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

Circuit de Catalunya

Hello and welcome everybody to The Judge13’s coverage of the 9th day of winter testing in Spain. Your friendly duo of commentators for the day are TJ13’s lovely bathrobe ladies Andrew Huntley-Jacobs and Adam Macdonald. Word has it, that their outfit has become a trend among the youth in the area of Jerez de la Frontera.

The only news out of the ordinary so far are, that Force India are likely to be missing as the belatedly finished VJM08 is not expected to hit the tarmac before tomorrow. Jenson Button will hope the McLaren-Honda behaves as it has already claimed his team mate Fernando Alonso, who will sit out the week to recover in time for Melbourne.

Here is the expected line-up of today:

Russia Kvyat Red Bull Racing RB11 renault -:–.– 0 Intermediate Tyre
Finnland Räikkönen Ferrari SF15-T ferrari -:–.– 0 Intermediate Tyre
Great Britain Hamilton Mercedes AMG W06 mercedes -:–.– 0 Intermediate Tyre
Great Britain Button McLaren MP4-30 honda -:–.– 0 Intermediate Tyre
Brazil Massa Williams FW37 mercedes -:–.– 0 Intermediate Tyre
Sweden Ericsson Sauber C34 ferrari -:–.– 0 Intermediate Tyre
France Grosjean Lotus E23 mercedes -:–.– 0 Intermediate Tyre
Spain Sainz jr Toro Rosso STR10 renault -:–.– 0 Intermediate Tyre

And with that, we’re handing over to AJ and Adam…

Morning folks, Adam here to take you through the first hour. Force India’s winter takes another hit as the team is once more hit with a setback, but it is a completely different story for Toro Rosso who have arrived with a completely new car here.  Fresh from the crash which ended their first testing session here, Carlos Sainz Jr is back in the car for the Faenza team.



Green Flag: We are underway as Massa and Ericsson immediately head out into the crisp Catalunyan morning. A mixed week for Sauber last time as they sought to build on the impressive start in Jerez.

Raikkonen also heads out to test systems and is joined by Sainz in the the updated STR10.  A new floor, nose, sidepods and bargeboards make it a completely different challenger.

One for the tech lovers, the new front wing on the STR10

One for the tech lovers, the new front wing on the STR10

Brave or foolhardy, Felipe Massa was sent out on soft tyres for his installation lap.  At just 5.4°C track temperature it’s no wonder the tyres are not yet in working range.

Saying that, it is a fine day here, 8.9°C ambient now, so we should start to see temperatures climb as the tarmac absorbs some of the sun’s rays.

green Red Flag: It’s taken less than 15 minutes to bring out the first red flag today.  The Russian Rocket Daniil Kvyat’s RB11 stopped at the end of the pitlane – when it rains it pours it would seem…

green Green Flag: Back under way as the limping Bull is wheeled back to the garage. The fizzy drink runner sporting flowviz paint at the left rear of the car, although not a lot will be tested from the shelter of the garage.

Raikkonen heads straight back out on track as the Finn is in no mood for messing around; there again, when is he ever in a mood for messing around?  Perhaps looking to make up for lost time on the final day here, where after a strong morning’s display, Vettel only emerged from the pits with less than 20 minutes to go.

Some Lewis Hamilton fans filter into the grandstand,though they remain mostly empty for the moment

Some Lewis Hamilton fans filter into the grandstand,though they remain mostly empty for the moment

Kimi sets a 1:32.451 to start us off nicely for the day. He then improves to a 1:30.703 as that Ferrari powertrain echoes around the Barcelona circuit.  I for one think they sound better than last year, but if you missed it then check out the TJ13 video from the final day of Jerez, where Raikkonen topped the time sheets.

Kvyat returns to the pits once more, leaving Raikkonen alone on track to shave another half a second off his time, to a 1:30.271. We still wait for Lotus, who topped the final day’s timesheets and McLaren who are still shrowded in controversy after the Alonso crashga-, er what can we call it? There’s already an Alonso crashgate story…

Finally after 31 minutes the MP4-30 joins the track piloted by 2009 World Champion Jenson Button.  McLaren will be using their own MGU-K parts following the problems they experienced with the energy recovery system during the last test.

From the red carpet to the black asphalt, Lewis Hamilton is behind the wheel of the W06 fresh from Brit Awards in London yesterday evening.  I guess that’s why they call it life in the fast lane! The Briton heads out now for his first run of the day.

Massa now joins the fray to set first a 1:27.105, but subsequently improves to a 1:26.867 to go top. Hamilton is some 4 seconds off that time so far.

No sooner was that written, Hamilton pops up with a 1:26.787 on the hard tyre. Expect a lot of hard running this morning as the track temperature is still hovering in the single digits. Then again, to a 1:26.437, showing just how balanced that Mercedes is as the tyres are maintaining their performance, where on other cars they drop off.

Now a moment of pause out there. Perfect time to catch up on the Daily #F1 News then… – Nürburgring close to a deal, Alonso returns home, Button frustrated and more…

Daniil Kvyat rejoins the track once more in the ZebBull liveried car – anyone else growing quite fond of it? Now  finally, a first run of the E20…

Just under 50 laps completed as we approach the hour mark, as Daniil Kvyat sets a 1:28.465. He then improves to a 1:27.825.

A relatively tame first hour here in Barcelona. I now hand you over to AHJ, who will guide you through the day…


Thanks Adam. Lewis Hamilton arrived back in Spain around 3am following his appearance on the Brit awards show. One or two Mercedes personnel raised their eyebrows when asked whether they thought this was good preparation for testing today. Nay matter – we move on…

Lappage for the first hour is as follows

Lewis Hamilton 15 laps, Felipe Massa 9 laps, Kimi Raikkonen 9 laps, Daniil Kvyat 8 laps,  Marcus Ericsson 5 laps (no time set), Carlos Sainz 4 laps (no time), Romain Grosjean 3 laps (no time), Jenson Button 2 laps (not time)

Toro Rosso have brought what looks like a brand new car. It has a new floor, nose, sidepods, barge boards, triple layered monkey seat…. It looks as though the previous little bull at the testing was a mule for the new kids on the block to get some mileage under their belts in.



How low can you go? late can you get? Force India are now saying

‏@ForceIndiaF1 Our VJM08 is currently on its way to Barcelona; we’ll be aiming for action on Friday afternoon and on the two full final days. With the car due to be completed on Friday morning, @NicoHulkenberg is lined up to step in on Friday pm to take the first miles in the VJM08The remaining two days will be split between him and @SChecoPerez, with the Hulk in the car on Saturday and Checo on Sunday.’

As we would expect, the times are tumbling already, even though the track is a mere 18°C. Hamilton’s 1:24:881 is the ninth quickest time of testing in Barcelona this year

Both Mercedes and Red Bull have been warned since the last test by Charlie Whiting, that they’re interpretation of the camera mounting winglet is not compliant. Courtesy of  we can see the new Mercedes interpretation here.



TJ13 raised the matter of an engine note differential between the two Renault powered teams in Jerez. Sky have just commented, “On the subject of engine noise, there is a notable difference between the two Renault powered teams when out on track. The Toro Rosso pops and bangs as it rounds the circuit in Barcelona and it really appears to have limited drivability. Indeed a source said the STR10 has and unpredictable start to the rev range, then a smooth zone, followed by more unpredictability”.

Karun Chandhok adds, “The Toro Rosso has a strange, almost traction control-sounding system, like it’s cutting cylinders for traction. But he’s yet to do a laptime so maybe the tyres are cold.”

Fernando Alonso’s injury has raised much speculation in the past week amongst the F1 community. Today La Gazette are reporting following the crash Fernando struggled to remember some aspects of his life and still does. They say he’s suffering from retrograde amnesia and is currently unlikely to make the first race of the season.

It looks like another frustrating day is ahead of Jenson. So far he’s just managed five laps with a a sedentary 1m:31s time. The word is ‘seal gate’ has not been solved – AND Ron Dennis is here.

As the second hour closes, Lewis Hamilton completes an 8 lap stint, though it appeaqrs to be with a heavy fuel load as his times are in the 1:26-1:27 range. 26 laps completed already.


  • 1) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:24.881, 26 laps
  • 2) Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, 1:25.987, 21 laps
  • 3) Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:26.399, 19 laps
  • 4) Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 1:28.112, 15 laps
  • 5) Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:29.172, 21 laps
  • 6) Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:30.271, 18 laps
  • 7) Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:31.479, 5 laps
  • 8) Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, No time set, 16 laps

I predicted on day 5 of winter testing that we would see sub 1m23s time by Sunday night this week. Hamilton’s time today has been set in relatively cold conditions on the medium tyre. Given some sun and the super soft compound, the Mercedes looks capable of something in the low 1m:22s now – OR EVEN a 1m21s lap time.

The LAP RECORD during a race for this circuit configuration here in Catalunya is held by Kimi Raikkonen, set in a Ferrari in 2008 and is 1:21.670. The outright fastest lap in qualyfying 2009 was by the noew retired Barichello 1:19:954

The general consensus is that the Williams team have bee ‘lying low’ after 8 days of winter testing, and over the next 4 days, we should see what the FW37 when the right hand pedal is pressed in anger. There’s a good crowd of guests at Williams today and if you have around £500, you can spend a day with your favourite team during testing in their hospitality suite, the paddock and the odd trip to the garage.


25 minutes into the third hour and with 26 laps on the board, Toro Rosso have yet to post a time.

On the half hour, Hamilton clocks up Mercedes 1000th lap during winter testing, Jenson meantime has just trundled around for the 7th time today.

All the times today so far have been set on the MEDIUM COMPOUND – with the exception of Kvyat using the winter hard. Massa sets his quickest time of the morning with a 1:25.763, but this is almost a second slower than Hamilton managed early doors in the Mercedes.

Lotus and Toro Rosso have been running sensor arrays this morning. here’s the one from TR.



MCLAREN PRESS CONFERENCE – just announced to be held with Ron Dennis and Eric Boullier at 12:30. Half an hour before the action on track stops for lunch – more intrigue!!!

Light rain is now falling, so don’t expect any short bursts any time soon – track temperature down at a chilly 13C. There are no cars on the circuit now.

12 noon

  • Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes 42 laps
  • Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull 34 laps
  • Romain Grosjean, Lotus 33 laps
  • Marcus Ericsson, Sauber 33 laps
  • Felipe Massa, Williams 29 laps
  • Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari 28 laps
  • Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso 24 laps
  • Jenson Button, McLaren 7 laps

A fairly mundane first three hours of testing today so far. Track temperature has struggled to get above 20C, Hamilton is fastest with a 1m24.881s and McLaren Honda complete JUST 7 laps.

Here’s an interesting picture from @enterF1 showing what looks like scorch marks on Alonso’s engine cover.


12:20 and the rain is getting heavier. No cars on track and not long before the Dennis Boullier press conference now. And now Danny Kvyat fancies his hand at some wet weather running on the intermediate tyre.

Kvyat is around 30 seconds slower than the earlier times set on slicks.

MANOR RACING are making progress towards Melbourne, and McLaren confirm:

“We have agreed to restructure our contract with the Manor team so that it may continue to benefit from affordable support, in keeping with contractual obligations. 

“So we are assisting the team’s efforts to try to continue competing in Formula 1, but we have no plans to acquire any equity in the team or to increase our involvement with it in any way.”



And here we go……

Ron ‘categorically’ denies Alonso was electrocuted but admits there was ‘unconscious in the car for a short period of time’. Specifically, “seconds, only seconds. Even a mild concussion would be picked up. There was nothing”

However the Spaniard is now “completely lucid, normal and wants to go testing” and Dennis added he should be fit to race in Australia, but doctors will make the final decision. Fernando will need to be declared fit by the FIA prior to the first session in Melbourne.

Ron Dennis reveals it was HE who contacted the FIA directly and requested they investigate the matter. From McLaren’s analysis of the data, Dennis claims “every single input prior to the crash was normal”.

Meantime, Kvyat returned to the pits after a 5 lap stint and then Lewis Hamilton ventured out on the intermediates too, something that will be helpful for Pirelli.

Lewis puts in a 1:37.825 which is only just over 6s slower than Jenson set earlier in dry conditions. The Russian driver and Hamilton play tag once more. Out goes the Red Bull and in comes the Mercedes.

As the morning session crawls to a finish, the weather looks set and so we may as well see more of the same this afternoon.

So we’ll end with some Ron-speak. Alonso was not concussed in accident but showed concussion symptoms, hence the extended stay in hospital.


Well, that was a bit of a damp squib wasn’t it? Other than a scarily quick time from Lewis on wooden tyres in adverse conditions – something most of us have resigned to accept – there is not much to say about this morning. It’s the Pascal Wehrlein of testing sessions – it happened, but nobody really noticed much.

The McLaren press conference wasn’t much to write about either. They could have disseminated this non-news on a post-it, really.

With a look at the morning’s leaderboard we say thanks to Adam and AJ for the morning’s coverage. TJ13’s best dressed duo will be back for you in about an hour.

1. Great Britain Hamilton Mercedes AMG W06 mercedes 1:24.881 48 medium
2. Brazil Massa Williams FW37 mercedes 1:25.763 +0.882 29 Medium
3. Russia Kvyat Red Bull Racing RB11 renault 1:25.947 +1.066 45 Medium
4. France Grosjean Lotus E23 mercedes 1:27.079 +2.198 33 Medium
5. Sweden Nasr Sauber C34 ferrari 1:27.082 +2.921 33 Medium
6. Finnland Räikkönen Ferrari SF15-T ferrari 1:27.813 +2.932 28 Medium
7. Spain Sainz jr Toro Rosso STR10 renault 1:27.886 +2.985 34 Medium
8. Blighty Button McLaren MP4-30 honda 1:31.479 +6.598 7 Medium

12 responses to “Day 9 #F1 2015 Winter Testing: Barcelona, Morning Report

    • I would as well but it all seems a bit pointless without Caterham being there to fight with. They’re just going to be trundling around at the back on their own until Haas F1 shows up.
      How accurate are the reports they’ll be using last years Ferrari engine? That’s going to make them even worse off than the rest with that wheezy old thing in the back!

  1. >Ron ‘categorically’ denies Alonso was electrocuted but admits there was ‘unconscious in the car for a short period of time’.

    The Lady doth protest too much, methinks

    • Would be nice if he expanded on ‘short period of time’. Because it took quite awhile to get him out of the car.

      • It does say in the quotes from the presser if you read it properly.

        Ron ‘categorically’ denies Alonso was electrocuted but admits there was ‘unconscious in the car for a short period of time’. Specifically, “seconds, only seconds. Even a mild concussion would be picked up. There was nothing”

        • He “forgot” to mention the retrograde amnesia though, which is normally one of the safest signs for TBI.

          Also, rather fishy, is that Ron says the FIA investigation was his idea, but on the other hand they vetoed Whitings plan to publish the telemetry data.

          It’s not like the opposition can learn anything from them other than being completely inept. Even if there’s nothing to this accident, you have to admit that Ron does his utmost to make it look shady.

          On the other hand, it takes away a bit of attention from the utterly hopeless pictgure they’re still presenting on the technical side. Even Red Bull was better off at this point in time last year.

  2. Say what?!! “@Rowlinson_F1: Ron Dennis on @alo_oficial: “Categorically no injury, no electric shock, no car failure. He’s not even concussed.” It’s a comedy.

  3. “Jenson Button will hope the McLaren-Honda behaves as it has already claimed his team mate Fernando Alonso”

    Now that’s one one-sided and biased way to report things. Another would be:

    “Jenson Button will hope that Fernando Alonso will not take the McLaren-Honda for a drive before him, as Fernando has already claimed their one and only chassis once”

    The reporting of Alonso’s crash has been rather one-sided and biased so far. Hmm…


    “Here’s an interesting picture from @enterF1 showing what looks like scorch marks on Alonso’s engine cover.”

    And a good old-fashioned false positive. There were three photos in sequence, of a stationary car but from different vantage points, and each time the “scorch marks” were in different position relative to the Esso sponsor tag. In one shoot it covers the right-hand side, in another the left-hand side. There is also a floating red “E” North-West of the Esso tag.

    So unless the “scorch marks” spontaneously formed and then disappeared and reappeared in a different position, it all points to either a form of watermark (used by the camera or the photographer), or some sort of light-shade natural phenomenon that confused the lens.

  4. About The scorchmarks on The McLaren.. Come on guys, you should have done some more research to find out that its just a shadow from the camerahousing . dont know if I can post a URL, but I can prove its a shadow. You can find images on gettyimages that prove my story

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