#F1 In-Season Testing: Circuit de Catalunya Day 1 – Morning Session

Circuit de Catalunya

Kneel Peasants!

Hello and welcome to the first of four in-season testing days. Today and tomorrow the teams will work on further understanding their first big upgrade packages. A second two-day test will be held at the Red Bull Ring in Austria in late June.

Three drivers will be on double duty. Pascal Wehrlein will wrestle the VJM7.2 for Force India before assuming command of the W06 for AMG Mercedes tomorrow. Rafaele Marciello will get to drive the Ferrari SF15-T today, but tomorrow he’ll have to make do with a Sauber. GP2 driver Pierre Gasly, a Red Bull junior, will drive both cars of the Empire. He will try to detonate the Renault in the back of a Toro Rosso today before ultimately succeeding at that in a RB11 tomorrow.

Meanwhile media reports are coming up that Lotus had asked Pastor Maldonado to take a turn sitting out the Friday practice to accommodate Jolyon Palmer for a few dollars more. Unsurprisingly the Venezuelan refused, saying that his contract made it quite clear that the wads of cash he brings with him entitle him to drive in every session of every Grand Prix. The cynic in me says ‘Just as well’ – the man obviously needs every minute of practice he can get. The madman from Caracas will try to demolish his Lotus today before passing on its smoking remains to Palmer tomorrow.

And half of my writing is obsolete already. Mercedes Junior Pascal Wehrlein has obviously caught a bug of some kind and will not be driving for Force India today. Or maybe he just got sick looking at it…

Briton Nick Yelloly will be in the seat of the VJM7.whatever.

green Green Flag!

Lotus are the first out of the gates as Pastor starts scouting for a good spot to have a crash.

Everyone is out there on installation laps.

Vortex Motio asks if this is a Pirelli test with a team designated the dedicated test mule. Frankly, no idea, but nobody mentioned anything in that regard, so I would hazard a guess the answer is – no. Everybody seems to go by their own agenda.

The installation laps have been done, Pastor narrowly missed the wall and inexplicably no Renault has detonated yet. Lap times are so far a nil-report as everyone went back into the pits.

Track and air temperature are steadily rising and it will be interesting to see how the different cars react to the substantial changes in climate throughout the day.

Lotus seem well prepared for the test…

Currently things have gone quite as everyone looks for tear-off visors in their brakes’ cooling ducts.

The test is now almost as interesting as the race has been. Nico Rosberg is alone out on the track. No lap times have been posted so far.

Forty minutes into the session and we’re still waiting for the first lap time.

And we have the answer to VM’s question. My guess was of course and predictably completely wrong…

McLaren seem to have noticed that the Dyson in the back is not the only problem. Jenson Button is going around doing aerodynamics tests.

Several drivers have completed a run, but the display still shows everyone with ‘no time’. Did anyone bother to switch on the time-keeping system? Meanwhile no word yet on whether Yelloly will get to drive more than he had hoped for as tomorrow’s FI driver is not yet confirmed. Is Susie Wolff still in Barcelona?



Our laments have been heard and finally we get some numbers to work with:

1. Rosberg, 1:26.992 – 17 laps
2. Kvyat, 1:28.138 – 8 laps
3. Maldonado, 1:28.564 – 9 laps
4. Yelloly, 1:32.867 – 10 laps
5. Gasly, no time – 8 laps
6. Ericsson, no time – 6 laps
7. Turvey, no time – 5 laps
8. Marciello, no time – 2 laps
9. Massa, no time – 1 lap

Force India News. Since Nick Yelloly is driving today instead of tomorrow as was originally planned, the team has called upon European F3 champion Esteban Ocon, a Lotus junior, to pilot the car tomorrow. Should have called Susie, peasants!

The life timing is still not entirely reliable by the look of it. The lap numbers rise, but no changes in lap times for the last fourteen minutes. I wonder…

Massa is trundling around with big Aero sensor grids nailed to his car.

Once in a while the display actually updates. I can’t say how old the info is, but Nico Rosberg has done 20 laps and improved to 1:25.515, 2.6 seconds ahead of Kvyat’s Lada.

The times are not the only thing that riddles the electronic systems around here. Track and air temperature show up as °C. Well, at least it seems to have decided on a unit already, so if we could get a number to go with it, please?

Using the good ol’ mark-II eyeball, I’d say it’s sunny.

To answer oddball‘s question – No, the engines are not counting towards the 4-unit limit. These are separate ones. In fact the teams could theoretically run engines that wouldn’t be allowed in the race, for instance an evolution after homologation. All the engines used in winter testing are already in the rubbish bin and everyone started with fresh units in Melbourne. The engines used today will probably see more action in the Austria test, except if they’re Renaults, in which case they’ll be on fire by the end of the day.

Since the Spaniards haven’t quite got the hang of this time keeping malarkey, AMG Mercedes is helping out. Dank’ Euch Kinnings!

10:45 am

1 Rosberg 34 laps 1:25.312
2 Kvyat 8 laps 1:28.138 (+2.826)
3 Marciello 17 laps 1:28.552 (+3.240)
4 Maldonado 14 laps 1:28.564 (+3.252)
5 Yelloly 20 laps 1:29.319 (+4.007)
6 Gasly 19 laps 1:29.641 (+4.329)
7 Massa 5 laps no time

Why they list Verstappen as a McLaren driver, however, will remain a mystery 😉

Currently Nick Yelloly has the track all to himself.

Scratch that – he’s come in too. Everybody’s back to base at the moment.

To be honest, I’ve been at funerals with more entertainment value than today’s test. Among the missing action on track and malfunctioning live-timing, several people seem to have given up completely. The guys over at Motorsportmagazin buggered off about an hour ago.

Meanwhile Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson has been topping up on caffeine, as his car is having a bit of a problem.

Meanwhile Mercedes’ timing system still insists that the MP4-30 is driven by Verstappen. Did Jenson secretly slurp from the fountain of youth by any chance?

Say about Nico Rosberg what you want, but he’s certainly not a lazy slacker. At 42 laps, he’s completed exactly twice as many laps as Marciello in the Ferrari. His 1:25.128 would still have beaten Vettel to third place on the grid.

It was to be expected that most teams would continue evaluating their aero updates. Many cars are running around looking as if their drivers stole a garden fence.

The state of affairs according to the gospel of Mercedes-Benz 😉


Meanwhile there is word from Pascal Wehrlein, who writes on his Facebook page that he hopes to be back in action tomorrow.

More drivers have clocked up a time. Felipe Massa has only done 8 laps and none of those with a time. Mercedes is more than 2 seconds ahead of everybody else.

Boom. 1:24.374 from Rosberg. The time gaps look as if the W06 sneaked into a GP2 test.


Meanwhile all drivers have managed to produce a timed lap, but except for Marciello in the Ferrari everyone is four seconds behind Rosberg. The Italian in the red machine trails the Merc by 2.3 seconds.

1. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes): 1:24.374
2. Raffaele Marciello (Ferrari): 1:26.753
3. Daniil Kwjat (Red Bull): 1:28.138
4. Pastor Maldonado (Lotus): 1:28.559
5. Nick Yelloly (Force India): 1:29.856
6. Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso): 1:29.066
7. Oliver Turvey (McLaren): 1:29.730
8. Marcus Ericsson (Sauber): 1:30.820
9. Felipe Massa (Williams): 1:30.927

I have to admit, I’m looking forward to an exciting hour of watching paint dry.

Ferrari seem to be hard at work riddling the rear-end out. The aero-sensors have been at the back all morning.

While the action has been a bit catholic most of the time, someone is clearly excited. (Is he even old enough to shave?)

Oh, and if you wonder why no Renault has blown up yet – Kvyat’s RB11 has not seen more than 8 laps so far. Rosberg in comparison has completed a whole race distance by now.

At least the Toro Rosso seems to be working properly. At 45 laps Pierre Gasly has been the second-busiest man out there.

The aerodynamics gurus will be especially delighted that their tests are not tempered with by the sometimes treacherous wind. At 1 kph it’s practically non-existent.

With the last thirty minutes ticking down (agonizingly slowly), Rosberg has been in the garage for any length of time since this morning. After completing a whole race distance, the team’s morning schedule seems to be complete. Not surprisingly really. The W06 has not had the slightest hiccup all morning.

Sauber seem to have sorted out the sensor alarm they’d gotten. The car is being prepared for an installation lap before lunch by the look of it.

Daimler have meanwhile riddled out the name of the chap in the McLaren and with a last look at the times, I’ll trundle off for an early meal.

See you in about 90 minutes for the second session.


7 responses to “#F1 In-Season Testing: Circuit de Catalunya Day 1 – Morning Session

  1. Disappointed that Wehrlein won’t be able to test.

    Is this also a Pirelli development test, such as they had last season? If yes, is there a designated team to be their mule?

  2. Can the teams use a separate engine for the tests or does this come out of the milage on the main units?

  3. Thanks Hippo,been watching off and on all morning…work takes second stage during these events. What’s your thoughts on the RB lack of running? It seems damn strange that given that they can use a new power unit they don’t run it until the wheels fall off. A wasted day in my book for the struggling teams, but then again I don’t know the ins and outs of team goals

  4. Bring back unlimited testing ….those that can afford it just going testing and those that can’t can’t just test to their means. At least that way the smaller teams can do what makes sense for them…

    • Not to mention that some smaller teams used to sell the testing rides. Way more dignified than cheap titillation by hiring Carmen Jorda.

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