Ahead of a 21 race season, Formula One testing started in earnest last week at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. The Spanish track will play host to both of this year’s pre-season tests with the second of these set to start on Tuesday.
All eleven teams – including new team Haas F1 – were present with only Sauber running their 2015 car. The C35 is due to break cover ahead of the second test this week.
During the four days of testing it was Ferrari who set the headline times topping three of four days. They ran with Pirelli’s new Ultra Soft tyre compound and Sebastian Vettel’s 1:22.810 on day three was the fastest lap of the week. He was also fastest on day one with team-mate Kimi Raikkonen ending the test on top. Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg was fastest on day three.
While Ferrari were putting in the fast laps, reigning world champions Mercedes were concentrating on the mileage – completing significantly more laps than any other team. They also used the medium compound tyre.
Elsewhere Haas F1 enjoyed a reliable start to their Formula One career. Bar a front wing failure on the first day of testing, the American team suffered no real issues and completed a number of laps. Force India were another team putting in low fuel runs on the Supersoft tyre. They also split their running between their two race drivers and their reserve driver Alfonso Celis.
McLaren’s first two days of running saw them eclipse the number of laps they managed in the whole of the first pre-season test last year. It looked like a much better start for the beleaguered team however a few issues crept in on the third and fourth day. A hydraulic leap hampered Jenson Button’s running on day three while Fernando Alonso failed to set a lap-time and managed just three laps due to a coolant leak on the fourth and final day.
Toro Rosso – who were running an interim livery – went for mileage over fast laps, coming second to only Mercedes in terms of laps completed. They will officially launch their 2016 car ahead of the second test this week. Red Bull and Williams had understated starts to testing, getting on with their own programmes. Renault made their return to Formula One as a works team and Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen got their first tastes of the new car. Renault has described their week as a “solid start”.
For Manor rookies Pascal Wehrlen and Rio Haryanto it was an opportunity to get some mileage under their belts. The MRT05 is powered by Mercedes this year having previously run with Ferrari power. The team also has a technical partnership with Williams and hope to make big steps forward this year. Although the team completed the fewest laps of the test they were satisfied with their work as they look to move on to more significant set up work next week.