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:

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.

First 2015 in-season test line-up confirmed

Nine of the ten Formula One teams will take part in the first in-season test on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In 2015 there will be two in-season tests – down from the four last season – and the first of these is due to take place in Spain following the Grand Prix at the weekend. Every team bar Manor will run on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Circuit de Catalunya. The Sporting Regulations have stipulated that each team must run a driver with less than two F1 race starts on two of the four test days.

The schedule for the two days in Barcelona is as follows:

  Tuesday Wednesday
Mercedes Nico Rosberg Pascal Wehrlein
Red Bull Daniil Kvyat Pierre Gasly
Ferrari Raffaele Marciello Esteban Gutierrez
Williams Felipe Massa Alex Lynn
McLaren Oliver Turvey Jenson Button
Force India Pascal Wehrlein Nick Yelloly
Toro Rosso Pierre Gasly Carlos Sainz
Lotus Pastor Maldonado Jolyon Palmer
Sauber Marcus Ericsson Raffaele Marciello

As well as seven current Formula One drivers, seven test and reserve drivers will also take the wheel. Pascal Wehrlein, Raffaele Marciello, and Pierre Gasly will be the busiest drivers as they split their running between two teams. Mercedes test driver Wehrlein who also tested for Force India during pre-season testing will continue to run for both teams, starting with Force India on Tuesday. Marciello is a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy and will run for the Scuderia on Tuesday before taking up his official Sauber test and reserve driver duties on Wednesday. Finally, Red Bull Junior driver Gasly will get running for both Toro Rosso and Red Bull over the two days.

Elsewhere Nico Rosberg, Daniil Kvyat, Felipe Massa, Pastor Maldonado, and Marcus Ericsson will kickstart the running for their respective teams. Jenson Button and Carlos Sainz will also be in action. Former Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez will get his first running for Ferrari after joining the team as one of their test drivers for the 2015 season. Long-time McLaren test driver Oliver Turvey will get a days running as will Williams development driver Alex Lynn. Lotus reserve driver Jolyon Palmer will be in action on Wednesday with Nick Yelloly sharing the Force India with Wehrlein.

The second in-season test will take place following the Austrian Grand Prix in June.

Daniel Ricciardo fastest after solid day of running

Daniel Ricciardo topped the times on the second day of pre-season testing in Barcelona with a time set in the morning session.

The Red Bull driver – who completed 143 laps in total – set his 1:24.574 on the soft tyres having enjoyed a ‘productive’ morning. He was just a hundredth of a second ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in the Ferrari. Ricciardo also completed a race simulation in his running, as did Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton was returning to the car after having to abandon testing yesterday due to a favour. He split the running with team-mate Nico Rosberg who also missed yesterday due to a trapped nerve in his neck.

The Mercedes drivers were separated by 6 tenths of a second. Rosberg’s time was set in the morning before Hamilton took over the car in the afternoon. Felipe Massa went third fastest for Williams – taking over driving duty from Susie Wolff who drove yesterday – while Sergio Perez set the fourth fastest time in the 2014 Force India. McLaren enjoyed a productive day with Fernando Alonso completing 59 laps. Jenson Button’s running was cut short yesterday due to an MGU-K problem which the team expected to reoccur today. Alonso managed to make it to the chequered flag in the MP4-30 instead of having to stop early.

Also in action was Lotus reserve driver Jolyon Palmer, making his test debut for his new team. He completed 77 laps on his way to the eighth fastest time of the day. Rounding up the times were Marcus Ericsson for Sauber and Carlos Sainz Jr for Toro Rosso. Both drivers brought out red flags during the day. Sainz Jr went off into the gravel at Turn 9 while Ericsson stopped on the pit straight within the last half an hour.

The times after day two were as follows:

  1. Daniel Ricciardo – 1:24.574 – 143 laps
  2. Kimi Raikkonen – 1:24.584 – 90 laps
  3. Felipe Massa – 1:24.672 – 88 laps
  4. Sergio Perez – 1:24.702 – 121 laps
  5. Lewis Hamilton – 1:24.923 – 89 laps
  6. Nico Rosberg – 1:25.556 – 66 laps
  7. Fernando Alonso – 1:25.961 – 59 laps
  8. Jolyon Palmer – 1:26.280 – 77 laps
  9. Marcus Ericsson – 1:27.334 – 113 laps
  10. Carlos Sainz Jr – 1:28.945 – 100 laps

Testing continues tomorrow.

Lewis Hamilton ends testing on top

Bahrain (2) Day Four in a Nutshell


  1. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:33.278
  2. Valtteri Bottas – Williams – 1:33.987
  3. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – 1:34.280
  4. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India – 1:35.577
  5. Jean-Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso – 1:35.701
  6. Adrian Sutil – Sauber – 1:36.467
  7. Max Chilton – Marussia – 1:36.835
  8. Esteban Gutierrez – Sauber – 1:37.303
  9. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull – 1:37.468
  10. Jenson Button – McLaren – 1:38.111
  11. Kamui Kobayashi – Caterham – 1:38.391
  12. Romain Grosjean – Lotus – 1:39.302


  1. Valtteri Bottas – 108
  2. Kamui Kobayashi – 106
  3. Adrian Sutil – 91
  4. Esteban Gutierrez – 86
  5. Sebastian Vettel – 77
  6. Fernando Alonso – 74
  7. Nico Hulkenberg – 74
  8. Jean-Eric Vergne – 74
  9. Lewis Hamilton – 70
  10. Max Chilton – 61
  11. Romain Grosjean – 32
  12. Jenson Button – 21

Red flags – 8
Total number of laps completed – 874

Lewis Hamilton finished fastest as pre-season testing drew to a close. The Mercedes driver’s 1:33.278 was not enough to beat Felipe Massa’s fastest of the day yesterday – a 1:33.258 – but was enough to send him to the top of the timesheets. It was an important day of running for Sebastian Vettel and Adrian Sutil in particular who did not complete any laps yesterday. Vettel managed 77 laps while Sutil completed an impressive 91 on a shared day of running with team-mate Esteban Gutierrez.

Teams started the day with long ‘to-do’ lists and Marussia tweeted that they hoped to complete some longer runs, coupled with a qualifying simulation, brake evaluation and live pitstop practice. Vettel’s day got off to a positive start as he completed an installation lap – more than can be said for yesterday. Mercedes’ had another delayed start to the day. After an engine change kept them busy yesterday, it was a problematic gearbox that delayed Hamilton’s start to the day today. Vettel brought out the first red flag of the day after spinning in his RB10 at turn one. Romain Grosjean brought out the second red flag as the Lotus once again stopped out on track. He also caused the fourth red flag. He managed just 32 laps before calling it a day after another fire in the E22.

Not long after the action re-started after the mandatory lunch break, Jenson Button’s McLaren brought out the third red flag, suffering a ‘high-mileage internal combustion engine failure’. It took much of the rest of the afternoon to replace it. Nico Hulkenberg (engine problem) and Fernando Alonso brought out the fifth and sixth red flags respectively. A sixth red flag was caused by Valtteri Bottas – Williams’ first stoppage of pre-season testing and, as Williams revealed afterward, it was an engine with a lot of mileage which caused the car to stop.

Due to the number of red flags, the session was extended by 25 minutes. Caterham’s running was curtailed, however, by a clutch problem in the last hour. Button’s running was also shortened due to the amount of time it took to replace the engine which caused him to stop earlier in the day. Gutierrez caused the eighth and final red flag of the day with just ten minutes remaining in the session. Sauber had been completing a fuel system test so the stop was planned. Hamilton improved late in the day in the Mercedes to knock Bottas off the top spot.

Williams fastest as it goes from bad to worse for Red Bull

Bahrain (2) Day Three in a Nutshell


  1. Felipe Massa – Williams – 1:33.258
  2. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:33.484
  3. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:35.487
  4. Kevin Magnussen – McLaren – 1:35.894
  5. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 1:36.113
  6. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India – 1:36.205
  7. Jules Bianchi – Marussia – 1:37.087
  8. Marcus Ericsson – Caterham – 1:38.083
  9. Romain Grosjean – Lotus – 1:42.166
  10. Adrian Sutil – No Time Set
  11. Sebastian Vettel – No Time Set


  1. Marcus Ericsson – 117
  2. Nico Hulkenberg – 115
  3. Nico Rosberg – 103
  4. Felipe Massa – 99
  5. Kevin Magnussen – 88
  6. Kimi Raikkonen – 87
  7. Daniil Kvyat – 80
  8. Jules Bianchi – 78
  9. Romain Grosjean – 33
  10. Adrian Sutil – 1*
  11. Sebastian Vettel – 1*

*neither driver completed a full lap but were classed as having a lap due to leaving the pit-lane

Red flags – 3
Total number of laps completed – 802

Felipe Massa ended his final day of pre-season testing top of the times and completing a solid 99 laps for Williams. He will now hand the car over to Valtteri Bottas, who will complete Williams’ testing programme tomorrow. Massa’s fastest time was two tenths faster than Nico Rosberg. The Mercedes’ driver’s early morning was delayed as the team chose to take a precautionary engine change.

Adrian Sutil’s day came to a very early end after he ground to a halt in a smoking Sauber in the pit-lane’s entry, after completing just an installation lap. He will return to action tomorrow after losing a full day. Red Bull had an encouraging day of running yesterday, with Daniel Ricciardo finishing third fastest and completing 66 laps. It was not more of the same; however, for reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel who managed just four corners in the RB10 before it came to a halt. A second attempted run saw Vettel get no further than the end of the pit-lane, and his day was done. This was following a two and a half hour wait to get out on track after the session started. He brought out the first red flag of the day. Jules Bianchi caused the second red flag, stopping between the first and second corners. The third and final red flag was caused by Romain Grosjean coming to a halt in the Lotus on the back-straight after electrical problems hampered his running in the morning.

In the afternoon, a lot of drivers including Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg completed race simulations and longer runs. Marcus Ericsson completed an impressive 117 laps for Caterham, improving by four seconds on his run from yesterday. Massa’s 1:33.258 is the fastest in Bahrain thus far as Williams continued working towards performance in the morning. Tomorrow will be the fourth and final day of running in Bahrain, and in pre-season testing.

2014: Bahrain (1) Test in Numbers

Total number of laps completed…

By Driver

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 TOTAL
Nico Rosberg 0 85  0  89 174
Jenson Button 0 0 103 69 172
Valterri Bottas 0 116 55 0 171
Fernando Alonso 64 97 0 0 161
Esteban Gutierrez 0 55 96 0 151
Lewis Hamilton 74 0 67 0 141
Nico Hulkenberg 78 59 0 0 137
Kevin Magnussen 81 46 0 0 127
Kimi Raikkonen 0 0 44 82 126
Marcus Ericsson 0 0 98 4 102
Adrian Sutil 82 0 0 7 89
Felipe Nasr 0 0 0 87 87
Pastor Maldonado 0 0 26 58 84
Kamui Kobayashi 0 66 0 16 82
Jean-Eric Vergne 0 58 0 19 77
Sergio Perez 0 0 57 19 76
Sebastian Vettel 14 59 0 0 73
Robin Frijns 68 0 0 0 68
Felipe Massa 4 0 60 0 64
Daniil Kvyat 5 0 57 0 62
Daniel Ricciardo 0 0 28 15 43
Romain Grosjean 8 18 0 0 26
Max Chilton 0 17 4 0 21
Jules Bianchi 3 0 0 5 8

By Team

Day 1 Day   2 Day   3 Day 4 TOTAL
 Williams 4 116 60 87 322
 Mercedes 74 85 67 89 315
 McLaren 81 46 103 69 299
 Ferrari 64 97 44 82 287
 Caterham 68 66 98 20 252
 Sauber 82 55 96 7 240
 Force  India 78 59 57 19 213
 Toro  Rosso 5 58 57 19 139
 Red Bull 14 59 28 15 116
 Lotus  8 18 26 58 110
 Marussia  3 17 4 5 29

By Day

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 TOTAL
 481  676 695 470 2322

By Engine Supplier

(Mercedes engines: Mercedes, McLaren, Williams and Force India; Renault engines: Red Bull, Lotus, Toro Rosso and Caterham; Ferrari engines: Ferrari, Sauber, Marussia)

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 TOTAL
 Mercedes  237 306  287 264 1094
 Renault  95 201 209 112 617
 Ferrari  149 169 144 94 556

Highest number of laps in one day…

By Driver & Team

Valtteri Bottas – Williams – 116 laps (day 2)

By Engine Supplier

Mercedes – 306 laps (day 2)


695 (day 3)

Lowest number of laps in one day…

By Driver & Team

Jules Bianchi – Marussia – 3 laps (day 1)

By Engine Supplier

Renault – 95 laps (day 1)


470 laps (day 4)

Combined Laps

Fastest Laps…

By Driver

  1. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:33.283 (Day 1)
  2. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:34.263 (Day 3)
  3. Kevin Magnussen – McLaren – 1:34.910 (Day 2)
  4. Jenson Button – McLaren – 1:34.957 (Day 4)
  5. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India – 1:36.445 (Day 2)
  6. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – 1:36.516 (Day 2)
  7. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:36.718 (Day 4)
  8. Felipe Massa – Williams – 1:37.066 (Day 3)
  9. Esteban Gutierrez – Sauber – 1:37.180 (Day 3)
  10. Valtteri Bottas – Williams – 1:37.328 (Day 2)
  11. Sergio Perez – Force India – 1:37.367 (Day 3)
  12. Felipe Nasr – Williams – 1:37.569 (Day 4)
  13. Pastor Maldonado – Lotus – 1:38.707 (Day 4)
  14. Kamui Kobayashi – Caterham – 1:38.855 (Day 2)
  15. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 1:38.975 (Day 3)
  16. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 1:40.138 (Day 4)
  17. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull – 1:40.224 (Day 1)
  18. Jean-Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso – 1:40.472 (Day 4)
  19. Adrian Sutil – Sauber – 1:40.443 (Day 1)
  20. Romain Grosjean – Lotus – 1:41.670 (Day 1)
  21. Marcus Ericsson – Caterham – 1:42.130 (Day 3)
  22. Robin Frijns – Caterham – 1:42.534 (Day 1)
  23. Max Chilton – Marussia – 1:43.511 (Day 2)
  24. Jules Bianchi – Marussia – No Time Set

By Team

  1. Mercedes – 1:33.283 (Day 1)
  2. McLaren – 1:34.910 (Day 2)
  3. Force India – 1:36.445 (Day 2)
  4. Ferrari – 1:36.516 (Day 2)
  5. Williams – 1:37.066 (Day 3)
  6. Sauber – 1:37.180 (Day 3)
  7. Lotus – 1:38.707 (Day 4)
  8. Caterham – 1:38.855 (Day 2)
  9. Toro Rosso – 1:38.975 (Day 3)
  10. Red Bull – 1:40.138 (Day 4)
  11. Marussia – 1:43.511 (Day 2)

Felipe Nasr joins Williams

Williams has confirmed that Felipe Nasr has joined the team as test and reserve driver for the 2014 season. The Brazilian driver got his first running in the FW36 on the final day of testing in Bahrain, ending the day an impressive fourth fastest.

In his new role Nasr will attend all Grand Prix and stand in should Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas not be able to race. He will also take the wheel of the car in three tests and five FP1 sessions. This will be combined with factory based work in the team’s simulator to support the continued development of the car.

“I’m really happy to be joining the Williams family,” Nasr said. “They have a great history in the sport and some of the greatest Brazilian drivers of all time have driven for the team, so it’s an honour to join names such as [Nelson] Piquet, [Ayrton] Senna and [Felipe] Massa. This is a fantastic opportunity for me to make the next step in my career and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of a Formula One car for the first time in Bahrain.”

Nasr has had an impressive racing career to date, most recently coming fourth in the 2013 GP2 championship, racing for Carlin Motorsport. He started karting in Brazil at the age of seven, winning several titles before making his open wheel racing debut in 2008 in the final round of the Formula BMW Americas season. In 2009 he competed in the Formula BMW Championship and won the title in his first season, taking seven wins from 16 starts. For 2010 he moved to British Formula 3, finishing fifth before claiming the title in 2011. He made his GP2 debut in 2012 racing with DAMS and finished as the second highest placed rookie and tenth overall.

“Felipe has a strong track record of success in his career so far and we have been watching him closely for a while,” Team Principal and founder Frank Williams revealed. “We have a track record at Williams of bringing through new talent and giving them a chance to show what they can do on the world’s biggest stage. By driving in five FP1 sessions this season, Felipe will have the perfect chance to showcase his skills and I’m confident he will be a strong addition to our driver roster.”