In-Season Testing: Barcelona Day 2 – Morning Session

Circuit de Catalunya

Moin, Ihr Säcke!

Hello and welcome to the second day and it starts off with a Happy Birthday and may you get well soon…

Mercedes’ Pascal Wehrlein has been fixed overnight and the 20-year-old German will drive the W06. Jenson Button (McLaren) and Carlos Sainz jr. (Toro Rosso) will be the only regular drivers in action today.

In the other cars we have Pierre Gasly (Red Bull), Esteban Ocon (Force India), Esteban Gutierrez (Ferrari), Alex Lynn (Williams), Jolyon Palmer (Lotus), Raffaele Marciello (Sauber). Gasly and Marciello have already been in action for Toro Rosso and Ferrari respectively, yesterday.

Like always, this early in a testing session, everybody is running installation laps – except for Mercedes. They jump right into the first aero test.

A little side note – tomorrow kicks off another iconic race – the 24 hours of Nürburgring on the legendary Nordschleife. The illustrous field of 300(!) cars features racing machines from Mercedes Benz, Audi, Volkswagen, BMW, Lexus, Toyota, Subaru, Opel, Porsche, Renault, Mini, Ford, Hyundai, Aston Martin, Bentley, Nissan, SCG and Chrysler.

sabine_schmitzOn the drivers’ front you’ll find LeMans drivers like Marcel Fässler, a sizeable DTM contingent including former champions Martin Tomczyk and Bernd Schneider, former F1 drivers like Pedro Lamy, but also exotic entries like Opel Motorsports boss Volker Strycek in the Opel Manta, Aston Martin CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez, Fanta-4 front man Smudo or drifting god Kiki Sak Nana from Thailand. And of course not to forget the delightful Sabine Schmitz.

With a length of over 20km, there is no worry not to find a good space around the track, so you might find it an interesting endeavour. The Race will be shown on and also feature a free live-stream on the website. Qualifying kicks off tomorrow. The race starts on Saturday.

Red Flag

Accident of Raffaele Marciello in turn three.

And yes, it’s the infamous corner of Alonso’s accident. The Sauber C34 did however comply with the laws of physics and crashed on the outside of the corner. Marciello looks okay.

Meanwhile the track has been reopened. The crash wasn’t a hard one. Amazingly enough, that was the first red flag we had in all of testing so far. Yesterday’s running was only interrupted once – and that was the lunch break.

By the way, if you are missing times so far – well, so do we. There have been none so far. A Red Bull drives out, equipped with massive aero rakes. The thing looks ridiculous. Motorsport-Total have a picture of it.


These are the times so far

1. Sainz jr Toro Rosso 1:28.575 10 laps
2. Gutierrez Ferrari 1:29.161 +0.586 7 laps
3. Wehrlein Mercedes GP 1:29.353 +0.778 8 laps
4. Ocon Force India 2:12.314 +43.739 4 laps

Joe was asking about driver numbers yesterday. On Tuesday Gasly had the #38, today he’s running as #31, so it’s safe to say that the test drivers are assigned temporary numbers for the day.

Air temperature is the same as yesterday – 21°C, but the track is still noticeably cooler at 31 °C, but that will change over the course of the session.

Toro Rosso, Ferrari and Mercedes, the three busiest teams yesterday, head the lap numbers list again. No time wasted for those, although due to the short in interruption things are a bit slower than yesterday. What was faster though, was getting the live-timing to work. Less than one hour guess-work today.

The Sauber crew reckons that the mildly dented C34 will be back in running order in about an hour. Meanwhile young Raffaele will have noticed that the Swissmobile has a trifle less downforce than the SF15-T he had the privilege of piloting yesterday.

Jensons day starts a little more hopeful than Turvey’s yesterday…

If you have a question, feel free to use the comment section and we’ll try to answer them either now, or in the podcast tonight. You can follow the recording from 8pm GMT on

Oh, and you didn’t expect me to forget mentioning the delightful Mrs. Susie Wolff, did you?

And the boys over at Mercedes have reminded us why we see so many young test drivers. As per regulations, two test days must be set aside for drivers with less than two GP contested (aka ‘young drivers’ even if they’re old) Ferrari and Force India will have fulfilled that requirement after this test and can theoretically run both their regular drivers in the second in-season test at the Red Bull Ring in Austria in six weeks time.

Word in the paddock is, that Marciello crashed because of a big rookie mistake. He wasn’t even on a fast lap at the time.

And we don’t forget the son of the other good doctor of course…

And the questions are coming in. oddball asks about the rake angle of the Red Bull cars. To answer the question, yes the Red Bulls are still running a pretty outlandish rake, and so do (quite interestingly) the Toro Rosso. Not quite as visible as on the mother ship, but still more noticeable than on other cars. It was fairly well visible in Barcelona, where the Red Bulls graciously were slow enough for us to observe it.

The TJ13 core crew usually texts the stuffing out of each other while watching the race and I remember actually commenting on the obvious rake on that baby.

Motorsport Magazine has a pretty obvious shot from Bahrain


There’s people who could limbo through under that thing.

Break out the champagne! A McLaren takes the lead with a 1:28.276. That’s still almost four seconds off Rosberg’s time yesterday 😉

Speaking of McLaren. To answer oddball‘s second question. The Honda sounds as if it is about to vomit its intestines out at any moment. I’m afraid I’m not too much of an engineering expert, so I can’t say if that means they have a clever system somewhere. Frankly to me it sounds quite unhealthy rather than clever. It is known that McLaren and Honda both have chosen an aggressive approach, but for the moment the engine is definitely not yet running at full chat, so I would suggest the different sound may be the result of turning it down to safe parameters. We’ve seen the same with Renault in last year’s winter tests. They sounded so bloody awful.

A reminder that there is another iconic race coming up soon

McLaren had their five minutes of fame and Wehrlein corrects the order with a 1:26.641.

Half-time report for the morning session

1. Wehrlein Mercedes GP 1:26.641 24 laps
2. Button McLaren 1:28.276 +1.635 14 laps
3. Sainz jr Toro Rosso 1:28.575 +1.934 18 laps
4. Gutierrez Ferrari 1:28.864 +2.223 16 laps
5. Palmer Lotus 1:29.088 +2.447 14 laps
6. Ocon Force India 1:29.671 +3.030 22 laps
7. Gasly Red Bull Racing no time 10 laps
8. Lynn Williams no time 8 laps
9. Marciello Sauber no time 4 laps

If you miss pieces of your garden fence. Call Milton-Keynes and ask to speak to Adrian. Note the ridiculous rake.

I have to make a little correction. Ferrari have only fulfilled half of the ‘young driver’ requirement. Today’s driver Esteban Gutierrez has quite obviously contested more than two GP.

The action right now is very sedate. For the moment nobody looks like even trying to reach the 100 lap mark at the end of the day. 25 laps is the top at the moment after two hours.

Good news from the Sauber camp…

Errrm… It appears that Red Bull are reading this and have called a Limbo contest. Carlos Sainz jr. is already warming up…

Lap numbers are fairly low so far in comparison to yesterday. Wehrlein at 41 was so far the busiest. Unless someone embarks on a monstrous long run, nobody will be at 78 laps before the lunch break, like Rosberg yesterday. Speaking of numbers – Jenson Button is the Methuselah of today’s test. He had his F1 debut when most of the other guys were still playing with matchbox cars.

A random look into the access statistics and ZOMG! A shout-out to our American friends. For the first time ever, you’re ahead of the Brits…

Matt? Have you fallen asleep with your head on the F5 key?


A must read for all Tifosi …

We finally get some fresh times, too

1. Pascal Wehrlein (Mercedes) 1:26.641 – 45 laps
2. Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso) 1:28.071 – 35 laps
3. Jenson Button (McLaren) 1:28.276 – 23 laps
4. Alex Lynn (Williams) 1:28.419 – 18 laps
5. Esteban Gutierrez (Ferrari) 1:28.864 – 50 laps
6. Jolyon Palmer (Lotus) 1:28.963 – 28 laps
7. Esteban Ocon (Force India) 1:29.671 – 38 laps
8. Pierre Gasly (Red Bull) no time – 13 laps
8. Raffaele Marciello (Sauber) no time – 4 laps

It appears Sauber’s estimation of repair time was a trifle optimistic. Marciello is still waiting for his steed to be nailed back together. Red Bull have also bee somewhat sparse in their appearances. Only 11 laps and still no time for the Austrian team that once used to win things.

The Force India Camp seems to be happy with the day so far…

Yep, it’s definitely going to be ‘Rake Limbo’ in the Red Bull camp tonight.

And Mr. Marciello is back. The Sauber has been mended in time to get some installation laps in before everyone heads towards the eatery.

With less than an hour to go until lunch time, it’s business as usual at Mercedes

And a shout-out from our very own mysterious Usher – The Judge13 is now available to Redditors as well…

According to word from the paddock, Ferrari and Red Bull have again volunteered to do tyre testing for Pirelli. In exchange they get additional sets of tyres. In the case of RB the Italians haven’t got much in return. Pierre Gasly has only done 17 laps so far.

I’m starting to wonder if there are any undamaged garden fences left in the wider Barcelona region…

Some modest time improvements come in. Gutierrez (Ferrari) and Sainz jr (STR) improve their times to go below 1:28.000. At thirty-eight laps so far, the MP4-30 at the hands of Jenson Button looks positively impressive today.

To answer Fortis’ question – The teams use those compounds they ordered from Pirelli before the test. The can order any of the official compounds they want. We saw in winter testing that the likes of Sauber and Toro Rosso had ordered super softs to put in lap times, while Mercedes for instance had ordered softs as the softest compound (and were still faster than anyone else).

The fastest time yesterday was set on Pirelli development tyres, which are unmarked. Today only Ferrari and Red Bull have access to these tyres. Mercedes has mostly been running the hard and medium compound.

Aaand, time’s up. And since I’m a lazy Hippo, I’ll just steal the current timing off Lotus…

We’ll be seeing you back in an hour when we’ve topped up the Hippo with fresh Czech Brew.


3 responses to “In-Season Testing: Barcelona Day 2 – Morning Session

  1. I don’t think Renault will get their problems sorted this year but it would be nice for the racing if FI can get the real version 8 on track and mchonda can resolve issues, one can hope

  2. Morning hippo, thanks for taking the time to both attend the test and to write down your observations.I for one look forward to these days as you really see what the cars are capable of. I have a couple of questions, last year we saw the red bulls having some pretty outlandish rake angle on the chassis, can you let us know if this trend has continued and if the other teams are running this setup. The next one is a wee bit more in depth, the Honda on the TV sounds like a totally different animal, can you tell while watching live if the rumblings from the ice turbo are when the power is applied or if its happening on lift off? The reason I ask is that it will hopefully answer a nagging suspion I have that its down to some magic in power recovery,thanks

  3. What tires are they using for the test? I ask because I swore I saw a picture of Rosberg on the yellow marked tires.

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