F1 2016: Singapore GP – FP3 Times & Laps

Free Practice 3

Times

Drivers

  1. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:44.352
  2. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:44.411 – +0.059
  3. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:44.860 – +0.508
  4. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 1:44.903 – +0.551
  5. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:45.104 – +0.752
  6. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India – 1:45.316 – +0.964
  7. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 1:45.503 – +1.151
  8. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:45.806 – +1.454
  9. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso – 1:45.879 – +1.527
  10. Valtteri Bottas – Williams – 1:45.947 – +1.595
  11. Sergio Perez – Force India – 1:46.112 – +1.760
  12. Fernando Alonso – McLaren – 1:46.164 – +1.812
  13. Esteban Gutierrez – Haas – 1:46.316 – +1.964
  14. Felipe Massa – Williams – 1:46.529 – +2.177
  15. Kevin Magnussen – Renault – 1:47.116 – +2.764
  16. Jenson Button – McLaren – 1:47.277 – +2.925
  17. Felipe Nasr – Sauber – 1:47.293 – +2.941
  18. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 1:47.411 – +3.059
  19. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber – 1:47.956 – +3.604
  20. Jolyon Palmer – Renault – 1:48.689 – +4.337
  21. Pascal Wehrlein – Manor – 1:49.201 – +4.849
  22. Esteban Ocon – Manor – 1:49.565 – +5.213

Teams

  1. Mercedes – 1:44.352
  2. Red Bull – 1:44.411 – +0.059
  3. Ferrari – 1:44.860 – +0.508
  4. Force India – 1:45.316 – +0.964
  5. Toro Rosso – 1:45.503 – +1.151
  6. Williams – 1:45.947 – +1.595
  7. McLaren – 1:46.164 – +1.812
  8. Haas – 1:46.316 – +1.964
  9. Renault – 1:47.116 – +2.764
  10. Sauber – 1:47.293 – +2.941
  11. Manor – 1:49.201 – +4.849

Laps

Drivers

  1. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 20
  2. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber – 20
  3. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 19
  4. Felipe Nasr – Sauber – 18
  5. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso – 17
  6. Felipe Massa – Williams – 17
  7. Valtteri Bottas – Williams – 16
  8. Esteban Gutierrez – Haas – 16
  9. Jenson Button – McLaren – 16
  10. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 15
  11. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 15
  12. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 15
  13. Sergio Perez – Force India – 15
  14. Esteban Ocon – Manor – 14
  15. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 13
  16. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India – 13
  17. Fernando Alonso – McLaren – 13
  18. Jolyon Palmer – Renault- 13
  19. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 12
  20. Kevin Magnussen – Renault – 11
  21. Pascal Wehrlein – Manor – 10
  22. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 9

Teams

  1. Sauber – 38
  2. Haas – 36
  3. Toro Rosso – 36
  4. Williams – 33
  5. McLaren – 29
  6. Ferrari – 28
  7. Force India – 28
  8. Red Bull – 27
  9. Mercedes – 24
  10. Renault – 24
  11. Manor – 24

Ferrari fastest at first in-season test

The first in-season test of the season has taken place at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Ten teams were in action with a mixture of race drivers and test drivers behind the wheel. Sauber opted to sit the test out. Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time of the two day test on the first day.

The order of the day on day one was mainly shorter, qualifying runs for teams. Three drivers completed over 100 laps – including pacesetter Vettel – while Pierre Gasly was the highest placed test driver in terms of times. Williams test driver Alex Lynn had an unusual rear wing fitted as Williams focused on aero work in preparation for 2017.

On day two Pascal Wehrlein completed testing work for Mercedes having driven his Manor on the first day. Red Bull trialled an updated engine while McLaren reserve Stoffel Vandoorne spent the day testing new parts on the McLaren. Daniil Kvyat was pleased to get some significant running under his belt as he got some “essential” laps to reacclimatise with the Toro Rosso following his seat swap. Renault were another team with an updated engine while Felipe Massa continued Williams’ aero work.

Day 1

  1. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:23.220
  2. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:23.337 – +0.117
  3. Jenson Button – McLaren – 1:23.753 – +0.533
  4. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 1:23.882 – +0.662
  5. Pascal Wehrlein – Manor – 1:24.297 – +1.077
  6. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 1:24.307 – +1.087
  7. Pierre Gasly – Toro Rosso – 1:24.821 – +1.601
  8. Alfonso Celis – Force India – 1:25.467 – +2.247
  9. Alex Lynn – Williams – 1:26.071 – +2.851
  10. Esteban Ocon – Renault – 1:26.530 – +3.310

 

  1. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 119
  2. Esteban Ocon – Renault – 105
  3. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 103
  4. Alfonso Celis – Force India – 99
  5. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 96
  6. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 89
  7. Jenson Button – McLaren – 86
  8. Pascal Wehrlein – Manor – 86
  9. Alex Lynn – Williams – 86
  10. Pierre Gasly – Toro Rosso – 78

Day 2

  1. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:23.267
  2. Stoffel Vandoorne – McLaren – 1:24.006 – +0.739
  3. Pascal Wehrlein – Mercedes – 1:24.145 – +0.878
  4. Esteban Gutierrez – Haas – 1:24.592 – +1.325
  5. Antonio Fuoco – Ferrari – 1:24.720 – +1.453
  6. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 1:24.737 – +1.470
  7. Alfonso Celis – Force India – 1:25.016 – +1.749
  8. Kevin Magnussen – Renault – 1:25.133 – +1.866
  9. Felipe Massa – Williams – 1:27.167 – +3.900
  10. Jordan King – Manor – 1:27.615 – +4.348

 

  1. Pascal Wehrlein – Mercedes – 133
  2. Kevin Magnussen – Renault – 122
  3. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 118
  4. Antonio Fuoco – Ferrari – 118
  5. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 116
  6. Stoffel Vandoorne – McLaren – 108
  7. Esteban Gutierrez – Haas – 105
  8. Alfonso Celis – Force India – 103
  9. Felipe Massa – Williams – 94
  10. Jordan King – Manor – 91

Nico Rosberg wins action packed Australian Grand Prix

The more things change the more they stay the same. You’d be forgiven for thinking that not much had changed in Formula One if you looked at the results of the 2016 Australian Grand Prix without knowing the story behind them.

Another Mercedes 1-2 finish with Sebastian Vettel once again on the podium for Ferrari at the end of the race, but when the lights went out it was a much different story. Lewis Hamilton set the headline times in practice and took pole position in a maligned qualifying session – the 50th of his career. The talking point prior to the race weekend was the new elimination style qualifying session that would see cars eliminated throughout the three sessions, rather than a number being put out at the end of each.

That was the plan anyway. Instead it turned into a clock watching exercise with many drivers climbing out of their cars before they had formally been eliminated. Hamilton had pole position wrapped up and was out of his car with three minutes of the session remaining, such was the scale of the ridiculousness of the new system. It was 1 – 0 Hamilton over team-mate Nico Rosberg but it was to be a different story on Sunday.

Daniil Kvyat’s car broke down following the warm up lap meaning just 21 cars took the start of the race. Better numbers than last year, however, when just 15 actually managed to make the lights going out. When the race did get started it wasn’t the Mercedes duo – who had locked out the front row – who led by the end of the first lap.

Vettel swept into the early lead with team-mate Kimi Raikkonen taking up second spot. Rosberg and Hamilton lost out, with Hamilton dropped right down the order to seventh in the early phases of the race. Ferrari started to pull away and with the first stop of pit-stops out of the way it looked like Vettel would be hard to beat. A red flag gave the advantage back to Mercedes who were able to gain back lost time.

The red flag was brought out following a “racing incident” between Fernando Alonso and Esteban Gutierrez. Deemed a racing incident by the FIA and both drivers involved, it was a big impact with very little being left of the McLaren when it eventually came to a halt beside the barriers after being sent airborne. Thankfully both drivers emerged from their cars unaided and waving to the crowds. There was a brief delay as the debris was cleared up before racing resumed.

While both Mercedes had the medium tyres on after the stoppage, Vettel chose to continue on his set of supersofts. This meant he would have to pit again for tyres while the Mercedes duo would not. The main question was now could Vettel pull out enough of a gap to allow him a free pit-stop?

The answer was no. Rosberg took over the lead of the race as Vettel pitted and came out in fourth. He passed home favourite Daniel Ricciardo before chasing down on Hamilton. An uncharacteristic Vettel error on the penultimate lap – when the gap was down to less than a second – meant that he eventually finished in third.

Behind the trio Ricciardo came home in fourth – setting the fastest lap on his way – ahead of Williams’ Felipe Massa. An overjoyed Romain Grosjean was sixth, taking points on new team Haas’ debut, with Nico Hulkenberg seventh and Valtteri Bottas eighth. The Toro Rosso duo of Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen finished ninth and tenth respectively although their inter-team battle was not without fireworks.

As they got caught up behind a string of cars, Verstappen was busy on the radio telling the team that he should be in front of his team-mate. His engineer gave him the OK to overtake Sainz but it was clear he would have to do it on his own as the Spaniard would not be pulling over willingly. After many laps of squabbling and angry radio messages from Verstappen, the pair eventually touched with both lucky to escape with only very minor damage and able to continue to the end.

Jolyon Palmer was just outside the points in eleventh ahead of his team-mate who picked up a first lap puncture and ended up a lap down. Kevin Magnussen was able to recover this following the red flag period. Sergio Perez was a quiet 13th with Jenson Button 14th following poor tyre strategy. Felipe Nasr and Pascal Wehrlein were 15th and 16th respectively.

Elsewhere Raikkonen retired with an airbox fire, while rookie driver Rio Haryanto failed to take the restart after the red flag due to an issue with his car.

 

F1 2016: Australian Grand Prix Preview

It is time for the talking to start and for the drivers to take to the track. With pre-season testing reduced to just two four day sessions this year, teams have had less track time to prepare for the upcoming season.

The main talking point going into the 2016 season is whether or not Ferrari will be able to close the gap to Mercedes. The Scuderia showed positive signs in testing however it is well known that you cannot take testing times at face value. Mercedes completed the most mileage of anyone but suffered a breakdown on the final day showing that reliability issues can strike and will strike at any time. The Mercedes team has been the dominant force for the past two seasons but can Ferrari take a sustained season long fight to them? Secondly, Nico Rosberg was the on form driver in Mercedes at the close of 2015 – can he maintain his form?

As well as a record breaking 21 race calendar, there is an extended grid with Haas joining. There will be three rookies on the grid this season – Jolyon Palmer steps up to a race seat with Renault while Manor has chosen to run DTM champion and Mercedes backed driver Pascal Wehrlein alongside Rio Haryanto. Making their return to the Formula One grid will be Kevin Magnussen – getting a race seat at Renault – with Esteban Gutierrez driving for Haas. Romain Grosjean has made the move from Lotus to Haas with the rest of the grid remaining as it was for 2015.

The Australian Grand Prix will once again play host to the start of the season and it is a race where there can be a lot of attrition as teams run their cars in full race mode for the first time.

Circuit: Albert Park
Number of Laps: 58
Circuit Length: 5.303km
Number of Corners: 16
Lap Record: 1:24.125 Michael Schumacher (2004)
Previous Australian GP winners still on the grid: 5
Most Successful Team: McLaren (12 wins)
DRS Zones: 2
Pirelli Tyres: Medium, Soft and Supersoft

For 2016 the technical regulations have remained fairly stable ahead of bigger changes in 2017. There is still scope for teams to improve though and eyes will be on certain teams in particular. One such team will be McLaren following their tumultuous 2015 reunion with engine partner Honda. They had a much more reliable winter, completing more laps in one day at the opening test than they managed over four days at the first test last year. The team are confident they have made gains performance wise but it remains to be seen where they will feature in the pecking order. Renault return to the fray as a constructor for the first time since 2009. They have Kevin Magnussen joining them after a year on the sidelines and it was in Melbourne he took his one and only podium to date in F1 back in 2014 with McLaren.

The last time new teams joined Formula One, they clearly struggled. Only Manor remains of those three teams and Haas will be hoping they won’t meet the same fate as HRT and Caterham. The Haas F1 project has been a long time coming and suggestions are they could be fighting for points straight away. With experienced driver and podium finisher Romain Grosjean on board and former Ferrari test driver Esteban Gutierrez, they have a line-up who are certainly capable of performing.

Elsewhere Red Bull will be racing with their Tag Heuer branded engines and hoping for better fortunes than last year. Sister team Toro Rosso has made the switch back to Ferrari engines for this year and both their drivers – Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen – will be hoping for as good a season, if not better, that they both enjoyed in their rookie year.

It’s all change at Manor with two rookies taking over from last year’s drives. Pascal Wehrlein is the reigning DTM driver while Rio Haryanto enjoyed his best ever GP2 performance in 2015. Force India will be hoping to at least maintain their performance from last year where they finished a best ever fifth in the constructors championship. Williams and Sauber will run with the same drivers as they raced in 2015 and both teams will hope to make steps forward from their respective positions.

For the season ahead there are new Pirelli tyre rules and a new qualifying format which could shake up proceedings. An elimination style qualifying will take place, with cars being eliminated throughout Q1, Q2, and Q3 rather than just at the end of each session. Drivers also get to choose what tyre compounds they want from the three nominated by Pirelli. It is hoped this will lead to a bigger variation in strategies, thus shaking up the racing.

Pirelli confirm driver tyre choices for Australian Grand Prix

Pirelli has confirmed the tyre choices the drivers have made for the season opening Australian Grand Prix.

A new rule brought in for 2016 will see drivers make their tyre selections from three compounds nominated by the tyre supplier. Pirelli has opted to bring the Medium, Soft and Supersoft compounds to Australia. The rule allows scope for a bigger variation of strategies not only between teams but also team-mates.

Over the course of the weekend drivers will have 13 sets of tyres available to them and here is how they have split their selections:

DRIVER Medium Soft Supersoft
Lewis Hamilton 1 6 6
Nico Rosberg 2 5 6
Sebastian Vettel 2 5 6
Kimi Raikkonen 2 5 6
Valtteri Bottas 1 5 7
Felipe Massa 1 5 7
Daniel Ricciardo 2 4 7
Daniil Kvyat 2 4 7
Kevin Magnussen 1 5 7
Jolyon Palmer 1 5 7
Nico Hulkenberg 2 5 6
Sergio Perez 2 5 6
Max Verstappen 2 4 7
Carlos Sainz 2 4 7
Fernando Alonso 1 5 7
Jenson Button 1 5 7
Marcus Ericsson 1 6 6
Felipe Nasr 2 5 6
Pascal Wehrlein 4 4 5
Rio Haryanto 4 4 5
Romain Grosjean 1 5 7
Esteban Gutierrez 2 4 7

In terms of differing strategies, only Mercedes, Sauber and Haas have team-mates differing from each other. Lewis Hamilton has opted for one set of medium compound tyres while Nico Rosberg has gone for two with one less set of the softs. The same has happened sat Sauber and at Haas. Only the Manor duo of Rio Haryanto and Pascal Wehrlein have taken more than two sets of the medium compound tyre, instead going for four.

F1 2016: Pre-season test Barcelona Preview 22nd – 25th February

At this stage last year teams had already taken part in two pre-season tests.  With the first race of the season due to take part in Australia on the 20th March, there are just two pre-season tests this year for teams to start to get to grips with their 2016 machines.

Both of these pre-season tests will take place at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona – the first of which kicks off tomorrow morning.

All 11 teams will be present at the test although only Sauber will be without their 2016 car. Instead their drivers will run the 2015 car with a revised livery. While teams such as Williams, McLaren, and Haas have revealed photographs of their new cars online, testing will be the first opportunity to see all the new cars as they take to the track for the first time.

Toro Rosso will be running an interim livery – with the real deal set to be unveiled at the second test – while Renault’s livery is also expected to change before the first race.

Testing line-up:

TEAM DAY 1 DAY 2 DAY 3 DAY 4
Mercedes Lewis Hamilton Nico Rosberg Lewis  Hamilton Nico Rosberg
Ferrari  Sebastian Vettel Sebastian Vettel Kimi Räikkönen Kimi Räikkönen
Williams Valtteri Bottas Valtteri Bottas Felipe Massa Felipe Massa
Red Bull Daniel Ricciardo Daniel Ricciardo Daniil Kvyat Daniil Kvyat
Force India Alfonso Celis Jr Sergio Perez Nico Hulkenberg Alfonso Celis Jr
Renault Jolyon Palmer Jolyon Palmer Kevin Magnussen Kevin Magnussen
Toro Rosso Carlos Sainz Max Verstappen Carlos Sainz Max Verstappen
Sauber Marcus Ericsson Marcus Ericsson Felipe Nasr Felipe Nasr
McLaren Jenson Button Fernando Alonso Jenson Button Fernando Alonso
Manor Pascal Wehrlein Pascal Wehrlein Rio Haryanto Rio Haryanto
Haas Romain Grosjean Esteban Gutierrez Romain Grosjean Esteban Gutierrez

Alfonso Celis Jr will be the only test/reserve driver in action, splitting the running with  Force  India’s regular race drivers Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg. For Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez it will be their first outings with new teams. 2016 rookies Jolyon Palmer, Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto will also be in action.

Pre-season testing doesn’t give a clear picture of the order the teams will end up come the first race of the season, but it gives somewhat of an indication. It will be an important eight days for the likes of McLaren, Manor and Haas but for very different reasons.

McLaren endured a torrid 2015 season and this struggle started at pre-season testing where they failed to string laps together. They will be hoping for better reliability in the early stages of the year. For Manor it is a brand new line-up with a brand new car. They will have Mercedes engines for the 2016 season, having raced with older Ferrari power in the past. And finally, for Haas it is their first season in Formula One with a brand new car. They are hoping to score points in their maiden season and have a promising line-up in experienced driver Grosjean and former Sauber driver and Ferrari tester Gutierrez.

Ferrari will be hoping that they can close the gap to Mercedes and mount a sustained challenge throughout the whole season. For Williams it is another opportunity to make steps forward, having finished third in the championship for the past two seasons. Renault have returned to the sport as a works team for the first time since the 2009 season while Red Bull will hope to put their engine problems behind them. Toro Rosso will run Ferrari engines this year – having ran with Renault Power Units last year – with Force India coming off the back of their best season in Formula One. Mercedes will remain the team to beat having won the championship convincingly for the past two seasons.

Haas F1 Team launch VF-16

Formula One’s newest team Haas F1 has launched their 2016 car – the VF-16.

The car – named for being the team’s  Very First – will be driven this year by Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez. The American based team is the first new team to join the grid since 2010 and is also the first American led F1 team in 30 years.

“From an international standpoint, Formula One is the highest echelon of racing and  Haas Automation builds the highest-quality machine tools,” Team Chairman Gene Haas said. “When you hear F1 you know exactly what it is – a global racing series that showcases the latest technology and attracts the best talent in engineering and design. Haas Automation has an excellent reputation in the United States and I want that reputation to grow worldwide. Connecting Haas Automation with F1 in name and in practice is the best way to grow our business and elevate Haas Automation to a premium, global brand.”

Haas F1 has set its sights on points in its debut season. “We’re a new team, so we looked at what the successful teams were doing to give us a baseline of the direction we needed to go with our design,” Team Principal Guenther Steiner revealed. “We have very experienced designers who worked hard to develop all the little things from an aerodynamic perspective that, collectively add up to a lot.”

“Our goal with this car is to score points,” Steiner continued. “First, we need to go out there and show that we can do the job, that we can finish races, that we are respected by the fans and other teams in the paddock. Then, we want to score points. That is the ultimate goal.”

Haas F1 has a technical partnership with Ferrari who will also supply their Power Units for the upcoming season.