DAY ONE OVERVIEW
|Date||Monday 26 February 2018|
|Location||Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (4.655km/2.892 miles)|
A challenging day for McLaren as the team got an early glimpse of the MCL33’s potential in an interrupted first day of pre-season testing.
Fernando began the session promptly at the start of the day’s running, but only managed to complete six laps before a wheel nut issue led to Fernando being pitched into the gravel minus his rear right wheel.
The associated repairs to what was ultimately a relatively minor issue took some time to complete on the first day of testing where spare parts are naturally at a premium. The car was ready shortly before the lunch break and Fernando managed to get out on track for a couple more laps before the morning’s running concluded.
The scheduled test programme for today included set-up changes and more garage time, after which weather conditions had become less than favourable – the temperature dropping dramatically and the track becoming increasingly wet. The team opted to continue running in order to gather essential data, albeit with a more limited programme than would have been possible in the dry.
Fernando completed a total of 51 laps and clocked the seventh fastest time of the day.
FERNANDO ALONSO, McLaren Driver
“The first thing I thought when we had the wheel nut issue was that it was a good day for the media! It was a very small problem, but very obvious when you see a car in the gravel. In testing, there are cars in the garage in pieces and nobody sees that.
“We didn’t plan to run much this morning in our scheduled test programme, and we had planned fundamental changes on the car over lunch, so the lack of morning running hasn’t been a big handicap today. We reverted to our normal programme after lunch, and I’m the one that has done the most laps this afternoon while other teams have had issues.
“For me, I feel that today has been a very good start. The car felt good both here and in Navarra, and there’s definitely strong potential. On the performance side, it’s very early days to make an assessment, but everything seems to be in line with our expectations from the wind tunnel and the data that we had before coming to the test. At the moment, I think everyone is quite optimistic.”
ERIC BOULLIER, Racing Director
“While we have high expectations for our new partnership with Renault, we will not make any predictions now for the rest of the season after only one day of testing. This is the first day, it’s still early days and we need to assess our car. We need to feed the information we’ve gathered back to Woking, and see how the car correlates with what has been drawn up in the design office.
“Naturally, we’re learning about working with Renault – obviously the language is different, the switch positions are different, but it’s still a V6 1.6-litre engine with energy to manage. There are different ways to do that, but so far so good. The relationship is good, and the troops in both camps are happy to work together.
“It’s a shame we couldn’t take full advantage of the afternoon session because of the weather, and the forecast is not looking good for the rest of the week. Dry running is more useful for testing of course, but even in the wet there are still a lot of systems to check on the car, so still a lot of work to do that could be done even if it’s raining.
“The only downside from today is that our wheel nut issue cost us track time, but we’ve returned to running our programme and we’re happy with the learning we’re doing from our new package.”
TODAY'S OFFICIAL TESTING TIMES
|1||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing||1:20.179s||105 laps|
|2||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||1:20.349s||58 laps|
|3||Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||1:20.506s||80 laps|
|4||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||1:20.547s||73 laps|
|5||Carlos Sainz||Renault||1:22.168s||26 laps|
|6||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1:22.327s||25 laps|
|7||Fernando Alonso||McLaren||1:22.354s||51 laps|
|8||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso||1:22.371s||93 laps|
|9||Lance Stroll||Williams||1:22.452s||46 laps|
|10||Romain Grosjean||Haas||1:22.578s||55 laps|
|11||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber||1:23.403s||63 laps|
|12||Nikita Mazepin||Force India||1:25.628s||22 laps|
|13||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams||1:44.148s||28 laps|
Stoffel will step into the cockpit of the McLaren MCL33 tomorrow for the first time on day two of testing.
Four days (Monday 26 February – Thursday 1 March).