Reaction round-up: Bahrain in-season test, day 1
All 11 teams took part, with Caterham completing tyre development work with Pirelli. Nico Rosberg ended the day at the top of the timesheets, from Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso. Here is a round-up of the driver’s reactions following the test:
“We missed a little bit of time this morning but we made up for it in the afternoon. I think I was in the car for a good few hours. We didn’t get in any performance runs today but we did some good long runs in the afternoon with three set-up changes and we got some good feedback from that.
“I think during last weekend we struggled a bit in P1 and P3, the daytime sessions in the heat, but the car felt a lot better today in those conditions, particularly on those long runs. We’re still a little behind but we’re chipping away and I’m sure over the course of this test and in China we’ll get a little bit closer. For the moment, though, we’ll take every little bit we can get. We’re learning and we’re making progress.”
“Our main aim today was to try different directions with set-up and to get to know the tyres a bit better. You never stop learning how to get the best out of the tyres, so it has been a productive day from that perspective. We also did a bit of work on the brakes as this is an area I’m not one hundred percent happy with at the moment. We’ve had a good few weeks on track but you are never at the maximum level of performance.
“There is always more to be found and we are constantly pushing to improve the car and also ourselves as drivers. Having said that, the team are doing a fantastic job with this car from every perspective. Reliability, car performance, Power Unit performance: it’s all there and it’s a pleasure to be a part of a team with such positive momentum.”
“This morning our programme was focused on aerodynamic work and we achieved a lot, even with a limited amount of laps. This afternoon the plan was to work on performance, evaluating parts and set-ups, however we have not been able to run though the programme due to power unit issues.
“We need to check and understand what has happened. This is what testing is for even though we would have preferred to have been able to complete more laps today. I hope that Romain can continue to work on our testing programme tomorrow and hopefully have a more positive day.”
“Everything felt great today. It was the first time for me in Bahrain and I liked the track. In comparison to what I am used to driving in World Series by Renault, I have quite a lot more engine power and more acceleration with the Sauber C33.
“On my fast lap in the morning I made a few mistakes, so I probably lost a second. But all in all, it was a good start to the session. It was not easy, but I am glad we completed the 300 kms. We know that there is a lot of potential for improvement and we should all be happy with this.”
“Even if you can’t see it from looking at the timing screen, this was a productive day during which we learned a lot. It was very useful for me, giving me a lot of laps away from the race weekend environment. We also learned something about why our pace was not as strong as we had expected in Sunday’s race. I think this in-season testing is a very useful thing, not just for the teams, but also for guys like me who have to catch up in terms of experience.”
“Overall it was a good day as we managed to complete the programme as planned. We then worked on set-up and we were quite experimental, so hopefully that will help in the next few races. Next it was time to test some new aero components with some positive results. The track conditions were different from the race, but actually better for testing as there was less wind.”
“Generally we’ve had a positive day in which we’ve completed the programme and developed the car a further step in only a short space of time. We did have a hydraulics issue which stopped us for a while but this was fixed quite quickly and, in actual fact, the period for which we were confined to the garage was when the track was at its hottest.
“We were able to keep our tyres back until later in the day and make use of them when the track was a bit more usable and representative. I’m pleased with the timesheet at the end of the day, especially since there was room for improvement with my quick lap.”
“I’m glad we managed to complete 63 laps this morning but it’s obviously a shame we couldn’t add to that in the afternoon, especially as I felt good in the car an was enjoying myself. When we finished the last run before lunch we found a hydraulic system leak that meant the guys had to take the floor and gearbox off and with the time it would have taken to rebuild the car we made the call to end the session early so we could prepare for day two.
“There’s not much I can say about the tyres we were running today as they’re obviously development sets and because it was a Pirelli test today we weren’t aware of what compounds we were running. Now Marcus takes over for tomorrow, our last day on track in Bahrain this year, and we’ll aim to have a clear day of our own test so we can leave Bahrain with as much information as possible from our last day here.”
Images courtesy of Mercedes AMG Petronas, Sauber F1 Team and Caterham F1 Team
Jack Leslie is a freelance motorsport journalist. He has been part of the Richland F1 team since the very start and made his debut in the F1 paddock for the website at the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix. Jack also writes for Car Throttle and RumbleStripNews, as well as running a popular blog.