Tag Archives: Abu Dhabi test

Hamilton back on the circuit at the Abu Dhabi test this week

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Today, Lewis Hamilton is back in action in Abu Dhabi as he samples Pirelli’s 2017 tyres.

With less than fourty-eight hours after losing the title to team mate Nico Rosberg, Hamilton was called upon by Mercedes to assume tyre testing duties initially assigned this morning to Pascal Wehrlein.

It’s not clear why Mercedes have decided to change its line-up and split its testing  workload but perhaps it felt compelled to call upon Hamilton as a bit of retribution for balking at team orders during Sunday  evening’s showdown in the closing stages of the race.

Mercedes will run Hamilton in the morning and Wehrlein this afternoon, while Ferrari and Red Bull will also take to the track with Kimi Raikkonen on hand, and Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.

Pirelli’s next extensive test is scheduled on February 27 in Barcelona, where all 2017 cars will appear.

King and Haryanto confirmed for pre-season Abu Dhabi test

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It was announced yesterday that GP2 drivers Jordan King and Rio Haryanto have been called up to drive for Manor in next week’s Pirelli tyre test at the Yas Marina circuit.

Following the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the Formula 1 teams will remain at the circuit for a one-day 12-hour test. The test is aimed at helping Pirelli develop their tyres including the still-to-be-released Ultra-soft compound.

All ten teams are taking part with Manor handing the driving duties to GP2 drivers King and Haryanto.

Tuesday’s outing will be the latest step in King’s development as the Brit continues in his role as a development driver for Manor. In an interview with the media, King stated the following about taking part in the test as follows:-

‘The Development Driver role has been a fantastic opportunity for me this season and I have enjoyed and benefited from every minute spent with the team.  The European rounds of GP2 Series mirrored the F1 races, so it was very easy to combine my racing commitments with spending time shadowing the Manor drivers and engineers.

‘In Austin and Mexico I was able to fully immerse myself in the F1 environment and I’m learning about how things work on and off the race track. Naturally, what I’ve been looking forward to most is the chance to drive the MR03B, and I can’t wait to bring everything I’ve learned together in Abu Dhabi next week.’

For Campos driver Haryanto, who has claimed three wins in this year’s GP2 series, Tuesday’s run will be his third F1 test. Haryanto stated the following about taking part in the test as follows:-

‘I’m really looking forward to being back with the team at the Abu Dhabi test. In many ways it is essentially the same team, although the car is quite different.

‘I feel much better prepared for this test, and after a very competitive season in GP2, I can’t wait to show how much I have developed to become a more complete driver.’

Boullier: We could run a Honda-powered car at the post Abu Dhabi test in November

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In an interview with the media this morning, McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier has said that McLaren could run a Honda-powered car at the post-Abu Dhabi GP test in November.

Honda’s motorsport boss Yasuhisa Arai had already predicted that their new power unit would get its first run out when pre-season testing starts at Jerez early next year, just weeks before the start of the new season.

However in his interview with the media this morning, Boullier said that a Honda-powered McLaren might yet take to the track at the end of the current campaign. Boullier stated the following:-

‘Yes. This is not defined. The safe side is that we’ll obviously be in Jerez with a McLaren-Honda car. But it keeps open to maybe the possibility that if everything is matching in our schedules to run it earlier.’

Even though Boullier cannot actually confirm when they will be testing the Honda engine either before Jerez or at Jerez itself, it is clear that the possibility of testing the engine early is open and that everything is on track to either test it early or as planned in Jerez at the first season test of the 2015 season.

Further on in his interview, Boullier will not give a definite answer if they will run a Honda engine before Jerez. Boullier added the following:-

‘We won’t give a definite answer now because we actually don’t know yet exactly. It’s very likely to be before Jerez. We’ll see.’

I think Boullier is right not to state when they will be testing the Honda engine earlier as planned or on the schedule they originally planned. The main thing is that everything is going according to plan and if the engine can be tested earlier, then it will be. If not, then it will be as they planned and nothing will affect this at the moment.

Speaking earlier this month, Honda Motorsport Boss Arai said that Honda’s new 1.6-litre turbo hybrid is about to commence dyno testing. However, his prediction was that it wouldn’t be on track in a McLaren chassis until next year. Arai stated the following in his interview on the subject:-

‘We are absolutely within our development plan. Our engine – or more precisely our power unit – is ready for a whole system check, but without the chassis. It will still need more time to bring the power unit and chassis together and then be able to run checks with the complete car.

‘In the next couple of weeks we will run simulations and at the beginning of next year we will start to run on the track – very likely at Jerez. That will very likely be the first time to show the whole car, the Honda engine and the McLaren chassis – the Honda McLaren. Right now there are no plans to collect data during the rest of 2014. Jerez will be the first time.’

Even though Arai has confirmed that everything is running according to their plans, it is great news to see that Honda has been working hard to ensure that their deadlines are being met and being met on time. But they will need to ensure that they keep working hard to meet the deadline and also make sure that their systems work effectively as they can before being tested on the track.

It would seem in the next few weeks that Honda is planning to run simulations with their engine in order to see how they will likely to perform on the track when they test their engine and the McLaren chassis either before Jerez or at Jerez next year. But it is a good sign for McLaren and Honda and I am sure that both parties are happy with the progress that is being made.

If McLaren and Honda are happy with the progress they are making, they could if run in the Abu Dhabi test which is scheduled for November 25-26 and is two days after the current season finishes. But even though it would be great for both McLaren and Honda to make that test and test their chassis and engine together, I believe that they will make sure that they work as hard as they can to make sure that they hit the ground running in Jerez in early 2015 at the first pre-season test.

And if things keeping heading in a positive direction for both parties, we could see that the hard work of McLaren and Honda starting to reap reward. Question is; will McLaren and Honda get to the Abu Dhabi test? Personally, I don’t think so but I do feel that Jerez will be the first chance to see the return of the McLaren and Honda partnership in action on track. But we shall see what happens in the next few weeks.