Formula One: 2015 Barcelona Test Recap

f1-2015-barcelona-test-ricciardo-red-bullAfter barely making it to the first test at Jerez after firing up the car for the first time the day before the test started, Lotus showed that the Mercedes engine is a lovely piece of kit. Two of the four days of the Barcelona were topped by Lotus, including the top time of the weekend.

While Lotus thrived, the likes of Red Bull, Ferrari, Williams Mercedes and McLaren all struggled for consistency during the first test at a track on the 2015 Formula One calendar. Sure, Mercedes is likely to dominate F1 for the second straight year but everyone looks a little vulnerable in testing.

Day 1 (February 19)

f1-2015-barcelona-test-maldonado-lotusThe first day of the second pre-season test was eventful for a few reasons, not just because Pastor Maldonado topped the timesheets. He pulled off that feat on soft tyres to the medium compound tyres that Raikkonen was on for his fast time.

The early day drama came from Lewis Hamilton who withdrew from the test citing illness. To continue running, Mercedes recalled development driver Pascal Wehrlein who was put into the 2014-spec Force India to give him seat time. Later in the day, there was a dust-up between Felipe Nasr and Susie Wolff in which the Sauber driver received the blame. The collision saw both cars damaged with Nasr’s being the worse off of the two.

  1. Pastor Maldonado – Lotus-Mercedes – 1:25.011
  2. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:25.167
  3. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull-Renault – 1:25.547
  4. Sergio Perez – Force India-Mercedes – 1:26.636
  5. Felipe Nasr – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:27.307
  6. Max Verstappen – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:27.900
  7. Jenson Button – McLaren-Honda – 1:28.182
  8. Pascal Wehrlein – Force India-Mercedes – 1:28.329
  9. Pascal Wehrlein – Mercedes – 1:28.489
  10. Susie Wolff – Williams-Mercedes – 1:28.906
  11. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:30.429

Day 2 (February 20)

f1-2015-barcelona-test-hamilton-mercedesRed Bull topped the charts with Daniel Ricciardo behind the wheel but that wasn’t the story for them. They ran 143 laps which was only topped by the 155 laps done by the Mercedes duo. Yes, Mercedes ran two drivers again. This time, Nico Rosberg complained of back problems that have been blamed on the seating position of the car so Hamilton jumped in as his replacement.

Also worth noting is that McLaren got 59 laps in but most of it was without the ERS unit fully active. The team has been experiencing problems with the hybrid system (with the ERS-K being the apparent biggest problem) and ran without it active for most of the day. Being 1.4 seconds off the fastest time in those circumstances isn’t half bad.

When we report the times from testing, it’s the driver’s fastest time of the day that’s listed. The problem is that single-lap speed doesn’t make for an indication of race pace. However, the BBC was keen to point out that while running simultaneous race simulations, Hamilton was an average of eight-tenths of a second faster per lap.

  1. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull-Renault – 1:24.574
  2. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:24.584
  3. Felipe Massa – Williams-Mercedes – 1:24.672
  4. Sergio Perez – Force India-Mercedes – 1:24.702
  5. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:24.923
  6. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:25.556
  7. Fernando Alonso – McLaren-Honda – 1:25.961
  8. Jolyon Palmer – Lotus-Mercedes – 1:26.280
  9. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:27.334
  10. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:28.945

Day 3 (February 21)

f1-2015-barcelona-test-verstappen-toro-rossoAfter declaring the Ferrari engine dominant in Jerez, Lotus and Pastor Maldonado made a strong case this week for the McLaren. After being among the slowest cars last year, the Lotus has found its way to the top of the timesheets after only having a Mercedes engine for about two weeks. Granted, Pastor’s time was set on super-soft tyres but it was still a pretty good day going fastest and logging over 100 laps. Verstappen was the other driver on super-softs going four-tenths slower and completing 129 laps.

Continuing with the McLaren saga, the team managed only 24 laps as their MGU-K (the KERS part of the ERS setup) suffered another failure despite some new parts coming in before Saturday’s running.

  1. Pastor Maldonado – Lotus-Mercedes – 1:24.348
  2. Max Verstappen – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:24.739
  3. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:26.076
  4. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:26.340
  5. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:26.407
  6. Daniil Kvyat – Red Bull-Renault – 1:26.589
  7. Felipe Massa – Williams-Mercedes – 1:26.912
  8. Pascal Wehrlein – Force India-Mercedes – 1:27.333
  9. Valtteri Bottas – Williams-Mercedes – 1:27.556
  10. Jenson Button – McLaren-Honda – 1:29.151

Day 4 (February 22)

f1-2015-barcelona-test-alonso-mclarenThe big story from the final day of testing was an accident involving Fernando Alonso. The McLaren driver hit the inside wall coming out of Turn 3. Following the incident, Alonso was conscious and talking to attending track personnel but he was airlifted to a nearby medical facility as a precautionary measure and was diagnosed with a concussion.

Speculation as to the cause of the crash tend to revolve around two theories. The first is that Alonso wasn’t feeling well and fainted at the wheel but was alert enough to avoid a bigger incident. The other theory is that the troublesome Honda ERS unit may have shocked Alonso which caused him to lose control. Alonso’s manager took to Twitter to say that a gust of wind caused him to lose control. As of writing, McLaren didn’t confirm the cause of the crash.

Elsewhere, for the third of four days, it was Lotus at the top of the timesheets, this time with Romain Grosjean behind the wheel. With Ricciardo going fastest on the second day, a Ferrari-powered didn’t go fastest on any day in this second test after sweeping the Jerez test.

  1. Romain Grosjean – Lotus-Mercedes – 1:24.067
  2. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:24.321
  3. Daniil Kvyat – Red Bull-Renault – 1:24.941
  4. Felipe Nasr – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:24.956
  5. Valtteri Bottas – Williams-Mercedes – 1:25.345
  6. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:25.604
  7. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:26.312
  8. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India-Mercedes – 1:26.591
  9. Fernando Alonso – McLaren-Honda – 1:27.956

Best Times of the Week

  1. Romain Grosjean – Lotus-Mercedes – 1:24.067
  2. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:24.321
  3. Pastor Maldonado – Lotus-Mercedes – 1:24.348
  4. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull-Renault – 1:24.574
  5. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:24.584
  6. Felipe Massa – Williams-Mercedes – 1:24.672
  7. Sergio Perez – Force India-Mercedes – 1:24.702
  8. Max Verstappen – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:24.739
  9. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:24.923
  10. Daniil Kvyat – Red Bull-Renault – 1:24.941
  11. Felipe Nasr – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:24.956
  12. Valtteri Bottas – Williams-Mercedes – 1:25.345
  13. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:25.604
  14. Fernando Alonso – McLaren-Honda – 1:25.961
  15. Jolyon Palmer – Lotus-Mercedes – 1:26.280
  16. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:26.312
  17. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:26.340
  18. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India-Mercedes – 1:26.591
  19. Pascal Wehrlein – Force India-Mercedes – 1:27.333
  20. Jenson Button – McLaren-Honda – 1:28.182
  21. Susie Wolff – Williams-Mercedes – 1:28.906

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