The first Formula 1 in-season test took place at the Bahrain International Circuit on 19 and 19 April. Pirelli also used the opportunity to test the 2018 tyres with Ferrari on the Tuesday.
The test saw a mix of current drivers and young drivers with a couple of new faces with the likes of Sean Gelael in the Toro Rosso, Oliver Turvey in the McLaren, and Gary Paffet in the in Williams.
Pirelli, together with Ferrari ran the 2018 tyres on Tuesday. Head of Car Racing at Pirelli, Mario Isola said that Pirelli was able to complete their programme with Ferrari for the day. Despite the delay with the car due to mechanical problems, officials allowed Pirelli a further 3-hours of running.
The both test days time sheets were topped by Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton finishing fastest on the first day and Bottas on the second day. While Hamilton had issues on the first day of the test at the beginning he was able to complete 97 laps. That tally was however, exceeded by Bottas on day two of the test. The Finn racked up 143 laps which is the equivalent to just under 1.5 grand prix race distance at 774.916km. At the end of the test Mercedes say that they may have found a solution for their tyre problem’s they’ve been having in the race.
After a disaster weekend at the Bahrain Grand Prix, McLaren were hoping to try some new ideas around their power unit in the hope that it will bring them some much needed reliability. After the first day of the test with Turvey at the wheel it looked as though McLaren would spend most of their time in the garage tinkering with the power unit. Turvey was the slowest at the end of the first day posting just 17 laps.
Things looked up for the Woking team on the second day with Stoffel Vandoorne at the wheel. The Belgian clocked up 81 laps for the day and was 4th fastest.
“Today has probably been our best day this season so far,” said Vandoorne at the end of the 2nd day.
“It’s the first time that we’ve had a day without any big problems, where we could actually get on with our programme. I think we completed everything we wanted to do today, and we went through a lot of set-up stuff that we didn’t manage to do in Barcelona.”
“It’s been a very productive day and I’m very happy that we’ve been able to do so many laps. Especially after a difficult day yesterday and a difficult weekend, it wasn’t looking great, but I’m very pleased.
“For the team, it’s not been an easy week, after a double-header and then coming to the test with so many issues. They’ve been working flat-out, and they’ve done a very good job to get the car back out on track every time.”
Team Principal Eric Boullier praised the team for the hard work and effort that has gone into these past few weeks. According to Boullier the team were able to get through their entire programme for the day and were able to complete back-to-back test runs.
“It’s certainly been a trying couple of weeks for everyone at McLaren-Honda, and I can’t thank the team enough for the long hours, hard work and incredible effort they’ve put in after a long period away from home,” said Boullier
“Oliver and Stoffel, too, have both done a sterling job, and, for Stoffel in particular, the mileage we’ve been able to cover today after difficult back-to-back race weekends for him has been priceless.”
Haas’ Romain Grosjean who was very critical of the braking issues caused by the Brembo brakes on the Haas was in the car on the first day testing out brakes from Carbone Industrie. The Frenchman felt that the brakes from Carbone Industrie were better, but the situation was made slightly more complicated after Brembo brought updated products to the Chinese Grand Prix which the team had used during the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The rest of the teams went about their business testing various new parts and configurations on their cars and collecting data with a few issues popping up during the course of the the test.
The pack up will be quick and the teams ship off to their bases to evaluate all the data collected during the test and prepare for the Russian Grand Prix.