Mercedes’ Barcelona test schedule has been modified ahead of the second day’s running, as reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein has replaced Esteban Ocon, who was billed to get his first outing for the Silver Arrows on Wednesday. Mercedes have cited the fact that they wanted a “driver with race experience” to complete a programme which involves testing of development parts.
The late change is a rather telling move by the reigning champions.
The second day in Barcelona was largely a case of status quo at the top of the timesheet. Sebastian Vettel made it a brace of table topping days for Ferrari, with a run on the brand new ultra-soft tyre. Mercedes, however, were once again supreme in the mileage stakes, with a record 172 laps and finishing fourth on the timesheet after a run on the medium compound.
Here are five things we learnt on day two of winter testing…
It’s been F1’s worst kept secret this winter. Rio Haryanto will make his debut in Melbourne, as he has scooped up the final seat on the 2016 grid, easing Will Stevens and Alexander Rossi out of their seats at Manor. The Indonesian brings significant sponsorship money to the table and therefore, faces a fight to hold off the pay driver tag. With three GP2 victories to his name, he certainly has potential.
Former Mercedes reserve driver and 2015 DTM Champion Pascal Wehrlein will make his F1 debut in Melbourne, as he is about to embark on a maiden campaign at Manor Racing. The minnows, who escaped the clutches of administration as Marussia at the end of 2014, are looking to move up the grid this season. With Wehrlein’s talent pairing with what has become a strong and experienced team of engineers, Manor are well equipped for a marked improvement.
As teams and drivers woke up to grey skies this morning, the outlook did not suggest a productive day was imminent. On the basis of a morning in which just two installation laps were completed before a rain-induced red flag ran into lunch, this forecast seemed to be coming to fruition. However, as the rain abated in the afternoon, condensed programmes saw the smattering of fans in Spielberg entertained, as teams completed substantial mileage this afternoon, aided by a two hour extension to the session. Pascal Wehrlein topped the timesheet in the W06 Mercedes.