A decent day to wrap up the first pre-season test for McLaren Honda. Vandoorne laid down 67 laps, many of which were wet, and posted a best time of 1:22.576s. Overall, the week will go down as a disappointment as issues prevented them from both fully exercising their package and completing the necessary laps needed to truly begin to understand the details of what they have. Despite setting some [relatively] competitive times it is worth noting that those times were set on tires that were two compounds harder than what the leading teams were running, meaning there would appear to be even more upside for the competition while McLaren Honda were presumably running closer to their max capability.
One the surface it would appear Ferrari was the most impressive team of the test, posting times as good or better than Mercedes as well as high lap counts. Additionally, some reports from observers indicate that the Ferrari looked more stable in turns than the Mercedes. With all of that said, we know Mercedes has a tendency to leave something in reserve when others get too close.
We’ll cover nest week’s test in the same manner where we can expect to see many Melbourne-spec. power units and aero bits appear and the real pecking order begin to take shape.
1. Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1m20.872s, 93 laps
2. Verstappen, Red Bull, 1m21.769s, 85 laps
3. Palmer, Renault, 1m21.778s, 39 laps
4. Grosjean, Haas, 1m22.309s, 118 laps
5. Giovinazzi, Sauber, 1m22.401s, 84 laps
6. Perez, Force India, 1m22.534s, 82 laps
7. Vandoorne, McLaren, 1m22.576s, 67 laps
8. Bottas, Mercedes, 1m23.443s, 68 laps
9. Hulkenberg, Renault, 1m24.974s, 51 laps
Hamilton, Mercedes, No time
Massa, Williams, No time
Kvyat, Toro Rosso, No time
Sainz, Toro Rosso, No time
Today was an improvement for McLaren Honda after a fraught two days of testing. The MCL32 ran for a respectable 72 laps with Fernando Alonso at the wheel. He posted a best time of 1:22.598s, a gap of 2.893s to the best time set today. It has been reported that Honda does have a temporary fix to the oil tank issue that affected the first two days of running and they are undecided whether to incorporate a more permanent fix into the final Melbourne-spec power unit which will see action in next week’s test.
For the front runners, another day, another barrier broken as we saw the first 1:19’s posted by both Mercedes and Ferrari. In the case of Ferrari’s time it is noteworthy that they set their 1:19.952 on the soft tire, meaning that two softer, faster compounds exist that will bring lap times down even further.
1. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 1m19.705s, 75 laps
2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1m19.952s, 139 laps
3. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull/Renault, 1m21.153s, 70 laps
4. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, 1m21.396s, 51 laps
5. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 1m21.791s, 42 laps
6. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber/Ferrari, 1m21.824s, 126 laps
7. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1m22.090s, 95 laps
8. Romain Grosjean, Haas/Ferrari, 1m22.118s, 56 laps
9. Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes, 1m22.351s, 98 laps
10. Fernando Alonso, McLaren/Honda, 1m22.598s, 72 laps
11. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso/Renault, 1m23.540s, 32 laps
12. Alfonso Celis, Force India/Mercedes, 1m23.568s, 71 laps
13. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso/Renault, 1m23.952s, 31 laps
Another tough day for McLaren Honda as a power unit swap curtailed Stoffel Vandoorne’s running to 40 laps with a best time of 1:25.600s, over 4s off the fastest time set. At the time of this writing it is unclear whether it’s a result of yesterday’s oil tank flaw or a new problem. It has been suggested that perhaps they are working through the issue at a slower pace until a solution can be engineered. We do not yet know whether it will be corrected in time for this test.
Today we saw cars dip into the 1:20s range, further proof that the revised 2017 regulations are having the predicted effect on lap times. As some postulated when the new regulations were initially agreed upon, we are now hearing whispers from the drivers that following other cars is becoming even more difficult due to increased reliance on aero/downforce. It will be interesting to see what that means for racing when the cars are driven in anger. Will racing suffer or will the following car be able to lean hard on the wider, lower deg. tires and eventually overtake?
1. Raikkonen, Ferrari, 108 laps, 1m20.960s
2. Hamilton, Mercedes, 66 laps, 1m20.983s
3. Verstappen, Red Bull, 89 laps, 1m22.200s
4. Magnussen, Haas, 118 laps, 1m22.204s
5. Ocon, Force India, 86 laps, 1m22.509s
6. Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 68 laps, 1m22.956s
7. Bottas, Mercedes, 102 laps, 1m22.986s
8. Palmer, Renault, 53 laps, 1m24.139s
9. Giovinazzi, Sauber, 67 laps, 1m24.617s
10. Vandoorne, McLaren, 40 laps, 1m25.600s
11. Stroll, Williams, 12 laps, 1m26.040s
The 2017 Formula 1 season is officially underway with the first test at Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona; however, it got off to a decidedly bad start for McLaren Honda as an oil system issue within the engine immediately sidelined Fernando Alonso for most of the session. The team spent time troubleshooting the problem before ultimately swapping the engine. With limited running Alonso manged to log 29 laps Alonso and a best time of 1:24.852, both of which are far adrift from Mercedes and Ferrari.
Other notable moments of the day are the aforementioned Mercedes and Ferrari both completing over 100 laps and setting times in the high 1:21’s. It is noteworthy that with last years [known] cars, the best times we saw on day one of testing were 1:24’s. With times already 3s faster and a lot of development left to do on these all-new 2017 cars, the promise of lap times up to 4s faster is well within reach.
1. Hamilton, Mercedes, 73 laps, 1m21.765s
2. Vettel, Ferrari, 128 laps, 1m21.878s
3. Massa, Williams, 103 laps, 1m22.076s
4. Magnussen, Haas, 51 laps, 1m22.894s
5. Ricciardo, Red Bull, 50 laps, 1m22.926s
6. Bottas, Mercedes, 79 laps, 1m23.169s
7. Perez, Force India, 39 laps, 1m23.709s
8. Sainz, Toro Rosso, 51 laps, 1m24.494s
9. Hulkenberg, Renault, 57 laps, 1m24.784s
10. Alonso, McLaren, 29 laps, 1m24.852s
11. Ericsson, Sauber, 72 laps, 1m26.841s