McLaren-Honda once again failed to complete a flying lap.
Pascal Wehrlein topped the timesheets at the end of the second day of post-season testing at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit, the Mercedes reserve driver’s 1m42.624s lap more than half a second clear of second-placed Raffaele Marciello’s best effort for Ferrari. It was Wehrlein’s first time driving the W05 after being named Silver Arrows reserve; the DTM racer first tasted F1 machinery when given a chance to drive the W03 in September.
McLaren continues to struggle
It was another difficult start to the day for McLaren, who were only able to complete three laps on the first day of the post-season test. Despite having a successful fire-up of the new Honda power unit at 6am on Wednesday morning, when the pit lane opened to mark the start of the session the MP429H/1X1 suffered a further set of electrical problems.
Team principal Eric Boullier told the media that Wednesday’s electrical issues were different to those the team had experienced the day before, and investigations into the source of the problem prevented McLaren test driver Stoffel Vandoorne from running at all in the morning session. The afternoon was little better - Vandoorne completed one installation lap and stopped on track during his second attempt, causing one of the five red flags of the day.
Ricciardo's day goes up in flames
With an hour left on the clock on Wednesday afternoon Will Stevens stopped his Caterham out on track, with 76 laps under his belt and a respectable best effort of 1m44.888s, putting the Briton ahead of a beleaguered Daniel Ricciardo, whose day came to a dramatic end when the rear of his Red Bull erupted in flames. The Australian was handy with the fire extinguisher, but remained in the garage for the last two hours of track time and ended the day seventh on the timesheets with 88 laps completed.
Lotus uses two drivers
Lotus were the only team to split the day’s running between two drivers: European Formula 3 champion Esteban Ocon, and GP3 champion Alex Lynn. Ocon was sixth on the timesheets when he handed control of the E22 over to Lynn, having managed only 34 laps due to unspecified car problems. With 52 laps completed by Lynn Lotus managed a daily total of 86 laps, with the two drivers the slowest of those able to set times.
Marciello gets behind the wheel of a Ferrari
Ferrari debutant Marciello’s P2-worthy time came towards the end of the afternoon’s running, upsetting the best efforts of Max Verstappen, who had kept the Toro Rosso second in the standings for much of the day following a front suspension failure that curtailed his time in the cockpit on Tuesday. It wasn’t all smooth running for the Dutch racer, however, as afternoon power unit problems cost Verstappen three hours in the garage.
The last of the debutants to take to the track on Wednesday was Australian Formula 3 driver Spike Goddard, who managed a respectable 89 laps for Force India the day after GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer missed out on a full day’s running thanks to power unit problems. Goddard made progress over the course of the day, and when time was called he sat comfortably in the middle of the timesheets with a best effort of 1m44.944s.
Felipe Nasr took his final turn for Williams on Wednesday; the Brazilian will be moving to Sauber for 2015 where he joins fellow test participant Marcus Ericsson. Ericsson put the Sauber through its paces during the second day of testing, logging 112 laps behind the wheel and ending the session fourth on the timesheets with a 1m44.551s lap.
Wednesday morning also saw Force India testing the new Info Wing device, an LED information system aimed at delivering easy-to-read race information to fans in the grandstands. Fitted to the airbox camera mounting, the Info Wing shows the driver’s name, position, and tyre compound, and has been designed with a view to improving the trackside experience at grands prix.
Wednesday Testing Times
1. Pascal Wehrlein (Mercedes) 1m42.624s [96 laps]
2. Raffaele Marciello (Ferrari) 1m43.208s [90 laps]
3. Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso) 1m43.763s [78 laps]
4. Marcus Ericsson (Sauber) 1m44.551s [112 laps]
5. Will Stevens (Caterham) 1m44.888s [76 laps]
6. Spike Goddard (Force India) 1m44.944s [89 laps]
7. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 1m45.151s [88 laps]
8. Felipe Nasr (Williams) 1m45.937s [83 laps]
9. Alex Lynn (Lotus) 1m46.168s [52 laps]
10. Esteban Ocon (Lotus) 1m47.013s [34 laps]
11. Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren) NO TIME SET [2 laps]
FIA Formula One