Formula One: 2016 Barcelona 2nd Test Recap

The second of the two-week Formula One pre-season testing program wrapped up last week in Spain at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. As the final preparations for the 2016 World Championship continued, teams switched their focus from speed to locking down any reliability concerns they may have. Some teams were very successful. Others were wondering if the best way to save money was to virtually eliminate all running outside of race weekends.

Day 1 (March 1)

f1-2016-barcelona-2nd-test-rosberg-mercedesDuring the first week of testing, Mercedes didn’t top the timesheets once. They started the second week with Nico Rosberg going fastest on the day as the team ran 172 laps with Hamilton also running during the day. Williams finally showed a little pace with Valtteri Bottas timing in two-tenths off the pace thanks to the ultra-soft tyres.

Interestingly, today was a bad day to be a mechanic. Renault, McLaren and Ferrari all had their cars stop during the day. The Manor of Haryanto sat out most of the morning with an oil leak and the RB12 of Kvyat had a small fire which slowed progress on the day. And Haas only managed 23 laps as they experienced some growing pains during their second week of running.

  1. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:23.022
  2. Valtteri Bottas – Williams – 1:23.229
  3. Fernando Alonso – McLaren – 1:24.735
  4. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:24.836
  5. Daniil Kvyat – Red Bull – 1:25.049
  6. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:25.051
  7. Max Verstappen – Toro Rosso – 1:25.176
  8. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India – 1:25.336
  9. Felipe Nasr – Sauber – 1:25.493
  10. Kevin Magnussen – Renault – 1:25.760
  11. Esteban Gutierrez – Haas – 1:26.661
  12. Rio Haryanto – Manor – 1:27.625

Day 2 (March 2)

f1-2016-barcelona-2nd-test-bottas-williamsOnce again, Williams looked good on the day with Bottas leading the day ahead of Hamilton’s Mercedes. Lewis’s fastest time was set on soft tyres while Bottas was on the super-softs. Interestingly, it was the Toro Rosso of Sainz who ran more laps than the combined efforts of the Mercedes drivers by logging 166 laps on the day.

Haas was the only team that experienced major problems with a turbo failure relegating Gutierrez to one lap on-track and not setting a time.

  1. Valtteri Bottas – Williams – 1:23.261
  2. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:23.622
  3. Kevin Magnussen – Renault – 1:23.933
  4. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:24.611
  5. Jenson Button – McLaren – 1:25.183
  6. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 1:25.235
  7. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso – 1:25.300
  8. Sergio Perez – Force India – 1:25.593
  9. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:26.298
  10. Pascal Wehrlein – Manor – 1:27.064
  11. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber – 1:27.862
  12. Esteban Gutierrez – Haas – No Time

Day 3 (March 3)

f1-2016-barcelona-2nd-test-raikkonen-ferrari-haloFerrari returned to the top of the timesheets on the third day of running which also happened to be the first time that we saw the Halo head protection device fitted to a Formula One car. What hasn’t been discussed yet is if the Halo has any impact on a car’s speed or drivability. Yes, he was two seconds faster than his first day time but he set this fast time on ultra-softs instead of mediums.

Most teams ran over 100 laps on the day. Only Manor couldn’t top running a race distance. Once again on top of the running was Toro Rosso, this time with Verstappen behind the wheel. In fact, by the end of the test, they completed more laps than anyone but Mercedes with 1,091 laps which is about 16 race distances worth. While they’re running a year-old engine, it’s reliable and sure seems quicker than the Renault/TAG engine.

  1. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:22.765
  2. Felipe Massa – Williams – 1:23.193
  3. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India – 1:23.251
  4. Max Verstappen – Toro Rosso – 1:23.382
  5. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:24.126
  6. Felipe Nasr – Sauber – 1:24.760
  7. Fernando Alonso – McLaren – 1:24.870
  8. Pascal Wehrlein – Manor – 1:24.913
  9. Daniil Kvyat – Red Bull – 1:25.141
  10. Jolyon Palmer – Renault – 1:26.224
  11. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:26.488
  12. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 1:27.196

Day 4 (March 4)

f1-2016-barcelona-2nd-test-verstappen-kvyat-red-bullMuch like his teammate the day before, Vettel completed his final day of testing some two seconds faster than his previous day of running. He set this time on the super-softs compared to the mediums from the second day of the test. Carlos Sainz on the ultra-softs was just three-tenths behind the former World Champion.

What this week might have done is give us a clear look at where everyone stands relative to each other. Specifically, we’ve seen a clear division between the top of the field with Mercedes and Ferrari, the backmarkers of Sauber, Manor and Haas, and the remaining six teams in the midfield. It looks like we might see Williams and Force India at the head of the midfield but the two Red Bull teams might just sneak in with a challenge now and then.

  1. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:22.852
  2. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso – 1:23.134
  3. Felipe Massa – Williams – 1:23.644
  4. Sergio Perez – Force India – 1:23.721
  5. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:24.133
  6. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 1:24.427
  7. Jenson Button – McLaren – 1:24.714
  8. Jolyon Palmer – Renault – 1:24.859
  9. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber – 1:25.031
  10. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 1:25.255
  11. Esteban Gutierrez – Haas – 1:25.422
  12. Rio Haryanto – Manor – 1:25.899
  13. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:26.140

f1-2016-barcelona-2nd-test-gutierrez-haasSo what did we learn from testing? Well, Mercedes is going to be very, very difficult to stop. Mercedes completed 1,329 laps which is more laps than will be run all season. That’s almost 6,200 km in running which is about 20 Grands Prix worth of distance crammed into eight days. To finish first, first you must finish. There’s little doubt that Mercedes have reliability figured out.

Ferrari seems to be pretty close on speed over the course of race simulations. Sky Sports analyzed the average lap times over the course of their sims and found that the two Ferraris and Mercedes were within half-a-second per lap with the Mercedes ahead. Sure, that’s upwards of thirty seconds over the course of a race but it’s a gap that can be overcome with strategy and luck.

Best Times of the Week

  1. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:22.765
  2. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:22.852
  3. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:23.022
  4. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso – 1:23.134
  5. Felipe Massa – Williams – 1:23.193
  6. Valtteri Bottas – Williams – 1:23.229
  7. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India – 1:23.251
  8. Max Verstappen – Toro Rosso – 1:23.382
  9. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:23.622
  10. Sergio Perez – Force India – 1:23.721
  11. Kevin Magnussen – Renault – 1:23.933
  12. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 1:24.427
  13. Jenson Button – McLaren – 1:24.714
  14. Fernando Alonso – McLaren – 1:24.735
  15. Felipe Nasr – Sauber – 1:24.760
  16. Jolyon Palmer – Renault – 1:24.859
  17. Pascal Wehrlein – Manor – 1:24.913
  18. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber – 1:25.031
  19. Daniil Kvyat – Red Bull – 1:25.049
  20. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 1:25.025
  21. Esteban Gutierrez – Haas – 1:25.422
  22. Rio Haryanto – Manor – 1:25.899

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