The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team’s new car, the F1 W11 EQ Performance, managed just under 800 kilometres of running on day two of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with Lewis and Valtteri splitting driving duties.
- Lewis was behind the wheel in the morning and focused on a variety of different systems checks, alongside long runs featuring live pit stops
- Valtteri jumped into the cockpit for the afternoon, also concentrating on systems checks and a race simulation, before an electrical problem brought his session to a slightly early end
- Today’s programme focused on systems and aero validation checks, long-run simulations and pit stop practice
- Mercedes-Benz Power Units completed a total of 2,067 km today
- Tomorrow, Valtteri will be driving the W11 in the morning, with Lewis taking over in the afternoon – wrapping up our running at the first pre-season test.
It’s been another beautiful day here in Barcelona and we got some great mileage on the new car today. As a team, we completed a race run in the morning, which is great for reliability and shows the foundation we are starting on. This is probably the first day ever, that I can remember, where I finished a test session and wanted to continue. We had 20 minutes left and I wanted us to maximise and do more laps, but we’d ran out of tyres. It felt good today and I felt physically fantastic. To get through a race run and still feel at the end of it that I could do another 100 laps is a good feeling.
We completed 77 laps this afternoon, which is a good number. But obviously running was cut short because of an issue, which made the day a bit trickier. It was a good day of learning more about the car. We got some good mileage in and I almost completed a full race simulation. So, there was a lot of good experience gained from that and lots of data for us to investigate ahead of tomorrow. For me, personally, there are many learnings to take away from that race simulation and look into further. The car felt good and I’m looking forward to continuing the running tomorrow morning, hopefully we will have a clean day.
We are all a little disappointed to have taken an early bath today, but we console ourselves with the fact that the problem we encountered will quickly be resolved and we managed a healthy 183 laps before encountering it. That is, after all, why we go testing. It’s encouraging to see that, for the second day running, the car felt honest, good and reasonably speedy. Lewis’ race simulation in the morning was tidy and Valtteri’s, until it was interrupted, was on a good trajectory. We also had an interesting day activating the DAS system for the first time and we are on a voyage of discovery with the drivers to learn about the system and see what it can bring us for the season ahead. We’re now looking forward to the final day of the first test tomorrow and continuing to work through the tasks we have to clear before Melbourne.
Featured today: What makes Barcelona a good track to go testing?
The track layout of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya features a good mix of different characteristics. There’s low-, medium- and high-speed corners, but also two reasonably long straights where F1 cars will reach high speeds – over 300 km/h on the main straight and slightly less on the back straight. The combination of these different track characteristics make the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya a good overall reference point, as teams will be able to learn a lot about their car’s performance in different situations, about the car’s balance and its tyre management. Teams will use these insights to try and find the best set-ups for their cars for optimal performance, so being able to test at a track with a variety of characteristics is very helpful. There is one potential downside to testing in Barcelona though, as the geographic location of the track means that the weather can make testing tricky. In 2018, for example, teams effectively lost one day of pre-season testing to bad weather – a snow-covered track made running an F1 car impossible. This year, however, the forecast looks much more promising with relatively mild temperatures and sunshine. But even on a fair day, temperatures are usually well below those that teams will experience when they come back a few months later for the Spanish Grand Prix. On a cold, overcast day in winter testing, track temperatures will rarely exceed 20 degrees Celsius and even on a relatively mild and sunny day they are usually in the range of 25 to 30 degrees. On a sunny day in May, however, when teams return to Barcelona for the race, the track can easily hit temperature of 40 degrees and more which has a big impact on the car and the tyres.
Source: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team