Lewis Hamilton is “encouraged” by his early running at the wheel of the new Mercedes W05, despite crashing out of the first winter test session.
The Brit suffered a front wing failure on the high-speed run to the first corner. The incident took place mid-way through the first day of testing and due to the damage sustained in the impact, it put an end to his running.
However, he still managed to complete 18 laps of the Jerez circuit – the second highest tally of the day – and says he is “proud” of the team for what they have achieved. “For me it’s an incredibly positive start to be the first car out on track and completing a good number of laps,” he said. “Other teams have been going out for single-lap runs, starting a few hours after we had first hit the track, so to have started running through our test programme was very encouraging. The car feels quite good, especially considering it’s so early in our programme, so overall it’s been a positive day.
“Of course, it’s unfortunate to end the day early when everyone has worked so hard and we had looked like easily completing the most mileage of anyone here today, but we’ll make that track time back and it’s better to have these things happen now than in Melbourne. I’m really proud of the team for what they’ve achieved in getting us here and we’ll keep pushing.”
Executive director (business) Toto Wolff commented on the crash: “Incidents like this happen and that’s why we are here, to find them before we go racing. We completed 18 laps and got through our system checks successfully. The car now needs to be repaired, which is a challenge in itself at the start of winter testing with regards to the number of spare parts available. However, it’s our job to cope with those challenges.”
Paddy Lowe, executive director (technical), confirmed that the cause of the front wing failure is still being investigated. “There is a lot of data for us to analyse overnight and the learning curve this winter will be very steep,” he concluded. Nico Rosberg will drive the W05, which was launched prior to the start of the first test session, on the second day of pre-season testing.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic