Formula One: 2016 Silverstone Mid-Season Test Recap

For the second time this season, the teams of Formula One stayed a few extra days after a grand prix for an in-season test. With most of the teams having exhausted their experienced driver test days, most of this test was a Young Drivers’ Test in all but name. However, experience still carried the two days of the test as the fastest times were set by the 2nd and 3rd most experienced men on the grid.

Day 1 (July 12)

f1-2016-silverstone-test-ocon-mercedesThey might not be fast on race day but McLaren seems to have a little pace when it doesn’t count. Fernando Alonso, one half of the most experienced (by GP starts) pair of drivers in Formula One history, was fastest on the day. He had 1.5-seconds in hand over the second place Mercedes of Esteban Ocon. Ocon’s presence in the Mercedes for this test is of interest because he is coveted by Renault.

Rain in the afternoon impeded most testing programs. Most teams were planning setup testing and aero upgrade evaluations but some of that work was pushed back a day. Honda brought an engine upgrade which may explain Alonso’s pace. Ferrari, though, had a problem with their power unit which abbreviated their morning running for replacement.

A number of fresh faces made their F1 debuts at Silverstone. Charles Leclerc made his debut for Ferrari as the second of their Young Driver days. Nikita Mazepin, the European F3 driver whose claim to fame is a one race ban for assaulting another driver in the paddock, did quite well for Force India despite underwhelming results in his day job. And Santino Ferrucci took up the cause for Haas in his first F1 appearance.

  1. Fernando Alonso – McLaren – 1:31.290
  2. Esteban Ocon – Mercedes – 1:32.833
  3. Alex Lynn – Williams – 1:34.433
  4. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari – 1:34.446
  5. Nikita Mazepin – Force India – 1:34.521
  6. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso – 1:34.643
  7. Santino Ferrucci – Haas – 1:34.866
  8. Pascal Wehrlein – Pirelli Test Car – 1:34.982
  9. Rio Haryanto – Manor – 1:35.631
  10. Sergei Sirotkin – Renault – 1:36.575
  11. Pierre Gasly – Red Bull – 1:43.891

Day 2 (July 13)

f1-2016-silverstone-test-raikkonen-ferrariIn a day that had seven young drivers turning laps in Formula One cars, it was the old man who took the kids to school. Kimi Raikkonen outpaced the field for the two-day test. It was noted that his fast time was on soft tyres while Alonso’s first day time was on supersofts.

It’s worth noting the presence of Pascal Wehrlein in what I’ve called the Pirelli Test Car. The Mercedes development driver was tasked with testing 2017 prototype tyres for Pirelli in a 2014 Mercedes car. They aren’t the new wider tyres but the new rubber compounds and constructions on the current size of tyre. I’m not sure if there are any lessons to take from Wehrlein being four and six seconds off the pace. I know the cars have gotten faster but that’s a lot of time found since the engine formula change.

  1. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:30.665
  2. Esteban Ocon – Mercedes – 1:31.212
  3. Pierre Gasly – Red Bull – 1:31.429
  4. Nikita Mazepin – Force India – 1:31.561
  5. Stoffel Vandoorne – McLaren – 1:31.764
  6. Valtteri Bottas – 1:32.423
  7. Santino Ferrucci – Haas – 1:33.141
  8. Jolyon Palmer – Renault – 1:33.308
  9. Sergio Camara – Toro Rosso – 1:34.040
  10. Jordan King – Manor – 1:35.060
  11. Pascal Wehrlein – Pirelli Test Car – 1:36.182

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