 +1.381 48
4. Kvyat Red Bull Racing RB11 1:25.947 +2.447 75
5. Grosjean Lotus E23 1:26.177 +2.677 75
6. Räikkönen Ferrari SF15-T 1:26.327 +2.827 80
7. Sainz jr Toro Rosso STR10 1:27.261 +3.761 86
8. Button McLaren MP4-30 1:31.479 +7.979 7

26 responses to “Day 9 #F1 2015 Winter Testing: Barcelona, Afternoon Report

  1. Little Max is even transcending the original hype… ‘the bigger the hype the harder they fall’ comes to mind. Let’s hope it’s just as The Judge said a precaution for when something happens to either of the regular Red Bull drivers. I also wouldn’t mind if it’s just for a glory run in the big Bull, just to see what he is capable of.

    Even though I’m a fan of young Verstappen because of what he has done in F3 I thought his promotion to F1 was maybe a bit too soon but if a 17 year old can do it than it’s Max. If Max immediately is catapulted to the big Bull I’m afraid it can only end in a premature end of his career. I hope I’m wrong but I just can’t imagine the pressure and politics of the Big Bulls is something he can handle when he’s still getting used to a F1 car and the dynamics of an F1 race.

  2. “Also, Ron Dennis claimed today is Thursday, which sent everyone scurrying off to check their filofaxes and verify whether this is actually true. What is surprising is that the McLaren team boss admitted they have not discussed the accident with Fernando yet.”

    WTF! Either you believe what Big Ron is saying, or you don’t. Take your pick. But don’t simply randomly select what you choose to believe given your own biases… It’s a tad too bloody obvious!

    • Well it should be clear by now that most opf the TJ13 staff have chosen not to believe Ron Dennis, which is the point of the statement. Dennis is becoming more and more like Baghdad Bob by the day. The presser today was a complete waste of time, as they just re-iterated the half-truths from the monday press statement. God knows why they even staged that meeting. Frankly, I’m beyond bemused about what the heck they’re on about.
      Their behaviour does not square up to a team that has more than 35 years of experience in F1.

      • I get that I have a very skewed viewpoint, but to me, McLaren has been nothing but a poser since the Bruce and Denny days in F1 and Can Am…

      • Has “most opf the TJ13 staff” also chosen to share FH’s hate of McLaren, as was unambiguously expressed only very recently?

        If so, then Judge, a clean-up and rebalancing is in order… Or stick a big, bold banner along the lines of “TJ13 staff hates McLaren, and we’re all here to bash them!” in front of each piece, and then let it all flow…

        • Alternatively, there is also the option of you looking for a blog that is more to your taste in Formula One teams. Xou should have noticed by now that ANY team that engages in any sort of skullduggery is getting knocked around here. We aren’t stream-lined PR drones.

        • landroni – it is not hate of McLaren, some are rightfully concerned about the health of their driver. I’m not a fan of Alonso but I don’t wish that any team would put him in a position where his life is at risk. I noticed that Dr. Hartstein has backed off of his earlier comments. This is troubling as he has been threatened previously.

          • seen the doc’s post too and comment saying about the same as you went immediately to moderation. I think it’s pretty clear he’s been ‘externally motivated’ to change his opinion.

          • @curmudgeon52
            “some are rightfully concerned about the health of their driver. I’m not a fan of Alonso but I don’t wish that any team would put him in a position where his life is at risk.”

            Absolutely, as am I. I’m not much of a fan of Alonso’s, even as I sing odes to his skills behind the wheel, but I’m genuinely concerned for the health implications of this latest knock (which comes on top of his hop in Abu Dhabi one or two years back). And I would like nothing other than all facts to be uncovered and published for public appreciation.

            Yet some of the TJ13 reporting on this has been seriously veering in the conspiratorial camp, and is hardly balanced. Sometimes it’s hard to take seriously that TJ13 is making an attempt at impartiality while discussing the known facts. And this precisely is what I’m railing against. It seems to me that some of the staff need to take a cold shower before writing yet another word on Alonso-lost-a-McLaren-in-X-Files-suspicious-circumstances-if-you-ignore-all-similar-incidents-in-the-past-gate…

            If the team put Alonso’s life in danger, then facts should be exposed. If Charlie’s astroturf put Alonso’s life in danger, then facts should be exposed. If Pirelli’s attempts at making a tire usable in the cold put Alonso’s life in danger, then facts should be exposed. And if Alonso lost it for no good reason and broke McLaren’s chassis on the last day of testing before Button could get his hands on it, then facts should be exposed.

            But setting the hippos on McLaren before a clear picture has emerged, going all nuclear and Comical Ali, and scouring each and every bit of data available in a single-minded selection-bias exercise to incriminate McLaren (whichever their rights or wrongs in this affair), then presenting this as the collective wisdom of “most opf the TJ13 staff” is not a very useful way to go about it…

          • Well, in that case I shall challenge you to explain today’s bizarre performance of Ron Dennis, as in contrast to us, you seem to be able to make sense of it.

            He said today, that Fernando was physically perfect. Why does a physically perfect man have to sit out the next test and, according to Ron, it isn’t even sure if he will be able to come to work at Melbourne? Why do they say he’s physically perfect when it so obviously isn’t the case.

            You may discredit our writing as conspiracy theories, but in truth we are slating their piss-poor manangement of the shunt, especially when they are proven to have lied.

            example: On monday they said he was staying in hospital because of a concussion. Today they say: he is perfect, not even a concussion. Well, one of them has to be a lie or at least made up on the spot.

          • I wonder why the good doctor didn’t place the quote attributed above into his blog?
            It’s also interesting to note that a TP or the ultimate Go-To man (like Ron) needs to have a medical background. Whale Oil Beef Oct comes to mind.
            The matter that Alonso is resting up can be put down to medical advice channeled through the FIA – advice that will be well followed?

          • It seems to me that if one is NOT looking for conspiracy (or to accuse McLaren of lying or unreasonably endangering Fernando) then it’s not hard to decode what is meant by “physically perfect” [Hippo’s words] even though he is clearly suffering from concussion-like symptoms.

            They have said that scans and MRIs and/or similar have been conducted and shown no brain injuries – no bruising, clots etc.

            I think it might be unwise for Ron to use non-medical terms and to use “lay” language, but it’s not hard to understand what is being said. Unless, of course, one wants to misunderstand…

          • Fair enough, but my point stands. Doesn’t take too much work to understand what it means…

        • @ landroni, the problem with your argument is, that on TJ13, if anyone F1 related does drop a bo!!ock they get ripped for it. I don’t see an anti-McLaren slant on things. I’m a Macca supporter and even I think they need a good shake and telling to buck their F#@king ideas up.
          Vettle has has it, Hamilton has had it, Mercedes have had it so have RedBull not to forget Ferrari, so I think the ridicule has been very evenly dished out by the judge and his courtroom buddies.

          • “the problem with your argument is, that on TJ13, if anyone F1 related does drop a bo!!ock they get ripped for it.”

            Sure, I have no problem with that. It seemed to me though that there wasn’t really sufficient evidence to start throwing rocks at McLaren. Not yet, anyways.

            I too take some of Big Ron’s pronouncements with a pinch of salt, but there were a lot of X-Files mights and could’ve theories floating around—yeah, sure, might be the engine exploded three times in three different ways while the car was stationary, proving once and for all that quantum mechanics worked on a macro level, while at the same time blowing off steams of toxic gases from the batteries in a comfortably airy cockpit, with gushes of DC current from the faulty MGU-K seal electrocuting Alonso before he slammed on the brakes and downshifted, bizarrely, as clearly proven by the photos; and McLaren could’ve in their hate for Alonso, never mind that he’s their biggest asset for this coming year, called the amateur photographer to inspect the photos to make up a story that sticks, even if they have access to telemetry, but not video—, but yeah know.

            There are more realistic down to earth explanations, that do not necessarily take all of McLaren’s public statements as Comical Ali press-releases, that haven’t really been covered by TJ13 in DN&C. And that’s a pity…

  3. News here in belgium is that manor gets mclaren aid. And that, as apposed to ferrari, they want a tight working together. But they have to give their second seat to vandoorne.

  4. Gotta love the “x-files” section of the TJ13 site. Turns the drab into entertaining reading!
    And yes – everyone’s fair game including commenters. Just don’t say a bad word about Webber!

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