F1’S TEST­ING TIMES

Sil­ver Ar­rows com­plete 200 more laps than the rest

Motor Sport News - - Headline News - By Stephen Lick­o­r­ish

Fer­rari topped the timesheets at the end of For­mula 1’s first pre-sea­son test at Barcelona last week, but again it was Mercedes that cov­ered the most miles.

Se­bas­tian Vet­tel set the fastest time dur­ing the four days at Barcelona with a lap ex­actly three tenths of a se­cond faster than Nico Hulken­berg’s Force In­dia. How­ever, this time was set on Pirelli’s new ul­tra-soft tyres and only the Scud­e­ria and Red Bull opted to use this com­pound at the open­ing test.

Fer­rari’s other driver Kimi Raikko­nen said he was much hap­pier with the new SF16-H than its pre­de­ces­sor, but the team was dis­ap­pointed to not com­plete more mileage.

Fer­rari only notched up 353 laps, putting it sixth high­est on the laps com­pleted list, with Raikko­nen los­ing a sig­nif­i­cant chunk of the third day while fuel sys­tem checks were car­ried out.

“We would have liked more laps but that’s part of test­ing,” said the Finn. “With a new car, there are cer­tain things you need to try and test.

“You have to ac­cept you have to check things and it takes time. It’s bet­ter to do that.”

Mercedes, how­ever, had a trou­ble-free test and racked up 675 laps, over 200 more than the next best team Toro Rosso. Even the driv­ers were sur­prised at the amount of mileage achieved in the new W07 Hy­brid.

“It’s been the best week of test­ing we’ve ever had,” said Lewis Hamil­ton, who set the 12th fastest time of the test on the medium com­pound tyre.

“Be­fore we came here the team talked about do­ing 800 kilo­me­tres [500 miles] per day, and I was think­ing they were crazy. I’ve never done that in the past, and usu­ally the car breaks down.

“But I’ve never had a test like this where the car just goes on and on and on. It’s been a phys­i­cal chal­lenge do­ing all the laps, but it’s just been in­cred­i­ble.”

The cham­pion squad did not use any of the three soft tyre com­pounds and in­stead fo­cused on set-up work. An in­no­va­tive new front wing was also tested for the first time on the fi­nal day.

Mclaren joined Fer­rari and Mercedes in hav­ing a sim­i­lar pat­tern to its open­ing test as last year. The Wok­ing squad was again near the bot­tom of the laps com­pleted chart as sev­eral re­li­a­bil­ity prob­lems proved costly, with only Manor achiev­ing fewer miles.

A coolant leak re­stricted the team’s run­ning on the fi­nal day to just three laps, while ear­lier in the test a hy­draulic leak caused a mi­nor fire. Nev­er­the­less, Jen­son But­ton still man­aged more laps on the first day than the team did dur­ing the whole of 2015’s open­ing test.

“Un­for­tu­nately, the [coolant] leak we ex­pe­ri­enced on the car was in a tricky po­si­tion, which meant it took longer than usual to lo­cate and fix,” said di­rec­tor of en­gi­neer­ing Matt Mor­ris.

“It’s al­ways frus­trat­ing when a small is­sue ham­pers your run­ning for much of a day, but thank­fully it’s rel­a­tively mi­nor and we can now look to pre­par­ing the car for the se­cond test.

“We’re def­i­nitely ahead of where we were last year in terms of sys­tem checks and in­te­gra­tion, so at the se­cond test we’ll be able to fo­cus more on race sim­u­la­tions and set-up, as well as char­ac­ter­is­ing our pack­age’s per­for­mance.”

Vet­tel topped the timesheets Mercedes did not use any soft tyre com­pounds

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