Apologies for the lack of test reports this week - been working all over the country. A Quick Round up:-
After a week of analysis following the first test of 2012, it was back to track action for Red Bull Racing in Barcelona today.
After 79 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya, Sebastian Vettel emerged with the day’s quickest time, recording a 1:23.265 in the latter stages of the afternoon.
Sebastian said: “It’s clear that the cars have less grip than last year, but we try to come back from that slowly. It’s difficult to judge where we are compared with the others right now. It’s all based on feeling and the feeling I have inside the car at the moment is fine. I think we had a good day today, with no trouble. We had a long lunch break when we made some changes, but not because anything broke down. All in all, it was a good day.”
Head of Race Engineering Ian Morgan said that the changes over lunch had lost the team some time, but that the day’s work had gone according to plan:
“We got through most of what we wanted today,” he said. “We had a longer than usual break for lunch, in order to change some things, but that had always been planned. So, while we lost a little time, it wasn’t at the expense of getting the tasks completed.
“These tests are a process of continuous development and the programme today was influenced a bit by what we learned at the last test. We also had to test some items that were put into development before the car even took to the track. The next two days will be somewhat different,” he added. “We will be doing race simulations and will have the whole race team here, so we will try to mix
that with continuing the development. There aren’t many chances to run through a whole race weekend before the season starts and we’ll do a simulation with each driver. Those should keep us on our toes for the next couple of days.”
After spending yesterday on development, Sebastian Vettel and a full Red Bull Racing race team put the RB8 through the rigours of a full race simulation today.
Sebastian said: “I’m happy that we got a lot of laps done. Unfortunately, we had a little bit of a problem, it was small, but with testing you stop whenever there’s an issue, take a look and see what’s what and that always takes up a bit of time. But nevertheless, in the afternoon I was quite happy. We got a lot of laps done, more than 100, so we got through most of the programme".
“I think we are on the right road with the car,” he added. “The first impressions at the last test were fine. The car reacted the way we expected. I keep talking about the loss of downforce compared to last year, as we don’t have the tools we had, but this is the same for everyone, not just us. So, we’ll get on top of it and we’ll spend the coming days trying to make improvements, find more performance and make the car faster. But so far, so good.”
Head of Race Engineering Ian Morgan said: “It was again so cold this morning that we had problems with pit stop practice, simply because the equipment was freezing up as we tried to use it. After that we ran a bit of a free practice simulation, but we discovered a small problem, which lost us some time. It was only a minor issue and didn’t require major work, but it meant that we had to run a compressed Quali simulation before lunch. Afterwards we got through a whole race distance, which, at the car’s first go, is always very encouraging. Mark is in the car tomorrow for his race simulation, so we hope we can get through the full programme with him with no dramas.”
Today it was Mark Webber’s turn to try his hand at a full race simulation in the RB8. After starting his programme, the car developed a fault which interrupted the morning, but after lunch Mark went into a full race simulation and managed the full distance without any further problems.
Mark said: “All in all, it wasn’t a bad day at all. Not the smoothest of morning’s and we didn’t get too many laps done there, but in the afternoon the race simulation went OK. We’re still learning plenty."
He went on to say: “It would have been nice to have done a few more laps, but I think everyone always wants to get 20 or 30 more and, even with the problem this morning, there were loads of positives to look at. We’re a very ambitious team, so we’ll keep working on that.”
Head of Race Engineering Ian Morgan said: “Mark only got a handful of laps in before we had a problem with the gearbox. But whereas it didn’t set us back too much yesterday, today needed more time. Mark then went out for his race simulation this afternoon a bit cold, but he managed to put a whole race distance on and the gearbox ran flawlessly. We stopped a couple of laps earlier than planned because we saw something in the data, but in the end it was nothing. So, while we had a limited morning, the afternoon was a pretty good recovery. These two days of race simulations have been valuable too in that we’ve got some good information on the tyres.”