Monthly Archives: February 2015

Alonso to stay in hospital overnight

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It has been confirmed by the McLaren team this evening that Fernando Alonso will spend the night in hospital following his testing accident in Barcelona on Sunday.

Alonso crashed at Turn 3 just before lunchtime, and although conscious and able to speak, was airlifted to hospital for precautionary CT and MRI scans.

The Spaniard was uninjured, but will remain in hospital on Sunday night as a precaution.

In an interview with the media, McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier stated the following about Alonso’s accident today:- 

‘Fernando’s accident was just one of those things that happens in testing.  Fortunately, he’s fine, but was concussed during the accident, which therefore required an overnight stay in hospital as a precaution.

‘That’s normal practice after a concussion. Inevitably, some media reports have sought to exaggerate the severity of the incident – it was just a normal testing accident.’

The team had planned to run Jenson Button in the afternoon, given his lack of running across the course of the week, but the team cut short its testing programme following Alonso’s accident.

Further on in his interview with the media, Boullier added the following about making the decision not to run in the afternoon with Button:- 

‘Given the lack of remaining track time, and the lengthy and thorough procedures needed to check the car and power-unit after such an impact, the team decided that it was not worth hurrying the rebuilding of the car in order to resume testing before close of play. We now turn our attention to next week’s final pre-season test in Barcelona.’

As I am sure like most pundits and fans, we are glad that Alonso hasn’t been hurt as a result of his accident and at the hospital getting the much needed rest to recover as quickly as possible from the accident.

With regards to how the accident occured, there has been speculation on social media such as Twitter that is completely untrue and in my opinion uncalled for and we should wait for official confirmation from the McLaren team on the subject and not listen to the rumours that are circulating currently.

I believe that McLaren made the correct decision not to rush the rebuilding of the car in order to allow Button to run in the afternoon and I fully support the team for making the decision given the circumstances. Even though McLaren haven’t had the best start to the pre-season tests so far, all you can say is that they have made small steps forward from Jerez to Barcelona and this will motivate them for the final test next week.

Even though testing will continue at the Circuit de Catalunya on Thursday, I really do hope that fernando is okay and that he recovers from the crash as quickly and safely as possible and is back in the car running when he is fit and able to.

 

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Grosjean encouraged by progress made by the Lotus team during testing so far

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In an interview with the media today, Lotus driver Romain Grosjean has hailed Lotus’ testing progress after topping the final day of the first Barcelona test.

Grosjean ended the day fastest with a soft tyre run in the afternoon, producing a lap of 1:24.067 – the best of the week – at the wheel of the Lotus E23. He managed 111 laps on what was a windy day at the Circuit de Catalunya, as he concentrated on performance assessment.

In an interview with the media today, Grosjean was happy to be back testing the E23 despite the tricky conditions on the track and is happy with the team’s progress so far. Grosjean stated the following:-

‘It was great to get behind the wheel of the E23 once more. Conditions were pretty tricky with quite a bit of wind, especially early on, but the car ran well, meaning we could complete the tests we wanted to – even if I had to modify my lines in the morning because the wind was pushing the car!

‘We made some good improvements with the balance and set-up over the course of the day and it felt a lot better after we made changes for the afternoon. We completed a very promising mileage and it’s always good to see your name at the top of the timing monitors, even if it is far too early to know what everyone else is doing.’

With Grosjean being happy driving the E23 and being extremely happy with the progress of the E23 so far despite the conditions today, he knows that there is still a long way to go for the team but this is a positive step forward and there is no question that he and the Lotus team will benefit from this and will able to improve as a result of this.

In his own interview with the media, Lotus technical director Nick Chester was impressed by the team’s strong reliability over the four-day test. Chester stated the following to the media today:-

‘We’ve enjoyed a solid first test in Barcelona with good reliability and encouraging performance. The biggest positive we have seen so far is the reliability of the E23 which is enabling us to push along with our assessments and evaluations over the course of 361 laps or 1680km.’

As Chester rightly says, Lotus have had a productive test at Barcelona this week and the signs are looking positive and heading in the right direction for them as a result of this. With Chester being surprised with the reliability of the E23 so far, it is clear that he is happy with the way things are going and will want to build on this as much as possible next week at the final pre-season test.

With Pre-season testing will continuing at the Spanish circuit on Thursday, the signs for the Lotus team are looking better than what they did last year. Even though it is too early to see just how the Lotus is performing on the track currently, the performances that they have managed to achieve so far are credible, encouraging and will provide them with more motivation to continue to this path for the final test and also to be the best position possible for Melbourne.

Will Lotus be able to keep this level of performance up next week at the Barcelona circuit? We shall have to wait and see.

 

Rosberg happy to complete Mercedes’ programme at the Barcelona test

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In an interview with the media after the final day of the Barcelona test, Mercedes Nico Rosberg admits the winds in Barcelona made testing very difficult on Sunday, but he still feels Mercedes “nailed the programme” and had no “major problems”.

Rosberg was second fastest on the final day at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with his 1:24.321 just 0.254s off that of pacesetter Romain Grosjean from Lotus while he also completed 129 laps.

Although conditions were tricky, the W06 did extremely well with Mercedes’ day nearly faultless. In his interview with the media today, Rosberg believes that the conditions on the track made it difficult but was able to learn a few things as a result. Rosberg stated the following:-

‘It was so windy out on track and seldom have I had… It’s so difficult to understand in the car because everyone is different, corner to corner, depending on where the wind is coming from the car is totally different so it really makes testing extremely difficult,.

‘I’m still able to learn a few things, together with the team of course, but all in all not the best of days. But anyway, still a good end to the test, no major problems on the car today. We got some good running in the end and we did learn something once the wind dropped down, some decent lap times and things so there are positives.’

As Rosberg points out in his interview, the conditions at the Barcelona track where not the best, but he managed to get the best that he could out of it and gained more important information that will help the Mercedes team develop and improve the W06 further. But despite this, Rosberg managed to complete the programme that he needed to today without any major problems and that has to be a positive for the Mercedes team and also for himself to build upon as we head into the final pre-season test at Barcelona this week.

Further on in his interview, Rosberg believes that he ‘nailed’ the programme he ran today for his team, even though thee could have been a problem with his gearbox. Rosberg added the following:-

‘I think we nailed the programme, which is really good. No major problems. At one point we thought we would have to take the gearbox off but then they were looking at the numbers and crank it up in the garage and look at the data at the same time to see if there were any disturbances. Everything looked OK so the gearbox stayed on so off I went again, but it was a bit of a hairy moment.’ 

Even though Rosberg is happy with the way the programme went today and feels that he ‘nailed’ it, with the scares regarding his gearbox; for me this only highlights that nothing can be taken for granted in pre-season testing and there is nothing you can do if problems arise apart from learning from it and Rosberg was very lucky not to have experienced problems today.

With many pundits and fans believing that Mercedes were flexing their muscles as Rosberg’s time was done on the medium tyres while Grosjean produced his best effort on the supersofts, which is reportedly 1.5s-2s faster. In response to this, Rosberg believes that there are getting there with regards to the pace of their car. Rosberg said the following:-

‘Not according to our numbers, not so much, when we’re looking at times from other days and things like that. But I think we’re getting there and yes we’re confident we think we have a good car.’

I think Rosberg’s response here is interesting and I think he did say the right thing to the media today in response to this claim. However, let us not forget that he and the Mercedes team have more information and data regarding this and at this early stage of the season, they would be stupid to take this for granted nor say more on the situation.

But overall, Rosberg and the Mercedes team have had a pleasing day at Barcelona today. Even with suspected issues with the gearbox that could have been present, the main thing is that they didn’t arise and Rosberg was able to gain more information and mileage for the team today.

With many being surprised with Mercedes not topping the timesheets today but showing impressive pace still, you would be stupid not to discount them as the title favourites this season as you cannot establish the true pace of the cars until I believe after the first Grand Prix has been completed. But Mercedes for me might not be showing what they are truly capable of and might be binding their time; but they are still the favourites to beat in my opinion and are looking in a good solid position for the first race of the season in Melbourne next month.

But will they be able to build on what they have achieved this week in Barcelona at the final pre-season test at the same circuit this week? Only time will tell.

 

Hulkenberg happy to get mileage under his belt

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In an interview with the media after the final day of the testing at Barcelona today, Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg admits Force India’s work has been made harder by a power unit issue, but was nevertheless happy to get some laps under his belt.

Force India opted to skip the opening test at Jerez, but were back in action in Barcelona this week with their 2014 car. With Force India also running Mercedes reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein, Hulkenberg spent only one day in the cockpit of the VJM07 while a problem with the power unit meant they could only manage 36 laps on the final day of testing on Sunday.

In his interview with the media today, Hulkenberg believes they have learned by getting some mileage. Hulkenberg stated the following:-

‘It was a very nice sensation to be back in a Formula 1 car and getting the feeling of being in the cockpit again. It was exciting and I really enjoyed my time driving the car and working with the engineers after the winter break.

‘Unfortunately our day was shortened by an issue with the power unit, something we will look into once the car is back at the factory. This, together with the very windy and cold conditions, made our work harder but every lap is valuable in pre-season. I am really looking forward to the final test next week and to try the new car.’

It is clear for all to see that Hulkenberg is delighted to be back driving once again after the winter break and is clearly very motivated to get as much running as he can for the team in order to develop and improve the car further.

Even though a power unit issue ended Hulkenberg’s day, the main thing is that he managed to get some running in for the Force India team that will help them improve while also making sure that any problems with the power unit are ironed out before the first race of the season next month in Melbourne.

With Force India still targeting the second test at Barcelona this week to debut the VJM08; let’s hope that this is the case for them and Hulkenberg is allowed to build on what he has achieved this week and is able to acquire more mileage in the process. The question remains however; will the VJM08 debut next week? Only time will tell.

 

2015 Formula One Test Review: Barcelona (First Test)

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As I am sure you are all aware, this week has seen the return of Formula One in 2015 for the second pre-season test in Barcelona And this is what every Formula One fan has been looking forward to since the end of the first test in Jerez earlier this month.

This week, we will see Jolyon Palmer, Susie Wolff and Pascal Wehrlein make their first debuts of the season at the Barcelona circuit alongside many pundits and fans wondering if the performance we have seen from Ferrari and Sauber to be correct from the Jerez test, if McLaren-Honda and Red Bull can put their issues behind them, if the Mercedes team can still consistently acquire mileage and also if Force India can officially debut their 2015 car; the VJM08 this week.

Throughout four days at the second test of the season yet first winter test at Barcelona this week, we have seen the teams and drivers pushing the limit and getting to grips with the how their 2015 cars have improved in their second competitive outing of this season.

There have been unexpected issues, reas

ons for concern and signs of promise for everyone down the field this week. Question is: who came out on top?

Day One

Pastor Maldonado tops the timesheets on Day One of the Barcelona test

Pastor Maldonado tops the timesheets on Day One of the Barcelona test

On Day One of the Barcelona test, Pastor Maldonado topped the timesheets ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo.

Pastor Maldonado used soft tyres to go fastest for Lotus-Mercedes on a Barcelona Formula 1 test day that was disrupted by a collision between Felipe Nasr and Susie Wolff.

Felipe Nasr off the circuit after his incident with Susie Wolff

Felipe Nasr off the circuit after his incident with Susie Wolff at Turn 5.

The Williams and Sauber came together early in the afternoon session, when Wolff was on an out-lap and morning pacesetter Nasr was at full speed. There was contact between the Williams’s left front and Sauber’s right-rear sent Nasr into the Turn 5 barriers, with Wolff also coming to rest in the gravel.

Prior to the long red flag as a result of the incident between Wolff and Nasr, Kimi Raikkonen had established Ferrari on top of the timesheets, initially on Pirelli’s ‘winter hard’ and then using mediums to do a lap time of 1.25.167s.

Raikkonen stayed there until a flurry of soft-tyre runs in mid-afternoon, during which both Maldonado and Red Bull-Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo went out for short bursts on the faster rubber. Maldonado was quickest with a lap time of 1:25.011 and demoted the Ferrari of Raikkonen by 0.156s who finished in second place.

Daniel Ricciardo could only get within 0.380 seconds of Raikkonen and finished the session in third place ahead of Sergio Perez in fourth place who took over the 2014 Force India from on-loan Pascal Wehrlein after the German was recalled to the Mercedes team and Perez managed to fit in 34 laps as a result.

Both Nasr and Wolff managed to get back on track in their repaired cars late on, although the Sauber triggered a red flag in the last few minutes when it stopped on the approach to Turn 9. But Nasr still held on to fifth place in the standings with his morning time.

Jenson Button in the McLaren-Honda MP4-30 before stopping

Jenson Button in the McLaren-Honda MP4-30 before stopping on Day 1 of the Barcelona test.

While Red Bull stuck to short runs, Toro Rosso hinted at reliability improvements for Renault as Max Verstappen topped the lap count on 94 which was eight more than second-best Wolff. Verstappen went sixth quickest during a very long afternoon run ahead of Jenson Button who finished in seventh place, despite the McLaren-Honda being sidelined while its engine was changed.

McLaren is set to be compromised by the same problems on Friday, as it waits for a faulty part to be updated in time for the weekend’s running.

Pascal Wehrlein running in the W06 on the first day of testing in Barcelona

Pascal Wehrlein running in the W06 on the first day of testing in Barcelona

Pascal Wehrlein occupied both eighth and ninth places in the results. His best time from relatively long runs on hard tyres for Mercedes was a tenth adrift of his morning pace for Force India.

Wehrlein had been summoned back to Mercedes duties because Lewis Hamilton had to stop after 11 laps in the morning due to a fever and his team-mate Nico Rosberg was unable to step in due to pain from a trapped nerve in his neck.

Day One Timesheet:-

  1. Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, 1:25.011, 69 laps
  2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:25.167, 74 laps
  3. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1:25.547, 59 laps
  4. Sergio Perez, Force India, 1:26.636, 34 laps
  5. Felipe Nasr, Sauber, 1:27.307, 79 laps
  6. Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, 1:27.900, 94 laps
  7. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:28.182, 21 laps
  8. Pascal Wehrlein, Force India, 1:28.329, 32 laps
  9. Pascal Wehrlein, Mercedes, 1:28.489, 48 laps
  10. Susie Wolff, Williams, 1:28.906, 86 laps
  11. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:30.429, 11 laps.

Day Two

Daniel Ricciardo tops the timesheets on Day Two of the Barcelona test.

Daniel Ricciardo tops the timesheets on Day Two of the Barcelona test.

On Day Two Daniel Ricciardo’s morning time kept Red Bull on top ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa as the teams began race simulations in earnest.

Ricciardo lapped in 1.24.574 on soft tyres before the lunch break and that stood for the rest of the session with Kimi Raikkonen finishing in second place 0.1 seconds behind him.

Felipe Massa made progress up the timesheet to put the Williams team in third place after vaulting forward with two short runs on soft tyres after a competitive longer run on mediums. Massa finished ahead of Sergio Perez who got up to 121 laps in the 2014 Force India today.

Lewis Hamilton during Day Two of the Barcelona test

Lewis Hamilton during Day Two of the Barcelona test

Reigning World champion Lewis Hamilton reclaimed the Mercedes from Nico Rosberg for the afternoon after having recovered sufficiently from the fever that sidelined him on Thursday, while Rosberg needed to rest his back as a precaution following a trapped nerve earlier in the week and ended the session in fifth place ahead of his team mate.

Carlos Sainz Jr stopping on track on Day Two of the Barcelona test.

Carlos Sainz Jr stopping on track on Day Two of the Barcelona test.

Both of Hamilton’s and Ricciardo’s simulations were interrupted by a red flag for Carlos Sainz Jr putting the Toro Rosso in the gravel at the fast Turn 9 right-hander at the back of the circuit. That was one of two afternoon red flags, with Marcus Ericsson causing the other when he stopped on the pits straight in the final half-hour.

Fernando Alonso running on Day Two of the Barcelona test.

Fernando Alonso running on Day Two of the Barcelona test.

Fernando Alonso was seventh for McLaren after getting up to a best-yet tally of 59 laps despite some concerns over the engine following Thursday’s seal problem.

Jolyon Palmer edged closer to the pace on his debut for Lotus and ended up eighth overall ahead of Marcus Ericsson and Carlos Sainz Jr.

Day Two Timesheet:-

  1. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1:24.574, 143 laps
  2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:24.584, 90 laps;
  3. Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:24.672, 88 laps;
  4. Sergio Perez, Force India, 1:24.702, 121 laps;
  5. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:24.923, 89 laps;
  6. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:25.556, 66 laps;
  7. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:25.961, 59 laps;
  8. Jolyon Palmer, Lotus, 1:26.280, 77 laps;
  9. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:27.334, 113 laps;
  10. Carlos Sainz Jnr, Toro Rosso, 1:28.945, 100 laps.

Day Three

Pastor Maldonado topped the timesheets on the third day of the Barcelona test.

Pastor Maldonado topped the timesheets on the third day of the Barcelona test.

On day three of the Barcelona test, Pastor Maldonado once again set the pace for Lotus for the second time in three days of Barcelona Formula 1 testing on Saturday.

A mid-afternoon run on super-softs took Maldonado to a time of 1.24.348 and therefore beating Toro Rosso’s rookie Max Verstappen who finished the session in second place. Verstappen also used super-softs to set his best time in the morning but he was beaten by Maldonado to three tenths of a second. But Verstappen still led the lap tally for Saturday as he managed 129 laps of the circuit.

Lewis Hamilton finished the session in third place who stuck to medium tyres for his best runs during the session and managed over 100 laps of running. The other big movement on the timing screens in the afternoon came courtesy of Marcus Ericsson who finished the session in fourth place. Ericsson after missing the majority of the morning of the test due to gearbox problems did extremely well to finish in fourth and was able to give Sauber more mileage.

Sebastian Vettel spins off the circuit on day three of the Barcelona test

Sebastian Vettel spins off the circuit on day three of the Barcelona test

Sebastian Vettel had a smooth end to a day that began with a spin into the gravel on cold tyres on his out-lap. He eventually clocked 105 laps for Ferrari and went fifth fastest ahead of sixth place driver Daniil Kvyat. During the afternoon of the session, Red Bull’s pitboard indicated that a race simulation was in prospect but Daniil Kvyat returned to the garage after two stints had been completed.

Seventh-placed Felipe Massa handed the Williams over to team-mate Valtteri Bottas for the afternoon. But Bottas’ programme was dominated by pitstop practice and it was only in the final few minutes that he completed any full flying laps. Bottas slotted in between Pascal Wehrlein who finished in ninth place as the Mercedes test driver completed his on-loan stint at Force India .

Jenson Button stopping on the circuit after the incident with Max Verstappen

Jenson Button stopping on the circuit after the incident with Max Verstappen

McLaren had yet another frustrating day. The new seal intended to resolve the Honda MGU-K problem that had compromised the first part of the week proved no better, and after a long pause in the garage, Jenson Button had to run with reduced power for the rest of the day and ended the session in tenth place.

Button was also involved in a late red flag, when both his McLaren and Verstappen’s Toro Rosso parked in the pit exit in quick succession.

Day Three Timesheet:-

  1. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:24.348, 104 laps
  2. Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, 1:24.739, 0.391, 129 laps
  3. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:26.076, 1.728, 101 laps
  4. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber ,1:26.340, 1.992, 52 laps
  5. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:26.407, 2.059, 105 laps
  6. Daniil Kvyat ,Red Bull ,1:26.589, 2.241, 110 laps
  7. Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:26.912, 2.564, 55 laps
  8. Pascal Wehrlein, Force India,1:27.333, 2.985, 81 laps
  9. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1:27.556, 3.208, 48 laps
  10. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:29.151, 4.803, 24 laps

Day Four

Romain Grosjean tops the timesheets on the final day of the Barcelona test

Romain Grosjean tops the timesheets on the final day of the Barcelona test

At the final day of the Barcelona test, Romain Grosjean ensured Lotus ended the second Formula 1 pre-season test on top as Nico Rosberg used medium tyres to fire a warning for Mercedes’ rivals at Barcelona.

Grosjean, taking over from team-mate Pastor Maldonado, used Pirelli’s super-soft tyres to put the E23 top of the pile for the third time in four days in Spain. His best lap time of a 1.24.067 was only a quarter of a second faster than Rosberg who finished the session in second place who managed despite him being on tyres that Pirelli estimates are as much as two seconds a lap slower.

Rosberg started the day by spinning into the gravel but he shot up the leaderboard in the final hour, as yet again the team’s new W06 ran without using either of Pirelli’s two softest options.

Daniil Kvyat on track on the final day of testing in Barcelona

Daniil Kvyat on track on the final day of testing in Barcelona

Daniil Kvyat ended the session in third place after briefly set the pace before being toppled by Grosjean’s super-soft run ahead of Felipe Nasr in fourth place and Valtteri Bottas in fifth place who stopped on the track.

Alonso’s countryman Carlos Sainz Jr topped the morning session but he also crashed at Turn 3 after the lunch break, bringing out the red flags. The Toro Rosso driver did not continue but finished the session in sixth place ahead of Sebastian Vettel in seventh place and Nico Hulkenberg in eighth place.

Fernando Alonso's McLaren stopping after his crash on the final day of testing in Barcelona

Fernando Alonso’s McLaren stopping after his crash on the final day of testing in Barcelona

But beyond the headline times, there were more troubles for McLaren-Honda. Fernando Alonso endured a difficult morning with minimal running and when he did appear and started pushing, he crashed at Turn 3 just before lunch and had to be airlifted to hospital.

Though a CT scan revealed the Spaniard was unharmed in the crash, the team was not able to continue running despite Jenson Button being due to take over in the afternoon. Driving for Pleasure will keep you updated on Alonso’s condition as and when information is available.

McLaren’s dramas mean the team leaves Barcelona having completed just 104 laps across the four days, a tally surpassed on Sunday alone by three Mercedes-powered teams – the factory outfit (129), Williams (127), and Lotus (111).

Three other drivers caused stoppages in the afternoon session at the final day of testing in Barcelona. Valtteri Bottas’ Williams stopped at Turn 4 shortly after Sainz’s crash, though the Finn recovered to set the fifth-best time, while Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India suffered a terminal Mercedes engine failure.

Felipe Nasr caused the final red flag when he stopped at Turn 8 with 10 minutes remaining.

Day Four Timesheet:-

  1. Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 1:24.067, 111 laps
  2. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:24.321, 131 laps
  3. Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, 1:24.941, 104 laps
  4. Felipe Nasr, Sauber, 1:24.956, 73 laps
  5. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1:25.345, 129 laps
  6. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, 1:25.604, 88 laps
  7. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:26.312, 76 laps
  8. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 1:26.591 36 laps
  9. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:27.956, 20 laps

The second (yet first) winter test at Barcelona has produced some interesting results. Many Formula One fans were looking forward to seeing how the teams and the drivers would get on with the challenges of their new cars for this season. And in my view, it is a mixed bag still.

We have seen Mercedes showing that they are the team to beat in terms of mileage from the session. And yes, it will bring them a crucial advantage in terms of how to improve the W06 before the next test in Barcelona this week. There is no question about it, even though Rosberg has stated to the media that the team and he are unsure about their actual pace Still. But this is a good starting point for the team despite this and will be looking to improve their track performance.

Williams, Lotus and Toro Rosso will once again use the mileage that they have gained from the first test in order to improve their cars before the next test in Barcelona next week and will have also gained some much needed data that will allow them to try and improve their cars. But the signs for the three teams respectively are good and will provide them with a solid base to build upon in terms of developing their cars especially with regards to Lotus and Red Bull who have improved from the Jerez test earlier this month.

Sauber and Ferrari have topped the top 5 at some stage of the week. And I believe that it is too early within the season to make any significant claims about their performances. But their performances have at least indicated that they are on the right track with their cars and have managed to gain invaluable track time that will no doubt push all three teams to improve their cars further and get back to competitive ways for this season.

Force India have managed to acquire some mileage that will help them as they try and get the VJM08 ready in the best possible position for Melbourne next month and also try and close the gap down to their rivals as quickly as they possibly can in the short timescale that they have left.

But this week, the spotlight is firmly on the McLaren team. Even though we have seen McLaren experiencing problems since the first test in Jerez earlier this month, it is to be expected given the fact that both McLaren and Honda will be learning more and more about the car as time goes on in their first year back together in partnership.

You can be sure that McLaren despite their issues this week will have learnt a lot from the test and will use the data and the experience to try and iron out their existing issues as quickly as possible. But for me, the main thing is that they managed to gain more mileage than the Jerez test which is a small positive step in the right direction but they still have a lot of work to do.

Even though it is hard to hear about Alonso and what happened to him today, until McLaren release an official press statement about what happened with the crash, please do not believe anything you hear on social media. At the moment, Alonso has no injuries and is fine after undergoing a CT scan at the hospital and will stay in the hospital overnight.

The big question is, is a few days enough time for McLaren to fix their problems with the MP4-30 and with the Honda engine? I believe that it won’t be, but we will find out in Barcelona sooner rather than later when the final pre-season test at Barcelona begins this Thursday.

 

Alonso ‘uninjured and fine’ after his crash at the Barcelona test today

 

Fernando Alonso running on Day Two of the Barcelona test.

Fernando Alonso running on Day Two of the Barcelona test.

In a statement from the McLaren-Honda team this afternoon, Fernando Alonso is ‘uninjured but fine’ after his crash on the final day of testing at Barcelona today.

Alonso was airlifted to hospital this morning after crashing at Turn 3 of the circuit before coming to a complete stop before Turn 4.

Just after the crash had happened, McLaren-Honda confirmed that Alonso was ‘conscious but okay’ before bring taken to hospital for precautionary checks.

Two hours after lunch, McLaren-Honda issued a further statement stating that Alonso had completed a CT scan at the hospital and revealed no injuries.

Jenson Button was due to drive the MP4-30 this afternoon but McLaren have confirmed that they would not be running for the rest of the day.

I will keep you updated on Alonso’s condition as and when it comes in. But I hope that Fernando is okay and recovers as quickly as possible from the crash.

Ferrari to supply Manor F1 2014 engines

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It has been announced today that if the Manor GP team be successful in their bid to return to F1, Ferrari have agreed in principal to supply the team with 2014 engines.

Manor, who have come out of administration following a Company Voluntary Agreement, are still pushing ahead with plans to return to the Formula 1 grid this season.

It is not yet known what car the team will race given that a proposal to run a 2014 challenger was rejected by F1’s Strategy Group.

However, should the pieces fall into place, they do have engines courtesy of Ferrari. They will however be 2014 power units.

In an interview with the media today, Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene told reporters the following:-

‘We said yesterday that we are going to supply them with the 2014 engine. There is nothing in writing at the moment, but our answer is yes.’

Even though there is a still a way to go for the Manor F1 team to get back onto the grid and racing once again, it is great to hear that Ferrari will once again supply them with engines should that be the case. This is yet another small step forward for the team and all they can do is behind the scenes is to keep working hard to ensure that they are in a strong position to return to the grid and get back to what they do best; which is racing in Formula One.