Following an eventful British Grand Prix weekend, the teams had no chance to catch their breath as the latest in season test commenced today. With Nico Rosberg, Felipe Massa and Daniel Ricciardo in their cars, it was certainly a high-profile day. Perhaps even more importantly, youngsters such as Stoffel Vandoorne and Will Stevens received all important track time and completed critical work for their respective teams, with the latter having to tackle a particularly ‘full-fat’ programme. However, most teams filled their day with as much content as possible…
Massa On Top
While timesheets are fairly academic during a test, Felipe Massa will take some pleasure from finishing on top of the table today – It will have compensated for a decidedly mediocre mileage statistic of just 42 laps completed. However, it seems that today was more about quality over quantity for Williams, as they experimented with new development parts. Ultimately, they did not seem to run into any problems, so we have to assume that the laps completed were in line with the programme initially scheduled. In all fairness, completing laps for the sake of raising mileage is false economy – if your not about to learn anything, you are merely wasting money and resources.
Meanwhile, Nico Rosberg found himself in the unfamiliar position of P3 on the timesheet. However, in a similar vain to Williams, the team appeared to have a highly productive and crucially, trouble free day. The team concentrated on aerodynamic evaluation this morning, (yeah, as if they need to improve that!) Then, the afternoon was a mixture of brake evaluations and engine system checks. Following the session, Nico enthused, “It’s so valuable to do these test days; over a race weekend it’s rare to get two runs in the day that are the same as tyres are getting old and conditions change but here we can always use new tyres, so we can really do some setup work that we don’t normally get to do.” So, rivals take another collective groan as Mercedes have yet another highly productive day. Having said that, they might as well be handed the constructors trophy now as it is merely a formality.
Gremlins For Toro Rosso
While Williams’ lack of mileage was seemingly dictated by the programme, Toro Rosso’s lack of running certainly wasn’t. The Italian team managed just 28 laps with Jean Eric Vergne at the helm, as they suffered not one, but two technical issues. The issues centred around an updated ERS battery which had malfunctioned. As always, Vergne commented on how the car felt good on track, but reliability has once again halted the team. The STR9 is perhaps the team’s most competitive car since 2008 – It is usually faster than last year’s equivalent at least. However, reliability issues are damaging the team’s progress so far, with the double retirement in Austria followed by a wheel nut failure in FP2 at Silverstone for Vergne to highlight these deficiencies.
Day One Timesheet
1 Felipe Massa Williams 1:35.242 42 laps
2 Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1:35.248, 72 laps
3 Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:35.573, 90 laps
4 Adrian Sutil, Sauber, 1:35.674, 73 laps
5 Jules Bianchi, Marussia, 1:36.148, 108 laps
6 Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, 1:36.148, 71 laps
7 Sergio Perez, Force India, 1:36.583, 79 laps
8 Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, 1:36.688, 28 laps
9 Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, 1:37.131, 97 laps
10 Pedro de La Rosa, Ferrari, 1:37.988, 49 laps
11 Will Stevens, Caterham, 1:40.627, 95 laps.