Kate Walker is your guide to a team-by-team run-down of what happened on the third day of official Formula One testing at Jerez in Spain.
Testing focus: Ensure the SF15-T can fight at the front
Breakdown tally: 0
In today: Kimi Raikkonen
In tomorrow: Kimi Raikkonen
It was Kimi Raikkonen’s turn to get behind the wheel of the SF15-T in Jerez today, and the Finnish driver found the 2015 Ferrari to be an improvement on last year’s machine. After 92 laps, Raikkonen was pipped to the top of the timesheets by the Ferrari-powered Sauber of Felipe Nasr by a margin of 0.205s, with a personal best of 1m21.750s. Raikkonen had a slow start to the morning, wary of risking damaging the car in the wet and changing conditions.
Kimi Raikkonen: "There are a lot of good points in the areas where we had difficulties. Obviously it's just the first day and the circuit stayed damp for most of the day, but we had good running and got some mileage.
“The whole package is quite a bit better than how we finished last year. We've improved in all the areas. We have a lot of things to do and things to improve, but it's definitely a positive start and we have something to work with. This year is a completely different story to last year. It's a positive start and I had a good feeling straightaway when I went out."
Testing focus: Smooth transition to Mercedes power
Breakdown tally: 1
In today: Pastor Maldonado
In tomorrow: Romain Grosjean
Telemetry issues prevented Pastor Maldonado from taking to the track in the first part of the day, but once the Venezuelan was up and running he was able to log an impressive 96 laps for Lotus, harvesting much-needed data in the process. With two minutes’ running time left in the day, Maldonado stopped on track between Turns 5 and 6, bringing out the red flags and ending the session prematurely. When the clock stopped, he was fifth on the timesheets with a best time of 1m22.713s.
Trackside operations engineer Alan Permane: “We’ve completed a solid programme today and been able to log a lot of data as we begin our initial understanding of the E23. Yesterday’s issues were quickly diagnosed and rectified and today we’ve run very reliably with only a connection issue to delay our first run this morning.
“Pastor’s jumped straight back into the car after the winter break and has given us everything we’ve needed over the last two days, now we’re looking forward to Romain getting his first taste of the car tomorrow.”
Testing focus: Perfecting the power unit
Breakdown tally: 1
In today: Fernando Alonso
In tomorrow: Jenson Button
McLaren’s most successful day of testing thus far saw the Woking racers complete 32 laps before a loss of cooling water pressure forced the team to call it quits in the early afternoon. During the morning’s running on a damp and changing track, Fernando Alonso managed a best time of 1m35.553s on intermediate tyres and was enthusiastic about the progress made. But after lunch, the Spanish driver spotted the pressure loss on an outlap. The resulting power unit inspection was a time-consuming process, and the team confirmed they would not be back out on track until Wednesday morning.
Racing director Eric Boullier: “Jenson’s final lap last night made us all feel happier, because we felt we’d cured the issues that had affected us on Sunday and Monday. This morning, it was a relief to see the car get out of the garage at 9am, and run without problems for several hours. Fernando’s comments were very positive, too: he said the car was reacting well to changes, and felt stable.
“Operationally, we’ve already covered everything in our programme, but what’s even more positive is that we’ve been able to carry out a number of longer runs. They’ve shown us that the car doesn’t have any conceptual or architectural issues. It’s good to see that the car is effectively able to run straight out of the box, without any major issues. That’s the most positive point of the day.”
Testing focus: Miles on the engine
Breakdown tally: 1
In today: Nico Rosberg
In tomorrow: Lewis Hamilton
With 399 laps under their belt at the end of the third day of testing - 157 from Nico Rosberg on Sunday, 91 from Lewis Hamilton on Monday, and 151 from Rosberg today - Mercedes were able to complete more than five race distances before an engine shutdown shortly before lunch led to the second red flag of the day. It took the Mercedes mechanics slightly more than an hour to get Rosberg back on track, and the German driver continued to clock up the laps with metronomic precision, continuing with long runs and race simulations.
Nico Rosberg: “Reliability was our main issue over the last year, so our goal for 2015 is to sort this out. That is why I can be happy with my first pre-season test as I did a lot of mileage on both days. A big thank you to the team for a reliable Silver Arrow so far. They did a really good job over the winter.
"Performance wise I don't know where we are but the Ferrari times look very encouraging for them, so it will be an interesting year for Formula One, I guess.”
Testing focus: Defeat the gremlins
Breakdown tally: 1 power unit change
In today: Daniel Ricciardo
In tomorrow: Daniil Kvyat
It was a difficult day’s testing for Red Bull, with the team struggling with the Renault power unit. After five short laps in the morning a full power unit change was required, and that kept the RB11 in the garage for much of the day. When the car was out on track, Daniel Ricciardo managed some longer 10-15 lap runs and managed a total of 48 laps, beating only McLaren in the overall tally. With a best time of 1m23.901s, the Australian driver was 2.3s off the pace set by Felipe Nasr, but well ahead of where the team were at this point in 2014.
Head of race engineering Guillaume Rocquelin: “A day of two halves really. The engine issue arrived very early – I think Daniel had about five laps on the board at that point. We knew what the issue was and so we decided to change the power unit and that took some time.
“However, when we got Daniel back out the car ran without any problems and we were able to put together a couple of longer runs, which were good. In the end we managed a decent total of laps given the restricted running and we’re happy with how the car performed.”
Testing focus: Improve on a dire 2014
Breakdown tally: 0
In today: Felipe Nasr
In tomorrow: Marcus Ericsson
It was Felipe Nasr who topped the timesheets at the end of the day’s running in Jerez, with a best time of 1m21.545s. The morning saw the Brazilian racer beach his Sauber in the gravel at Turn 9, bringing out the red flags. But with little damage caused to the car the Swiss team took the opportunity to make modifications to the C34, testing new components from their Hinwil factory. The upgrades appear to have done the trick, as Nasr closed the day with 0.205s in hand over the Ferrari which has dominated the timesheets thus far.
Head of track engineering Giampaolo Dall’Ara: “The day was a bit more complicated than the previous two. In the morning it was mainly down to the weather conditions. When the track was still damp we decided to test different wet tyres, and make some comparisons. In the afternoon we continued with the set-up work and some additional scans.
“We lost a little bit of time with a minor technical issue, but, nevertheless, we were able to complete more than 100 laps. In the end we can be satisfied with the day.”
Testing focus: Logging the laps
Breakdown tally: 0
In today: Carlos Sainz Jr
In tomorrow: Max Verstappen
After Max Verstappen managed 73 laps on the second day of testing it was up to Carlos Sainz Jr to really put the miles on the STR10 with 137 laps of the Circuito de Jerez in conditions damp, dry, and changeable. The varying conditions made it possible for the young Spanish racer to get to grips with a variety of tyre compounds, and the long runs he did in the Toro Rosso proved to be a masterclass in F1 tyre management for the Formula Renault 3.5 graduate. When the chequered flag fell, Sainz’ best time of 1m23.187s was good enough for sixth on the timesheets.
Chief race engineer Phil Charles: “A very productive day, during which we completed a lot of laps. Everything went smoothly, which was good for Carlos, as it meant he was able to do long enough runs to learn valuable lessons about tyre management.
“That was part of our chassis programme, as well as working on its performance during the morning. We were also able to get Carlos doing practice starts, including some on a wet track, which will be another useful lesson for the coming season. All in all, a good day’s work.”
Testing focus: Build on 2014’s momentum
Breakdown tally: 0
In today: Felipe Massa
In tomorrow: Felipe Massa
Felipe Massa got his first taste of the 2015 Williams in Jerez today, and while a late start prevented the Brazilian from completing as many laps as Valtteri Bottas had managed earlier in the week, once Massa was out on track he too spent the day lapping with metronomic precision. Fourth on the timesheets when the session ended, with a best time of 1m22.276s and 71 laps under his belt, it was a solid start for Massa, who is back behind the wheel of the FW37 tomorrow for the last day of the Jerez test.
Chief test and support engineer Rod Nelson: “It's been another good day and good to have Felipe get his first drive of the FW37 today. We have started to do a little more chassis work as we continue to work through our plan.
“Felipe gave us very much the same feedback as Valtteri did, so it's pleasing that they share the same views and characteristics as each other on the FW37. Overall it’s been a positive day.”
Any other business
Force India are not running in Jerez, but plans to attend both Barcelona tests.
Day three of the 2015 Formula One pre-season tests in Jerez saw three red flags. The first was caused by Felipe Nasr, who beached his Sauber in the gravel at Turn 9 but caused no serious damage, while the second saw Nico Rosberg stop at Turn 10 thanks to an engine shutdown. The final red flag of the day was caused by Pastor Maldonado, who stopped on track with one minute remaining before the chequered flag.